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Chase Ultimate Rewards has some great frequent travel program partners, but Delta SkyMiles isn’t one of them. You’ll need an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points to be able to transfer points into your Delta SkyMiles account.
But you can book Delta flights with your Chase points, and get some very good deals, even for international Business Class flights.
To take advantage of them, you can leverage three Ultimate Rewards partners, Air France Flying Blue, Korean Skypass, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, that are partners with Delta. By transferring your Chase points into Korean Skypass or Virgin Flying Club, you can book Delta flights using the award prices of either program.
They charge different prices for the same Delta flights, so you’ll want to pay attention to both before you book to make sure you get the lowest possible price.
Here’s how to do it:
Air France Flying Blue is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and is also part of the SkyTeam Alliance with Delta, so you can transfer points to Air France and use them to book Delta flights.
Best for: Flights within North / South America, and to Europe
Air France is a member of the same SkyTeam alliance as Delta, which means you can book Delta flights with Air France Flying Blue miles, provided there is availability on your route. And Air France Flying Blue is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou, so you can convert your ThankYou points into Flying Blue miles anytime.
To check flights, you can simply search for award flights on AirFrance.us, and you’ll see the prices Flying Blue will charge. You can also see a chart of Flying Blue award prices here.
Here’s how to search and book Delta flights by transferring your points to Flying Blue.
1. Create a free FlyingBlue account here. You’ll need the account ID to search for award flights.
2. Go to the AirFrance.us home page, and click on ‘Use Your Miles,’ then login with your account ID.
3. You can enter your destination and travel dates
4. You’ll get a calendar of dates with awards available and their prices
5. When you click on a date, you’ll get a list of flights to choose from.
If you like one of the options, call Air France on 1 800 375 8723. Tell them you want to book an award, but need to transfer points from Chase. They should be able to put the award on hold for up to 48 hours. Then you can transfer the points from Chase to Air France online, which is usually instant.
Korean Airlines Skypass is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and is also part of the SkyTeam Alliance with Delta.
Best for: Flights within North / South America (especially to Hawaii at a killer 25,000 miles roundtrip), and flights that involve a connecting flight to Asia (otherwise use Virgin Flying Club with no fuel surcharges, but tricky pricing for connecting flights).
A few quick guidelines for planning bookings with Korean SkyPass miles:
The most important thing to realize here is that when booking on partners, like Delta, only roundtrip bookings are allowed. This means that you need to be able to find availability for both directions of your travel within the other requirements for booking an award with Korean Miles.
Here’s the award chart for Delta flights using Korean miles:
Korean does have a bad reputation for awards being difficult to book. It is far from impossible, and for the value you can get it is definitely worth the extra hassle. All you need to do is follow these steps.
Korean doesn’t charge to change the dates of awards, which is a really handy feature to keep in mind in case your plans change. And you can refund your award ticket with no penalty up to a year after the ticket is issued.
Virgin Atlantic is another partner of Delta Airlines and as such allows redemption of their miles to fly on Delta.
Best for: Nonstop flights to Europe and Asia thanks to no fuel surcharges.
Here are a few things you will want to keep in mind when considering a booking with Virgin Atlantic:
Here’s the award chart for Delta flights using Virgin miles:
To book flights with Virgin Flying Club miles you need to follow these steps.
Virgin charges a reasonable $50 fee for changes or refunds more than 24 hours before your flight, but there are no changes or refunds allowed within 24 hours of your flight.
As a general rule, it’s often possible to get better value out of your points by transferring them to an airline’s frequent flyer than booking travel directly through Chase. When booking directly, your ticket will be treated like a revenue ticket and you will earn frequent flyer miles on the ticket, which also means that you won’t have to worry about availability.
You can use your Ultimate Rewards points to pay for any flight available, with every point worth 1.25 cents, so 10,000 points = $125 in flight value.
If you don’t have enough points for the flights you want, you can use as few as 1,000 points for reduce the price of your ticket and pay the rest with cash.
The best strategy is to first check the price of your trip on the Chase website, then see if any of the partner transfer options above cost fewer points. If one of them could cost less, follow the steps above to check for award space, and if space is available, transfer your points over to the partner and you’ll get the best available point price.
Otherwise, use your Ultimate Rewards points to buy your ticket on the Chase website.
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