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The Ink Plus currently offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

That means you’d have at least 65,000 Ultimate Rewards after meeting the minimum spending requirement (60,000 for the bonus, and 5,000 for 1x spending), enough to fly several Korean and Singapore First Class routes with no additional miles.

You might qualify for a business card and not realize it, so don’t write off the possibility just because you don’t have your own booming startup. Before applying though, remember to consider the 5/24 rule that Chase apparently began enforcing for the Ink cards in March of this year. In short, if you’ve opened any five credit cards in the last 24 months, an application for a new Chase card will be denied.

So just what kind of First Class awards can you book with your 65,000 Ultimate Rewards? 

  • Transfer them to Singapore KrisFlyer miles to book Singapore Suites, which is possibly the most luxurious First Class in the world. It is the only First Class that allows two suites to be combined into a flying double bed. Singapore KriFflyer miles are the only way to book Singapore Suites.
    • Singapore First Class is also a world class product with many of the same amenities as Suites Class. It is also only bookable with Singapore miles.
  • Transfer them to Korean Air’s SkyPass program to book Korean First Class. Delta miles cannot book their partners’ First Class, so Korean miles are the main way to fly Korean First Class.

And when considering that United devalued its First Class awards in 2014, and American Airlines devalued its chart on March 22,  now Singapore and Korean First Class awards are looking a lot more reasonable.

Book Singapore Suites and First Class

Singapore Suites Class

Singapore’s A380s feature one of the world’s best First Class products that it calls Suites Class, and it is only bookable with Singapore miles as the airline doesn’t release Suites Class space to partners.

It is a fully enclosed suite with over the top service, fancy alcohol, and delicious food.

The cabin is laid out 1-2-1 and is most famous because the two suites in the middle can be combined into one double bed. If the cabin isn’t full, sometimes they even offer the double bed to a solo traveler!

This is one of the best, if not the best, product in the world.

Only the A380 planes feature Suites Class. Here is a list of routes that feature Singapore A380s (and thus Suites Class.)

Here are some deals I particularly like (I’ve bolded the ones you can get with just the Ink Plus’ bonus):

  • Los Angeles to Tokyo: 74,375 miles in Suites Class + $113
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo to Singapore: 91,375 miles in Suites Class + $276
  • New York-JFK to Frankfurt: 57,375 miles in Suites Class + $203
  • New York-JFK to Frankfurt to Singapore: 93,500 miles in Suites Class + $286
  • Singapore to Hong Kong: 31,875 miles in Suites Class + $30
  • Singapore to Mumbai: 42,500 miles in Suites Class + $160
  • Singapore to Beijing: 42,500 miles in Suites Class + $160
  • Mumbai to Beijing: 61,625 miles in Suites Class + $322
  • Hong Kong to Sydney: 63,750 miles in Suites Class + $188

And here is Singapore’s award chart to fly its own flights and its subsidiary SilkAir.

An important factor to note is that Singapore awards include fuel surcharges when an identical cash ticket would have fuel surcharges, as you can see from this list. They are a necessary evil though if you want to fly Singapore’s premium products, with the exception of flights originating in Brazil as fuel surcharges are illegal there.

Singapore First Class

Singapore First Class is available on routes that fly the Boeing 777–300ER and refitted Boeing 777–300 aircraft. Click here to see where you can fly Singapore First Class. It is also only bookable with Singapore miles as Singapore releases no First Class space to partners.

The product has many of the same amenities as Suites Class, and the “New First Class” has an even wider seat which is, according to Singapore, “progressively more available on our Boeing 777–300ER aircrafts”.

First Class seats are arranged 1-2-1, so everyone has aisle access.

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 1.57.37 AM

They also feature a lie-flat bed with plenty of room to stretch out.

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 2.01.28 AM

You can also “Book the Cook” just like you can in Suites Class, e.g. reserve your choices online from an array of dishes like these King Prawns before your flight:

IMG_8590

Since it avoids fuel surcharges, I think one of the best deals flying Singapore First Class is from Sao Paulo to Barcelona for 58,225 miles and only $37 in taxes.

Read this post about sweetspots with Singapore Krisflyer miles to learn more about the award rules and process of redeeming Krisflyer miles.

Book Korean Air First Class

Korean Air flies to more American cities (11) than any other Asian airline. Korean flies a modern First Class, which gets good reviews. Korean releases more First Class award space than any airline I’ve ever seen, and there is almost no competition for those award seats because Delta SkyMiles can’t book them.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.37.36 PM

The best one, the Kosmo Suites 2.0 was introduced in May 2015, and this blogpost (Google Translate) says they will be on the 747-8i, 787-9, 777-300ER, and A330-300. It looks like they will only be on new planes delivered, and other planes will not be retrofitted. I do not think all 777-300ERs or A330s will have them.

Read a full trip report here from a FlyerTalk contributor who flew from Seoul to San Francisco on a 747-8i featuring the Kosmo Suite 2.0.

Here are some deals I particularly like (I’ve bolded the ones you can get with just the Ink Plus’ bonus):

  • Los Angeles to Sao Paulo: 70,000 miles in First Class
  • Seoul to Los Angeles, stop up to a year, Los Angeles to Sao Paulo: 110,000 miles in First Class
  • United States to China, Japan, Korea, Northeast Asia: 80,000 miles in First Class
  • Japan, Korea, or China to Southeast Asia: 45,000 miles in First Class
  • Japan, Korea, or China to Southwest Asia or Maldives: 57,500 miles in First Class

And here is Korean Air’s award chart for flying its own flights.

There are fuel surcharges on some Korean Air awards but thankfully they are minimal.

Prices are about 50% higher during the peak window, which only affects 60-70 days a year. If you want to fly Off Peak, it is very easy to do. Just avoid these peak dates:

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 4.10.14 PM

You can search and book Korean Air awards directly on koreanair.com. To search you’ll need to first sign-up as a member of Skypass. Read this post to learn more about sweetspots and award rules using Korean Air miles.

Bottom Line

Singapore Suites and First Class are impossible to book unless you have Singapore KrisFlyer miles, and Korean Air (member of SkyTeam alliance) First Class awards are not bookable with Delta miles. The Ink Plus Card has the ability to unlock fabulous First Class options because you can transfer Ultimate Rewards to Singapore Airlines and Korean Air.

Just getting the card and meeting its spending requirement earns enough points (65,000) for several long international routes in Korean or Singapore First Class.

