Redeeming Korean Air Miles Has Become Significantly Easier

a blue airplane with a logo on the tail

I’m one of the charter members of the “Korean Air Fan Club” and in recent years have been funneling the vast majority of my Chase Ultimate Rewards points into the Korean Air Skypass program. I’m planning a trip to Asia later this year, and decided to finally cash in those Skypass miles. I blocked off an hour of time to go through the incredibly confusing and annoying award booking experience that I remembered from 2014, but to my surprise, I had confirmed tickets in my account in less than 10 minutes.

Long gone is the process that existed before – here are some of the key enhancements that I’ve noticed:

Updated award search function

Because of the clunkiness of the old Korean Air website, I’ve found that the easiest way to find Korean Air award availability previously was through Expertflyer. The entire Korean Air website was overhauled last year, and now that I’ve actually tried booking an award ticket, it’s a huge improvement over the old one even if this is really just playing catch-up to some of the other airline sites out there.

korean air award search

Book stopovers online

Based on my previous experiences, it was basically impossible to book an award ticket with a stopover online. Remember that Korean Air allows a stopover in Korea, even on a one-way ticket, which is a terrific benefit. Based on the sample search above, the new site displays all available options for each leg of the trip on one screen. In addition, the number of available award seats is displayed, along with a hyperlink to the airplane type to see exactly what type of seats it will have.

korean air award booking stopover

This is particularly important if you’re booking First Class and want to try Korean Air’s new Kosmo Suite 2.0 which is only available on the Boeing 747-8i, which services routes such as San Francisco and London.

korean air kosmo suites 2.0

Pay online for your ticket

And last but certainly not least, Korean Air has updated their payment systems to the 21st century, and now allow you to pay for your ticket online! Gone are the days when you had to call, wait 15 minutes for an agent, spend the next 15 minutes going through a series of automated prompts to pay for your ticket, and then to wait 2-3 days for the ticket to be issued. After paying online, I had an email confirmation with my ticket number within minutes.

I may be late to the game in noticing some of these enhancements, and am glad that these improvements will only make it easier for me to book Korean Air tickets in the future.


  1. Can you clarify if this is only for booking travel that is actually on Korean metal? Can you use the website to book travel on other skyteam partners using your Korean skypass miles?

    I tried that several months ago and the website was not happy. I also got some weird pushback from phone agents regarding routing rules. They wouldn’t let me route SEA-SLC-AMS on DL, saying it was too out of the way, and i’d need to go through MSP or DTW.

    1. It appears that the online functionality is just for KE metal, to book partner awards you’d still need to call-in.

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