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Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles: Sweet Spot Central to See the World

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Looking for a cheap way to fly to Europe? Fly in business class for the price of economy? Or how about flying to Hawaii and back? Want to fly business class to Mexico? You can do it all — and more — when using Turkish miles to book your flights.

In reality, that's just the tip of the iceberg with Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles, the oddly named mileage program from Turkey's flag carrier. Whether you're flying Turkish itself or booking one of countless partner airlines, you'll often find some of the lowest redemption rates through Turkish Miles and Smiles – a fraction of what other airlines charge for the exact same flights.

When United wants 45,000 miles for a roundtrip to Hawaii, you can book those flights for just 15,000 Turkish miles total. You can get almost anywhere in Europe flying business class for just 45,000 Turkish miles – or 47,000 miles to head deep into the Middle East. We could go on and on … and we will.

Combined with the fact that these miles have gotten much easier to earn thanks to instant transfers from Capital One cards like the *venture x* as well as Citi ThankYou points and Bilt Rewards, it's time to put Turkish Miles & Smiles program on your radar and explore just how far they can get you for fewer miles.

Here's how.


The Basics of Turkish Miles & Smiles

Where You Can Fly Turkish

Turkish Airlines flies to more than 120 countries across the globe. That's more than any other airline in the world. And while you don't need to fly Turkish Airlines to use its Miles & Smiles program, flying Turkish Airlines itself is one of the best ways to use Turkish miles.

In the U.S. and Canada, you'll find Turkish Airlines flights to its hub in Istanbul (IST) from 16 gateways and counting.


Turkish Airlines route map


  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago-O'Hare (ORD)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Detroit (DTW)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York City (JFK)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Montreal (YUL)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Seattle (SEA)
  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Vancouver (YVR)
  • Washington D.C.-Dulles (IAD)


Detroit (DTW) service starts November 15, 2023, and Denver (DEN) is expected to join this list soon. Beyond Turkey and the airline's gleaming Istanbul (IST) hub airport, you can connect on Turkish to countless destinations throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Turkish Airlines Partners: Airlines You Can Fly

Beyond Turkish itself, you can also use Turkish miles to fly on one of its many Star Alliance airline partners. In total, there are 26 Star Alliance airlines, which include Air Canada, United, ANA, EVA Air, SAS, Air New Zealand, and several others.


star alliance partner airlines


This means you'll be able to use Turkish miles to fly all over the world, whether it's a trip on United to Hawaii, flying Turkish itself over to Europe, or flying Air Canada all the way to India. Booking some of these partner carriers can be more complicated than flying Turkish itself – especially when it comes to finding award availability. Turkish's wonky IT system for these partner award tickets doesn't help, either.

But at the end of the day, your options are nearly endless. So, how do you get started?

Sign Up for a Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Account

Creating a Turkish Miles & Smiles frequent flyer account is free. But it’s not as simple as other airlines. Follow these directions carefully.

Start by downloading the Turkish Airlines mobile app to sign up for a new account, which you can then use to log in on your desktop or laptop after you’ve registered. This is a much smoother process than registering on Turkish’s website.


Signing up for turkish miles and smiles with mobile app


Here’s what to do:

  1. Download the Turkish Airlines mobile app.
  2. Register for a new account on your phone. (☰→ Sign in → scroll to bottom → Sign up)
    • You’ll need to choose a city from a dropdown menu. If your city isn’t listed, just choose the closest city. It won’t matter in the end since you enter a zip code.
    • Your password for Turkish is more like a PIN: It can only contain numbers and must be 6 digits (Cannot contain date of birth, cannot have three consecutive digits, and the same number cannot be repeated more than twice).
  3. Find your membership number in the app or in your confirmation email.
  4. Head back to the Turkish Airlines homepage and log in to your new account using your membership number without the “TK” at the beginning.
  5. You can then go to your account settings and choose to have your mobile number and email as log-in options so you don’t have to memorize your membership number.

After all that, you should be able to log in from any web browser using your credentials.

