Fly round trip to Hawaii for only 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards on Delta. This even includes flights from the East Coast! This isn’t an easy strategy and will require a little bit of leg work. But, when you can save thousands on your trip to Aulani, it’s worth the effort. Here are step by step instructions on how you can fly Delta to Hawaii with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Update 8/27/2018: Chase has dropped Korean as transfer partner, so this deal longer works.
How It Works
This strategy involves transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Korean Air. Korean Air is a partner with Delta. You’ll use the points in your Korean Air SkyPass account to book a flight on Delta.
Korean Air considers Hawaii like other US domestic flights so you can book it for 25,000 points, much lower than Delta would charge.
Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards are our favorite points currency. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for people who are new to Chase Ultimate Rewards. It has a sign up bonus up to 55,000 points (50,000 after spending $4,000 in three months and another 5,000 after adding an authorized user). If you’re new to CURs, here’s a great post on how to build a Chase Ultimate Rewards Strategy.
Find Your Flights
Here are the steps you need to take in order to explore flight options that will work.
Step 1: Search Flights on Delta
Pick some dates that might work for your plans to visit Hawaii. In our case, we’re going to Disney’s Aulani through Honolulu.
While you can only book round trip flights using points on Korean Air, it’s easiest to search award availability on Delta each way. So, select “One Way.” Also, select “Flexible Days” because it will make it easier to see other options. Finally, make sure you’re looking “Miles” flights instead of money flights.
Step 2: Adjust Your View
Change the Calendar View to “5 Weeks.” Also make sure you’re set to “Delta Only” flights. Then, “Update Results.”
Step 3: Find “Lowest Fare” Options
The options you’ll have to book through Korean at 25,000 miles, are the ones marked “Lowest Fare” on Delta. Ignore the number of miles quoted by Delta. That’s not what you’ll ultimately pay. Click on the date you’re interested in flying.
Step 4: Write Down the Flight Information
Make sure you look for the flights that are tagged “Lowest Fare.” Write down the details for the flight you want.
Step 5: Repeat Steps 1-4 to Find Your Return Flight
You’ve found a flight that will work going to or from your destination. Now you need to find your flight going the other direction.
Step 6: Create a Korean Air SkyPass Account
If you haven’t already, create a Korean Air Skypass account. It will take about 3 minutes.
Step 7: SkyTeam Award
Click “Redeem Miles”. It will prompt you to log into your SkyPass account if you’re not already logged in. This will cause “SkyTeam Award” to show up and you’ll want to click it.
Step 8: Enter Travel Information
Enter the dates and airports from your search on Delta.
Step 9: Select Flights
Select the exact flight numbers you wrote down with Delta. Then, click “Calculate” at the bottom. USD is just telling you what currency you’ll pay for the taxes.
Step 10: Confirm Mileage Requirement
Now you’ve confirmed your round trip flight to Hawaii is only 25,000 miles.
Step 11: Create a Family Plan
Korean Air will only let you use miles for your own flight unless you create a Family Plan. This is distinctly different from almost every other airline. We’ve outlined the process to create a Family Plan. It will take you about 30 minutes. Korean Air says it takes 1-2 weeks to process your request. It took them 4 days in our case.
Step 12: Hold Your Flight While You Transfer Points
Now you’ll want to call and hold the flights you want. You can hold them for up 30 days for free. If your flight is less than 30 days away, you’ll have up until 72 hours before its scheduled departure. Holding your flight is important because it gives you time to transfer your points from Chase Ultimate Rewards without the risk of those award seats disappearing. Here’s what you do:
First, call Korean Air at 800-438-5000. Tell them you want to book an award flight on a partner airline and they’ll transfer you to the SkyPass team. Then, tell the representative you want to hold a flight and give him/her the flight details. Now, the Korean Air representative will tell you to fill out this form and submit it back to them. You will have to include pictures of IDs like you’d use at the airport (driver’s license, passport, etc.). It will likely take a few days for this to be processed but it could be longer.
Step 13: Book Your Flight
Lucky 13. When you receive the email saying Korean Air has processed your submission, it’s time to transfer your points from Chase. It normally takes less than a day for Chase Ultimate Rewards to transfer. When the points show up in your account, you’ll need to call Korean Air back and confirm your flight which includes paying the points and taxes.
Is It Worth It?
It’s a lot of work, right? The round trip flight we used in our example from Atlanta to Honolulu cost over $900. If you’re flying a family of four to Aulani, you’d save $3,600 in flights from our example in exchange for 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards. That’s an amazing trade off when you consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a sign up bonus up to 55,000 points (50,000 after spending $4,000 in three months and another 5,000 after adding an authorized user).