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Korean Air has multiple award charts when redeeming its SkyPass miles. There is one award chart to fly Korean, one award chart to fly SkyTeam partners, and award charts to fly Alaska, Hawaiian, Gol, and Emirates (click logos). Each award chart has sweetspots, so I will run through all the sweetspots in three posts. The post on Korean Air sweetspots is here. The post on SkyTeam sweetspots is here. This is the last post, about sweet spots when flying Korean’s non-alliance partners.

Korean SkyPass miles should have your attention. You can easily transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards or SPG Starpoints to Korean miles and then book cheap, abundant award space on Korean and its partners.

Korean SkyPass awards that fly non-SkyTeam partners have the following rules:

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  • Roundtrip and one way awards are the same price, so book roundtrip awards.
  • Emirates and Hawaiian awards are priced per segment, so connecting itineraries are really two awards.
  • Alaska and Gol awards are NOT priced per segment, so connecting awards are allowed for the price on the award chart.
  • You get one stopover per roundtrip award in addition to the destination on Alaska and Gol awards. You can also feel free to stopover between segments on Emirates and Hawaiian awards, since connecting itineraries are really separate awards.
  • You get one open jaw, at the destination only

Add that up, and you see that awards on Alaska and GOL can include time in four cities.

  • A to B (stopover)
  • B to C (destination, open jaw between C and D)
  • D to A

You can include more if you want to take advantage of 23 hour layovers, but I’ll ignore that option for the rest of the post.

SkyPass awards will include fuel surcharges when an identical cash ticket would have fuel surcharges. You can use ITA Matrix to look up fuel surcharge info for the awards in this post. Only the awards flying Emirates, not the awards on Gol, Hawaiian, or Alaska have fuel surcharges.

 

So what are the good deals on the non-alliance partners’ award charts? Let’s look at the charts one by one.

Emirates Chart

This award chart takes up the most space, so I have just excerpted it:

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Every roundtrip direct flight is a new award, and there are no bargains on the award chart. The United States to Dubai roundtrip is 210,000 miles plus fuel surcharges. Alaska charges 180,000 miles with no fuel surcharges and is also an SPG partner.

Better yet, Alaska allows one way awards to Africa, Europe, or Asia for 100,000 miles in First Class and allows a free stopover in Dubai. I have about 22 hours of Emirates First Class booked this month for 100,000 Alaska miles plus small taxes. Don’t book longhaul Emirates flights with Korean miles.

The short haul flights are probably not a great deal either. Yes, Hong Kong to Bangkok roundtrip is 70,000 miles in First Class, and Auckland to Australia roundtrip is 75,000 miles in First Class. That’s two showers for not a ton of miles, but there are fuel surcharges, and it’s probably not convenient for Americans to fly roundtrips on these routes.

Alaska Chart

The Alaska award chart is very good when you consider that you are allowed a free stopover and free open jaw.

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You could fly something like Washington DC to Seattle (stopover), to Honolulu, returning from Maui to Washington DC for 30,000 miles total.

For direct flights, though, you are probably better off using British Airways Avios to book the same Alaska award space.

Hawaiian Chart

Within Hawaii, tickets for 10,000 miles roundtrip are a decent deal if the flights are going for about $100 one way.

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From New York (JFK) to Honolulu for 30k/60k roundtrip is a very good deal, but there is precious little award space on the route. From Hawaii to Tahiti or Samoa for 60k/90k is a decent deal if you have a need for those routes.

The awards to Australia and Asia in First Class are much cheaper with American or Hawaiian miles.

Gol Chart

The Economy Comfort deals are awful, but the economy prices could be worth paying if you can maximize the itinerary.

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For instance, for 25,000 miles, you can book something like:

  • Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires (destination, open jaw between Buenos Aires and Montevideo)
  • Montevideo to Porto Alegre ( stopover)
  • Porto Alegre to Sao Paulo
Getting Korean Miles

Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 instantly to Korean miles

SPG points transfer 1:1 to Korean miles, and for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred, you get 5,000 extra Korean miles. So to get 25,000 Korean miles, you’d need to transfer 20,000 Starpoints. Starpoints transfers are not instant. In a few days, we’ll probably know how long they take.

The Starwood Preferred Guest personal and business credit cards from American Express are offering their once-a-year 30,000 Starpoints bonuses. The personal card requires spending $3,000 in the first three months, and the business card requires spending $5,000 in the first three months to unlock the bonuses.

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The increased bonus is only for applicants approved by September 14, 2015.

Links:

Bottom Line

The non-alliance partners offer fewer sweetspots than flying Korean Air or SkyTeam partners. Check out the the Korean Air sweetspots and the SkyTeam sweetspots. I see some value in flying Alaska to Hawaii with a stopover (though remember that it is cheaper to fly Delta to Hawaii with Korean miles) and some possible value on Gol intra-South America.

 

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