Korean Air SkyPass Transfers Returning To Ultimate Rewards

In late November, points transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Korean Air SkyPass suddenly became unavailable. There was no advance notice or explanation, which suggested to me that it was temporary, and not a permanent change. Usually when partnerships like this are discontinued, at least some advance notice is given.

Korean Air A380 at Seoul Incheon

A few days after the transfer functionality was discontinued I wrote a post about how it looked like the change was temporary, given that Chase customer service was saying the Ultimate Rewards website would be updated when (not if) the functionality returns.

Then in late December we found out that Korean Air SkyPass transfers would be returning to Ultimate Rewards as of January 2015, though no exact date was provided.

Korean Air A380 onboard lounge

A reader alerted me that they received a secure message from Chase indicating that transfers would return on January 25. I sent a secure message as well, and it looks like Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers to Korean Air SkyPass are returning on January 25, 2015:

Thank you for contacting Chase about transferring points to Korean Air.

Please note, for contractual reasons, Korean Air was removed as a points transfer partner in Ultimate Rewards. I apologize for any inconvenience caused.

However, Chase has renegotiated the contract for Korean Air and it will return as a points transfer partner on January 25, 2015.

This is very exciting news, since that Korean Air SkyPass is one of the most useful Ultimate Rewards transfer partners. Some of the best things about SkyPass miles include:

  • Korean Air releases a ton of first class award availability, and there’s not much competition for those seats. As long as you’re not traveling over the peak dates, you should have no trouble finding award space on just about any date.
  • Korean Air partners with China Southern, China Eastern, etc., which also have solid first class hard products and release a good amount of award space.
  • Korean Air SkyPass first class award redemption rates are extremely reasonable.

Korean Air A380 first class

So for those of you that have been waiting, it looks like the functionality will return on Sunday. Woot!

Who’s ready to transfer some Ultimate Rewards points to SkyPass? 🙂


  1. Ben
    I was looking your Top Destinations…
    Thailand (BKK, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, etc) or Indonesia(Bali, Jakarta, etc)?
    Or any other city to explore on Asia…
    Tks Travel Guru!

  2. I have a nice stash of UR points I want to use to fly US-australia in F. Do you think using skypass (KE, CZ, MU) is a good use, even though it is more than UA non-stop (but about the same as UA partners)? What about getting from asia to australia in F, which of KE, CZ, MU offer that ?

  3. Lucky,

    Thank you for all the work you do. The often silent majority appreciate your efforts.

    Is it possible to fly on a rewards ticket from the east coast to the middle east (tel aviv) on Korean Air?

  4. @ ddrabk — Thanks! And yes it is. You can fly Korean Air via Seoul Incheon per their award chart, or you can instead fly a partner like Saudia if you want.

  5. @ David — KE F all the way to Australia isn’t a bad option, though I’d say there are better ways of getting there. I’d probably consider trying to redeem miles on Virgin Australia direct in business class instead.

  6. lucky, forgot to mention I’m in DTW so ORD would be my best choice as it’s drivable, but i can also fly to LGA/EWR to connect via JFK. LAX is a no-go, no spending 4 hrs in domestic F

  7. @lucky (Re: ddrabk) Good luck getting to Tel Aviv on Saudia! Better off on AF/KLM/Alitalia through Europe in Business.

  8. @ Tom — Heh, hadn’t consumed my morning coffee yet. 😀

    Though you can get close to Tel Aviv on Saudia and then book a separate ticket there, I suppose.

  9. Thx for the update!! I have half million points sitting in UR plus 600k sitting in Korean air. I love Korean air

    first class product and their schedule from LA to ICN. Last April my son and I flew first class from LA-ICN

    and he loved too! Do you think Chase will give a notice if they decide to discontinue the

    partnership with Korean air in the future?

  10. @ james — I would definitely expect them to provide notice if/when they end the partnership (which I don’t think is in the works).

  11. Hi Lucky,
    Do you have any past primer on Korean Air? If so, please kindly share the link.
    If not, I hope you can answer some of my questions since I am new with Korean Air and after reading the post and comments in here, it sounds that they have good products and service.
    1. How many UR miles needed to fly Korean Air in first class or business class SFO-ICN route? one way or roundtrip only? do we have to call to book or can be done online?
    2. How many stopovers and openjaws are allowed?
    3. To redeem UR on Korean Air, just transfer it to Skypass, isn’t it?
    4. What is the cancelation policy/charges?

    Appreciate it a lot and I look forward to be able to experience Korean Air for first time.

  12. Lucky,

    Thanks a lot! this is awesome guide and really helpful for me and other beginners with Korean Air! Hope you keep this kind of guide coming!
    By the way, do you agree that the best use of Korean Air miles is to redeem on Delta to go to Hawaii since they treat Hawaii as N.America region , the roundtrip in coach only cost 25k miles.
    On the other hand, Avios also great to go to Hawaii since I am based in SF bay area (west coast), only 25k miles roundtrip too with Alaska Airlines.
    Which one you prefer to use to go to Hawaii if you live in west coast like me?

  13. Ben – I was jumping back to your prior Korean Air posts and noticed the 80K business Air France option. Aside from Asia and the Hawaii routes, do you view this Europe option or others as attractive?

  14. @ David — Saver level award availability on Delta can be really tough to come by, so in general I prefer I think Avios on Alaska is a better value.

  15. @ Mark — Generally not, given the $800+ in roundtrip fuel surcharges that they impose on such tickets.

  16. happy to report i just transferred bunch of UR points to my skypass account and it worked flawlessly.

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