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

9

Korean Airlines releases the most First Class award space of any airline for a fantastic First Class product. All five possibilities are fully flat beds. Korean miles are the main way to book Korean First Class. (Delta miles cannot book partner First Class.)

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.37.36 PM

Singapore Suites is even more luxurious, possibly the most luxurious First Class in the world, and the only one that allows two suites to be combined into a flying double bed. Singapore miles are the only way to book Singapore Suites.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 1.46.33 PM

In my mind, the problem with Korean First Class and Singapore Suites is the cost. Singapore charges for First/Suites Class (one way):

  • San Francisco to Hong Kong: 70,125 miles + $49.60 (15 hours flying)
  • San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore: 91,375 miles + $263.30 (17:45 flying)
  • San Francisco to Seoul: 74,375 miles + $203.30 (12:50 flying)
  • San Francisco to Seoul to Singapore: 91,375 miles + $263.30 (19:20 flying)
  • Houston to Moscow-Domodedovo: 57,375 miles + $211.70 (10 hours flying)
  • Houston to Moscow-Domodedovo to Singapore: 93,500 miles + $271.70 (21:15 flying)
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo-Narita: 74,375 miles + $113.30 (11:45 flying)
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo-Narita to Singapore: 91,375 miles + $275.97 (19:20 flying)
  • New York-JFK to Frankfurt: 57,375 miles + $203.30 (7:35 flying)
  • New York-JFK to Frankfurt to Singapore: 93,500 miles + $285.85 (20:05 flying)

Korean charges in First Class (one way):

  • United States to China, Japan, Korea, Northeast Asia: 80,000 miles
  • United States to Southeast Asia: 95,000 miles
  • United States to the Indian Subcontinent: 105,000 miles.
  • Fuel surcharges vary by destination but from the United States to Korea are usually $80 or less each way. From the United States to Southeast Asia, they can hit about $180 one way.

While a few prices were pretty good, most of those prices seemed high to me because American Airlines and United awards were fewer miles and had no fuel surcharges. Well United devalued its First Class awards in 2014, and American Airlines devalued its chart on March 22.

Here’s what their charts look like now for First Class awards. Slashes indicate flying on that airline’s metal–cheaper–and flying a partner–more expensive.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 2.16.13 PM

Now, Korean and Singapore awards don’t look expensive; they look downright reasonable.

To Japan:

  • American charges 80k in First Class on American or Japan Airlines
  • United charges 80k in First Class on United
  • United charges 110k in First Class on ANA
  • Korean charges 80k and small fuel surcharges on Korean
  • Singapore charges 74.4k and tiny fuel surcharges on Singapore

At those prices, my top choices are Singapore, Japan Airlines with AA miles, and Korean in that order.

To Singapore:

  • American charges 110k in First Class on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines
  • United charges 80k in First Class on United
  • United charges 130k in First Class on ANA, Asiana, or Thai
  • Korean charges 95k and fuel surcharges on Korean
  • Singapore charges 91.4k or 93.5k and fuel surcharges on Singapore

At those prices, my top choices are Singapore and Korean in that order. Next is probably United First Class or Cathay Pacific, but they are way worse values.

You can find similar values to other places that show that Korean and Singapore awards are about to be as good or better value from the United States in First Class as American Airlines and United awards.

And for awards within Asia, Singapore (from 32,000 miles one way) and Korean (from 45,000 miles one way) offer some exceptional values.

Getting Korean and Singapore Miles

Getting 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 80,000 Korean miles, you’d need to transfer 65,000 Starpoints. Starpoints transfers are not instant.

Ultimate Rewards also transfer 1:1 instantly to Korean miles. The best cards to get Ultimate Rewards are the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Getting Singapore Miles

Every transferable points program transfers 1:1 to Singapore miles.

  • Citi ThankYou Points
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • SPG Starpoints (with the customary 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points transferred)

The first three take about 36 hours to transfer. SPG transfers take about a week or two and seem to post on Tuesdays in Singapore.

That means you can get the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus mentioned above.

Or you can get the Citi Prestige, which offers 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Bottom Line

Korean and Singapore haven’t made improvements to their award charts, but as competitors devalue their charts, Korean and Singapore First and Suites Class become a better value.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

It is cheaper to book the exact same Delta flights to Hawaii with Korean miles than with Delta miles.

  • Delta charges 22,500 miles each way in economy and 40,000 miles in First Class between the mainland and Hawaii or 50,000 in flat bed Delta One
  • Korean charges 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 45,000 miles roundtrip in First Class or Delta One between the mainland and Hawaii

That’s a humongous difference. Instead of costing 90,000 Delta miles to get two people from your home airport to Hawaii and back, you could pay 50,000 Korean miles. Instead of paying 160,000 Delta miles for two roundtrip First Class tickets, you could pay 90,000 Korean miles–even theoretically for flat beds!

To reiterate, these are the exact same flights with vastly different prices depending on which miles you use. Korean has access to all the same Level 1 award space Delta releases to people with Delta miles.

What’s the catch? For bookings to Hawaii, there are two:

  1. You can only book Korean awards for yourself or immediate family members, with proof of relationships.
  2. Korean awards are the same price roundtrip or one way, so you have to book roundtrip (although an open jaw is allowed.) Delta awards can be booked one way (and then you can return home with another type of miles.)

However there are a number of benefits to booking Korean awards to Hawaii:

  1. Korean awards cost fewer miles than Delta awards
  2. Korean awards have no change or cancellation fees if your plans change
  3. Korean awards of Delta flights to Hawaii do not have fuel surcharges, so both types of awards will just have identical taxes of $11 roundtrip.
  4. Korean offers a stopover on roundtrip awards to Hawaii. Delta doesn’t.
  5. Korean miles are easy to get

Getting Korean Miles

Korean miles are a partner of two of the four major transferable points program:

  1. Chase Ultimate Rewards, 1:1
  2. SPG Starpoints, 1:1 with a bonus. Every 20,000 Starpoints transferred earns a 5,000 mile bonus, so the ideal transfers are in exact increments of 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 Korean miles.

Right now, the two best cards to get Korean miles are the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus because both earn Ultimate Rewards that transfer 1:1 to Korean miles.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Starpoints also transfer to Korean miles, and both SPG cards are in the middle of their biggest bonuses ever.

