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One of the best uses of Korean Air miles is the ability to redeem flights from the mainland United States to Hawaii. Korean Air is a member of SkyTeam and so is Delta Airlines. Therefore, you can use Korean Air miles to redeem Delta flights to Hawaii for a round-trip ticket that requires only 25,000 Korean Air miles in Economy or 45,000 Korean Air miles in business/first class on Delta planes!
Other U.S. airlines such as Alaska requires at least 17,500 miles one-way to Hawaii, United requires 22,500 miles one-way for saver award to Hawaii, and Delta does not have award chart anymore but from my recent search the lowest miles required is 25,000 miles one-way to Hawaii. This is because U.S. airlines define Hawaii and mainland United States are two different regions, whereas Korean Air puts Hawaii in the same region as North America.
|Fly to Hawaii Using Korean Air Miles For Just 25,000 Miles Round-Trip
Picture: Kauai Island
Getting Korean Air Miles
Korean Air is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. This means that if you have Chase credit card that earns points and can transfer to airline miles, you can transfer Chase points to Korean Air miles at 1:1 ratio. The time it takes to transfer is instantaneously.
Korean Air is also a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program. SPG is not just a hotel’s rewards program, but it also has ability to transfer SPG Starpoints to airline miles. For each 20,000 Starpoints transferred, you will receive additional 5,000 miles so 25,000 miles total after the transfer. The transfer time takes around 7 days.
All said and done, don’t get too excited yet to initiate the transfer to Korean Air. You need to make sure the award seat is available first, then transfer because once you transfer the points to Korean Air miles, you cannot transfer those points back.
Finding Award Availability
Thankfully, Korean Air now allows online award booking for SkyTeam members such as Delta. This means that you no longer need to call Korean Air up to book Delta flights using Korean Air miles. Below is a step-by-step guide to successfully redeem Korean Air miles for Delta flights to Hawaii for only 25,000 Korean Air miles round-trip in Economy.
First, you need to find award seats availability. Korean Air website is not a very powerful search engine and believe it not, neither is Delta. I find Delta is pretty inconsistent with Korean Air as far as finding award availability goes. So I am ruling out these two airlines websites. The one that we need to focus on is actually the Air France website. Air France is also a member of the SkyTeam and therefore you are able to see Delta flights as well.
First, you need to register with Air France program, which is completely free. Once that’s completed, you will be able to search for flight ticket using their miles program FlyingBlue. You do not need to have miles in your account to do a search.
Step 1: Register with Air France program to create an account for free.
Step 2: Go to https://www.airfrance.co.uk/
Step 3: Click on Purchase A Ticket on the top.
Step 4: Select Use Your Miles, then click Sign In and log in.
Step 5: It’s best that you search one-way at a time. For example, I search from Seattle to Honolulu one-way and make sure the box “You are looking for a flight around these dates” is checked. Simply follow the booking interface, select Economy cabin and click Find A Flight.
|Using Air France to Search Delta’s Award Availability|
Step 6: You will be presented with a calendar that shows what date is available and how many miles are required. The dates that show “15,000 Miles” are the ones that you are looking for as those are Delta’s lowest Economy seats and are available for booking using Korean Air miles on Korean Air website. Keep in mind that the 15,000 Miles you see is if you were to use Air France’s FlyingBlue miles program to redeem the flight to Hawaii, Korean Air requires only 12,500 miles one-way to Hawaii; however, you must book round-trip when it comes to booking SkyTeam with Korean Air miles, so 25,000 Korean Air miles round-trip.
|15,000 Miles Is What You Are Looking For|
Step 7: Note down the date and flight information. Then do a one-way return trip search by repeating the step 5-7. In this case, Honolulu to Seattle. Once again, you are looking for the dates that show “15,000 Miles.” Note the date that you want down.
Booking On Korean Air Website
Step 1: Head over to Korean Air website and if you have not registered with Korean Air, you must create an account with them first. Joining is completely free. Skip this step if you have already joined.
Step 2: Log into your Korean Air’s account and then Book a Flight. Click Award Booking. Alternatively, you can go directly to the award booking site here.
Step 3: Follow the booking interface. Make sure “SkyTeam Award” is checked. Pick the departure and return dates that you have noted down from the above steps in Finding Award Availability, and ensure the Economy cabin is selected (see screenshot below). Then click Find Flights.
Step 4: You should see a list of Delta flights that are available corresponding to the flight information that you have noted down in Finding Award Availability section above. Select desired flights and click Calculate. The total 25,000 Korean Air miles will appear on the right hand side with a very small reasonable tax fees. Once you have enough miles in your Korean Air’s account, you can simply continue the booking process.
There you have it. This is how you use Korean Air miles to redeem for Delta flights to Hawaii from the mainland United States. This is considered one of the best uses of Korean Air miles as it requires only 25,000 miles to Hawaii compared to U.S. domestic airlines.
It is worth mentioning also that, one of the things that I don’t like about Korean Air is the fact that you can only book an award ticket for yourself and family member(s) including spouse. You will need to send in documents to Korean Air to prove that relationship. With that being said, you cannot book an award ticket for your best friend, girlfriend or boyfriend. They have to be family related.