I’m thankful that Korean Air is postponing…perhaps indefinitely…a major devaluation of its SkyPass program and in so doing, giving me my week back.
Korean Air Calls Off SkyPass Devaluation In April 2023…Another Reprieve!
Even as I’ve been traveling over the last week, I’ve been incessantly checking for Korean Air First Class award space from Atlanta and New York to Seoul. Why? Because, at least until yesterday, Korean Air planned to roll out a devaluation to its award chart beginning on April 1, 2023 and I wanted to secure first class award seats before that devaluation occurred.
Right now, off-peak first class seats between the USA and North Asia run only 80,000 miles one-way…a comparatively superb value. But come April 1st, that price was set to rise to 120,000 miles. That’s a 50% increase and I have no desire to pay it…if I can avoid it.
So over the last few weeks, I’ve been checking night and day trying to get a single first class seat on the 747-8 on a date that works for me.
But while space occasionally pops up a day before travel, space has not opened on a date that works for me. There also were a couple days in 2024 that had space, but I find that very speculative at this point: what if Korean pulls the 747-8 (with Kosmo Suites 2.0) and puts in a 777-300?
Prior to the pandemic, first class awards on Korean Air were easy to book. You could book days, weeks, or months in advance and some flight offered up to four award seats. These days, I never see more than one seat a time.
During this process, I’ve also tried the Korean Air waitlist feature for award seats, but have never cleared the waitlist.
So when Korean Air announced that it would not devalue SkyPass as planned, it came as a huge relief.
I’d still recommend you use your SkyPass miles sooner rather than later, but the urgency has been lifted. I’ll stick check once or twice a day for the dates I want, but I will no longer be an hourly check…
And on a broader note, kudos to Korean Air. I bet many people were in my boat, having saved years for a dream trip. Even with immense prior warning (I do give Korean Air credit for that), the lack of availability has made it difficult of late to use these miles in any meaningful way.
How many Korean Air miles are you sitting on? What are your travel plans?
(images: Korean Air // H/T: One Mile At A Time)
If you’re going to talk about this, then you have to talk about why even KE did this in the first place. They did this because the current South Korean administration is forcing them to do so. The Land and Transport Minister (correct me if I’m wrong) warned them of penalties if they continued with this because most people in KE has the largest market share in Korea in the airline sector and would hurt affect them.
I have a soft spot for KE, though. My first trip abroad for my job was to oversee some joint investments with a conglomerate company over in Korea and they actually treated me to First Class, which was the first time I flew first class in my life.
I was fortunate enough to find ICN-ATL in first class this May just this past weekend and booked it. But I wanted to add a flight from Japan which was available but in J as the search engine won’t combine classes. I’ve since found out you can’t contact KE. This USA 800 number rings busy, website has no other contact information, chat useless, Twitter wouldn’t allow DM. Was about to Skype the Korean number when the flight I wanted was taken. One and done for me with KE.
Interesting you found May space so recently. I missed it. I’ve been searching over same dates. We were competing for that same seat! 😉
How do you combine one leg in First Class and the other leg in Business Class?
You have to call and book/change this over the phone.
Thee were 2 when I looked 1 seat on Tuesdays beginning of May. Gone now, next time I’ll let you know!
Would you happen to know whether one can use Flying Blue miles to book KE F [and any idea of the pricing between Europe and ICN]?
I was looking at 70,000 Delta miles for a one way ECONOMY class Korean transpacific flight in May. Crazy. United wanted 38,500 miles.