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When you think of deals on Star Alliance award bookings, your first thoughts might be Avianca LifeMiles, Air Canada Aeroplan, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. However, the Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles program can offer a wide variety of excellent redemptions that are often overlooked.
Assuming you hold Bilt, Capital One, or Citi rewards currencies (or even Marriott Bonvoy points), you can transfer these to Turkish for even better redemptions. Today, we'll review a few of Turkish Airlines' top sweet spots within its Miles and Smiles rewards program.
- Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles Award Chart
- Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles Sweet Spots
- Fly United Airlines in the United States
- Fly United Airlines Polaris from the United States to Europe
- Fly Turkish Airlines from the United States to Turkey
- Fly EgyptAir business class from the United States to Egypt
- Fly business class from the United States to India
- Fly business class from the United States to eastern Asian hubs
- How To Earn Turkish Miles and Smiles
- Final Thoughts
Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles Award Chart
Turkish Airlines has made it significantly easier over the years to redeem miles for partner awards, not just for flights on Turkish metal. Unlike airlines with dynamic pricing, Turkish offers an award chart, so you can determine how many miles a flight will typically cost.
The chart itself is quite large, so to make it easier to read, keep in mind a few key points. First, the prices listed are for round-trip bookings. If you want the price for a one-way ticket, just divide the price listed in half. For example, Turkish publishes round-trip award tickets from North America to Europe at 90,000 miles in business class. Therefore, the price of a one-way ticket would just be 45,000 miles.
If you're redeeming miles for domestic flights, you'll want to notice the domestic pricing chart, which can be found after the extensive main award chart. It specifically states that domestic Star Alliance economy-class tickets in any country will cost 15,000 miles round-trip (7,500 one way), while business-class tickets (which Turkish also uses to price domestic first-class tickets within the United States) cost 25,000 miles round-trip (12,500 each way).
In the section titled “Award Region Table,” you will find which countries make up each region. For example, Europe 1 consists of eastern European countries, while Europe 2 consists of western European countries.
Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles Sweet Spots
After reading the extensive award chart, you might be confused about some of the sweet spots that are available for redemption with Turkish miles. Thankfully, we have listed six incredible sweet spots below to help you plan your next trip.
Fly United Airlines in the United States
As stated above, any domestic United Airlines ticket will cost just 7,500 miles in economy. Turkish does not change the mileage cost of the ticket based on your departure and arrival destination for domestic tickets — or based on the popularity of the route. No matter your flight, whether it is from Austin to Houston or Newark to Honolulu, your ticket will cost the same price as long as it is within the same country.
This particular redemption has saved me hundreds of dollars throughout my travels, as I have been able to find last-minute flights at this redemption rate that would otherwise have cost me hundreds of dollars. In fact, transferring 7,500 Capital One miles to Turkish to redeem them for a United Airlines domestic flight is my most frequent redemption. Here is an example of one such fare:
If you can find domestic first-class award availability, United Airlines domestic tickets will only cost 12,500 miles. This is an excellent deal, especially for longer flights across the United States.
Fly United Airlines Polaris from the United States to Europe
Business-class tickets from the United States to Europe only cost 45,000 Turkish miles. While this makes for an excellent redemption all around, it is especially valuable from the West Coast, because the longer distance does not equate with a more expensive ticket when using Miles and Smiles miles — unlike other programs that add a premium for the extra distance. Here's the pricing for a United Airlines Polaris ticket from San Francisco to London:
While other Star Alliance carriers, such as Lufthansa and SWISS, also appear in award search results for tickets from the United States to Europe at 45,000 miles, we've noticed the taxes and fees are typically several hundred dollars more. As a result, we suggest redeeming Turkish miles for United Polaris tickets when traveling to Europe.
Fly Turkish Airlines from the United States to Turkey
Business class tickets to Turkey on Turkish Airlines also only cost 45,000 miles plus fees. Turkish flies to nearly every corner of the United States — including Chicago, Dallas–Ft. Worth, Miami, New York, Newark, Los Angeles, and Seattle — making this airline an excellent option for cheap international business-class tickets from most major cities. Here's an example fare from Dallas to Istanbul:
While the $216.70 in taxes and fees is more than you'd pay flying with United Airlines, it's less than you might pay flying similar routes with fee-heavy partners like Lufthansa.
Fly EgyptAir business class from the United States to Egypt
Turkish Airlines offers solid redemptions on business-class tickets to northern Africa. One option with quite a bit of availability over the next year is EgyptAir with nonstop flights to Cairo. These are redeemable for just 60,000 miles plus fees, available from New York and Washington, D.C.
Fly business class from the United States to India
Turkish miles are by far the cheapest way to redeem business-class tickets from the United States to India. While Star Alliance business-class tickets on other mileage programs can easily cost 90,000 miles or more, using Turkish Airlines miles will only cost 52,000 miles plus fees for the same flights. Here's an example routing on Air India from Chicago to Bangalore via Delhi. And look at those fees — just $29.90!
Fly business class from the United States to eastern Asian hubs
Turkish Airlines also charges just 67,500 miles to fly from the United States to East Asia in business class. Here's an example United Polaris fare from Chicago to Tokyo:
How To Earn Turkish Miles and Smiles
You can earn Turkish Miles and Smiles miles by crediting Turkish flights or Star Alliance partner flights to Turkish Airlines. You also can transfer a multitude of points directly to Turkish Miles and Smiles.
That means cards like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, Citi Premier® Card, and The Bilt Mastercard® will all transfer rewards directly to Turkish Airlines for redemption in the Miles and Smiles program.
One disclaimer with Turkish Miles and Smiles is that the Turkish website is not always the best at displaying Star Alliance partner availability, as I was unable to find Ethiopian, EVA, and Singapore Airlines redemptions that I could spot with Aeroplan and LifeMiles. However, if you call the Miles and Smiles support line at 800-874-8875, the Turkish Airlines team should be able to book Star Alliance flights that you've found in other programs but not on the Turkish website.
That being said, Turkish Miles and Smiles has some of the best award program sweet spots. And with the addition of Bilt Rewards and Capital One miles as transfer partners over the last couple of years, transferring your points and miles to Turkish has never been easier. Whether you are flying domestically on United Airlines or halfway around the world on a Star Alliance partner, Turkish Miles and Smiles should be a core part of your mileage redemption strategy.
What's your favorite use of Turkish Miles and Smiles awards? Let us know in the comments below.
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