Get to Hawaii, Tahiti, Tokyo, & More Using Ink Plus 70,000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

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Update:   The Chase Ink Plus 70,000 point offer is no longer available, but check Hot Deals for the latest offers!

You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air for some great deals to destinations like Hawaii, Tahiti, Hong Kong, Singapore, and of course Korea.

You’ll fly on Korean Air or their SkyTeam alliance airlines, or with partners such as Alaska Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Hawaiian Airlines.

Now that the Chase Ink Plus sign-up bonus has increased to 70,000 points after meeting minimum spending requirement of $5,000 within 3 months, you could get a lot of travel by transferring the bonus to Korean Air.

Note: The Chase Ink Plus 70,000 point bonus offer ends on October 19, 2014.

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

Did You Know Korean Air Flies to the Most Cities Between Asia and the Americas?

Let’s see where you could go with 70,000 Korean Air miles!

Use Korean Air Miles for Korean Air Flights

Link:   Korean Air Award Charts

Until very recently, you couldn’t search for available award seats on the Korean Air website unless you had the number of miles in your account needed for an award ticket!

But they’ve just redesigned their site, and now you can see if award seats on Korean Air (not partners) are available.

Note:  Their award booking process is more complicated than other airlines, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them.

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

NEW! Search for Available Korean Air Award Seats on Their Website, Even If You Don’t Have Enough Miles

Note:   The site is currently only showing available award seats for non-stop flights.  Flights with connections show no award seats available at all!  But if you search segment-by-segment (i.e.:  Chicago to Seoul, then Seoul to Hong Kong) you’ll see award seats available on each leg.

This could be because the redesigned site is still very new.

1.   Example:   New York to Seoul, Korea, Round-Trip in Coach Class

It costs 70,000 miles for an off-peak, round-trip, coach class ticket between North America and Korea, Japan, China, or Northeast Asia.  Between New York (JFK) and Seoul, for example, you’ll pay 70,000 miles plus ~$387 in fees.

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

The Taxes and Fees Are ~$387 for an Award Ticket From New York to Seoul

If you paid full price for the same ticket, it would cost $1,293.

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

A Round-Trip Coach Class Ticket Between New York and Seoul Costs ~$1,293

So you’re actually getting a value of ~$906 (~$1,293 cost of paid ticket – ~$387 fees on award ticket).

That’s not the greatest value for 70,000 miles.  But take a look at what you can get in Business Class.

2.   Example:   Washington, DC, to Tokyo 1-Way in Business Class

For 62,500 miles you could get a 1-way Business Class ticket between North America and Korea, Japan, China, or Northeast Asia.  A flight from Washington, DC, to Tokyo (via Seoul) would cost 62,500 miles and ~$324 in taxes and fees.  Plus, you’re allowed a stopover in Seoul if you wish!

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

It Costs 62,500 Miles and ~$324 to Fly in Business Class From Washington, DC, to Tokyo

To compare, the paid fare for the same Business Class ticket is ~$4,160!

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

The Same Washington, DC, to Tokyo Ticket Costs Over $4,100

That’s a great value, and you’d have Chase Ultimate Rewards points left over from the Chase Ink Plus sign-up bonus!

3.   Example:   Los Angeles to Singapore 1-Way in Business Class

Korean Air charges 75,000 miles for a 1-way Business Class award ticket between North America and Southeast Asia.  So you could transfer the Chase Ink Plus 70,000 point sign-up bonus plus another 5,000 points from meeting minimum spending requirements, and have enough for this ticket.

A 1-way Business Class flight from Los Angeles to Singapore costs 75,000 miles and ~$321 in taxes and fees.

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

You’ll Pay 75,000 Miles and ~$321 for a Business Class Ticket Between Los Angeles and Singapore

If you paid for the same ticket, it would cost ~$3,664!

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

Treat Yourself to a Business Class Flight From Los Angeles to Singapore for 75,000 Miles…or ~$3,664!

So you’re getting over $3,600 worth of travel from just 1 credit card sign-up bonus!

