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Award Flights to Hawaii Just Got Cheaper for Everyone With Chase Points!

Award Flights to Hawaii Just Got Cheaper for Everyone With Chase Points!

Million Mile SecretsAward Flights to Hawaii Just Got Cheaper for Everyone With Chase Points!Million Mile Secrets Team

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Korean Air changed its partner award chart this week.  And because of that you can now transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air (and then fly on Delta) to Hawaii for just 25,000 miles in coach and 45,000 miles in Business Class from the US!

To get to Hawaii, other airlines charge anywhere from 35,000 to 45,000 miles in coach and up to 80,000 miles for Business Class!

Korean Air Hawaii
Aloha! You Can Now Use Korean Air Miles to Fly to Hawaii on Delta for Only 25,000 Miles Round-Trip in Coach, or 45,000 Miles in Business Class!

This is an amazing deal, because most other airlines charge many more miles for award tickets to Hawaii!

And I’ll explain why this makes Chase Ultimate Rewards points the BEST for getting to Hawaii.

However, note that a supervisor wasn’t able to actually book the flights at the lower level because their systems have not yet updated.  But the supervisor acknowledged the new award chart which requires fewer miles.

Until recently, Hawaii was considered a separate region with different award ticket pricing, but it’s now included in “North America” (which also includes the rest of the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the US Virgin Islands).

With the exception of using British Airways Avios points to book American Airlines or Alaska Airlines coach class tickets to Hawaii from the West Coast only (also 25,000 miles round-trip), this is now the fewest number of miles needed for an award ticket to Hawaii!

What’s Changed?

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

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

On September 21, 2014, Korean Air updated its website and award charts.  They’ve made some changes to routing and stopover rules on award tickets, but the biggest change is in how they’ve defined their travel regions for SkyTeam alliance partner tickets.

Note:   You can NOT book 1-way flights using Korean Air miles on SkyTeam partner airlines, only round-trip.

Have a look at their old SkyTeam award chart.  Round-trip flights to Hawaii and Mexico cost 35,000 miles in coach class, and 75,000 miles in Business Class.

Korean Air Hawaii
Under the Old System, Round-Trip Flights From the US and Canada to Hawaii and Mexico Cost 35,000 Miles in Coach and 75,000 Miles in Business Class

Here’s the new SkyTeam award chart, which was released earlier this week.

Korean Air Hawaii
NEW: Round-Trip Flights Within North America Are 25,000 Miles in Coach and 45,000 Miles in Business Class!

It almost sounds too good to be true, but according to how they now define regions, North America includes:

Mexico, United States (including Hawaii), US Virgin Islands, Canada, Puerto Rico

Korean Air Hawaii
Hawaii and Mexico Are Now the Same Region as the Rest of North America!

This means that you can book a round-trip ticket to Hawaii from anywhere Delta flies in the US, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, or US Virgin Islands using Korean Air miles for only 25,000 miles in coach or 45,000 miles in Business Class.

As long as you can find available low-level Delta award seats!  This is important, because Delta doesn’t make it easy to find low-level award seats.

Korean Air Hawaii
45,000 Miles Round-Trip for a Delta Business Class Flight to Hawaii Is an Amazing Deal!

I called Korean Air to check if this pricing was correct and they confirmed that as long as award seats are available, it’s 25,000 miles round-trip in coach class and 45,000 miles in Business Class.

The agent was NOT able to confirm the taxes and fees, but she said on other Delta flights within the US, it’s usually ~$6 per segment.  I’m waiting for a call back from the Korean Air SkyPass folks to confirm this!

Note:   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.

So do NOT transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air, UNLESS there are award seats available.  You won’t be able to transfer your points back to Ultimate Rewards from Korean Air!

How Does This Compare to Other Airlines?

Using Korean Air miles for award tickets on Delta is now the BEST deal for travel to Hawaii.

Even using Delta’s own miles, you’d pay 45,000 miles in coach class and 80,000 miles in Business Class for their lowest-level round-trip award tickets.

And with Korean Air’s non-SkyTeam partners, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, you’ll still pay more miles.  On both of these airlines, it costs 30,000 Korean Air miles for a round-trip award ticket in coach class, and 60,000 miles in First Class (Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines don’t have Business Class).

Here’s what some popular airlines charge for low-level, round-trip award tickets between the continental US and Hawaii.