Why should you go through all this trouble to get signed up with a Turkish mileage account? Keep reading to find out just how powerful Turkish miles can be and where they can take you…


Why Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Are So Powerful

If you're wondering why you should care about Turkish miles, here's a breakdown of some of the top reasons you should consider using this valuable frequent flyer program for your next points and miles trip.

  • Amazing sweet spots: 45,000 miles one-way for business class to Europe, 47,000 miles for business class to the Middle East, 15,000 miles roundtrip to Hawaii, and much more.
  • Easy-to-earn miles: Turkish Airlines is now a 1:1 transfer partner with Capital One, Citi ThankYou points, and Bilt Rewards. This means if you've racked up a bunch of miles from a sign-up bonus, such as the current 75,000-mile offer on the *venture x* or *capital one venture card*, you'd have at least 75,000 Turkish miles at your disposal. Plus, transfers are almost always instant.
  • Great business class products: Turkish business class on the 787 is a treat. But your options go beyond flying Turkish. You'll also have the opportunity to book ANA business class, United Polaris business class, and EVA Air business class, just to name a few.
  • Improved customer service: Many people shy away from using Turkish miles because it is more complicated than other mileage programs. And to be honest, the website can be a bit cumbersome to use. But we've noticed improved customer service with Turkish phone agents lately, which is good news since you'll sometimes need to complete your booking over the phone.

Overall, your opportunities for cheap flight redemptions using Turkish miles can often outweigh the hurdles you may have to jump through in order to get your tickets booked. Before we get into the sweet spots when booking with Turkish miles, let's go over some of the quirks involved.


pillow at turkish business class seat


Read our full review of Turkish Airlines business class!


A Few Cons With Turkish Miles

Website and Booking Awards Has Some Quirks

The IT department at Turkish Airlines could use a few pointers. It doesn't start great, with an error-ridden sign-up process that all but requires you to sign up using the mobile app.

Unfortunately, the quirks don't end there. You'll need to use a separate online search tool depending on whether you want to redeem miles for flights on Turkish Airlines itself or a Star Alliance partner airline such as United.

Furthermore, you'll often find that the Star Alliance award search tool doesn't display all flight options — even when the award space is there. This means you may need to book your award ticket with Turkish miles over the phone or by email. On top of that, you'll only be able to book tickets for yourself online. If you need to book a travel companion as well, you may need to call to complete the booking for a second passenger – especially if it's the first time you're booking a Miles and Smiles award ticket.


turkish miles 2 passengers error


Fuel Surcharges Mean You'll Want to Avoid Flying Certain Airlines

One caveat to the amazing award rates is that fuel surcharges will be passed on when booking with Turkish miles. This means you may need to pay higher cash fees on your award ticket depending on which airline you're actually flying.

If you're flying Turkish Airlines itself, the fees are reasonable and less than what you'd pay when booking Turkish Airlines flights with ANA Mileage Club, for example … but more than if you were to book with other Star Alliance programs that don't pass along fuel surcharges, such as Air Canada's Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, or United MileagePlus.

Here's a quick look at the fuel surcharges and what the total taxes and fees come to when flying certain airlines on an award ticket booked with Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. You may want to choose your airline wisely.

  • USA to Istanbul (IST) in business class flying Turkish Airlines: ~$470 total fees roundtrip ($380 fuel surcharge) Not too shabby.
  • USA to Frankfurt (FRA) in business class flying United: ~$140 total fees roundtrip (no fuel surcharge) Woohoo!
  • USA to Frankfurt (FRA) in business class flying Lufthansa: ~$1,700 total fees roundtrip ($1,600 fuel surcharge) Ouch!


fuel surcharges flying lufthansa using turkish miles


In short, avoid flying Lufthansa Group airlines on long-haul flights when redeeming Turkish miles, including Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and SWISS. It will cost an arm and a leg in fees to fly these airlines across the pond when using Turkish miles. If you're dead set on flying these airlines, book with one of the programs mentioned above that don't pass along fuel surcharges.

