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

Korean Air Prestige Suites

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 will 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 the Apex Suites provides aisle access to everyone…including the 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- 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

Korean Air will allow you to put an award booking on hold while you transfer Ultimate Rewards or SPG Starpoints to your Korean Air SkyPass account. To put an award on hold, you will need to call them.

Here are the steps to put an award on hold:

  1. Call Korean Air at (800) 438-5000
  2. Provide your desired itinerary to the Korean Air agent
  3. A Korean Air agent will call you back to confirm the award space and hold it
  4. Once you have your award ticket on hold, transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards or SPG Starpoints to Korean Air (if applicable)
  5. Submit the Award Application Form to engskypass@koreanair.com
    • Make sure to include a copy of your passport

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.

However, being able to put awards on hold before transferring Ultimate Rewards or SPG Starpoints to your Korean Air SkyPass account is very helpful. This little perk makes it worth calling and putting an award ticket on hold. In doing so, you can prevent someone else from booking the award space while you wait for a transfer to process.

Ultimate Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and transfers are generally almost instant. With SPG Starpoints, on the other hand, it can take 7 days for a transfer to complete.

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

The 7-day wait time with SPG Starpoints is annoying, but Korean Air’s hold policy makes it much easier to stomach since you know the award space will be waiting for you.

Without this hold policy, it would be much harder to take advantage of the SPG transfer bonus of 5,000 miles when you transfer a chunk of 20,000 SPG Starpoints. The extra 5,000 miles you earn could be just what you need to reach the number of miles required for a business class award.

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

Unlike Korean Air, 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 or SPG Starpoints 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, while transfers from SPG Starpoints can take roughly 2 days to complete.

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. Transfers from SPG Starpoints will generally take a day, while 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

Korean Air Peak Season Dates
If you travel during Korean Air’s peak season, you will need to use more miles, so try to find dates that work during the off season of Korean Air’s schedule.

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.

If you really want to 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. That’s 62,500 miles in business class to see 2 amazing cities in Asia!

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.

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.

Clearly, 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

As a partner of both Korean Air and Air France/KLM, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are great a currency to earn in preparation for a Korean Air business class award.

There are 4 personal card options and 2 business card options from which to choose. Consider the bonus categories offered to help you maximize your earning potential.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
#1 - Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Need Inspiration?
> Best Ways To Redeem Ultimate Rewards Points
  • 50,000 bonus points.
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    Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
  • Detailed Review
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Detailed Review
Chase Freedom®
Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

SPG Starpoints are another great option that can be transferred to any of the 3 booking options discussed above. Make sure you take advantage of the 5,000-mile bonus by transferring chunks of 20,000 Starpoints at a time.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> 45 Best Ways To Redeem SPG Points
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Detailed Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 35,000 bonus Starpoints®. Offer ends 11/1/17.
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Detailed Review

If you decide to focus on earning Membership Rewards, you’ll have plenty of credit card options to help you earn points that can be transferred to Delta or Air France/KLM.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> 57 Best Ways To Redeem Amex Points
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Detailed Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 points.
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Detailed Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Detailed Review

Finally, if Air France/KLM is your focus, you can also transfer Citi ThankYou Points earned from any of 3 credit card options.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Citi Prestige® Card
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
  • 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Detailed Review
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Travel, including Gas
  • Annual Fee: $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
  • Detailed Review

Bottom Line: Earning Ultimate Rewards to transfer to Korean Air SkyPass is probably your best option if you want to try Korean Air business class.

When Should You Search for Business Class Award Space?

As with any award booking, begin your search as soon as you know when you 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 East 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, South Korea 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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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?
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards and SPG Starpoints to Korean Air, 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 while American Express provides several personal and small business credit cards that earn Delta SkyMiles.

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.

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