Airline MilesCoach ClassBusiness Class
Alaska Airlines40,00080,000 (First Class)
American Airlines35,000 (Off-Peak Only)75,000
British Airways Avios (on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines)25,000 (From West Coast)
75,000 (From West Coast)
Delta45,00080,000
Hawaiian Airlines40,00080,000 (First Class)
Korean Air25,00045,000
Singapore Airlines (on United Airlines)35,00060,000
United Airlines45,00080,000
US Airways40,00080,000

So the only case where you’d pay the same number of miles is using British Airways Avios to fly American Airlines or Alaska Airlines from the US West Coast only.  That’s because their award chart is distance-based.  And their Business Class award tickets are more expensive.

How Can You Get Korean Air Miles?

1.   Transfer Points From Chase Ultimate Rewards

Link:   Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Ink Bold

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   Chase Freedom

Korean Air is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.  You can transfer points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold, and Chase Ink Plus cards directly to Korean Air at a 1:1 ratio.  And if you have 1 of these 3 cards, you can also transfer points from the Chase Freedom!

Korean Air Hawaii
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Transfer 1:1 to Korean Air

So for example, you could use the 40,000 point sign-up bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, plus another 5,000 points from adding an authorized user and meeting minimum spending requirements, and have enough for a round-trip, Business Class ticket to Hawaii on Delta!

2.   US Bank Korean Air SkyPass Card

Link:   US Bank Korean Air SkyPass Visa

You could get 15,000 Korean Air miles after your 1st purchase with the US Bank Korean Air SkyPass card.  You’ll also get:

  • 2 miles per $1 you spend on Korean Air
  • 1 mile per $1 you spend on everything else
  • 2,000 miles when you renew the card
  • No foreign currency fees
  • Annual fee of $80, not waived for the 1st year 

In the past, the sign-up bonus on this card has been increased to 30,000 miles.  So this isn’t a very good deal.

And US Bank is usually very strict about approving folks who’ve recently applied for a lot of cards.

Why This Makes Chase Ultimate Rewards Points the Best for Award Flights to Hawaii

Not only can you transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points into the Korean Air miles program, but you can transfer them to Singapore Airlines and British Airways!  If you look again at the chart above, you’ll see these are the 3 cheapest ways to fly to Hawaii!

Folks on the West Coast have the option to fly on Delta to Hawaii using Korean Air miles OR on American Airlines & Alaska Airlines using British Airways Avios points OR on United Airlines using Singapore miles.

Other US travelers could consider flying on Delta to Hawaii using Korean Air miles or on United Airlines using Singapore Airlines miles.

For instance, people in the New York City area can now use their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to get great deals to the Aloha state from all 3 major airports.  You fly from Newark to Hawaii on United Airlines or from New York City’s JFK or LaGuardia airports to Hawaii on Delta!

With Chase Ultimate Rewards points you have the flexibility to check for available award seats on Delta, United Airlines, or American Airlines and Alaska Airlines (using your British Airways Avios points to fly).

Bottom Line

Korean Air has changed their SkyTeam partner award chart, and you can now get a round-trip flight from North America to Hawaii on Delta in coach class for 25,000 miles, and Business Class for 45,000 miles!

Other airlines charge as much as 40,000 miles in coach and 80,000 miles in Business Class for low-level round-trip tickets to Hawaii, so this is an excellent deal!

You can get Korean Air miles by transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, or from the US Bank Korean Air SkyPass Visa card.

I’ll post an update on how to use Korean Air miles to book Delta flights soon!

But remember NOT to transfer your points unless you are 100% sure that there are award seats on the flight!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I’m trying to find Delta business class JFK – HNL round trip to book on Korean. How do I search for availability (and know if it’s bookable with Korean)?

Thanks

Does the 25K redemption only on Delta ? Can I redeem on Hawaiian Air as well since it’s also Korean Air partner

It can be done. I managed to book 4 RT tickets from HNL->MCO with a stopover in LAX for 25k miles each with taxes of $22.40pp ($89.60 total). And this was over Thanksgiving to boot!

Your competitive reward chart isn’t 100% accurate. Using BA Avios I was able to redeem a 1 way award ticket on Alaska from San Diego to Maui in 1st class for just 37,500 miles.

I just called Korean Air and booked 3 flight tickets using 25K award miles each from Los Angeles to Cancun, and the government fee and taxes are $123 per person. Just FYI so you have an idea.

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