Seoul, South Korea to Bangkok, Thailand

Star Alliance Partners
Korean Air and United Airlines are Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners.

Korean Air and United Airlines are Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners.

 

 

Direct Flight from Seoul, South Korea to Bangkok, Thailand

I am looking for non-stop flight from Seoul, South Korea to Bangkok, Thailand and there are 3 airlines offer that:

  1. Korean Air – member of SkyTeam Alliance
  2. Asiana Airlines – member of Star Alliance
  3. Thai Airways – member of Star Alliance

I do not have membership in any of these 3 airlines miles programs.  Because of the alliance partners and benefit of the travel award credit cards, I can still redeem the award tickets by utilizing the established networks.  Here are my options:

  1. Chase Ultimate Rewards can transfer points to Korean Air.
  2. Citi ThankYou Points can transfer points to Thai Airways.
  3. Since Asiana Airlines, Thai Airways, and United Airlines are in Star Alliance partnership, I can use United MileagePlus Miles to redeem award tickets for Asiana Airlines or Thai Airways. If there is not enough miles in United MileagePlus account, I can transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards to United MileagePlus.

Now you can feel the flexibility of different programs among each other.  Therefore, I emphasis diversify your miles/points in different programs and focus on points/miles that are not specific to one airlines, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, Amex Membership Rewards.

Option 1:

I do not have any miles in the SkyTeam Alliance Members.  If I travel by Korean Air, I need to use my Chase Ultimate Rewards.  From ICN to BKK by Korean Air, one-way economy class award ticket is 20,000 miles and one-way business class award ticket is 35,000 miles for off-peak season travel before July 17.  Roundtrip award ticket will be 2X of one-way award miles.

Korean Air has no change fees and cancellation fess.  They do not have any advance booking requirement, but the representative recommend me to have at least 3 days if I book it online because they need to verify passport information before issuing ticket, and have at least 7 days if I redeem the award ticket via the phone because they require you to fill out an award application, in which take more time to review.

Option 2:

I am not a member of Asiana Club.  If I need to travel with Asiana Airlines, I need to redeem the award ticket from United MileagePlus account because none of the travel award credit cards have connection with Asiana Ailrines.

One-way economy class award ticket requires 20,000 miles and one-way business class award ticket requires 40,000 miles by using United MileagePlus miles to travel with Asiana Airlines.  Roundtrip award ticket will be 2X of one-way award miles.

United Airlines has a lot of overwhelming award ticket service fees.

  • Booking a MileagePlus award ticket through any channel, less than 21 days before departure – $75 fees
  • Booking a MileagePlus award ticket by phone through the United Customer Contact Center, regardless of departure date – $25 fees
  • Making a change 21 or more days prior to the date of travel (no change to origin/destination) – $75 fees
  • Making any change less than 21 days prior to the date of travel; or changing origin/destination at any time – $100 fees
  • Canceling your trip and re-crediting the miles, up to one year from the original date of issue – $200 fees

Above are the fees for general member and you might pay less fees if you are United Premier member.

Option 3:

If I decide to travel by Thai Airways, I can transfer Citi ThankYou points into Thai Royal Orchid Plus or I can redeem the award ticket thru United MileagePlus since both airlines are partners in Star Alliance program.

Should I redeem the award ticket directly from Thai Royal Orchid Plus or should I redeem the award ticket from United MileagePlus?

Thai Royal Orchid Plus has a complex structure in award chart.  They allow one-way and roundtrip award, but one-way award is not 50% of roundtrip award, i.e. it costs you more if you redeem an one-way award ticket.

From Seoul to Bangkok by using Thai Royal Orchid Plus:

  • one-way economy award ticket requires 31,500 miles
  • roundtrip economy award ticket requires 45,000 miles
  • one-way business award ticket requires 52,500 miles
  • roundtrip business award ticket requires 75,000 miles

If I use MileagePlus account to redeem Thai Airways award ticket, one-way economy class award ticket requires 20,000 miles (roundtrip 40,000 miles) and one-way business class award ticket requires 40,000 miles (roundtrip 80,000 miles).  It will cost less in using United MileagePlus to redeem Thai Airways award ticket in most cases.

Thai Royal Orchid Plus also has a complex structure in service fees, but it is slightly cheaper than United MileagePlus.

After I lay out all chooses, it is easier to plan for the trip.

If you are planning for your trip and need some input, you can send us an email at king@CrazyForMiles.com or leave your questions in the comment section, we will give you some feedback.

Refer and Win

Win “Two Award Roundtrip Tickets by Southwest Airlines from any domestic US airport to Las Vegas” or “$200 Target Gift Card”

 

 

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