How to Grab a Flight to Korea Using Points and Miles

The Kim-cheat codes to a cheap flight to Seoul.
the sunrise skyline of seoul in south korea


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What are travel credit cards, and how do they work?

Travel credit cards are financial products that offer various rewards and benefits geared towards frequent travelers. They typically earn you points or miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. These rewards can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and other travel-related expenses. Travel credit cards may also include perks like travel insurance, airport lounge access, and no foreign transaction fees.

How do I choose the best travel credit card for my needs?

Choosing the best travel credit card depends on your travel habits, spending patterns, and preferences. Consider factors like the type of rewards offered (points, miles, or cash back), the card’s annual fee, sign-up bonuses, earning rates, redemption options, and additional travel perks. Analyzing these features will help you find a card that aligns with your lifestyle and offers the most value.

What are the benefits of using a travel credit card over other types of credit cards?

Travel credit cards provide unique advantages for travelers, such as earning rewards specifically tailored to travel expenses. Additionally, many travel credit cards offer travel-related perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and travel insurance. Some cards also waive foreign transaction fees, making them ideal for international travelers.

What is a sign-up bonus, and how can I qualify for it?

A sign-up bonus is a promotional offer provided by the credit card issuer to entice new cardholders. To qualify for a sign-up bonus, you usually need to meet specific spending requirements within a certain timeframe after opening the account. The bonus can be in the form of points, miles, or cash back, and it’s a great way to jump-start your rewards earning.

Do travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees?

Not all travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees. Many of the top-tier travel cards waive these fees, making them ideal for international travel. However, it’s essential to read the card’s terms and conditions to confirm this before using it abroad.

How can I maximize the rewards earned with my travel credit card?

To maximize rewards, use your travel credit card for everyday expenses and large purchases. Take advantage of bonus categories and special promotions to earn more points or miles. Consider combining your travel credit card with loyalty programs to stack rewards and get even more value out of your purchases.

If a flight to Korea isn’t at the top of your travel wishlist, it should be.

South Korea, obviously not the North, is fast becoming the coolest destination in Asia. Often passed over for the ever-popular Japan, this brilliant country is coming into its own. It can owe some of that newfound glory to its juggernaut of a music scene, but its reputation as a creative powerhouse has been simmering to a boil for years.

These days, a flight to Korea is as hot a ticket as a BLACKPINK or BTS show. But with that popularity comes sky-high cash prices, especially in peak season. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Points and miles can get you there for pennies.

Read on to discover the best ways to grab a flight to Korea using points and miles.

Finding the best airlines for a flight to Korea using points and miles

Whether you take our advice or do your own thing, the first step in any search for a flight to Korea is to research your routes. Check your local airport’s options: the airlines that fly from there; the routes they take; those airlines’ partners. The more information you have, the better.

From there, you can piece together the best options for your flight to Korea. Some of our advice might work perfectly, as we’ve opted for award chart-based systems, but it’s possible you could find a stellar deal at your own airport.

Using ANA for a flight to Korea using points

Our first and best option for a flight to Korea using points is ANA. The Japanese airline appears in our points and miles guides almost every week, simply because it’s that good.

The airline operates a zonal award-based chart, so you can rely on consistent pricing and some staggeringly good deals. The only minor frustration is that you can only book roundtrip flights, so if your travel is more open-ended, you may be unable to use ANA.

But often, you’ll find a roundtrip flight to Korea with ANA to be cheaper than a one-way flight with another airline. In this case, it’s possible to find a roundtrip flight to Korea for as little as 45,000 points in economy and 95,000 points in business class. That’s incredible.

How to earn enough ANA points

Earning enough ANA points to score one of those deals is simple. While only one credit card issuer allows its customers to transfer points to ANA, that issuer is American Express, so you have plenty of cards to open and use to achieve your goal.

Otherwise, you can earn ANA points by flying with the airline or listing your membership when flying with a partner.

Here are a few different American Express products you could use to earn a flight to Korea.

The American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card is an excellent option for your flight to Korea. The card’s 60,000 point intro bonus, earned after spending $6,000 within six months, earns you more than enough to grab that low-end 45,000 point roundtrip.

American Express® Gold Card

60,000 Membership Rewards® Points

after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 6 months of card membership

Annual Fee: $250  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card is American Express’ most premium product. While it does have a hefty annual fee, it’s nullified by a mega 80,000-point intro bonus. You’ll need to spend $8,000 within six months of opening the card to earn those points. Considering the spending threshold, you’ll only be 2,000 points away from being able to afford two roundtrips.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

80,000 Membership Rewards® Points

after you spend $8,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of card membership

Annual Fee: $695  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Using Alaska Airlines MileagePlan for a flight to Korea using points

Another excellent option is Alaska Airlines MileagePlan. While the program isn’t as strong as it used to be, it still has some outstanding deals with its partners. It’s possible to find one-way flights for as little as 30,000 miles—not quite as good as ANA, but still pretty impressive.

You will have to wrangle with availability but do your research, and it’s more than possible to find an excellent deal for your flight to Korea.

How to earn enough Alaska Airlines MileagePlan points

The downside to Alaska Airlines is that earning its miles is limited to flying with the airline and its partners or opening a co-branded credit card. With that in mind, your only option is this card. 

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is for far more people than Alaska Airlines fans. In fact, fans of the airline’s partners will reap the most benefits from it. It’s currently running a sweet 70,000-mile intro bonus, earned by spending $3,000 within three months of opening the card.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

70,000 Bonus Miles

plus Alaska’s Companion Fare from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. Must spend $3,000 in purchases withing the first 90 days of opening your account.

Annual Fee: $95  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Using Air Canada’s Aeroplan for a flight to Korea

Air Canada’s Aeroplan is another airline program that features heavily in our weekly guides. Its generous zonal award chart means it’s a reliable source of great deals and should always feature in any search for flights.

For a flight to Korea, the rates will depend on the location. Those on the West Coast can get the best rates in this scenario, with a one-way flight dropping as low as 45,000 points. Those on the East will be better served with one of the other options listed in this article, but it’s still not a terrible option.

How to earn Aeroplan points

The big benefit of Air Canada’s Aeroplan is the ease with which you can earn points. Capital One, American Express, and Chase all allow transfers to your Aeroplan account, giving you an incredible range with your strategy. Here are just a few cards you could check out.

card_name

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card could just about get you a flight to Korea and back with its generous 75,000-mile intro bonus. When you consider the fact you’ll need to spend $4,000 within three months to earn it, and its 2x miles per dollar on everything, you’ll have at least 83,000 miles in the bank. That’s a good start, if nothing else.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee: $395  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could top up that balance if you have time to open two cards before your flight to Korea. Its 60,000-point intro, also earned by spending $4,000 within three months, would leave you with over 140,000 Aeroplan points to play with.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

60,000 Bonus Points

after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening

Annual Fee: $95  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

The point

Just because a flight to Korea is pricey, doesn’t mean you need to pay it. With so many airlines offering tremendous points and miles deals, you’ll be jetting off in no time, with extra bulgogi money to boot.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

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