Searching for Award Space, Transferring Miles, and Booking the Awards

You will have to search for award space on the Delta flights on delta.com; then you will call Korean Airlines and possibly email them some documents to ticket the award.

Searching Delta.com

On the home page of delta.com run an award search from your home airport to Oahu (HNL), Maui (OGG), Kauai (LIH), or the Big Island (KOA). I prefer one way searches because I think they display the results more clearly.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.14.11 PM

At the top of the search results, select “Delta Only” to avoid Alaska Airlines flights showing up in the results (they can booked with Korean miles, but at a higher price) and change the calendar to “5 Weeks” if you are extra flexible.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 5.55.00 PM

Here are the results for this fall from Los Angeles to Maui for two passengers. Days that say 22,500 have Level 1 award space that we can book with Korean miles. Other days do not.
Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.15.39 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.15.45 PM

Similarly, here is Kauai to Los Angeles for two passengers. Again, I see surprisingly good economy award space this fall.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.04 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.09 PM First Class award space is not nearly as good. Level 1 space is 40,000 miles each way per person, so that’s what you need to find.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.16.59 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.17.03 PM Once you find the award space you want that prices at the Level 1 price, note the date, cabin, and flight number. For instance, here is an economy trip with Level 1 award space from Minneapolis to Maui, returning from Kauai to Minneapolis.Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.20.15 PM

Flat Beds

Delta flies flat beds from Atlanta to Honolulu, but award space is terrible on the route. These flights would still be 45,000 Korean miles roundtrip even though they are 50,000 Delta miles one way at the Level 1 price. Let us know in the comments if you find any award space on these routes.

Booking Process

I have never booked an award with Korean miles. I am relying on this post from One Mile at a Time. Basically:

  1. You call (800) 438-5000 to put the award on hold. Tell the agent that you want to book a Bonus Award and feed her the date, cabin, and flight numbers of the Delta segments you found on delta.com. For cabin, call the forward cabin on Delta’s planes “Business Class” even though Delta calls it something else.
  2. Complete the Bonus Award Application. You can only book awards for yourself, parents, grandparents, siblings, children, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and children-in-law. You have to provide proof of the relationship too, which might mean scanning and emailing a marriage certificate or birth certificate. Insane, I know, but you can literally save about $1,000 worth of miles for two people taking a roundtrip to Hawaii.
  3. Call back to ticket the award.
Transferring Miles

Transfers from Ultimate Rewards to Korean are instant, so put the award on hold before transferring.

SPG transfers take approximately five days. Also initiate these after putting the award on hold because Korean award holds are of essentially limitless duration.

Picking Seats

To pick your seats and confirm that your reservation was ticketed correctly, call Delta.

Get Creative (Routing Rules)

Here are the routing rules when redeeming Korean miles to fly SkyTeam partners, like Delta:

  • Roundtrip and one way awards are the same price, so book roundtrip awards
  • You get one stopover per roundtrip award in addition to the destination
  • You can have three segments maximum in each direction
  • You get one open jaw, at the destination only

You can get a stopover on the mainland an open jaw in Hawaii, so you can book something like:

  • Your home airport to Los Angeles
  • Hang out in LA for a few days (or weeks or months)
  • Los Angeles to one Hawaiian island
  • Another Hawaiian island to your home airport

That leaves just a single interisland flight to be booked separately (or several interisland flights depending on how many islands you want to see.

Bottom Line

Use Korean miles instead of Delta miles to book economy and First Class awards to Hawaii on Delta flights. You’ll pay fewer miles, lower fees, and be able to book the exact same seats. Plus Korean awards allow a stopover en route an open jaw at the destination.

Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards are ideal, since they transfer 1:1 instantly to Korean miles.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

Korean Air releases amazing award space on its flights. Here is a post focusing on how Korean releases more First Class award space than any other airlines, and award space is similar in all cabins.

Despite both being in SkyTeam, Delta miles cannot book Korean First Class, which is one reason to focus on Korean miles. However Delta miles should be able to book all the Business and economy award space on Korean flights, since partners generally release all their Saver award space equally to all partners.

At the moment, this isn’t the case. Korean is blocking most of its Business and economy award space, making it unavailable to people with partner miles.

Example

On February 1, 2016, Korean has made nine Business Class award seats available to people with Korean miles on each of its two daily flights from Los Angeles to Seoul. (This is common for Korean.)

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.13.46 AM

The space would cost 62,500 Korean miles + $104.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.13.55 AM

I would expect Delta to have access to all 18 of those seats and to charge 70,000 Delta miles + $24. However, Delta does not have access to any Korean space on February 1, and only has any Korean Business Class space from Los Angeles to Seoul on 10/35 days. (I didn’t search each day on koreanair.com, but I bet they have released space on 34/35 or 35/35 days.)Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.14.24 AM

On days when Delta does have access to space, it often has access to one seat in Korean Business Class.Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.14.41 AM

By contrast, on that day, Korean is releasing nine Business Class seats on both flights.Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.14.53 AM

I have been very specific in condemning Korean in this post and not Delta. Why?

Because Flying Blue miles also don’t have access to the Korean space in this post. On airfrance.us, I’m not seeing any Korean longhaul Business or economy award space at the moment.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.16.13 AMAirfrance.us is showing Korean shorthaul space.Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.19.24 AMThe blocking of Korean space isn’t limited to Business Class. Korean economy is also widely available with Korean miles, but not with Delta or Flying Blue miles. There are 18 economy award seats between Los Angeles and Seoul in Korean economy on January 27.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.30.43 AM

There are two seats available with Delta miles.Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.31.33 AMOn most days in January, there are zero seats available on these flights with Delta miles. With Korean miles, economy award seats on the route are much more available.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.31.12 AM

Bottom Line

Korean is blocking partner access to its amazing economy and Business Class award space (and it was already the only real way to book Korean First Class space.) Hopefully this is a glitch and not permanent.

Hat Tip The Points Guy

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

3

Korean SkyPass offers co-branded business and personal credit cards to Americans through US Bank. The standard sign up bonus on the cards is a paltry 15,000 miles.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.35.49 PM

Because of the small sign up bonus, if you want Korean miles, you’re normally better off getting a card that earns Ultimate Rewards or SPG Starpoints and then transferring them to Korean miles. And you do want Korean miles because they are the easiest way to book Korean First Class, the most widely available First Class in the world, for as little as 45,000 Korean miles or super cheap SkyTeam awards like USA to Hawaii in First Class for 45,000 Korean miles roundtrip.

