Best Ways to Book Korean Air Business Class Using Points [Step-by-Step]

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There are a number of great business class options if you’re flying across the Pacific, from Cathay Pacific to All Nippon Airways (ANA) to Singapore Airlines. One more that travelers should consider for these long-haul journeys is Korean Air business class.

Let’s take a look at what Korean Air has to offer business class passengers and the best ways to book a flight in business class.

A Look Inside Korean Air Business Class

Not unlike Korean Air first class, your business class experience with this airline will be determined by the cabin layout of your particular flight. Knowing what to expect on your flight can help you pick a seat that will provide the most enjoyable experience for you.

To get the best business class experience on Korean Air, keep an eye on the aircraft type that will be operating the route you want to book. If you see that Korean Air will be flying a Boeing 787-9 or Boeing 747-8, you’ll get to try their business class seat known as the Apex Suite.

Korean Air Business Class Bed
With direct aisle access and a lie-flat bed, you can rest peacefully when flying business class on Korean Air. Image courtesy of Korean Air.

Each seat provides direct aisle access and a lie-flat seat to make those long-haul flights more comfortable and easier to enjoy.

These are 2 of the most important aspects of a solid business class seat, since they mean you can rest well and remain undisturbed by people stepping over you.

If you look at the cabin layout for each of these aircraft, you’ll notice the 2-2-2 layout. While this usually indicates that only the middle section will guarantee direct aisle for both passengers, the staggered layout of Apex Suites provides aisle access to everyone — including window seats!

This cabin layout can also be found on some of Korean Air’s Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A330 aircraft. If the route you want is operated by one of these aircraft, make sure you check the seat layout first.

Some A330s have a 2-2-2 layout that isn’t staggered, while some 777-300ERs have a 2-3-2 layout that isn’t staggered.

The Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747-400 do not have the new Apex Suite business class product. Instead, they have a 2-2-2 layout similar to the older layout on some 777-300ERs.

Finally, the Boeing 777-200ER has a 2-3-2 layout with seats that are not lie-flat.

The reason we focus on the many cabin layouts that Korean Air uses for business class is that they can dramatically impact your experience, especially if you have high expectations. With this info, you can feel confident that you’re getting what you expect.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge
Relax at the Korean Air Prestige Lounge before your flight in business class on Korean Air. Image courtesy of Korean Air.

Fortunately, regardless of the aircraft, you can expect the same excellent service that Korean Air provides all business class passengers. Additionally, you’ll have access to one of Korean Air’s business class lounges and other SkyTeam lounges while you wait for your flight.

Throw in a nice inflight meal, and you’ll really enjoy the Korean Air business class experience!

How to Fly Korean Air Business Class Using Miles

Unlike booking Korean Air first class, you aren’t required to use Korean SkyPass miles to book business class award tickets. This means you’ll have a few more opportunities to book business class on Korean Air if you have miles and points in different programs.

Korean Air SkyPass

Korean Air Award Chart
Try Korean Air business class when you fly between the U.S. and Hong Kong.

However, Korean Air SkyPass will still be your best option for booking business class awards since their mileage requirements are better than their partners’.

There are few important pieces of info to keep in mind when booking with Korean Air SkyPass, but let’s dig into the process before we get into those details.

These are the simple steps to book an award:

  1. Go to Korean Air’s website
  2. Select “Redeem Miles”
  3. Log in with your User ID or SkyPass number
  4. Select your origin and destination
  5. Select your travel dates
  6. Select “Prestige Class”
  7. Select your flights
  8. Click “Continue” to enter your information and complete the booking

Note that Korean Air no longer allows you to put an award booking on hold while you transfer Ultimate Rewards to your Korean Air SkyPass account.

A tedious part of the Korean Air SkyPass program is that they don’t allow you to book awards for anyone who is not a direct family member. In addition, they will require you to submit the SkyPass Family Registration Application prior to booking for a family member.

With Chase Ultimate Rewards no longer a Korean Air transfer partner, many travelers will look to transfers from Marriott at a 3:1 ratio (transfer a minimum 60,000 Marriott points to get 20,000 Korean Air miles plus a bonus 5,000 miles).

Hot Tip: Check out our transfer partner calculator to see how long you can expect transfers to take for any airline partner.

