The Best 9 Ways to Earn Korean Air SkyPass Miles

You can redeem your Korean Air SkyPass miles for a great value when you fly with either Korean Air or one of their many partner airlines. However, how do you actually go about earning those SkyPass miles, especially considering you can no longer transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to SkyPass miles? It’s not as difficult as you think, thankfully. Check out these nine best ways to earn Korean Air SkyPass miles, so you can start reaping the travel rewards faster.

Korean Air
Find out how to earn Korean Air SkyPass miles. Image: Wikimedia

1. Get a SkyPass Account

It seems obvious, but it still needs saying — you have to get a SkyPass account before you can start earning SkyPass miles and, no, you cannot get miles for past flights that you may have taken with Korean Air. Make sure that when you sign up, you do so with the same name that’s on your passport. Then, you can start earning miles right away.

Just note that, unlike many other airlines, with Korean Air it does not help you to have a higher loyalty program status if you’re just looking to earn miles. In Korean Air’s case, the higher tiers of SkyPass membership only result in perks at the airport. You can’t earn any more miles by being in a higher tier. This means it’s one less thing for you to worry about, but also that you don’t have the opportunity to earn at a higher, faster rate by flying more. This brings us to the second point.

2. Flying Korean Air

You can earn miles by simply flying Korean Air, but there’s no need to worry if you live nowhere near one of Korean Air’s hubs, or if you have no plans of flying to Asia in the near future. But we’ll get to that in a moment. If you do have the opportunity to fly Korean Air frequently, you’ll earn based on both your route and your booking class.

Here’s a chart that shows you how many miles you’ll earn based on flying routes from the United States.

Image: Korean Air

You can earn similar amounts when you fly between South Korea and destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Oceania.

Here’s another chart that shows you how the potential earning changes based on the type of fare that you’ve booked.

image: Korean Air

3. Flying with Partner Airlines

As a member of SkyTeam, Korean Air offers loads of different partner airlines to fly with, so there’s no need to even fly Korean Air if you don’t want to specifically.

Delta Skyteam
Fly with Skyteam members, including Delta. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr

Partner airlines include…

AeroflotAerolineasAeroMexicoAirEuropaAir FranceAlitalia
Czech AirlinesChina EasternChina AirlinesDeltaGaruda IndonesiaKenya Airways
KLMMEASaudiaTaromVietnam AirlinesXiamen Air
Alaska AirlinesAmerican AirlinesChina SouthernEmiratesEtihadJet Airways
Hawaiian AirlinesGOL

The earning rate differs for each partner.

To make sure that you do receive your well-earned miles from flying with these partners, hold on to your ticket and boarding pass for up to two weeks, or until your miles are credited to your account, and then have your SkyPass card handy at both booking and check-in.

4. Co-Branded Credit Cards

Unfortunately, as mentioned, you can no longer earn SkyPass miles by earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points and then transferring your points to your SkyPass account. However, there are still four different credit cards that you can use, all Korean Air co-branded, to earn SkyPass miles on your everyday spending.

Korean Air Skypass credit card

Here are the four cards to choose from.

The SkyPass Select Visa Signature card comes with $200 in annual travel credits, a Korean Air ticket discount each year and KAL Lounge vouchers. The annual fee is $450, and you’ll earn 2X miles on Korean Air and other travel, including hotel stays, car rentals, and airfare with other airlines. The welcome offer gives you 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,500 within the first 90 days and 10,000 bonus miles at renewal after you spend $35,000 a year.

The SkyPass Visa Signature card also gives you 2x miles on Korean Air and other travel (the only difference is that you can’t earn miles on car rentals). Perks still include lounge vouchers, a $50 coupon for a Korean Air ticket purchase, travel insurance, etc. However, the annual fee is just $95. The bonus offer is 30,000 miles after you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days and 2,000 bonus miles at renewal.

The SkyBlue SkyPass Visa has no annual fee. You earn 1 mile for every $2 you spend on every purchase. The bonus is 5,000 miles after you make one purchase on the card.

The SkyPass Visa Business card is similar to the SkyPass Visa Signature, in that it comes with the same mileage earning potential and perks, as well as the same annual fee, but you can add employees onto the account as authorized users.

5. Hotel Partners

International Hotels Group
Photo: IHG

You can earn SkyPass miles with hotel partners across the world. Many give you miles at a rate of 500 per stay. These include…

  • Select hotels in Korea, such as KAL Hotel, Hotel Lotte and The Shilla Seoul
  • IHG brands, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Express by Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites
  • World of Hyatt properties
  • Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel properties
  • Nikko Hotels International properties
  • Okura Hotels & Resorts properties

With AccorHotels, you earn 2,000 SkyPass miles for every 4,000 Le Club AccorHotels points earned.

With Marriott Bonvoy, you earn up to 2 miles for every $1 spent at any hotel, though the rate differs according to the specific Marriott brand you stay with (although it’s always either 1 or 2 miles). You can also transfer your previously earned Marriott Bonvoy points to SkyPass miles at a rate of 3 points per 1 mile.

For a wider selection of hotels, you can book a stay at hotels.com, and then you’ll receive 1 mile for every $1 spent on a stay.

6. Rental Partners 

Earn SkyPass miles for car rentals with both international and local (Korean) brands. Earn 500 miles per rental with Hertz, Alamo, National, Avis, Hanjin, AJ and Lotte.

7. SkyPass Shopping

SkyPass shopping
Earn SkyPass miles for shopping. Photo: Pexels

You can earn SkyPass miles by shopping in the Korean Air shopping portal, which is typical for many airline loyalty programs, but Korean Air’s process for this isn’t as straightforward and as simple as what you might find with other loyalty programs.

The shopping portal is called Cyber SkyShop, and instead of the shopping portal rerouting you to the vendor’s website, you shop right there with Korean Air, for duty-free purchases. In the process, you earn what they call SkyPoints, and then you can convert those SkyPoints to SkyPass miles, at a rate of 1,000 points to 500 miles.

8. Family Pooling

One unique offering that the Korean Air SkyPass program provides is the SkyPass Family Plan. This allows up to five SkyPass members to pool miles and redeem awards. You do have to register your entire “family” of SkyPass members before you’re able to redeem the award, and the family members must actually be immediate family — spouses, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, and children-in-law, grandparents and grandchildren. You do have to provide proof of a family relation, as well as an application for the Family Plan. It can be a hassle, but it may help you redeem a big reward that you might not otherwise be able to.

9. Local (Korean) Services

The miles-earning potential increases if you’re in Korea for a long time or living in Korea. One of the ways you can earn more SkyPass miles is by taking advantage of local (Korean) services.

For example, if you’re a member of Korean brands including Lotte, OK Cashbag, S-oil or H.Point, you can redeem points earned with those brands for miles.

If you use Hanjin Travel or Hanjin Express, you can also earn more miles with those brands.

Korean Air
How will you earn SkyPass miles? Photo: Pixabay

Final Thoughts

It’s well worth putting in the effort to earn your SkyPass miles, even if it’s not as easy as it could be with other loyalty programs. The redemption options for Korean Air and partner airline flights are truly unbeatable.

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