But you may want to conserve your valuable Ultimate Rewards and Starpoints, so it would be nice if the Korean credit cards offered a better sign up bonus. Enter the targeted sign up bonuses that many people are receiving by snail mail:

  • 40,000 Korean miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the personal card
  • 45,000 Korean miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the business card

If you get both and meet the spending requirements on both, that’s 91,000 Korean miles. That’s enough for:

Some people are getting both offers at once. The offer comes in the mail and contains a confirmation code that allows you to apply online, but the code is tied to your name and address. There is a risk as with all US Bank applications that you will be approved for a lesser card with fewer bonus miles. This FlyerTalk thread suggests ways to minimize that risk.

How to Get Targeted

There’s never a sure-fire way to get targeted for an offer. Many folks report having fairly new Korean SkyPass accounts when they were targeted. It probably helps to opt in for marketing, which you can do in your SkyPass account by going to My Profile -> Edit Profile and checking both boxes there about email communication.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.35.59 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.37.32 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.37.48 PM

This FlyerTalker reports transferring in 1,000 Ultimate Rewards and opting in for email marketing before being targeted.

Bottom Line

Check your mail. If you have an offer for 40,000+ bonus Korean SkyPass miles, you may want to hop on it for First Class to Asia or domestic awards on Delta flights.

See Also

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

Reader Steven emailed to compliment my comprehensive series on redeeming American Airlines miles and to ask me to create a similar series for foreign programs that are transfer partners of:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Points
  • SPG Starpoints

I can’t say I’ll get through all of the dozens of transfer partners, but I will start with the most important ones and see how far I get. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  1. Korean SkyPass parts 1, 2, and 3. Korean miles are so important because Korean First Class is the most available First Class product in the world (part 1), and Korean has some super cheap awards on partners (parts 2 and 3.)
  2. Singapore KrisFlyer parts 1 and 2 (starting today)

My overall take on foreign programs is that they are amazing and terrible at the same time.

Almost every foreign program is TERRIBLE if you were to use it as your only frequent flyer program because many awards are expensive and most foreign programs impose massive fuel surcharges on most awards. However each program is AMAZING for some redemptions that are much cheaper than you can book with American frequent flyer programs.

Since we can transfer points into foreign programs and only book these sweetspot awards, we can get some major value.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 7.49.48 PM

The foreign programs’ sweetspots vary widely. With some foreign programs, the best deals are to fly American airlines within the United States. With some foreign programs, the best deals are to fly partner in economy. With some foreign programs, the best deal is to fly the carrier itself in First Class.

Do not overlook foreign transfer options if you want to travel more, better, and cheaper with your points and miles.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

7

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:

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 2.26.04 PM

 

  • 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:

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 1.24.39 PM

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 1.24.29 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-01 at 1.26.25 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 1.24.50 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 1.25.57 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 1.25.37 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.20.20 PM

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.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

22

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. You are reading the second post on sweetspots on the SkyTeam chart.This third post on sweetspots when flying Korean’s non-alliance partners is here.

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 SkyTeam partners have the following rules:

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.29.54 AM

  • Roundtrip and one way awards are the same price, so book roundtrip awards
  • You get one stopover per roundtrip award in addition to the destination
  • You can have three segments maximum in each direction
  • You get one open jaw, at the destination only

Add that up, and you see that a SkyPass SkyTeam award 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. I used ITA Matrix to look up fuel surcharge info for the awards I’ll talk about in this post. You can do the same thing to estimate the taxes and fuel surcharges of an award you have in mind.

The regions for the SkyTeam award chart are mostly what you’d expect, with interesting exceptions highlighted.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.20.55 AM

So what are the good deals on the SkyTeam award chart?

Here are some deals I particularly like:

  • Mainland to Hawaii: 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 45,000 miles roundtrip in First Class
  • Within USA, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Hawaii: 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 45,000 miles roundtrip in First Class
  • North America to South America: 50,000 miles in economy
  • South America Hopper: 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 40,000 in Business
  • China Hopper: 20,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 25,000 in Business
  • Indonesia Hopper: 20,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 25,000 in Business
  • Middle East Hopper: 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 40,000 in Business
  • Europe Hopper: 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy

Note that I don’t include the Vietnam Hopper or Taiwan hopper because of fuel surcharges on Vietnam Airlines and China Airlines.

Within USA, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Hawaii: 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 45,000 miles roundtrip in First Class

Simple Mainland to Hawaii

Korean is the only airline I know of that puts Hawaii in the same region as the rest of North America for trips within North America. Take advantage with a roundtrip to Hawaii on Delta flights.

I’d search delta.com for award space one way at a time. Make sure your search on delta.com looks like this, including ticking the “Delta Only” circle (to avoid Alaska Airlines results, which you can book with Korean miles, but at a higher price.)

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.54.05 AMYour results need to be priced at 22,500 Delta miles one way in economy or 40,000 or 50,000 Delta miles one way in First/Business Class for Korean to have access to the award space. I won’t say there’s a lot, but there is some, and if you are flexible, you can get it for about half what Delta would charge for the same seats.
Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.54.36 AM

If you’d like, you can fly into one island and home from another. Just book an interisland flight for under $100 per person to island hop in Hawaii. You can also have a stopover in one direction in a city like Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, or Atlanta.

Other Options

Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands are all included in the region. You can fly to one, open jaw to another, and stopover in a third on your way home. This 25,000 miles award in economy is constrained only by your imagination.

There are no fuel surcharges on Delta flights within the region that Korean defines as North America.

North America to South America: 50,000 miles in economy

(Korean charges 110,000 miles roundtrip in Business Class to South America, which is better than Delta, but Alaska charges only 45,000 miles each way in AeroMexico Business Class.)

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.22.37 AM

Korean groups all of South America into one region, so this isn’t a good deal to Northern South America, which you can get to for as little as 15,000 American Airlines miles one way.

This is, however, a good deal to Southern South America, since the normal price is 60,000 miles roundtrip.

AeroMexico releases good award space in economy to many destinations in South America via Mexico City, and Delta and Aerolineas Argentinas release some award space. You can search all three airlines on delta.com.

All the Aerolineas Argentinas and AeroMexico award space there can be booked with Korean miles; only the Delta space priced at 30,000 miles one way can be booked with Korean miles. None of the award space within the Americas has fuel surcharges.