Delta SkyMiles

Delta SkyMiles is one of the more popular loyalty programs in the United States, so you might have a bunch of SkyMiles sitting around. If so, you can use them to book Korean Air business class.

Just as if you were searching for an award flight on Delta, you can use Delta’s online award search function to find Korean Air business class award space:

  1. Go to Delta’s website
  2. Log in to your SkyMiles account
  3. Select “Book A Trip”
  4. Enter your origin and destination
  5. Enter your travel dates; choose “Exact Dates” or “Flexible Dates”
    • You can also use “Advanced Search” to search by month
  6. Select to show the price in “Miles”
  7. Select your flights
    • Make sure the flight is operated by Korean Air (this will be clearly stated)
  8. Review your itinerary
  9. Enter passenger information, then select your seat and pay the taxes/fees

Delta will not let you put award bookings on hold, so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you need to transfer American Express Membership Rewards to your Delta SkyMiles account.

Both of these transferable points programs transfer to Delta at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers from Amex Membership Rewards are generally almost instant.

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Air France/KLM Flying Blue is another SkyTeam partner of Korean Air that could help you book business class awards on Korean Air. The award search and booking can each be completed online.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Go to Air France’s website
  • Select “Use Your Miles”
  • Sign in to your Flying Blue account
  • Select your origin and destination
  • Select your travel dates
    • If your travel dates are flexible, check the box next to “You are looking for flights around these dates”
  • Select “Business” so the search shows Korean Air business class options
  • Select the appropriate flight, then fill in passenger information
  • To complete the booking, pay the necessary taxes and fees

While the redemption rates with Air France/KLM Flying Blue might not be as competitive as Korean Air or Delta when booking a Korean Air business class award, there are many more options to earn Flying Blue miles.

In fact, Air France/KLM Flying Blue is a partner of all 4 transferable points programs. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards to your Flying Blue account and the transfer process will complete almost instantly.

Transferring Citi ThankYou Points can take up to 2 days (though it often happens much quicker than that).

Other Ways to Book Korean Air Business Class

As a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, you can use miles from a number of partner programs. However, be aware that the redemption rates for many of these programs won’t be competitive.

Great Korean Air Business Class Redemptions

Peak Travel Dates Korean Air
Check your travel dates to make sure you aren’t traveling during Korean Air’s peak season, and you’ll save a ton of miles.

To prevent any surprises while trying to book Korean Air business class awards, remember that they have both peak season and off season award charts. By using the chart in the image above, you can ensure that you book when the number of Korean SkyPass miles required will be lowest.

You can book a business class award on Korean Air (in the off season) between the U.S. and South Korea for only 62,500 Korean SkyPass miles!

Korean Air Partner Award Chart
If you add a flight on Delta, you will have to book a SkyTeam award, which requires a round-trip award booking.

If you need to connect to an airport in the U.S. where Korean Air operates, you’ll have to look at their SkyTeam award chart, which requires round-trip award bookings. If you book one of these awards, you can connect to the appropriate airport to catch your Korean Air flight by flying Delta.

To really have some fun, you can fly to Hong Kong for no extra miles. In fact, you can book a stopover in Seoul before continuing on to Hong Kong too. That’s 62,500 miles in business class to see 2 amazing cities in Asia! (Note: free stopover will be eliminated for travel from July 1, 2020.)

Korean Air will even allow you to include an open jaw in your booking — so you could fly to Hong Kong, find your own way to Beijing, and fly through Seoul on your way back to the states. That’s 3 cities thanks to a round-trip booking for 125,000 Korean Skypass miles.

You could, of course, pick different cities to visit. Just keep in mind that Korean Air will allow you to book 1 stopover on one-way bookings and 2 stopovers on round-trip bookings as well as an open jaw. (Note: free stopover will be eliminated for travel from July 1, 2020.)

If you want to book with Delta SkyMiles or Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles, you can expect a significant bump in the required miles.

Between the U.S. and Seoul, Delta requires 95,000 SkyMiles for a one-way business class booking on Korean Air, while Air France/KLM requires 100,000 Flying Blue miles.

Bottom Line: Securing Korean Air business class awards through their own SkyPass program is the best way to book. However, you might earn tons of ThankYou Points that can be transferred to Air France/KLM or earn tons of Membership Rewards that can be transferred to Delta or Air France/KLM.

How to Earn Enough Miles for Business Class

Flying Blue miles can be transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership RewardsCiti ThankYou Points (all at rate of 1:1).

