Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the best flexible points currencies out there. With a huge portfolio of credit cards and generous category bonuses, earning points are relatively easy. On the redemption side, there is a number of very useful transfer partners, including Hyatt and United Airlines.
However, it would appear the lineup of transfer partner might be taking a significant hit soon. Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal shows a banner that indicates Korean Air SkyPass will no longer be an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner on Aug. 25.
Interestingly, this banner appears to be timed to show up only after Aug. 15. This means you can only see it if you are abroad, or otherwise in a time zone that is already after midnight. You may be able to replicate the banner by setting your computer’s clock one day forward.
I suspect the reason behind the change is that with Chase UR being a transfer partner, there is virtually no incentive for anyone to apply for credit cards that are specifically Korean Air-branded. Earlier in the year, Korean Air launched a new premium credit card, and the benefits were laughable.
Of course, those who are currently in the U.S. probably won’t be able to see this alert quite yet. Still, I have no reason to believe this is a “test” or a bug of some sort.
If you have plans on eventually transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air, you might want to do it now. Korean Air has a pretty generous policy for SkyPass miles; they expire on Dec. 31 in the 10th year after the miles are earned. For example, miles earned on Aug. 15, 2018 will expire Dec. 31, 2028. That’s plenty of time to use them—of course, not considering the opportunity cost and potential devaluations.
Korean Air SkyPass offers tremendous redemption rates for SkyTeam Business Class awards to Europe, and availability on their own metal is excellent. It really will be a shame to see them leave Chase Ultimate Rewards.