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Chase Ultimate Rewards and Korean Air SKYPASS Part Ways

Aug. 14, 2018
Loyalty Programs, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
Korean Air 787
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Chase Ultimate Rewards® members will have one less transfer partner by the end of August. The bank and Korean Air announced they made the mutual decision to end their relationship: Ultimate Rewards® points will no longer be transferable to Korean Air SKYPASS effective Aug. 25, 2018.

The move will end one SkyTeam transfer option with Ultimate Rewards® and create a roadblock for SKYPASS miles flyers who regularly booked Korean Air award flights. Despite the change, frequent flyers still have multiple ways to gain big from Ultimate Rewards® and other programs.

How can I use Ultimate Rewards® to book similar flights?

When Ultimate Rewards® ends its partnership with SKYPASS, several award sweet spots will disappear for Chase cardholders. This includes using SKYPASS miles to book flights on Delta Air Lines and other SkyTeam partners, or booking awards on Emirates as an airline partner.

As an alternative for Delta flights, Ultimate Rewards® can still be transferred to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and used with Delta. Round-trip flights between the West Coast and Hawaii aboard Delta economy are available for 40,000 Flying Club points.

» Learn more: The three most important things you need to know about credit card loyalty programs.

To use Ultimate Rewards® with SkyTeam partners, transfer points to Flying Blue, the combined loyalty program of Air France and KLM. Points transfer at a 1-to-1 ratio and usually deposit into a Flying Blue account instantly. Before moving points, be sure to look up award availability on the Flying Blue website. To confirm that an award ticket books correctly, it’s always a good idea to book awards over the phone instead of online.

Unfortunately, after the ending date there will be no easy way to directly book award flights for Korean Air, or on its luxury partners, including Emirates. Instead, flyers may be able to seek new awards through the new Ultimate Rewards® Travel center. Those who hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can exchange points through the travel portal for 1.25 cents per point, while Chase Sapphire Reserve® can book travel through the portal at a value of 1.5 cents for each point.

What if I still want to earn Korean Air SKYPASS miles?

If you fly between the United States and South Korea often, or find value in the SKYPASS program, there is one remaining option available: Korean Air offers SKYPASS-earning credit cards through U.S. Bank.

There are four levels of Korean Air SKYPASS credit cards, including the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card. Before applying for one of the credit cards, be sure to read all the benefits to see which one makes the most sense for your budget.

After Aug. 25, none of the major bank rewards programs will offer transfers to Korean Air SKYPASS. Holding a Korean Air SKYPASS credit card will be the only way to consistently earn miles.

» Learn more: Intimidated by frequent flyer miles? Here’s an easy way to get started.

When is the last day I can transfer Ultimate Rewards® to Korean Air SKYPASS?

This week, Chase cardholders will receive notifications about the program changes, which will be effective Aug. 25. There will be no additional limitations on points transfers, meaning Ultimate Rewards® members can transfer as many miles as they would like. But as with all points programs, transfers are final.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:

 

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
9 unsung ways to earn airline miles for free
When do your frequent flyer miles expire?
Should I get an airline credit card?

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