Korean Air SkyPass Ultimate Rewards Transfers Are Back

As I’ve mentioned many times before, Korean Air SkyPass is one of my favorite frequent flyer programs. They’re transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, which is an easy points currency to rack up. The main reason I love them so much is because Korean Air probably releases more transpacific first class saver award space than any other airline.

For those of you not familiar with Korean Air SkyPass, here are some posts that might be helpful:

Last week I wrote about how Korean Air SkyPass improved their online search tool, making it easier to search award space even if you don’t have miles with them.

Some readers pointed out that unfortunately the “link” between Chase Ultimate Rewards and Korean Air SkyPass was down. That was rather frustrating, given that there was literally no way to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air, even through the call center. At the time they didn’t have an ETA on when the “link” would be fixed.


I received over a dozen comments and emails about this, and promised I’d post an update when the link is back up. Well, it looks like the issue has finally been fixed, and Chase Ultimate Rewards points are once again instantly transferable to Korean Air SkyPass.


While I don’t have an immediate need to transfer points, I’m already planning my next SkyTeam first class redemption using SkyPass miles. I would like to fly China Southern’s 777-300ER between New York and Guangzhou in first class in one direction (I’m curious how it compares to my interesting experience in their A380 first class), and then China Eastern’s 777-300ER between Shanghai and New York in first class in the other direction.

Does anyone else have plans to redeem Korean Air miles in the near future?


  1. Yes, of course, would love to – some day do LAX-ICN-BOM with the A380 on LAX-ICN … don’t know when though… What would be the best return for a one way on KE? Let’s say if I have to do LAX-ICN-??? … what would you recommend that ??? be? Any suggestions?

  2. I transferred 190k UR over to Korean a few weeks ago before their site change with no problem, so now just trying to get the reservation completed. Calling Korean in Manila tonight to try and figure out what the deal is with my MNL-ICN-JFK one-ways in F and those crazy Philippine laws I mentioned to you Sat. Will report back or email you results.

  3. @Curtis, I didn’t realize KE also enforces those Philippine laws on award redemptions ex-MNL. I know AAdvantage does when you redeem MNL-HKG on a one-way ticket on Cathay Pacific. For that one, I just called the AA office in MNL and they gave me the option of wiring the taxes/fees or have someone to pay them in person. Oddly enough, I never had this issue for redeeming on Asiana, ANA, or Emirates. Good luck!

  4. Yep, I talked to the AA person in Manila as well when I was trying to confirm CEB-HKG-DFW, but due to holidays and the inability to extend my hold for a wire to go through, I ended up reversing the whole trip so I wouldn’t have to deal with AA any further on this. I expected KE to go smoothly but Friday they said they were unable to ticket in the US for the same reason and were forwarding my info on to the Manila office. My ticket is on hold until early July, so at least I have plenty of time to deal with taxes if they require a wire as well. We could even pay them in person after we arrive via CX since KE is awesome and holds until 5 days before departure, but I’ve also read KE and Philippe customs actually check for return tickets and will make you buy one (full-fare refundable) before they let you in the country. Fun!

    “We are able to open your attached file and we noticed that the departure city for your reservation/booking #XXXXX will be from Manila.

    Therefore, we regret to inform you that we are unable to issue your ticket from our side as that we can only issue tickets for US region passengers only. However, we have forwarded your email with the file attached to our Manila counterpart for their further action.

    Just to let you know, that for flights that are departing from Philippines, the tickets must be issued in the Philippines itself. This rules and regulations are set by the Philippines government. You may call our Manila office for further assistance and we append below their contact information for your easy reference.”

  5. @ Apu — Tough to beat LAX-ICN-HKG, as you get two A380 segments and it’s still considered the region of Asia which prices at 80K miles one-way.

  6. @Curtis, if you have UA miles, perhaps fly MNL-ICN on Asiana Airlines? You can easily book it using the UA website if you have enough miles. Then from ICN, fly the Korean A380 back to the USA in F using your Skypass miles. I understand it might be a hassle given it’ll cost you more points but just giving you my 2 cents.

  7. Hi Lucky,

    Was finally able last week to transfer 190K UR points to Korean for an F award redemption SFO – SGN. Thanks for all of your postings on the ins and outs of UR and KE. The availability was far and away beyond anything I could find in Star Alliance via United (even using the ANA booking tool) and KE put my award reservation on hold up until two days prior to travel (which made the UR transfer snafu not such a stressful issue).

    Looking forward to my flights. Debated about trying to route via LAX for the A-380 but decided an additional connection just wasn’t worth it. . .

  8. @Joey – Yes, I’m keeping my options open. Plenty of miles in different programs to get it taken care of somehow, but just such a hassle that I knew nothing about at all previously. Airlines need a big warning displayed on their sites when you attempt to book ex-Philippine tickets.

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