Korean Air SkyPass now has SkyTeam awards online. Yay!
An airline program jumps in utility to me when awards are bookable online. I spent tedious hours last night calling Singapore and Etihad about Virgin Australia awards that it turns out neither can book. Neither airline has bothered to provide partner award search functionality online.
What I look for in online award search:
- Flexible search (multi-day/week search)
- Advanced search (multi-city)
- Usability features like support NYC search instead of requiring individual search for LGA, JFK and EWR
- Accuracy of results (no phantom space or excluded space)
- Comprehensiveness of results (no missing partners or routes)
Searching SkyTeams Awards:
Existing SkyTeam search options from airlines are a poor lot since nwa.com was shut down.
Delta has some partners and some advanced features, but nothing is reliable enough to have full confidence in the results. Only some partners are online. I often have to call in to book, for instance US to Australia via Asia. Some partners are subject to Delta-imposed blackout dates. Delta also does not show partner international first class space, as well much trans-Atlantic space on Air France KLM is blocked, so Delta is not a good proxy for searches intending to use other airline programs to book.
Air France KLM Flying Blue is more representative of SkyTeam availability, albeit with phantom award space. Functionality has annoying limitations such as multi-city search that requires return to the original origin.
Road-Testing Korean Air SkyTeam Award Booking:
Korean Air SkyPass has launched SkyTeam award booking with limited but useful functionality.
You need to use this page rather than the homepage search.
At first blush:
- Speed – a bit pokey
- Flexible search – only date-specific search
- Advanced search – multi-city and open jaw is supported
- Usability – fails the NYC search test (must search LGA/JFK/EWR separately), but has nice features like clear flight detail and # of seats available
- Accuracy of results – seems solid
- Comprehensiveness of results – SkyTeam seems represented, for instance Kenya Airways searches fine which is not on delta.com; non-SkyTeam partners are missing (Alaska, Emirates, Etihad, GOL, Hawaiian, and JAL)
This is solid tool to use in your SkyTeam award searches!
Korean Air SkyPass SkyTeam Award Routing Rules and Best Awards:
Travel is Free wrote the manual on Korean Air SkyPassrouting rules and best awards. To maximize Korean Air SkyPass you need to study that post.
The basic SkyTeam award routing rules are:
- SkyTeam awards price as roundtrip, even if you book one-way
- You can open jaw at your destination
- You can only have 3 segments each way (2 connections)
- You can have 1 stopover
The Travel is Free post does into a lot more detail on routing rules exceptions and some awesome awards.
A key theme is that there is a North America region that includes US 48, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada Mexico, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. Many other airlines separate these into multiple, more expensive regions to cross.
Similarly, South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Oceania all are massive zones. Only Asia is separated into 3 zones
See the SkyTeam award chart here.
Some popular SkyTeam awards from the US:
- US 48 to Hawaii for 25k/45k roundtrip in economy/business on Delta (both in North America)
- North America to Europe for 50k/80k roundtrip in economy/business
- USA to Tahiti for 60k/90k roundtrip in economy/business on Air France (this is an exception the rest of Oceania, which is 110k/185k)
It’s great to have a new SkyTeam search tool and another airline with partner award online booking!