Now, this is a sucker punch to the gut. Korean Airlines leaving Chase Ultimate Rewards removes our best award option for flights between Hawaii and the Continental U.S.
Korean Airlines SkyPass has long been a bright spot for award flights between Hawaii and the Continental U.S. For example, you could get an economy award ticket on Hawaiian for just 30,000 miles. Heck, you could even get an economy ticket for 25,000 miles if you’re willing to fly Delta instead. And since Korean Airlines is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, accumulating miles has been easy.
But, late last month, Korean Air announced they’d be eliminating award seat holds. That change sucked, but it pails in comparison to the change coming in just over a week.
Korean Airlines Leaving Chase Ultimate Rewards
Per The Points Guy, Korean Air will no longer be a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner as of August 25, 2018. That means that last day you’ll be able to transfer points is August 24. Which, in case you didn’t know, is NEXT WEEK FRIDAY. And with this change, we lose our best method of earning award tickets for travel between Hawaii and the Continental U.S. using credit cards.
Should You Transfer Points Now?
If you’re eyeing a redemption soon, then yes, go ahead and transfer now. The risk being, though, that once transferred, the points can’t be transferred back. So you’ll be doing your transfer blindly unless your flight is already bookable and you’ve done your research. However, if you’re transferring for a flight that’s not yet bookable, you are taking an enormous risk. Award inventories are at the whims of the respective airlines, and Korean can adjust its chart at any time. So do so at your own risk. The good news, though, is Korean SkyPass Miles have a 10-year shelf life. But, again, that can change at any time too.
Though the situation is, well, horrible, all is not lost. There are still great values to be had for Hawaii travel with Ultimate Rewards. For example, you can still transfer miles to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, which will get you between Hawaii and the Continental U.S. for 23,000 to 25,000 points (RT, economy) on Alaska. You could still fly on Hawaiian to by redeeming via Virgin Atlantic Flyingclub too, though awards begin at 40,000 points. And don’t forget, Southwest will be entering the Hawaii market soon, and Rapid Rewards is an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.
I’ll discuss some of these options in greater detail at a later date, but, man. I’m super bummed out about this change, as I’m sure many of you are too. But, again, stay tuned. Discussions on our remaining options to come.