Well this is a major disappointment.
Korean Air SkyPass has a great program for using miles for premium cabin awards. They often make 2-4 first class award seats available in advance, fly to more U.S. destinations than any other Asian carrier, and have an excellent first class product.
Korean Air SkyPass also has very reasonable first class redemption rates, generous hold policies, allows stopovers even on one-way tickets, etc. For a bit of context, here are some of their one-way redemption rates:
- North America to Japan, Korea, and China: 80,000 miles
- North America to Southeast Asia: 95,000 miles
- North America to Southwest Asia: 105,000 miles
- North America to Oceania: 120,000 miles
You can also redeem points for many SkyTeam carriers on the SkyPass website, though you can still only book awards for yourself and immediate family members.
Korean Air SkyPass is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner (meaning that Ultimate Rewards points can be converted to Korean Air at a 1:1 ratio), though there have been…relationship challenges…as of late. Transfers are no longer instant, instead taking several days, which has made things very inconvenient when combined with the changing hold policies at Korean.
Unfortunately, it gets worse.
Eagle-eyed reader @ITSmartTours, who is in a future time-zone, alerted us to the fact that Ultimate Rewards transfers to Korean Air SkyPass may be ending entirely, and with very short notice.
This warning message only appears when the computer (or smartphone) clock is set after 8/15/2018
— ITS Tours (@ITSmartTours) August 14, 2018
Sure enough, if I log into my account, I see all the normal options and messaging (I’m in Arizona at present, and you can see the timestamp):
But once I changed my computer clock to Australia/tomorrow, the following appeared:
In the meantime, if you’ve been considering a Korean Air award, and want to use Ultimate Rewards points for that trip, I would accelerate your timeline.