Korean Air Gone As a Transfer Partner From the Chase Website!

Korean Air Skypass has disappeared off of the Chase website as a points transfer partner.

Here are the airlines I currently see listed:

Friday night is the worst time for this, for me, since I can’t reach anyone at Chase in real-time to confirm the meaning of the change.

Korean Air has been one of my favorite uses of Chase points.

Although they are of course very Korean and their processes for redeeming awards are unique.

If Korean is indeed gone as a Chase transfer partner, I’m personally frustrated. I have 185,000 miles in my Skypass account, and likely need 190,000 for what I’d do with the points (2 one-ways between the US and Southeast Asia in first class).

With additional notice of the change I would have transferred 5000 Chsae points into my Korean account. I should have done that anyway. I don’t usually think of credit card programs devaluing especially without notice, but it certainly happens and has happened and it’s always best to be prepared.

I can use my points for first class to, say, Hong Kong (160,000 miles roundtrip) of course. But getting those 5000 more miles isn’t actually easy. I can credit some Delta flying or some car rentals. I can transfer Hyatt Points over to Korean (ratio is 2.5 to 1, although with a transfer bonus 50,000 Hyatt points nets 25,000 miles). I recently gave up my Korean Air Visa from US Bank.

Regardless, Chase points at a minimum still transfer to:

  • United: Star Alliance awards without fuel surcharges
  • Singapore Airlines: Much better availability for premium cabin award travel when using Krisflyer miles on Singapore than using miles from partner airline programs. Great for US domestic awards on United as well.
  • British Airways: Excellent non-stop short distance awards, such as on American, US Airways, and Alaska — starting at just 4500 points each way.
  • Southwest Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, two transfer partners I don’t see myself using but that are strategically useful to some.
  • Hyatt: Good hotel value, I’ve transferred here to top off my account for redemptions in the Maldives and Paris and for suite upgrade awards.
  • Marriott and Ritz-Carlton and IHG Rewards: These programs tend to be too expensive for redemptions to tempt me to make transfers.
  • Amtrak Northeast corridor awards have been useful to me in the past

Though a personal favorite of mine, Korean Air isn’t how most people use their points. United and British Airways and even Hyatt transfers are much more common. I’d probably rather have Singapore than Korean. But it’s a blow, for me, if they’re indeed gone rather than this being a temporary sort of website change. (It’s this uncertainty that holds back harsher words at this point — especially over lack of notice — I do not yet know if this is an actual change.)


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. This is awful if true, as I just put a first class booking on hold yesterday with Korean and was going to transfer an additional 95k points from Chase within a few days. Fortunately I have sufficient Skypass miles for a one-way flight. I may to find another carrier for either to or from Chiang Mai to JFK or BOS. Any suggestions?

  2. According to a Chase rep, KE was indeed pulled today…apparently a memo was just circulated…no notice whatsoever. Even the person I spoke to was quite surprised. Not sure which party pulled the plug but looks like this is another devaluation.

  3. Wouldn’t be surprised if Korean raised the rates which they sell miles to Chase and they were not able to negotiate by a deadline set as today.

  4. Apparently, you can still see Korean Air on the old Chase website.

    If you use Chrome or Firefox, you can install an add-in that allows you to change the user agent to Internet Explorer 8 or older. After changing the user agent, log in to Chase and you’ll see the old interface instead of the new one.

  5. Well, Gary, let’s hope for the best, though Adam’s post is grounds for fertile discouragement. Assuming the worst, though, it would be useful for you to post how to make use of fewer Korean miles.

    If true, this is a big black eye for Chase – not simply in terms of parting ways with Korean (especially since it’s not as though Chase Ultimate Rewards has loads of airline partners), but but no notice for the change. Puts a dent in the Ultimate Rewards program’s credibility, and makes Amex Membership Rewards, Starwood and other competitors look a lot better.

