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There are plenty of reasons to love the Korean Air SKYPASS rewards program, and the main one as far as we're concerned is the number of sweet spots within the Korean Air SKYPASS award charts.
To understand the SKYPASS award program and potential sweet spots, there are a few things you should first know:
- Korean offers award rates at “Peak” and “Off” peak levels. Travel dates determine which rate applies to a given booking. Peak dates vary by year. Peak Dates for 2016 and 2017 are:
The actual number of peak dates is relatively small, particularly for travel from/to North America. It is important to keep in mind that Peak rates apply to both Korean awards on their flights and partner awards.
2. Korean allows one-way award bookings on their flights. However, partner bookings must be round-trip.
4. Korean is a member of the SkyTeam Alliance. They also have non-alliance partnerships with airlines such as Emirates and Alaska Airlines.
Korean Air SKYPASS Award Sweet Spots
Roundtrip SkyTeam Business Class Awards between North America and Europe
For only 80,000 Korean miles you can book a SkyTeam roundtrip business class award between North America and Europe. To put how good this rate is in perspective, consider that partner Delta (whose rates are on par with other airlines) requires 70,000 miles EACH WAY for business class awards between North America and Europe for travel in 2017 and beyond (62,500 miles for 2016 dates). Among the Korean SkyTeam partners that fly to Europe are Air France, Delta, KLM, Air Europa and Alitalia.
Roundtrip SkyTeam Business Class Awards between North America and Africa
Some airlines require close to 100,000 for one-way business class awards between North America and Africa. With Korean, only 120,000 miles are needed for a round-trip between these two regions. This rate is practically unbeatable for travel to South Africa and many other countries in Africa. Keep in mind, that same rate applies to travel between North America and the Middle East.
Round-Trip Delta Awards between North America and Hawaii
Korean is one of the very few airlines that includes Hawaii within the same region as the rest of North American. As a result, their award prices for roundtrip awards between North America and Hawaii with SkyTeam partner Delta are exceptional: 25,000 miles in economy class and 45,000 miles in business class/domestic first. For what it's worth, Korea's award prices for travel between North America and Hawaii with partners Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are not bad, but not as good as the rates on Delta — you'll pay 30,000 miles in economy class and 60,000 miles in business class/domestic first with Alaska and Hawaiian.
Korean Air First Class Awards from North America to Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Northeast Asia
If you want to fly on Korean's excellent first class product from North America to Korea, Japan, China and Northeast Asia (Hong Kong, Irkutsk, Taipei, Ulaanbaatar, Vladivostok) or vice-versa, you will only have to redeem 80,000 miles each way to do so. Many popular rewards programs require more than 100,000 miles for such first class award itineraries. With Delta, you cannot even book first class awards.
Any Awards that Include at Least One Stopover
Korean is extremely generous when it comes to stopovers. While they will only allow one complimentary stopover on one-way awards on their flights (which can still be great if you are interested in visiting Seoul), they are one of the few airlines that allow TWO complimentary stopovers on roundtrip awards, including partner awards. As such, assuming you can take full advantage of these stopover rules, any Korean award that includes at least one stopover tends to be a great deal and an automatic sweet spot. If you can include two stopovers, even better.
Keep the aforementioned itineraries in mind when considering award options. Even if you have never flown Korean Air before, you likely have access to tens of thousands of Korean miles thanks to their points-transfer partnerships with Marriott Rewards.
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