Use Korean Air Miles for Partner Flights

Link:   Korean Air SkyTeam Award Ticket Terms and Conditions (NEW)

Link:   Korean Air SkyTeam Award Ticket Terms and Conditions (OLD)

Link:   Korean Air SkyTeam North America Award Chart (NEW)

Link:   Korean Air SkyTeam US / Canada Award Chart (OLD)

You can only use Korean Air miles on SkyTeam and other partners for round-trip tickets.  These award tickets can NOT be booked online.  You’ll have to call Korean Air at 800-438-5000 or 213-484-1900 to make the booking.

And it’s a bit of a process!  When you call to give them the flights or dates you want, you’ll have to wait for a call back from a Skypass agent, who will search for award seats.  Then, when it’s time to book, you’ll need to fax in a form and photocopy of your ID.

On September 21, 2014, Korean Air made changes to their SkyTeam award charts, and some award tickets are now more expensive.  And they’ve changed some of their routing and stopover rules.

However, they’re allowing a grace period of 1 year during which you can choose to book your award ticket either under the old system or the new system (but no mixing and matching of prices and rules between the two!).

Here’s the old SkyTeam award chart for flights departing the US and Canada.

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

The OLD Korean Air SkyTeam Award Chart, Which You Can Still Use Until September 20, 2015 (If You Want!)

And here’s the new award chart which took effect on September 21, 2014.  Again, there’s a 1-year grace period where you can choose to use mileage (and rules) from either chart, but you can’t mix mileage from 1 chart with booking rules from the other.

But I’ll show you a very good reason to use the new award chart!

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

The New Korean Air SkyTeam Partner Award Chart Has a VERY Sweet Spot!

1.   Example:   Round-Trip to Hawaii on Delta for 25,000 Miles in Coach or 45,000 Miles in Business / First!

You can now book a round-trip flight from North America to Hawaii using Korean Air miles on Delta for only 25,000 miles round-trip in coach class, or 45,000 miles round-trip in Business Class!  Delta is a SkyTeam alliance partner.

Low-level award seats on Delta can be hard to find, so do NOT transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air until you’ve confirmed award seats are available!

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

You Could Use Korean Air Miles to Fly to Hawaii on Delta, IF You Can Find Award Seats

This is an AMAZING deal!  But only if you can find award seats!

Normally, Delta charges 45,000 miles round-trip in coach class for their cheapest saver award tickets.  And their cheapest Business Class tickets cost 80,000 miles.

So you could get 3 round-trip coach class tickets to Hawaii using the Chase Ink Plus sign-up bonus (plus another 5,000 points from meeting minimum spending).  Or, you could get 1 round-trip Business Class ticket, and still have 25,000 points left over for another award flight or hotel stay!

2.   Example:   Round-Trip From Los Angeles to Tahiti on Air France for 60,000 Miles in Coach Class

Most folks don’t think of Air France when they’re planning a South Pacific vacation, but did you know Air France flies from Los Angeles to Tahiti?  You can book a coach class ticket using Korean Air miles for 60,000 miles round-trip.

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

Air France Flies Non-Stop From Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti

I checked the Air France website for the cheapest fares in November, and a round-trip coach class ticket costs ~$1,853.

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

A Round-Trip Ticket Between Los Angeles and Tahiti in November Costs ~$1,853

So you could transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Ink sign-up bonus for this $1,800+ ticket and still have 10,000 miles left over!

3.   Example:   Hawaii to Australia or Asia (Korea, Japan, Philippines) on Hawaiian Airlines for 70,000 Miles in Coach

Hawaiian Airlines flies from Hawaii to Australia and Asia.  You could fly non-stop from Honolulu to Sydney, Australia, for 70,000 miles in coach class using Korean Air miles.

If you flew this trip using Hawaiian Airlines miles, it would cost 80,000 miles.

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

Headed Down Under? You Could Use 70,000 Korean Air Miles to Fly Hawaiian Airlines From Honolulu to Sydney Round-Trip in Coach Class

I checked the price of a round-trip coach class ticket on the Hawaiian Airlines website, and you’d pay ~$1,615.

Get To Hawaii Tahiti Tokyo And More Using Ink Plus 70000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

A Paid Ticket on Hawaiian Airlines From Honolulu to Sydney Costs Over $1,600

That’s a pretty good deal for 70,000 points, and a better deal than using Hawaiian Airlines miles for the same ticket.