  6. I have a lot of Chase points. Would you recommend transferring them to United (usual airline I fly) NOW just in case?

  7. I have no interest in this particular transfer but any no notice devaluation is terrible. I was blindsided when American did that for the Explorer Award when I had the miles and was just waiting for my travel dates to come into range. Even if this one and that one don’t affect that many people, it’s a very bad way to do business, and I’m glad that this time Gary recognizes it right away.

  8. “I should have done that anyway. I don’t usually think of credit card programs devaluing especially without notice, but it certainly happens and has happened and it’s always best to be prepared.”

    So if I believe that BA short haul is the most likely use of my points, should I transfer 9K or 18K now? What is the more likely no-notice change, that Chase drops BA as a transfer option, or the BA raises the mileage for the short haul awards?

  9. I just called the sapphire preferred desk in Orlando and the CSR told me that is a temporary issue with transfers and not a permanent deletion of a transfer partner. She could not give me a timescale as when transfers would be re-instated. Phew!

  10. I’d ABSOLUTELY rather have Singapore than Korean.

    Dropping Korean without notice just makes me distrustful of Chase. Dropping Singapore without notice would be devastating, since that’s the only program I’m really interesting in for a UR transfer. Amtrak not so much.

  11. This is terrible. I was just mapping out a flight to China on Korean… We fly with a dog, and Korean has always been wonderful toward him, whereas many carriers make the process so difficult. Chase was the easiest way we had to get Korean miles.

  12. @YG If that ever worked, it does not now. Just changed my user-agent string, and I do see Korean in drop down list of transfer partners, but clicking through to it yields a blank page with a link, “See all point Transfer Partners.”

    Further evidence that this is intentional and permanent.

  13. Please don’t “hold back harsher words” if this is indeed not a glitch. I lost faith in UR points long ago with the UA devaluation, the only saving grace left is the Hyatt transfer.

  14. Gary – seriously? Please don’t tell me you didn’t know about the standard, everyday version of the KE Skypass Visa card? 20,000 on your first purchase.

    SKYPASS Visa Signature cardmembers experience these superior benefits:

    20,000 SKYPASS Bonus Miles after your first purchase1
    This special Bonus Mile offer ends November 30, 2014.
    1 mile for every net $1 in purchases
    2,000 Bonus Miles at renewal2
    Double Miles on Korean Air ticket purchases3
    2 Korean Air VIP Lounge coupons each year4
    No foreign transaction fee5
    Travel & Emergency Assistance Services6
    $1,000,000 in Travel Accident Insurance7

    There is your easy 5k+ miles for buying a pack of gum!
    Finally, I can give back to the travel community! You’re very welcome.

  15. You said that you recently gave up your KE Visa. Are you going to apply for another one? I have one now and would like to know if it is churnable.

  16. Gary,

    I understand that you have a very important financial/business relationship with Chase but you really need to call out Chase on this one. Had Delta removed a bunch of F/J availability, you would have LAMBASTED them (multiple times). This change has caused the exact same effect for UR points yet you downplay it and, instead, write a softball article about how you still like UR. It is a devaluation with ZERO notice and on a weekend, no less. Points are still valuable but you really need to call Chase out a bit more on how they handled this.

  17. @swag I would be surprised if Chase dropped BA as a transfer partner any time soon since Chase also issues the co-brand British Airways Visa in the US

  18. @Brian due respect but I believe this was the first blog to highlight that Korean was gone as a transfer partner off the Chase website. But it was Friday evening in the US, I’m on the other side of the world presently, and I couldn’t officially confirm more than that. So I’m highlighting and underlining the lack of notice but wasn’t prepared to make a bold claim without having the facts yet. We’ll know soon enough.

  19. This sudden, albeit perhaps temporary disappearance encouraged me to look at Singapore flights from CNX-JFK instead of the Korean Air flight I had put on hold. I discovered I preferred the Singapore schedule.

  20. Ouch! And all this after such a hard push on Chase’s Ink Plus card! I cave in and got 2 of those, hoping it will work for Korean and now what I have? 150K miles that are practically useless (Singapore doesn’t fly to Seattle)

    That’s horrible…. 🙁

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