I’d look into flying to Southern South America with a stopover in Mexico City, and using an open jaw to return from a different part of South America. Look for an open jaw that you can fill with a cheap British Airways Avios award on LAN flights.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 6.32.35 PM

Within South America: 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 40,000 in Business

Your only option within South America is Aerolineas Argentinas, which has two hubs at the two Buenos Aires airports.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.25.08 AM

Here are its flights from the mainly domestic airport in the city (AEP).

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 4.13.19 AM

Here are its flights from the mainly international airport half an hour or more outside the city (EZE).

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 4.13.40 AM

Search for Aerolineas Argentinas award space on delta.com. There are no fuel surcharges on its flights.

China Hopper: 20,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 25,000 in Business

A footnote on the Asia 2 chart shows a fantastic discount for roundtrips within China.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 5.09.38 PM

With your stopover, open jaw, and destination, you can see a lot of China on China Eastern, China Southern, and Xiamen Airlines. I’d look to fill the open jaw with high speed rail.

  • A to B (stopover)
  • B to C (destination, train ride between C and D)
  • D to A

That’s four cities in China for 25,000 miles in Business Class plus taxes, plus the cost of a train ticket.

Search for the award space on airfrance.us. Within China, there are no fuel surcharges on these airlines.

Indonesia Hopper: 20,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 25,000 in Business

A footnote on the Asia 2 chart shows a fantastic discount for roundtrips within Indonesia.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 5.10.03 PMGaruda Indonesia doesn’t charge fuel surcharges within Indonesia, and its Wikipedia page lists three hubs, two secondary hubs, and two focus cities in Indonesia, so your options to see four cities on one award should be immense.

Middle East Hopper: 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 40,000 in Business

Saudia has four hubs in Saudia Arabia and flies throughout the Middle East. Again, you can construct quite an interesting five-city itinerary for a ridiculously low price. Saudia doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on its Middle East routes.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.45.50 AM

Europe Hopper: 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy

SkyTeam has several European partners: Air France, KLM, Altialia, Air Europa, Czech, Aeroflot, and TAROM Romanian.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.25.37 AM

Unfortunately all of them charge fuel surcharges intra-Europe except TAROM. Here’s where TAROM flies. You could fly something like:

  • Bucharest to Paris
  • Munich to Iași
  • Iași to Bucharest

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 6.33.17 PM

Or you could use some TAROM segments and just pay fuel surcharges on one segment on another SkyTeam airline.

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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.20.20 PM

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

Links:

Bottom Line

SkyTeam awards with Korean miles are sometimes very cheap, especially within one region. You want to look for partners that don’t charge fuel surcharges on the routes you want to fly, and you want to take advantage of your stopover and open jaw for maximum value.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

As of 8 PM ET on August 27, transfers from Ultimate Rewards to Korean are back.

Transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Korean Air SkyPass miles are “temporarily unavailable” according to Chase’s website.Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 1.21.53 PM

The transfers were also temporarily unavailable from November 2014 until January 2015. In that instance, Chase communicated that the problem was temporary and Korean signaled transfers would return in January, which they eventually did.

I’ve reached out to Chase to see if we can get a timeline on just how temporary this problem will be. I will update this post if I hear back.

Normally Chase points transfer instantly 1:1 to Korean miles. In the absence of Chase transferability, your only transfer option to get Korean miles is the new SPG/Korean partnership. SPG points transfer 1:1 to Korean miles, and every 20,000 Starpoints transferred triggers a 5,000 Korean mile bonus. Because of this partnership, I’ve written a few posts recently about Korean miles:

HT View from the Wing

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

16

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. This is the first post on Korean Air sweetspots is here. The second post on SkyTeam sweetspots is here. This third post on sweetspots when flying Korean’s non-alliance partners is here.

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 Air flies to more American cities (11) than any other Asian airline. Korean flies a modern First Class, which gets good reviews. Korean releases more First Class award space than any airline I’ve ever seen, and there is almost no competition for those award seats because Delta SkyMiles can’t book them.

But what are the good deals on the award chart to fly Korean First Class?

Here are some deals I particularly like:

  • Los Angeles to Sao Paulo: 70,000 miles in First Class
  • Seoul to Los Angeles, stop up to a year, Los Angeles to Sao Paulo: 110,000 miles in First Class
  • United States to China, Japan, Korea, Northeast Asia: 80,000 miles in First Class
  • Japan, Korea, or China to Southeast Asia: 45,000 miles in First Class
  • Japan, Korea, or China to Southwest Asia or Maldives: 57,500 miles in First Class

Prices are about 50% higher during the peak window, which only affects 60-70 days a year. If you want to fly Off Peak, it is very easy to do. Just avoid these peak dates:

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 4.00.29 PM

Los Angeles to Sao Paulo: 70,000 miles in First Class

American charges only 62,500 miles for the route in First Class, but good luck finding any award space on the American Airlines flight. Korean award space is plentiful.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.55.44 PM

As an added bonus, fuel surcharges are illegal for flights leaving Brazil.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.55.50 PM

Seoul to Sao Paulo with a stopover in Los Angeles: 110,000 miles in First Class

One way awards on Korean flights can have a stopover. If you live in Los Angeles, that means you can get one way of a roundtrip to Asia and one way of a roundtrip to South America in First Class booked for 110,000 Korean miles and $63.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.49.24 PM

All flights must be flown within one year of booking, which means you could have your stopover for 6, 8, or 10 months between the trips. Just book the other half each trip as separate awards.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get the stopover to show up online, so call Korean at 800-438-5000 to book with a stopover.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.49.16 PM

United States to China, Japan, Korea, Northeast Asia: 80,000 miles in First Class

American charges only 62,500 miles in First Class to Japan and Korea and 67,500 miles to China and Southeast Asia. Award space is fairly good on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific. If you can’t find award space there, search Korean award space, which is plentiful.

