How to Book 2 Round-Trip Tickets to Hawaii for 50k Chase Points
Does booking two round-trip economy tickets to Hawaii for 50k reward points too good to be true? Well, it isn’t! Using Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, we did just that. There is a sweet spot in the Korean Air SkyPass program to fly round-trip economy to Hawaii for 25k points per person (45k for first class!) from the continental U.S. The best thing about this is that Korean Air is a transfer partner of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program allowing for a 1:1 transfer ratio. This is a spectacular redemption if you are wanting to get to our favorite state for as little as points as possible. In this post, we’ll break out how to book 2 round-trip tickets for 50k Chase points.
Why Transfer Reward Points to Korean Air for Hawaii Redemptions
Korean Air considers Hawaii to be in the same award zone as the continental U.S., unlike most other airlines. This is why the points required is much extremely low at 25k economy and 45k first class. Additionally, Korean Air is part of the SkyTeam Alliance, which includes major airlines like Delta and Air France. As a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, Korean Air can get access to book award flights on other member airlines. To book a flight on Delta, it would run you 45k for economy at the saver level. This is a huge difference in points! This Korean Air sweet spot leverages the SkyTeam alliance partnerships to book award flights on Delta.
Korean Air also has a few advantages in its award flights compared to Delta. Award bookings through Korean Air allow you to include an open jaw and a stopover. This creates much more flexibility as compared to Delta where stopovers and open jaws are no longer allowed on awards.
How to Book Award Flights on Korean Air
There are a few prerequisites to booking award flights on Korean Air. First and foremost, you need to create a Korean SkyPass account so that you need to transfer your Ultimate Reward points to the program. Signing up for the program can be quickly done on their website. Ultimate Rewards points can be easily transferred to Korean’s Skypass via Ultimate Rewards portal, granted you have one of Chase’s premium cards like the Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred.
Secondly, if you’re trying to book an award for two people, the other person must be related to you. The is the only downside to the Skypass program. This means that you can’t book an award ticket for a boyfriend/girlfriend or other friends. Family members can be added through their website. You will also have to show proof of your relationship. In our case, we had to scan and email a copy of our marriage certificate.
After you’ve taken care of those prerequisites, you’re now ready to do some award booking! These are essentially the steps that we will take to book those award seats:
- Find saver availability on Delta
- Take availability from Delta and search on Korean Air
- Book partner award for Delta via Korean Air
We’ll break down step-by-step on how we booked our flight from Nashville to Kona and our return flight from Kauai to Nashville.
Finding Availability on Delta
Although Korean Air has improved their website in the past year, it is still terrible for searching for partner awards. The best place to search for partner awards on Delta is….well, Delta.com. Luckily, Delta’s flight search system is decent even though Delta doesn’t publish their award charts anymore. Delta only releases it’s lowest level awards to SkyTeam partners. At this time, the lowest level award is 22,500 points for a one-way ticket. That is the sweet spot that you’ll have to look for.
Since we just recently went to Oahu and Maui, we thought it would be nice to see the Big Island and Kauai. So went on Delta and searched for one-way flights from Nashville to Kona.
When searching on Delta for availability, you’re probably not going to find your exact date. To see more availability, make sure to select the 5 Week view. Also be sure to show flights operated by Delta and partner airlines.
In our search, we found multiple days with the 22.5k fare. One thing to note is that just because you find the 22.5k fare, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Delta is going to release this award space it to partners. That is the tricky part about searching for availability on Delta. The flight schedules also vary greatly so you will have to look at all the options to find the most optimal flight. For us, there was only one day that had the most efficient schedule.
Since there aren’t any direct flights from Nashville to Kona, we had to look for flights with the least connections as possible. Thankfully, we found one that connected through LAX. If the flight you found has connections, be sure to make note of the connections for when you search for the award space on Delta.
For our return flight back to Nashville, we searched using the same method except changing the departure city to Kauai.
Finding the Award Space on Korean Air
Now that you’ve found the flights you wanted on Delta, it’s time to find it on Korean Air’s site. On Korean Air’s search, you’ll have to make sure that you’re searching for a SkyTeam Award. If you’re utilizing the stopover or open jaw, you’ll also have to search using the Multi-City option.
Unless you’re on the west coast, the flight you found on Delta will probably have a connection or two. The Korean Air award search is very particular. It requires you to search segment by segment for your award. In our scenario for the first leg of the trip, we could not simply search for Nashville to Kona. We had to first search for Nashville to Los Angeles and then Los Angeles to Kona. It was the same scenario for the return leg.
Choosing the Flights
The search results will bring back many options. This is the part where you will have to refer to the flights you found on Delta’s search. The biggest frustration on this step is that sometimes you won’t find the exact flight on Korean’s search that you found on Delta even though the flights listed at 22.5k on Delta’s search. This is most likely due to the Delta’s releasing of it’s award space.
We ran into the biggest hurdle finding availability and had to call Korean Air to ask them to check availability. If you do run into any problems with searching, we highly recommend calling them at 1-800-438-5000. One major thing to note with calling Korean is that they have the ability to hold flights for you up to 30 days.
For our trip, the first flight from Nashville to Kona was easily found on Korean’s site but for some reason the return flight did not have availability. Korean Air was able to hold our first flight for us so that we could keep trying to find the best return flight. Holds can also be utilized in situations where you don’t have enough points for your entire flight yet.
Once we found all the flights that we wanted, booking through the site was easy. The only cash we paid out of pock was $22.40. Pretty crazy for two flights to Hawaii!
If you’re looking for the best value redemption to Hawaii, Korean Air should be number one on your list. It is hard to beat 25k points per person in economy or 45k points in first class. Korean Air SkyPass points can be easily earned using Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program too. In the past few years, this redemption was difficult as it could only be booked via phone but now it is easier than ever to score this awesome redemption. We hope that this little guide on how to Book 2 Round-Trip Tickets to Hawaii for 50k Chase Points was helpful!