Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Award Sweet Spots

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If you are not familiar with the Turkish Airlines frequent flyer program, it is worth taking a look.

Turkish Airlines has a loyalty program.

Why should you care about the Turkish Airlines program? There are a few reasons.

Turkish Airlines miles are becoming more and more easy to earn.
Turkish Airlines has a phenomenal business class product, and the airline flies to more countries than any other airline in the world.
There are some unique award opportunities on Star Alliance partners, including some great award pricing for domestic United Airlines flights.

Turkish Airlines business class is very good.

Turkish Airlines miles can be earned.

Those with credit cards can easily access Turkish Airlines miles with the new partnership.

Turkish Airlines miles are easy to earn.

The best uses of Turkish Airlines miles.

I wanted to highlight the Turkish Airlines redemptions that I think are lucrative. Under thepromotional award ticket table section, you can find the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles award chart. If there is saver level award availability then promotional pricing should apply.

The Turkish Airlines lounge is in Istanbul.

I redeem miles on Turkish Airlines.

The value of miles redeemed on Turkish Airlines is among the best in the program. Turkish Airlines has one-way business class award redemption costs for travel to the United States.

You can fly from the United States to Europe.
You can fly from the United States to the Middle East for 47,000 miles.
You can fly from the United States to Central Asia.
You can fly from the US to North Africa for 60,000 miles.
You can fly from the United States to the Far East.
You can fly from the US to Central Africa for 72,500 miles.
You can fly from the United States to South Africa.

The values here are exceptional.

Is Los Angeles to Istanbul in business class? That will cost you over 50,000 miles.
Is it possible that Chicago to Istanbul is the location? It will cost you 47,000 miles.
Is Newark to Istanbul? That will cost you 52,500 miles.
Is Miami to Istanbul or Cairo? That will cost you 60,000 miles.
San Francisco to Istanbul? That will cost you 67,500 miles.

There are some things to be aware of.

Booking by phone is required for one free stopover in Istanbul.
Turkish Airlines does pass on fuel surcharges on award tickets, but they are not too bad compared to other airlines; for all of the above awards you could expect to pay $180-270 one-way in fuel surcharges for business class.
You can redeem miles for anyone, but you have to add the traveler to your account.
Turkish Airlines has a proper business class on many flights to Europe, so it may be a better option to connect on another airline.
Turkish Airlines can be quirky with award availability; in some cases there is virtually no business class award availability on a flight for weeks at a time, and in other cases there are four award seats per flight almost every day.
If you want to lock in awards before you transfer points, you can hold award tickets for three days by phone.
Canceling or changing an award reservation is one of the more reasonable fees you can find in a frequent flyer program.
Newark to Istanbul is the route with the most business class award availability, and as luck would have it, it is also the only route to the United States operated by an A350.

Turkish Airlines has excellent redemption rates.

Star Alliance partners can redeem miles.

I am not as excited as others. I wouldn't redeem Turkish Airlines miles on Star Alliance partners.

There are other Star Alliance programs that can redeem miles without fuel surcharges, and there are airlines that charge $500+ in fuel surcharges one-way across the Atlantic in business class.
Turkish Airlines has a Star Alliance award search tool on their website, but it is broken more often than it works, so you may have to book by phone.

There is a partner award sweet spot. Award flights within a single region cost.

7,500 miles one-way in the economy class.
Business class has a one-way mileage of 12,500 miles.

Turkish Airlines is in the Star Alliance, so you could redeem those number of miles for a United one-way award ticket within the United States, including to and from Alaska and Hawaii. There are no fuel surcharges on domestic redemptions on United.

This is an amazing redemption value. It can be difficult to find saver level award availability in domestic first class on United, which is priced as business class. If you want to pursue this option, you will probably want to use the calendar feature on United's website before moving over to Turkish Airlines' website. Turkish Airlines website is not great for booking partner awards.

You can redeem miles for United first class.

There are good opportunities in other regions. For example, you could redeem just 12,500 miles for one-way Air Canada business class in a flat bed between Toronto and Vancouver, just to give a further example. There would be fuel surcharges there.

You can redeem miles for Air Canada business class.

How to book awards from Turkish Airlines.

How do you redeem Turkish miles? You don't need miles in your account to conduct a search on Turkish's website, you just need to open a Miles&Smiles account.

The process of searching for award flights on Turkish Airlines metal is easy if you have an account. If you log into your account, you will see a box next to the text that says "Award ticket - Buy a ticket with Miles" at the top right of the flight search tool.

You will be able to conduct an award search when you go to a different page. You just want to enter your origin, destination, dates, number of passengers, and class of service.

The process from the next page is pretty straightforward.

The process of searching for Star Alliance award flights is more complicated than you might think, as the airline hides this option. The whole issue of award space not showing up is useless, to the point that I find it useless.

If you still want to search award availability, you need to log into your Miles&Smiles account. Click on the button at the top right if you want to hover over your name.

If you click on the section that says Star Alliance award ticket, you will be taken to the Star Alliance search page. You can follow this link.

The Star Alliance search page is easy to use, but award availability may not match what you see through other programs. I find that it doesn't work at all.

I don't have a lot of luck getting award seats to show up when there is saver level availability. I do everything I can to avoid booking awards by phone since Turkish Airlines' call center can be very complicated. This is a major deterrent of booking Star Alliance partner awards.

The bottom line.

Turkish Airlines has a fantastic frequent flyer program that is transfer partners with both Capital One and Citi ThankYou. Turkish imposes fuel surcharges on many awards, Turkish's website isn't great, and booking partner awards online can be difficult, so I wouldn't want to book most of my awards through the program.

It is difficult to beat the program for flights in Turkish Airlines business class. The redemption rates are very low and there are fuel surcharges. Turkish is the only airline in the world that flies to more countries than any other airline.

The ability to redeem miles for travel within a region is what makes Miles&Smiles special. You will pay 7,500 miles for a one-way economy ticket and 12,500 miles for a one-way business class ticket. If you can find award availability and are willing to go through the hassle of booking, that is an awesome deal.

I have never booked an award through Turkish Miles&Smiles for my own travels, but I will hopefully change that soon, as several places on my bucket list are best served by Turkish Airlines.

If you pick up a Capital One Venture X or Citi Premier card, you should keep an eye on this program.

What was the experience like when you redeemed miles through Turkish Miles&Smiles?