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.
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.
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
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:
- Go to Korean Air’s website
- Select “Redeem Miles”
- Log in with your User ID or SkyPass number
- Select your origin and destination
- Select your travel dates
- Select “Prestige Class”
- Select your flights
- 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 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:
- Go to Delta’s website
- Log in to your SkyMiles account
- Select “Book A Trip”
- Enter your origin and destination
- Enter your travel dates; choose “Exact Dates” or “Flexible Dates”
- You can also use “Advanced Search” to search by month
- Select to show the price in “Miles”
- Select your flights
- Make sure the flight is operated by Korean Air (this will be clearly stated)
- Review your itinerary
- 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
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!
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 Rewards, Citi 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)
Business Owner? See our article on Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.
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Business Owner? See our article on Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards.
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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 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.
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!
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