Korean charges the same price to Korea, Japan, and China. For the same price as the direct flight from Korea, you can tack on another few hours in First Class on a different aircraft to sample a few different First Class suites. I believe the longest itinerary you can get for 80,000 miles is Hong Kong to Seoul to Atlanta, though most of the flights to the United States are about the same length.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.51.03 PM

Out of Hong Kong, fuel surcharges are only $29.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.51.22 PM

Japan, Korea, or China to Southwest Asia or Maldives: 57,500 miles in First Class

Fly from the United States to Northeast Asia on a cheap award (like maybe 25,000 American Airlines miles in economy), hang out for a bit, and then fly a Korean award to Southwest Asia.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 3.22.22 PM

You can squeeze quite a bit of flying over 2-3 segments onto the Korean award. Something like Hong Kong to Seoul to Colombo to the Maldives for 57,500 miles in First Class is outrageously cheap. Seoul to the Maldives is 12 hours–10.5 hours in the air and 1.5 hours on the ground in Sri Lanka.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.45.45 PM

Taxes and fuel surcharges are only $31.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.45.48 PMEven Seoul to Mumbai is 9.5 hours of First Class for 57,500 miles and $31.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.46.55 PM

Japan, Korea, or China to Southeast Asia: 45,000 miles in First Class

Again if you can get to and from Asia on separate awards, this offers great value from Northeast to Southeast Asia.

Seoul to Yangon, Myanmar is 45,000 miles + $30 for 6.5 hours of First Class. You can get more time in First Class by connecting to Seoul for free from somewhere in Japan or China.Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.45.41 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.44.09 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.43.39 PM

Singapore is about the same distance and the same price. Award space is available on multiple daily flights for 45,000 miles + $30 in First Class.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.43.31 PM

Bali is the longest flight to Southeast Asia, but I didn’t find any First Class space. Business Class is 35,000 Korean miles + $30.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.42.51 PMBangkok and Chiang Mai are 45,000 miles + $30 also.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.37.47 PM

Product

Korean Airlines lists five First Class products. All are fully flat beds.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.37.36 PM

The best one, the Kosmo Suites 2.0 was introduced in May 2015, and this blogpost (Google Translate) says they will be on the 747-8i, 787-9, 777-300ER, and A330-300. It looks like they will only be on new planes delivered, and other planes will not be retrofitted. I do not think all 777-300ERs or A330s will have them.

Unfortunately I cannot find better information about which First Class product is on each plane.

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 80,000 Korean miles, you’d need to transfer 65,000 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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.20.20 PM

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

Links:

Bottom Line

First Class award space on Korean Air is available on nearly every flight for 2+ passengers. You can book it for as little as 45,000 Korean miles one way plus under $30 of taxes and fuel surcharges.

There are sweetspots on the chart from the United States to Asia, United States to South America, and for intra-Asia awards.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

3

Delta operates a daily flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu and back on a 767 with flat beds in Business Class. Surprisingly, the flight actually has decent award space, and you can book it for 30,000 miles one way or 45,000 miles roundtrip.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 2.09.59 PM

That’s a steal since Delta wants 50,000 SkyMiles one way for the flight.

I talked about United’s flat bed award space to Hawaii from the East Coast yesterday.

The Flights

The flights to look for are DL611 and DL612.

The flight from Los Angeles leaves at 8:30 AM, too early for most (all?) connections.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.08.22 PM

 

The flight from Honolulu is a day flight that lands in time for redeye connections to the East Coast and possibly other nearby connections.Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.16.00 PM

 

You know that these flights feature flat beds because of the flat bed icon next to “View Seats.” You can also check by clicking View Seats. This 1-2-1 layout is the layout of Delta’s flat bed Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 2.05.24 PM

Award Search

You can search awards space on delta.com very easily. You’ll want your search to look something like this.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.07.15 PM

Here’s how to interpret the results calendar:

  • Every day that says “50,000” has award space in flat beds
  • Some days that say “40,000” have award space in flat beds

So in this calendar, the eight days that say “50,000” have at least one award seat in a flat bed. The two days that say “40,000” may. We will need to click on them to find out.
Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.07.21 PM

The reason this works is that although Delta deleted its award chart, it still uses the prices on them. The Level 1 price for Delta flat bed Business Class to Hawaii is 50,000 miles. The Level 1 price for Delta recliner First Class is 40,000 miles and Level 2 is 55,000 miles.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.12.06 PM

Putting aside the weirdness that Delta Business Class is better than Delta First Class, the only seats that can be priced at 50,000 miles are flat beds.

Booking the Award

Don’t use Delta miles to book flat beds to Hawaii. Delta charges 50,000 SkyMiles one way and 100,000 roundtrip for its Level 1 award space. Any award space that prices out like that is equally available to partners, and some of Delta’s partners charge way fewer miles.

30,000 Flying Blue Miles One Way (40% off)

Air France Flying Blue charges 30,000 miles one way for this award space.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.10.11 PM

The only problem is that if you search airfrance.us for award space from Los Angeles to Honolulu, the option to search Business and First Class disappear.Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.12.28 PMFor the most part, the Business Class award space shows up anyway. If space you found on delta.com doesn’t show up online in the search results, book with Flying Blue miles by calling 800-375-8723. I priced out this roundtrip in flat beds online for 60,000 Flying Blue miles + $11.Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.18.38 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.18.45 PM

Flying Blue miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Points. The transfer takes about 4.5 days, and there is one wrinkle to transfers, that I had to add 00 before my Flying Blue account number.

You can earn 50,000 and 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points respectively from the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, each after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Or you can get both cards for 90,000 bonus ThankYou Points. That’s almost two roundtrips to Hawaii in flat beds.

45,000 Korean Miles Roundtrip (55% Off)

Even better if you want to fly a roundtrip, Korean SkyPass charges 45,000 miles roundtrip for this award space. You cannot book one way SkyTeam awards with Korean miles.

You will have to call 800-438-5000 to book the award.

The cool thing is that you get two stopovers, in addition to the destination, on roundtrip SkyTeam awards. That means you could stopover in Los Angeles both ways to fly the flat beds even though the flight times are not good for same day connections. Or you could stopover in Los Angeles one way and somewhere else on the return.

Korean miles are a 1:1 instant transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, and a 1:1 (or 20,000:25,000) non-instant transfer partner of SPG Starpoints.

Connections

Flying to Hawaii, I don’t think same day connections are available, since the flight leaves at 8:30 AM. Flying to the mainland, there are definitely connections available that would cost zero extra Delta, Air France, or Korean miles. Connecting to any Business Class Level 1 award space on delta.com should cost zero extra miles.

Theoretically you could connect to a flat bed from Los Angeles to New York for zero extra miles, but in practice, there is no Level 1 award space (would show up as “32,500” one the chart.)

