Transferring Ultimate Rewards Points to Korean Air

Dec 1, 2015

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All award travelers should earn transferable points, as they give you great flexibility in your redemptions. They also shield you from any potential devaluations, since the ability to transfer to other programs means you’re not locked into one currency. Chase Ultimate Rewards are some of the best transferable points out there, and TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen explains how you can transfer them to Korean Air.

In order to even think about redeeming these points for maximum value, you first need to know the actual process for transferring them to partners. Today, I’ll continue our series that looks closely at the process for transferring points to each Ultimate Rewards partner. I’ve already covered Hyatt Gold Passport, United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, British Airways Executive Club and Singapore KrisFlyer. Today I’ll take a look at another one of the program’s airline partners: the Korean Air SKYPASS program.

General Set-Up

Before you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Korean, you’ll need to complete a few basic steps. For starters, you need to set up online access for your Ultimate Rewards-accruing credit card (like the Ink Plus Business Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred). To do this, simply go to and look for the “Not enrolled? Sign-up now” link on the right-hand side:

Chase online access enrollment

Then, simply enter in the required information to complete your online enrollment.

If you already have an online credit card account with Chase, you can add a new card to it by clicking Manage Accounts in the Customer Center and then selecting Add Accounts at the top.

The other important thing to do is to sign up for Korean’s SKYPASS program (though if you’ve read my points and miles mistakes post, hopefully you’ve already done this). To do this, just visit the page to register for the program and enter your information.

Once these two things are complete, you’re ready to start transferring!

Transferring to Korean

The actual process for transferring Ultimate Rewards points to all partners starts the exact same way:

1. Log in to your Chase account and click on the Go to Ultimate Rewards link at the top right.

Ultimate Rewards balance

(1a. If you have more than one card account, choose your desired one from the next page.)

Ultimate Rewards select account

2. Hover over the Use Points drop-down menu and select Transfer to Travel Partners.

UR transfer

3. Scroll down the list of airline partners and click Transfer Points next to Korean Air SKYPASS.

UR Airline Partners KE

4. Select the cardholder from the drop-down menu, enter his/her SKYPASS number then click Continue:

UR add KE account

5. Enter the number of points you want to transfer (must be in increments of 1,000) and click Continue.

UR transfer to KE

6. Review your details on the next page and then click Confirm & Submit.

UR to KE confirm and submit

The next screen should confirm that the transfer was successful.

UR to KE confirmation

We recently tested how long Ultimate Rewards transfers take for each of the program’s 11 partners, and fortunately Korean is one of the seven partners that transfer instantaneously.

Program Transfer Time
Amtrak Instantaneous
British Airways Instantaneous
Hyatt Instantaneous
IHG 1 day
Korean Air Instantaneous
Marriott 2 days
Ritz-Carlton 2 days
Singapore Airlines Same Day
Southwest Instantaneous
United Instantaneous
Virgin Atlantic Instantaneous

There are a few important things to keep in mind with these transfers:

  • The transfers are nonrefundable, so be certain you want to make the transfer before you click Submit.
  • You can only transfer to yourself or an authorized user.
  • You can combine points from your different cards or transfer points between your account and that of your spouse/domestic partner. For complete details, check out my post on combining Ultimate Rewards points.
TPG enjoys luxuriating in Korean first class.
TPG enjoys luxuriating in Korean first class.

Booking with Korean

Now that you’ve made the transfer, it’s time to actually book with Korean. The carrier is a part of SkyTeam and, until recently, was a great option to still get value out of Delta SkyMiles. However, you can’t use SkyMiles to book first class on any partners, and recent evidence suggests that Korean may now be limiting award seats for partner carriers. As a result, transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Korean may be an even better value now, opening up terrific redemptions like long-haul first class (with terrific availability).

Fortunately, the actual booking process for these awards has improved significantly from what TPG encountered back in 2012 (at least for flights on Korean metal). Here’s a step-by-step process of how to actually book award flights with Korean Air:

1. Start by visiting Korean’s homepage and clicking Login at the top right:

Korean homepage

2. Enter your account information and click Log In:

SkyPass login

3. Click on Book a Flight from the homepage:

Korean homepage 2

4. Select Award Booking, enter your search criteria, select the passengers for whom you want to redeem (Korean only allows you to redeem miles for family members on your account) and click Find Flights:

KE Award flight search

5. Select the flight(s) you want and click Continue at the bottom right:

KE award flight results

(Note that to progress past Step 5 you must have enough miles in your account to cover the entire redemption.)

6. Input your travel details and contact information, then click Pay Now.

7. Enter your payment information to cover the taxes and fees of the award ticket, confirm your details and submit payment.

Unfortunately, this process only works for booking award flights operated by Korean Air. For partner award tickets, you must call the Korean Service Center at 1-800-438-5000.

Keep in mind that the SKYPASS program was recently added as the newest transfer partner of the Starwood Preferred Guest program, allowing you to also transfer points from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express to Korean Air for these redemptions (and you’ll get an extra 5,000 miles for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer).

Korean gives you another great option for getting to Asia with Ultimate Rewards points.
Korean gives you another great option for getting to Asia with Ultimate Rewards points.

Bottom Line

Ultimate Rewards points regularly appear near the top of TPG’s monthly valuations (and for good reason). With a number of valuable transfer partners, you can get a ton of value and flexibility by collecting these points and then putting them toward a variety of different redemptions. I’ve yet to transfer points to SKYPASS for a redemption on Korean, but I’m looking hard at a trip to Asia next year and just might need to grab an award flight through Seoul.

For additional information about Ultimate Rewards and redeeming Korean Air SKYPASS miles, check out the following posts:

What are your experiences transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Korean?

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