New: Book Awards to Hawaii Online for Just 25,000 Miles RT!

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Hawaii is a very popular award travel destination, and of course families are always looking for the best way to stretch their airline miles to get everyone there in as economical a way as possible. For a few years now one of the cheapest airline awards to Hawaii from the rest of the United States has been available via Korean Air. As is often the case with theses sort of things, you don’t actually fly on Korean Air to Hawaii from the US, but instead you fly on their SkyTeam partner, Delta. Korean Air is a 1:1 transfer partner from Chase Ultimate Rewards, so many of us have access to Korean miles even if we have never flown that airline in the past.

Grand Hyatt Kauai or St. Regis Princeville

This deal is possible because Korean Air’s SkyTeam award chart groups all of North America together, so a saver award round trip between New York and Hawaii in economy on Delta is just 25,000 miles when booked via Korean. This is the same price as if you were just flying from New York to Atlanta round trip. In other words, this is an award chart sweet spot!

Korean Airlines Award Chart

That isn’t new news, but the new news is that you can now book awards on Delta and some other SkyTeam partner airlines on the Korean Air website! Previously you had to call, which is never a super fun extra step.

The Korean website is not great for searching for availability on partner flights, so I recommend using the Delta website and their 5 week flexible date search to spot the dates where flights to Hawaii are available for just 45,000 Delta miles round trip. Assuming the flights are operated by Delta, you should then be able to head to the Korean website and find the same availability for just 25,000 Korean miles that you can transfer in from Chase Ultimate Rewards and cards like the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, etc. You will need to register for a Korean Air account before you can search.

Make sure these boxes are checked to search for awards on Delta

Make sure these boxes are checked to search for awards on Delta

Theoretically you can book first class round trip flights to Hawaii on Delta for just 45,000 Korean miles round trip, but bless your heart if you are searching for those. It happens, but it’s like needle in a haystack level searching, so I really recommend convincing yourself that economy is fine if you want to go to Hawaii using just 25,000 Korean miles.

hawaii-award-25000-jpg

If you want to maximize this award chart sweet spot, but Hawaii isn’t your only goal, keep in mind that Korean classifies Mexico, all of the United States, US Virgin Islands, Canada, and Puerto Rico in the North America zone so any of saver awards on Delta will cost you just 25,000 miles round trip in economy and 45,000 miles round trip in first class.

 

One still annoying piece of this booking puzzle is that Korean only allows you to book award flights for your immediate family members such as for your parents, your children, your grandchildren, in-laws, etc. and this requires form completion and documentation that you send to engskypass at koreanair.com.

I recommend reading this post by One Mile at a Time for more details on the exact booking process, though keep in mind that post was written before you could book SkyTeam partner awards online. On the upside, you can put tickets on hold while completing their booking process and transferring in points from Ultimate Rewards or SPG.

Hawaii for just 25,000 miles round trip!

Hawaii for just 25,000 miles round trip!

I haven’t yet booked awards to Hawaii via Korean, but I hope to in the future. Having this partner booking functionality available online is a big step in the right direction in making it a bit more accessible. If you have used this award chart sweet spot to get to Hawaii (or plan to in the future), I’d love to hear about it! In the meantime, time to stock up on some more Ultimate Reward points….

Thanks to Dans Deals for sharing news of this new functionality

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

    • Not really. Economy awards are more plentiful than I have seen at some points in the past. Some of my searches turned up 9+ seats at that level. Of course peak season will be harder, but it isn’t impossible at the economy level.

  1. I’ve used Korean twice now to take our family of 5 to Hawaii. If this is bookable online now, this will be a huge improvement. You do have to jump through some hoops to get your family all set up so you can book flights, but saving 100k points/miles (25k on Korean vs 45k on Delta x 5) is more than worth it.

    FYI, I’m flying out DSM for these, so it isn’t only doable for large markets. You may need to plan 11 months out, but it is easily doable.

    • Off topic: I always feel a little glee when I see someone on the mileage blogs or Flyertalk that’s also from Iowa. I’m just outside of DSM too 🙂

    • Hi Kevin,
      Also from DSM here, Ive been trying to find dsm to LIH for a few months now. what months have you been able to get the 25k round trips to hawaii?

      • I actually just found level 1 Delta to LIH for august, however coming from MSP instead of DSM. I am willing to depart from MSP for the 25000 awards (x4 flyers). I called Korean air as these flights didnt show up in the new skypass search. I am waiting the callback to confirm.

        Can anyone confirm if all parties need to get a skypass number?

      • Wow – another DSM mileage junkie! 😀 If you’re stuck on doing the Delta-Korean option, I haven’t done that yet, but we’ve had good luck recently with using Singapore miles for UA. We’ll be taking our family of 4 to OGG for Spring Break in a couple of months. Transferred Citi TYP to Singapore and got tickets on United (economy) for 17,500 points per person per way. Not bad at all. Right now they even still have seats on our dates for the best possible flights each way – involving about 10.5 hours of total travel time, with only 1 stop in Denver (layovers are 1h15 outbound and 2h or so on the return). Granted OGG is easier to get to than LIH in this case, but interisland travel is easy.

  2. Found seats here and there during off season out of JFK… But, that long a flight would only travel Business.. What mileage points am I looking for on Delta to get the 45k on on Korean .. 80K? Probably impossible anytime of the year I’m sure.

  3. The inability to book for others kills this deal for me. I was planning a trip to Hawaii but I am going with friends, not family. I often pay for friends’ travel with my own points and miles.

  4. I’m here in Hawaii now with my family of 4, having used Korean Air miles on Delta! I booked the tickets in August and there was lots of availability then.

  5. Wow this is great news! Having to call them, then they call you back, then availability is never the same as what you could see was a major PIA. Setting up a family account involves a little paper work but it’s easy compared to the old method of calling them to book these awards. This is a major improvement.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I’m in the middle of the process now and have tickets on hold. 4 nights on the Big Island and then 6 nights in Kauai. Award nights at Koloa Landing in Kauai that used to be part of Wyndham but now part of Marriott. The phone process is very cumbersome. There is good availability out of SLC though (and even a direct flight out of HNL on the flight home).

  7. Too bad one can’t take advantage of this now in tandom with using a Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade and book a trip for March. Yet another nail in the coffin (albeit the DSU change took effect last March) for Hyatt along with the nonescence that is WOH. I’ll be moving my business elsewhere.

  8. You are also permitted a stopover. Ilike to fly my family of four to the west coast, stay 4-5 days, then fly to a Hawaiian island. This year it’s the big island. Then I buy us a cheap interisland flight and depart from a different island (25,000 miles plus interisland flight). It feels like3 vacations in one! Good luck. Availability is tough to find, but possible!

  9. Very timely post. I’m getting ready to book flights in the next couple weeks for a trip in September from ORD to LIH for my family of three. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks for the great information! Aloha!

  10. So do you submit the paperwork before or after you put your flight on hold? Does everyone in the family have to have a SkyPass account or just me?
    I’m thinking ahead and hoping to do this for April 2018.

  11. When I try to search KoreanAir.com for flights, selecting ‘SkyTeam Award’ certain airports are not available.

    In my case I am trying to go from OAK or SFO to KOA. I can find these flights just fine on Delta.com but airports drop out when I select “Award Booking”.

    Will I likely be able to reserve these flights over the phone? I plan to call soon but need my wife, and her parents to confirm they can a week off work.

    Thanks!

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