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Korean Airlines is blocking partner award space for Delta and others

by on Sun October 25, 2015 • No Comment
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Korean Airlines generally has great award space in First and Business Class from the U.S. to Asia via its non-stop flights to Seoul from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

It’s a member of SkyTeam, so award flights in Coach and Business (Prestige) Class on Korean are bookable with Delta SkyMiles and Air France Flying Blue miles. They’re also partners with Alaska MileagePlan in the U.S.

Korean flights have become easier to search with Delta SkyMiles now that Delta shows Korean Airlines award space in its default award calendar search. And Alaska Mileage Plan also offers online booking of Korean award seats.

But it’s becoming clear that Korean is blocking large amounts of award space from partners – both Delta SkyMiles and Alaska MileagePlan.

Here’s the space Korean is offering its own SkyPass members from New York to Seoul in Business Class on April 7:

koreanapr7

You’ll see 7 seats available on the Midnight flight and 9 seats available in Business Class on the afternoon flight, all for 62,500 miles plus about $100 in taxes and fees.

Searching Delta.com for seats available to SkyMiles members yields nothing available on the midnight flight in Business Class and just one seat left on the afternoon flight.

deltaapr7

And searching AlaskaAir.com for space available to MileagePlan members yields the same limited results

alaskaapr7

Searching for availability from the U.S. with Air France FlyingBlue miles yields nothing at all, though that may be a separate issue.

Here you can see most days have a Business Class award seat open from Chicago to Seoul with Korean’s own SkyPass miles:

koreancalendar

But with Delta SkyMiles just 5 dates are available.

deltacalendar

What we can gather is:

  • Most Korean flights to and from the U.S. have just one or two seats available for partner mile redemption, while Korean SkyPass members have five or more seats available.
  • There doesn’t appear to be any space at all on Friday or Saturday departures from the U.S. for booking with partner miles.

Peak season dates for 2016, which shouldn’t be bookable by partners are 1.1 – 1.3, 2.5 – 2.10, 7.15 – 8.21, 9.13 – 9.19, and 12.21 – 12.31.

And the dates we’re checking don’t fall on those peak dates.

This is another piece of bad partner news for Delta SkyMiles, after Virgin Australia stopped releasing most award space in Business Class from the U.S. to Australia, though that was for both its own members as well as partners.

And if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards, which transfer directly into native Korean SkyPass miles, consider them a bit more valuable now that you have less competition for award seats from people with partner miles.

You also have access to Korean’s luxurious First Class product, which is not at all bookable with partner miles like Delta or Alaska.

koreanfirstclass

It’s easy to check general award space available for booking with Korean SkyPass miles using Korean’s no-login calendar search.

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