Korean Air has unveiled plans to revamp its
SkyPass frequent flyer program.
In November 2020, Korean Air will introduce the
option to use a combination of miles and cash/credit card to
purchase flight tickets for a test-run period.
In April 2021, the
airline will implement a more rational and segmented system for
mileage accrual and redemption based on airfares and distances
Additionally, a new SkyPass elite membership system
consisting of four levels - silver, gold, platinum and diamond -
will be introduced in February 2022. Elite membership levels will
be granted based on the number of miles accrued during the
previous year, lowering membership entry barriers.
Delta Air Lines, British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa and
Singapore Airlines already offer a cash and miles
payment option to customers.
Korean Air plans
to offer the mixed payment option for a test-run period from
November 2020 to 31 December 2022, and make improvements
afterwards based on its experience.
The new mileage accrual rates will correlate to airfares
while taking accrual rates of major international airlines into
consideration. Customers will earn more mileage when taking first
or prestige classes, while they will gain the same or less mileage
for economy class depending on the corresponding booking class.
First class booking classes that accrued 200% and
165% of the normal mileage earned will increase to rates of 300%
and 250%, respectively. Also, mileage accrual for prestige class
booking classes J (135% accrual rate), C and D (125% accrual rate)
will increase to 200%, 175% and 150%, respectively. The economy
fare booking classes Y, B, M, S, H, E will maintain their 100% accrual rate while the mileage accrual rate for promotional
booking classes will decrease. Accrual rates for booking classes
K, L and U will decrease from 100% to 75%; G from 80% to 50%; and
Q, N and T from 70% to 25%.
Korean Air's new mileage redemption rates will be based on eleven
segment zones -- one domestic zone and 10 international zones that
are categorized according to flight distance.
For example, zone 1
is made up of routes that are less than 500 miles (e.g.
Incheon-Qingdao) while zone 9 is composed of routes that are
between 6,500 and 10,000 miles (e.g. Incheon-New York). The new system will replace the current classification of five regions.
According to the new mileage redemption system,
some routes will require less mileage while others will call for
more. For example, an economy class award ticket for the
Incheon-Fukuoka route during off season, which currently requires
15,000 miles, will be categorized as a zone 1 flight and require
only 10,000 miles. Mileage required to travel from Incheon to
Hawaii will also be reduced to 32,500 miles from the current
On the other hand, the redemption
amount to travel from Incheon to Singapore will increase from
20,000 to 22,500 miles, and the Incheon-Paris route, from 35,000
to 40,000 miles.
The criteria for mileage
deductions for partner airlines will also change to correspond to
Korean Air's new system of ten international segment zones. The
previously unavailable one-way redemptions, partial refunds and
family plan will now be possible.
Korean Air will begin to grant customers elite membership
status on a yearly basis according to the mileage they accrued in
the previous year. The new elite membership will be composed of
silver, gold, platinum and diamond levels, following global
aviation industry trends.
New Elite Member Status
miles or more on Korean Air or 10 qualifying flights
on Korean Air
miles or more on Korean Air or 40 qualifying flights on Korean Air
miles or more on Korean Air or 70 qualifying flights
on Korean Air
One Korea domestic
segment is counted as a half a qualifying flight.
Currently, Korean Air's SkyPass elite membership is composed of
three levels: Morning Calm, Morning Calm Premium and Million
Miler. To attain the Morning Calm Club membership, one needs to
meet one of the following three requirements: obtain over 50,000
miles, fly on at least 40 international flights, or earn 50,000
miles on Korean Air and SkyPass partner airlines combined (at least 30,000 miles flown on Korean Air). The new policy lowers the
entry barrier to 10,000 miles or ten flights per year, which
will enable more passengers to enjoy the benefits of SkyPass elite
New elite members who have met the
requirements in 2021 will be eligible as an elite member for a
year from 1 February 2022 to 31 January 2023.
While maintaining the benefits for existing SkyPass elite members,
Korean Air will introduce various additional benefits. Elite
members will earn additional miles whenever they fly: 20% for
silver, 40% for gold, 60% for platinum and 80% for diamond.
Members who acquire a platinum membership based on
their annual record will be awarded a voucher for round-trip
upgrades, which can be used on international routes in zones 1-6.
Diamond members will receive a voucher for round-trip upgrades on
all routes, as well as an invitation to appoint a family member as
a silver elite member.
Morning Calm Premium and
Million Miler members, whose status is permanent, will keep their
lifetime membership as gold and platinum levels, respectively.
Meanwhile, those who meet current qualifications for
Morning Calm membership between February 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023, will be given a silver status for two years. And, those who
meet current qualifications for Morning Calm Premium and Million
Miler membership between February 1, 2022 and December 31, 2024
will be provided gold and platinum status, respectively, for three