Expert Flyer no longer displays Korean Air business class award availability except intra-Asia

A month ago I wrote about a change which I considered to be the greatest improvement to the Delta SkyMiles program in years. The change was that Expert Flyer started displaying business class award space for travel on Korean Air. If you’re familiar with Delta SkyMiles you probably know that the best way to redeem SkyMiles is for travel on their partner airlines, including Air France and Korean Air. Air France is a great option, as they’re good about releasing award space and it’s easy to search award space online.

Korean Air is a bit trickier, though still incredibly useful, at least in theory. They have tons of destinations in the US and are great about releasing award space. There are just two problems. The first, more minor problem, is that they have blackout dates. The second, bigger problem, is that it wasn’t possible to search Korean Air award space online, and you had to put yourself at the mercy of SkyMiles agents. As I’ve written about many times before, SkyMiles agents are absolutely the most clueless agents in the industry. Even when the inventory is known to be available, it can take several calls to get an agent that can actually “see” the flight.

This is why I was overjoyed by the change. I could find the space that I knew to be there and then call up Delta to book it. Now, it still wasn’t an easy task. On one occasion I tried to book a ticket for travel on Korean Air and had to call 11 times (!!!) before I got an agent that saw the space, and that’s after waiting on hold for 10 minutes each time as the agent requested the space. But still, the “game” of booking award tickets on Korean Air went from a wild guessing game to a game of “hang up and call again.”

Suffice it to say I was rather sad to see this disclaimer today on Expert Flyer:

So it appears it’s no longer possible to search Korean Air award availability on Expert Flyer, with the exception of intra-Asia flights. This does make me wonder, though, was this Delta or Korean Air’s doing?

And with this change SkyMiles depreciated just as quickly as they appreciated last month. They’re once again more or less useless for travel to Asia, while still quite useful for travel to Europe on Air France.

Filed Under: Awards, Delta
  1. So now if you call Delta, you may need to call 11 times only to find out there was no availability?


  2. How many Ultimate Rewards points would I need to transfer to Korean Air for the privilege of being able to search for ICN-US business class award space?

  3. the only true value i see for sky pesos is Virgin Australia, Skyteam award in business to Africa with Paris stopover, and Tahiti. Those are the only awards i would ever do with Delta, and of course, none of those awards are even on Delta metal, other than perhaps the gateway flight, which is usually easier to get on Alaska.

  4. do you have any info on the new JetBlue/Korean Air partnership? Might be a new way to redeem Amex points for Korean reward travel… Their site was less than helpful when I went poking around…

  5. I just finished my marathon SkyMiles booking of Korean and Vietnam on a trip to SGN. I used SkyMiles to book the KE legs, and of course there were no feeder flights at low except noon on wednesdays šŸ˜‰ so I used Avios for that.

    I had on hold AS from SJC-LAX, KE from LAX-NRT, VN from NRT-SGN, and on the return, KE to ICN and the KE A380 from ICN-JFK. This is a perfectly valid open jaw itinerary, pricing at low.

    The lady at the re-issue desk (it was a change) first insisted it was an invalid routing (hint: Vietnam segments mean the award will fail to auto price and will fail to calculate taxes/fees) then told me it was a round-the-world routing (…?) and finally put me on hold for 45 minutes. She came back, told me her “support desk” found the routing invalid (couldn’t tell me why) and that they’d re-built the itinerary using Delta via ATL on different dates and demanded +100,000 SkyMiles — even though checkin opens in 4 days. When I voiced my frustration she hung up.

    I had to spend another 2 hours re-building the itinerary with the next agent, and going back to the re-issue desk. Suddenly, it (manually) priced just fine šŸ˜

  6. I forgot, the best part was that the portion she destroyed was one I was ALREADY CONFIRMED ON with an issued ticket šŸ˜› It was the return portion I was trying to change, and she didn’t mind that one bit…

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