Delta now imposing fuel surcharges for award redemptions on Korean Air?

Superstar reader Mac points to this FlyerTalk thread, which suggests that Delta is now imposing fuel surcharges for award redemptions on Korean Air.

I tend to think that Korean Air is actually a hidden gem of SkyTeam, given that they have excellent business class award availability to Asia. While they have blackout dates for nearly six months of the year, award space is wide open during any other time period. And they also serve lots of US destinations, I think more so than any other Asian airline, so they’re a great option for redeeming otherwise not-so-valuable SkyMiles.

Up until now Delta only imposed fuel surcharges for travel originating in Europe and also for travel on select partner airlines, like Virgin Australia and Air Tahiti Nui), though not for travel originating in the US on any SkyTeam partners .

Unfortunately it appears as if they have just recently added fuel surcharges for redemptions on Korean Air. I just called to price out an award ticket in business class, and it was just under $400 roundtrip, as opposed to the previous cost of under $100.

This seems to suggest they’re now adding on the YR/YQ surcharges, which are the fuel surcharges.

So I’m not sure if this is intentional or a glitch. If this is actually the new policy I’d say it’s a huge blow to the SkyMiles program, since this was just about the best use of SkyMiles.

If anyone has any data points with this, please share them in the comments section!

I’ve gone ahead and Tweeted Delta to ask, so feel free to retweet or ask them as well so we can hopefully put some pressure on them and get an answer.

Filed Under: Advice, Awards
  1. I have to guess that it’s the YR that’s throwing this off, I think that’s new in their published fares, perhaps DL is misinterpreting as a tax? (I hope!)

  2. Lucky
    I think you should code your posts and hide any that reveal gems of value. This is another example
    Obviously DL reads this and has taken the value out.

  3. @ ffi — At the end of the day I think we all benefit from the sharing of information on the internet. Will good deals occasionally be pulled? Yes. Do we benefit more from sharing information on the internet than we would without it? Absolutely. Just look at the SQ deal last week, where I bet most people would have suggested not posting about it.

  4. Bravo for posting!! I fly them next week for the first time and will report back on the difference between Delta, Air France and Korean Air.

  5. I agree with Gary it is the YR got mis-interpreted – the same way AA added YR to the redemption that should not have any YQ. AA rate desk has manually taken it out when the computer mis-priced it. Not sure if you have such luck with DL rate desk.

  6. I started that thread!

    I too called Delta today for a dummy booking.

    For an economy award it was around $380 round trip for a simple ATL – ICN.

    Now if you pull a revenue fare ICN – BKK there is no YR or YQ. Seems only TPAC legs have them.

    I hope this is a glitch. I will tweet Delta too.

  7. I thought fuel prices were down – why with lower fuel costs is there justification for the fuel surcharge. Oh wait…..add on fares are good profit.

  8. I was pricing out Korean Air award flights on Delta a few months ago and was getting fuel surcharges added in, so I don’t think this is new. Also since I needed a one way and would get charged round trip, I didn’t bite.

  9. @ HoKo — They’re still charging it, unfortunately, without having ever made an announcement.

  10. @lucky Man those skypesos…every time you think they might take a break from depreciating DL sucker punches us. Thanks for the heads up

  11. Delta doesn’t announce things. They always were collecting minuscule YQ (under $2) for KE. Once KE switched from embedded Q surcharges to YR, it became collectable automatically, so no change in policy to announce anyway.

    Now I can add my recent personal experience to document this as well. About two weeks ago, between the website and phone agents (multiple calls), I put together OMA-SLC-LAX-KE-ICN-KE-AKL//HKG-MU-PVG-NRT-ATL-OMA all in J/F except OMA-SLC for 135K miles. (Open jaw will be filled with 45K AA miles for QF F on the A380 and J from somewhere in NZ to SYD.) Because the agents kept pricing it at weird amounts, I had it on hold. Clicked redeem on and it came up at 135K miles and ~$710 in taxes/fees. Of that, $571.80 is YQ and YR. A lengthy call on Monday got it sent off to tariff assist, since that YQ is ridiculous considering that DL is doing the over-the-water bit on the return. Got a call back today saying that KE has confirmed their $250 in YR is correct and tariff assist says it should be collected. They’re waiting on MU to come back with their YQ assessment for HKG-PVG, which should be more like $30 instead of $321.80.

  12. What is the latest word on YQ being charged on Delta award tickets using Korean air? Seems to be lots of conflicting info/threads on the internet trying to figure out the latest update.

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