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Korean Air SkyPass is one of my favorite frequent flyer programs. The points are fairly easy to come by, since SkyPass is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. This means that points earned on the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and Chase Sapphire Reserve®, can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to SkyPass.
If you have one of the above cards, then points earned on the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, Chase Freedom® Card, and Chase Freedom Unlimited®, can also be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, and in turn, into SkyPass miles.
One of the things that makes SkyPass so unique is that it allows you to book first class awards on China Eastern, China Southern, Korean Air, and Saudia. While oneworld and Star Alliance let you redeem miles for international first class throughout the alliance, SkyTeam doesn’t. Instead, only SkyTeam carriers with specific reciprocal agreements let you redeem miles for first class.
That’s one of the reasons that first class awards on SkyTeam carriers are so readily available, since those with Delta SkyMiles, etc., don’t have access to those seats.
If you’re looking to travel between the US and Middle East, redeeming on Saudia is an excellent value. A first class award ticket costs 160,000 miles roundtrip, and award availability is readily available. Most flights have 3-7 first class award seats, and that’s regardless of when you’re booking.
On top of that, Saudia has an excellent new first class product with fully enclosed suites, wifi, caviar, etc. (though there’s no alcohol). For a sense of what you can expect, check out my Saudia first class review from New York to Riyadh to Dubai.
Early this year Korean Air SkyPass added online partner airline award redemptions, though I’ve had several readers reach out and ask why Saudia first class award space no longer shows on Korean Air’s website.
For whatever reason, unfortunately this space doesn’t show up online anymore. However, the good news is that Saudia first class awards are still bookable by phone with Korean Air SkyPass.
If you actually want to search Saudia first class award space you can use ExpertFlyer (a subscription service), or otherwise you can just look if a plane has a first class cabin. If it does, chances are there’s award availability. 😉
It’s unfortunate that these seats can’t be booked online. However, mixed cabin awards were never bookable online, so in many cases you had to call anyway, given that most regional flights don’t have a first class cabin (so you’d book business class for those segments instead).
I realize this doesn’t impact most of you, since I know a lot of people aren’t itching to fly Saudia. However, for those who are, now you know, at least.