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 1.22.35 PM

Bottom Line

Delta flies once daily Los Angeles <-> Honolulu with a plane with flat beds. The space is good in those flat beds and can be booked for 30,000 miles one way or 45,000 miles roundtrip, which is 40% to 55% less than Delta charges for the same award space.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

12

Yesterday I wrote about Starwoord Preferred Guest Starpoints being transferable to Korean SkyPass miles. I wrote some about the rules of SkyPass awards, and I mentioned that the best awards to book with Korean miles are SkyTeam First Class awards and awards to Hawaii.

This post will focus on Korean First Class award space because it is the most available international First Class award space I’ve ever seen.

  • How do you search Korean First Class award space?
  • How available is it?
  • What is the price?
  • What is the product?

Search Korean Award Space

You can search Korean First Class award space on Korean Air’s website. Just tick Award Booking. You will have to sign in to a SkyPass account to award search, but joining is free and you don’t need miles in your account to search.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.05.20 PM

You can also search award space on the paid Expert Flyer website. That allows you to see a week of search results on one screen, so many of the screenshots in this post come from there.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.34.59 PM

Korean First Class Availability

Korean flies to Seoul from 11 American cities.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.42.21 PM

It features a First Class cabin on all 11 routes, including Honolulu.

I searched award availability for one week for each route on Expert Flyer. I spread my searches throughout the calendar. In total, there were 87 flights searched because because the cities ranged from 3 to 17 flights per week. On 84 of those 87 flights, there was at least one award seat in First Class.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.35.19 PMThe most common number of First Class seats available were 2, 3, and 6.Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.36.03 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.36.39 PMSome days, I saw as many as 14 First Class seats spread across three flights.Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.39.00 PM

Korean also operates First Class cabins on many intra-Asia flights. Here are the possible connections from Seoul.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.33.22 PMPrice

Hopefully you can read this award chart, which I’ve spliced up to show the prices from North America to the destinations in the farthest left column. The chart shows roundtrip award prices. You can fly one way for half price.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.23.36 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.24.01 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.24.20 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.24.35 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.24.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.24.56 PM

Korea, Japan, and China are 80,000 miles one way in First Class during off peak times. Southeast Asia is 95,000 miles, and the Indian Subcontinent is 105,000 miles.

Prices are about 50% higher during the peak window, which only affects 60-70 days a year. If you want to fly Off Peak, it is very easy to do. Just avoid these peak dates:

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 4.00.29 PM

Region definitions:

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.22.46 PM

In addition to miles, you’ll pay taxes (very low) and fuel surcharges. Fuel surcharges vary by destination but from the United States to Korea are usually $80 or less each way. From the United States to Southeast Asia, they can hit about $180 one way.

Product

Korean Airlines lists five First Class products. All are fully flat beds.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.37.36 PM

The best one, the Kosmo Suites 2.0 was introduced in May 2015, and this blogpost (Google Translate) says they will be on the 747-8i, 787-9, 777-300ER, and A330-300. It looks like they will only be on new planes delivered, and other planes will not be retrofitted. I do not think all 777-300ERs or A330s will have them.

Unfortunately I cannot find better information about which First Class product is on each plane. Anyone with info should leave it in the comments.

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 80,000 Korean miles, you’d need to transfer 65,000 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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.20.20 PM

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

Links:

Bottom Line

First Class award space on Korean Air is available on nearly every flight for 2+ passengers. You can book it for as little as 80,000 Korean miles one way plus under $100 of taxes and fuel surcharges.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

8

SPG Starpoints now transfer to 33 airlines with the addition of Korean SkyPass Miles to the list. Korean SkyPass is a 1:1 transfer partner, and, as with all 1:1 transfer partners, for every 20,000 points transferred, you get 5,000 bonus miles.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.30.05 PM

Examples:

  • 15,000 Starpoints = 15,000 Korean miles
  • 20,000Starpoints = 25,000 Korean miles
  • 25,000 Starpoints = 30,000 Korean miles
  • 60,000 Starpoints = 75,000 Korean miles

You can transfer Starpoints to airline miles here. Transfers take several days to post as mile, and one transfer to Asiana miles took two weeks to post.

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Korean SkyPass Miles at a 1:1 ratio. Those transfers are instant.

Here are some quick things to know about the Korean program:

Best Uses

  • Redeeming for SkyTeam First Class like Korean First Class and China Southern First Class. Delta SkyMiles cannot be redeemed for international First Class.
  • Redeeming to Hawaii on Delta for 25,000 Korean miles roundtrip in economy and 45,000 Korean miles roundtrip in First Class. Redeeming to Hawaii on Hawaiian or Alaska costs 30k/60k roundtrip in economy/First

Award Charts

All award charts list roundtrip prices. You can fly awards with only Korean Air flights one way for half price. All other awards must be booked roundtrip.

Weird Rules (Some Good)

  • No close-in booking fee
  • No award change fee
  • No award cancellation fee
  • Free five day award holds
  • With your miles, you can only book an award for yourself, grandparents, parents, spouse, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren, parents-in law, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law
  • Convoluted award ticketing requires sending a copy of your passport
  • Korean collects fuel surcharges on award tickets. (There are no fuel surcharges on flights on Delta, Hawaiian, or Alaska within North America.)
  • You get one stopover per one way award on Korean flights in addition to the destination
  • There are peak and off peak award dates for Korean flights (not SkyTeam or other partner awards)
    Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 4.00.29 PM
  • You get two stopovers per roundtrip SkyTeam award in addition to the destination

Korean First Class

Korean Airlines First Class is excellent, especially on its A380, which features a fully flat enclosed suite.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.30.56 PM

Award space is wide open in the cabin, since there is little competition for the seats with miles. Fuel surcharges between the United States and Korea are about $162 roundtrip.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.24.56 PM

You can search Korean First Class award space on ExpertFlyer. Here’s how. You can search the fuel surcharges on ITA Matrix. Here’s how.

Getting SPG Points

The Starwood Preferred Guest personal and business credit cards from American Express now come with 30,000 bonus Starpoints, up from the normal sign up bonus is 25,000 points. 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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.20.20 PM

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

Application Links:

Bottom Line

SPG adding Korean as a transfer partner is awesome news, and further cements Starpoints’ status as the most valuable transferable points. Transfer your Starpoints or Ultimate Rewards to Korean miles to book trips to Hawaii or Korean First Class.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Updated 5/14/15 with current prices and routing rules. Screen shots show old prices.

