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Confirmed: Instant Korean Airlines mile transfer from Chase Sapphire Preferred

by on Mon January 9, 2012 • 4 Comments


That means you can use your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points to fly on just about any major airline in the world via mile transfer and partner redemption. Korean Airlines was a welcome addition to Ultimate Rewards in 2011, offering SkyTeam airline access, but it’s remained a mystery as to whether the mile transfers would be instant, like they are for United, Continental, Southwest, and British Airways.

Well, we tried it for ourselves…and the answer is YES.

Just did a test 1,000 point mile transfer from a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Ultimate Rewards account, and the points posted immediately to a brand new Korean Airlines SKYPASS account. As an FYI though — sometimes Korean merges your first and middle name as your first name in their records. So if you try the transfer and it gives you an error for an invalid account, try putting both your first and middle names in the ‘first name’ field of the mile transfer.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Korean Airlines transfer

Instant transfer from Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card / Ultimate Rewards to Korean Airlines miles

No fees for changes or cancellations

Korean Airlines miles are intriguing because there are no fees for cancelling or changing an award ticket before departure. They let you fly on any SkyTeam carrier (includes Delta, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, and more) as well as their non-SkyTeam partners including Alaska Airilnes, Hawaiian Airlines, and Emirates  with some interesting reward values like:

  • 80,000 miles roundtrip in business class US–>Europe on Delta, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, and other Sky Team partners. It’s usually 100,000 miles minimum when you use Delta miles
  • 50,000 miles roundtrip in economy class US–>Europe on the same airlines above, usually 60,000 miles minimum on Delta
  • 70,000 miles roundtrip in economy US–>Middle East on Emirates vs 80,000 with other programs/carriers
  • 20,000 miles roundtrip in economy class, 40,000 in first class for any USA/Canada Alaska Airlines flights
  • 30,000 miles roundtrip in economy class, 60,000 in first class for any USA – Hawaii flight on Hawaiian Airlines vs 40,000 miles economy / 75,000 first class on Delta, or 40,000 miles / 80,000 mile using Hawaiian’s own program. This is a great value — check Hawaiian’s website for days with low award availability.

All in this looks pretty promising for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card credit card holders, especially with the no change fees part of the deal. Here are links to Korean Airlines with more details on their program:

Korean Airlines SkyTeam award chart

Korean Airlines non-SkyTeam (i.e. Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines) award chart



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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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4 thoughts on Confirmed: Instant Korean Airlines mile transfer from Chase Sapphire Preferred

  1. Anne

    I’m trying to find anyone who has actually booked a Delta ticket using Korean Airlines miles. It sounds great, but I don’t want to do the transfer and then find out that it’s different/more difficult/impossible than planned. Have you? Anyone?

    1. Greg

      Well you’re only able to book on flights with Delta’s ‘low’ award availability – and Delta is notorious for not having much ‘low’ award availability.

      But tried the mile transfer and it is instant. So you could call Korean, check for flights, and while on the phone with them make the transfer once you’re found something that works.

  2. Adam

    Wow, thank you for clue’ing me into the Korean Airlines frequent flyer program. Up ’til today, I thought Southwest was the only sane, consumer-friendly airline, allowing customers to change book award travel without stressing out over potential changes.

    With that said, though, some of the language on the Korean Airlines site concerns me:
    “Booking your award travel must be made at Korean Air Service center. […] Award can be issued only at Korean Air ticketing office and not available at the airport.”

    Does this mean it’s not possible to book such awards by phone, much less online?! That would be a major bummer :\.

    1. MileCards

      @Adam — Glad it was helpful. You can book the awards on the phone — their call center is right here in the United States — but online is not possible for partner awards. The only caveat about the no change fees to be aware of is….if an airline imposes fuel surcharges on regular cash tickets, Korean will pass that cost on with an award ticket. This can vary, but on Delta and Korean, etc it is not generally a deal breaker.


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