Delta is an Amex transfer partner.

Marriott points transfer to Korean Air, Air France, and Delta at a transfer rate of 3:1. Korean Air has better award availability for its own members than it offers to partner program members.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel card that earns valuable points and it comes with a big 60,000 sign up bonus (highest ever & valued at $750), after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The annual fee is $95.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A simple, no annual fee card that earns you 1.5% cash back on all purchases. A good card to get after the Sapphire Preferred because then you can transfer your cash-back into points (which is how you maximize value).
Chase Sapphire Reserve® - This is a premium travel rewards card with a higher annual fee, but it'll get you into a lot of airport lounges (Priority Pass). The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $450 annual fee.

Business Owner? See our article on Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $1,500+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x).

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Business Owner? See our article on Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards.

Recommended Marriott Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Card - earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points (terms apply). A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

When Should You Search for Business Class Award Space?

As with any award booking, begin your search as soon as you know when you’ll want or need to travel. If you can search and book 360 days from departure, do so.

You can often find several business class seats available for award bookings just days prior to departure.

What Makes Korean Air Business Class a Great Redemption?

Korean Air 747
Take the whole family on a business class adventure on Korean Air. Image courtesy Markus Schmal/Shutterstock, Inc.

Korean Air doesn’t get the same level of attention as some high-profile Asian and Middle Eastern carriers, but they have a great business class product.

The Best Business Class Option for Families

As is the case with first class, Korean Air isn’t as stingy as many airlines are when it comes to releasing business class award space. This is particularly useful if you are traveling as a family.

The next time you search for business class award space to Seoul on Korean Air’s site, you’ll notice they even let you know how many seats are available to be booked with Korean SkyPass miles. This can make planning much easier.

The Apex Suite

The Apex Suite is one of the nicest business class cabin layouts on the market. If you are flying solo, you’ll love the ability to sit next to the window with almost total privacy and still have direct aisle access.

If you’re traveling with a companion, you’ll love being able to sit next to each other in the middle section so you can enjoy the flight together.

Great Business Class Service

The crews on Korean Air flights make sure that the business class experience is a special one. You’ll find that they are happy to do whatever they can to make it a trip to remember. If you have a request, just ask and they should be able to help you.

Final Thoughts

Korean Air business class is a great way to cross the Pacific, and the regularity with which they release business class award space makes it one of the more convenient award booking options.

As they operate out of many airports in the United States, you will have ample opportunity to find a flight that works for you.

So the next time you plan on booking a business class adventure to Asia, give Korean Air a look. They could be just the ticket for you and your family!

*Feature image courtesy of Korean Air


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Best Ways to Book Korean Air Business Class Using Points

FAQ

What is the best way to book Korean Air business class?

Korean SkyPass is the best airline loyalty program for booking Korean Air business class awards. You can also use Delta SkyMiles or Air France/KLM Flying Blue.

What credit cards can help me fly Korean business class?

Marriott cards from Chase and American Express earn Marriott points that transfer directly to Korean Air SkyPass.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Delta Air Lines and Air France/KLM.

American Express Membership Rewards cards can help you earn points to transfer to either Delta Air Lines or Air France/KLM.

Citi ThankYou Points credit cards can also help you earn more Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles.

If you want a co-branded card that earns airline miles directly, U.S. Bank provides a co-branded card that earns Korean SkyPass miles.

What do I get when flying Korean Air business class?

First, you can expect wonderful service from the Korean Air flight crews. You can tell they take great pride in their work and they’re happy to help you throughout your flight.

Second, if you follow the booking guidelines in the article above, you can get yourself a lie-flat seat with direct aisle access so you have very comfortable flight.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

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4 comments

  1. Steven F Barnhardt · October 6, 2018 · Reply

    I came up empty with a May 12 and 14 search on KAL

    • Stephen Au · October 8, 2018 · Reply

      Hey Steven,

      You will need to look around for available dates. Not every date will have availability, so play around with your travel dates a bit!

  2. Can you use Delta SkyMiles to book Korean Air Round-The-World awards?

    • Stephen Au · February 13, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Paul,

      No unfortunately you cannot. When booking round-the-world awards, you must book using the miles from the program offering the round-the-world award. However, this means you can book Delta flights using Korean Air miles as part of a RTW trip. Thanks for reading!

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