Bottom Line

Transferring the 70,000 point Chase Ink Plus sign-up bonus to Korean Air could be a good deal for some folks, especially if you want to fly to Asia or to use points on SkyTeam alliance airlines.

But remember, for partner airline flights, you have to call to book (and it can be complicated).

And if you can find available award seats on Delta, the number of miles to fly from North America to Hawaii using Korean Air miles is cheaper than most other frequent flyer programs.

No matter how you use them, 70,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Korean Air could be worth thousands of dollars in flights.  And that’s Big Travel with Small Money!

Have you considered transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air?

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8 responses to “Get to Hawaii, Tahiti, Tokyo, & More Using Ink Plus 70,000 Point Bonus With Korean Air

  1. That’s not to mention the other sweet spot: Europe. 50K in coach (nationwide, year-round) is as good as it gets and 80K in business (also nationwide) is unmatched, I think. Certainly loads better than SkyTeam partners Delta and Air France (125K each).

  2. how many miles are necessary for a Hawaiian airlines F ticket from West coast to Hawaii with an interisland fare ie, to KOA rather than HNL or OGG to which they have n/s flights?

  3. I stand corrected (by my own research): Korean Air is NOT priced the same year-round. They have a “peak season” (https://www.koreanair.com/global/en/skypass/redeem/korean-air-awards/peakseason.html) during which prices are higher. They don’t say how much higher…

    They also have partner blackout dates, hefty fuel surcharges, and a “round trip only” rule for partner airlines. Not to mention the difficulties in actually booking the awards.

    In my mind, that makes it a good redemption under rather specific scenarios (e.g., premium cabins with simple itineraries), and more trouble than it’s worth for most others.

  4. I’m with pcg in his/her second post. I think unless you’re an expert or have a very specific redemption in mind that’s known to be available, Korean isn’t a very likely option for most with UR points. It’s amazing that a high tech country like Korea has such a cumbersome booking process in 2014.

    New York to Seoul on United is the same 70k and the taxes are $49.70 compared to $387. I don’t have time to compare the other scenarios, and probably there are some sweet spots with Korean, but I’d guess most people are much better off using United’s no fuel surcharge, pretty good booking website, stopover and open jaw possibilities, one way options and so forth. It’s always good to know more options, but this one seems to be of rather specialized value.

  5. We have the INK card but could still apply under a different business.

    But am concerned we won’t get the bonus due to “This new cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this consumer credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months.”

    So we could be disqualified on both grounds (we have the card, and we received the bonus previously).

    Are there data points they won’t enforce it? And have they ever approved the card but not awarded the bonus because of the new restrictions?

    Appreciate your blog.

  6. Can Korean Air miles be used to book one way rewards on partner airlines for half the miles? For ex, LAX-PPT for 30k one way rather than 60k round trip?

  7. How would you go about actually constructing and booking the reverse of your scenario #2, i.e. Business-class from Tokyo via Seoul (w/ > 24-Hr. Stop-over) to Washington, Dulles? I’m registering for the Tokyo marathon on Feb. 22nd (my name was drawn in the lottery, which has 10:1 odds!), since I’ll already be flying into Singapore in late Jan. Once that’s done (and depending on what else I might choose to do in Japan), I was planning/hoping to fly to Korea for a few days to a week before flying home to the U.S. I have found individual legs, as you advised, but don’t know how to put them together for one itinerary. Or do you just book both legs separately after all? I’ve thoroughly shunned the entire SkyTeam Alliance until now due to how worthless Delta is (IMO) and hence I know nothing about KAL’s processes, but there are some interesting possibilities here for my situation, so now’s the time to learn. Also, do you know how quickly UR points post to KAL once transferred? I suppose I could do a small test transfer to find out, but wondered if anyone has data points on this. Thank you very much!

  8. Okay, I answered my own 2nd question with a nominal points transfer (1,000) from UR to KAL. It was essentially instant, done by the time I switched browser tabs and refreshed the mileage summary on KAL’s website. Good to know. Also nice to know is that the listed expiration in 2024. Still would love some insight on how to construct a multi-leg itinerary online, if possible. I’d prefer not to have to phone up a call center, and I certainly want to avoid having to fax photo ID over (but since mine won’t be a partner booking, I gather I wouldn’t need to anyway).