Delta SkyMiles get a bad rap–very deservedly so–for the lack of Saver (Level 1) award availability that Delta releases, the fuel surcharges Delta charges on awards, the inability to add stopovers on awards, and the fact that Delta deleted its chart from the internet.

But it does not follow that Delta miles are worthless. In fact, you can get great value and do some pretty cool things with Delta miles.

  • What are my top choices to burn 92.5k, 80k, 70k, 62.5k, 30k, and 12.5k SkyMiles?

92.5k: Half/Half Roundtrip to Europe

When you book a roundtrip Delta award, which is no longer required, you can fly different cabins in each direction. Flying to Europe in Business Class to get some shuteye and hit the ground running, then returning on a daytime flight in economy is a great use of 92.5k SkyMiles.

Delta flies flat beds across the Atlantic denoted by a bed icon on delta.com, and Delta partner Alitalia’s 777-200 business class cabin looks very nice.

On the way back, you can usually find economy award space on Delta’s European partners like Air France or KLM. Delta doesn’t collect surcharges on those two, Alitalia, Virgin Atlantic, or its own flights.

An open jaw trip with business class in a flat bed on Alitalia to Rome and a return in economy on KLM from Amsterdam is only 92.5k SkyMiles + $59.

80k: Virgin Australia Business Class to Australia or New Zealand (One Way)

With 80,000 SkyMiles, you have access to the best business class availability to Australia.

Delta partners with non-SkyTeam partner Virgin Australia, which flies from Los Angeles to Sydney and Brisbane daily with fantastic availability.

Virgin Australia business class features fully flat beds that look pretty awesome to me!

If you don’t want to go to Sydney or Brisbane, Virgin Australia offers convenient connections throughout Australia and New Zealand. I recently booked a client to Port Macquarie, Australia (PQQ) with her Delta miles on Virgin Australia.

I can’t stress enough how excellent Virgin Australia award space–which is searchable and bookable on delta.com–is, even at peak times.

Delta does not collect fuel surcharges on Virgin Australia segments, so the taxes on a roundtrip to Australia are about $130.

Business class to Australia with Delta miles is overpriced in miles. American only charges 62.5k miles on partner Qantas, and United charges 70k on its own flights. But since SkyMiles are less valuable than those three types of miles, Virgin Australia business class remains the coolest thing to do with 80k Delta miles.

70k: China Southern Business Class to Asia (One Way)

140k SkyMiles books a roundtrip business class award anywhere in Asia, and the most award space on the newest plane is available with China Southern. For 70,000 miles, book a one way trip.

China Southern has a daily flight between Los Angeles and Guangzhou that has tons of award space–often 9 seats in business class–and conveniently connects to cities throughout Asia. Do any of these places look good?

China Southern Destinations from Guangzhou. Source: Wikipedia

The bad news is that Delta does collect fuel surcharges on China Southern segments. Taxes plus surcharges push an award from LAX to Guangzahou to 140k miles + $387 roundtrip, and it’s a little more if you continue past China Southern’s hub.

I hate surcharges on award tickets as much as anyone, but I still think this is a good use of Delta miles considering the length of the trip to Asia, the widely available award space, and the product.

China Southern flies to the US with an A380 with fully flat beds in business class. Check out this page for more info and interesting translations. Note that they call business class “First Class” and first class “Platinum Private Suite” on that page.

62.5k: Korean Business Class to Brazil (One Way)

With 62.5k SkyMiles, you can fly Korean Airlines’ intriguing route in Business Class between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo with connections on Delta-partner GOL throughout Brazil.

There’s great award space on the route, no fuel surcharges, and a great product. What’s not to love?

For more info on the route, see my recent post on the subject.

30k: Aerolineas Argentinas Economy to Patagonia (One Way)

Aerolineas Argentinas flies daily from Miami and New York to Buenos Aires with connections throughout the country.

I had heard from a few people that Aerolineas Argentinas was the worst airline in the world, but I very much enjoyed my 2013 domestic roundtrip on the carrier, which had TVs at every seat and a free snack box.

I don’t know how pleasant the flight from Miami would be–how pleasant is economy ever?–but the award space is wide open. And this trip isn’t about the flights, it’s about the destination.

A few years ago, I spent a few days in the Lake District of Patagonia, and I am itching to get back.

With 60k SkyMiles and no fuel surcharges, you can get anywhere in Argentina roundtrip, since Aerolineas Argentinas flies all over the country. This, and the award space on partner AeroMexico, makes Delta miles the best to visit Argentina.

American miles can get you to a lot of Argentina via LAN, but not as much as Delta miles. Star Alliance miles can’t get you anywhere but Buenos Aires.

12.5k: Canada or Alaska (One Way)

Delta considers the United States mainland, Alaska, and Canada to be one region. Economy awards on Delta or Alaska Airlines start at 12,500 Delta miles.

So head to Toronto…

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 11.27.41 PM

…or Anchorage.

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Getting the Miles

Delta miles are easy to get from any of these 10 cards. There are multiple personal and business Delta credit cards issued by American Express. Plus you can transfer Membership Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints to Delta.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

This is the twentieth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

I’ve covered how to earn miles and the redemption options for miles. Now I’m giving the basics of several international airline programs which are transfer partners of one or more of the following types of points:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints
  • Citi ThankYou Points

I think of these international airlines programs as niche programs. Most of their redemption options are terrible because of fuel surcharges, but a few redemptions with each program are great because of no fuel surcharges or a super cheap miles price.

Know the great options in each program to save yourself miles and cash by maximizing these programs:

  • Singapore KrisFlyer (UR, MR, SPG, and TY)
  • Air Canada Aeroplan (MR, SPG)
  • Lufthansa Miles & More (SPG, also the only one of these programs that offers a big 50k sign up bonus on an American credit card every few months)
  • ANA Mileage Club (MR, SPG)
  • Air France Flying Blue (MR, SPG)
  • Korean SkyPass (UR, SPG)

Why Collect These Miles?

Most of these programs have a sweet spot that lets you book the same flights for fewer miles than if you used United or Delta miles. For instance, pay 30,000 Singapore miles each way in First Class between the continental United States and Hawaii instead of 40,000 United miles.

Korean, Singapore, and Lufthansa miles allow the booking of mind-blowing First Class products you can’t book with Delta and United miles.

  • What airlines can you fly with these miles?
  • What are the routing rules for these awards (stopovers, open jaws, free one ways)?
  • What are the special deals in each program?
  • What about fuel surcharges?
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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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