Korean Air: Peak Award Travel

Korean Air Peak Award Travel

Korean Air like many other airlines has dates, which are considered peak travel. For these dates, their award flights can cost twice as many miles. Here are the two charts that are important:

Initial Award Search

We are currently planning a trip for the summer, which means I’ve been using the Korean Air search engines extensively. We were primarily focusing on booking a flight from Asia to US. For 2017, you’ll notice peak season from Asia to North America is: July 14 – August 19th.

Ideally, we would have wanted to leave on July 16th, but it would have cost 240k miles + taxes/fees for two seats in first class. So my goal was to get as close to July 16th as possible to maximize our time in Asia. Here are the results for ICN to SFO on July 14th (the first day of peak season):

Compare that to if we flew ICN to SFO on July 13th:

Now I personally don’t think an extra day or two in Asia is worth 40k miles more per person so I would have probably just gone with the flight on July 13th.

Adding a Connecting Flight

Then I had the great idea of adding a connecting flight to my itinerary. A connecting flight on July 14th obviously still is considered peak season (see example below)

However, if you book a connecting flight that leaves on July 13th and has a long layover (under 24 hours) in Seoul you can effectively get the same peak season flight as seen above, but for non-peak season rates.

Obviously this only really helpful in certain circumstances, but I found it useful to know that Korean Air bases their peak season on the date of the initial flight. The great thing about Korean Air is that they release tons of business and first class award seats (we’re talking 3-4 first class seats per flight) that can be booked online. They also are travel partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards so you can earn miles that way. However, if you’re trying to book a SkyTeam award, that’s a whole different story (tl/dr: it’s a huge pain). I will write a post in a couple weeks about our exciting upcoming flight path.