For other airlines that do have fuel surcharges, the fees are fairly reasonable when booking with Turkish miles when you consider the fantastic redemption rates. About those amazing redemption rates …


Turkish Airlines Miles Award Chart & Sweet Spots

Finding the best way to book a flight using miles is all about finding sweet spots. And the Turkish Airlines award chart is absolutely chock full of them.

If you expand the “Promotional award ticket table” once you've landed on Turkish's award chart page, you'll be able to see the number of miles required to book roundtrip flights between different regions at the saver award level. Unlike some other programs, you can book one-way flights for half that cost.

If you follow the business class row for Turkey, Europe 1, or Europe 2 over to the North America column, you'll see that it's 90,000 miles roundtrip. That means you can book one-way flights to Europe for just 45,000 miles.


Turkish Airlines award chart


Scroll down a little more and you'll see more sweet spots around the world, like business class flights to the Middle East for 94,000 miles roundtrip – 47,000 miles one-way. Just expand the “Award region table” to find out which countries belong in each region.


Turkish miles award regions table


For the purpose of this post, you can disregard the standard “Award ticket table” and the “Companion ticket” tables. The standard award ticket table is for Turkish Airlines flights that are not available at the saver level and the rates are quite high. To get the best value out of your Turkish miles, you'll want to focus on booking flights that are available at the saver award rates.

Now, let's dive into some of the best sweet spots in the Turkish Airlines award chart.


Business Class to Europe for 45K Miles One-Way

If you're looking to fly over to Europe, it doesn't get much better than this deal. You can fly one way for just 45,000 miles from every corner of North America. It's the same rate whether you're flying nonstop from New York City or on a connecting flight from the West Coast.

You can fly United Polaris business class nonstop from Newark (EWR) to Frankfurt (FRA) for 45,000 miles plus just $5.60 in taxes and fees one-way.


Newark to Frankfurt on United using Turkish miles


Or, you can fly Turkish Airlines business class from Seattle (SEA) to Athens (ATH) via Istanbul (IST) for the same 45,000 miles one-way. Taxes and fees will be higher when flying Turkish Airlines aircraft due to some fuel surcharges. For this flight, it amounts to around $212 total – not too bad when you're flying to Greece in a lie-flat bed across the pond and a proper business class seat between Istanbul and Athens.


Seattle to Athens using Turkish miles


One thing to note is that you cannot book mixed cabin awards when booking with Turkish miles. That means you need to find award space in business class for all legs in order to book this sweet deal, which can make pulling off connecting flights tougher.


Woman taking a photo of ruins in Athens, Greece


Fly to Hawaii for 15K Miles Roundtrip

While business class flights tend to get the most praise when it comes to redeeming points and miles, this deal to fly United in main cabin economy to Hawaii and back for just 15,000 Turkish miles roundtrip may trump them all.

The availability isn't too hard to come by but the booking process is not for the faint of heart. It may require a phone call or an email since flights from many cities may not be bookable online. Still, the extra legwork could be worth it when you can fly from anywhere in the U.S. to Hawaii for 7,500 miles one-way or 15,000 miles roundtrip, such as this one-stop trip from Boston (BOS) to Honolulu (HNL).


boston to honolulu on United using turkish miles


When you compare that to the typical $600+ price of a cash ticket — or even over $1,000 from some smaller markets — it's an amazing deal that you won't find with any other mileage program. If Hawaii is in your travel plans, you may want to earn some Turkish miles and study up.

Read our complete guide on how to book Hawaii flights for just 15,000 miles!


Business Class to the Middle East for 47K Miles

Flying to the Middle East is a long journey, especially when departing from the West Coast. Believe it or not, it's just 2,000 more Turkish Miles and Smiles miles to continue onward from Europe to the Middle East when departing from anywhere in North America. In total, you'll only need to shell out 47,000 miles for a one-way business class flight to destinations like Dubai (DXB), Muscat (MCT), and Tel Aviv (TLV).

For example, this Turkish Airlines flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Muscat (MCT) via Istanbul (IST) is just 47,000 miles plus around $233 in taxes and fees one-way.


san francisco to muscat using turkish miles


Theoretically, you could also book United Polaris business class nonstop to Tel Aviv (TLV) from one of the U.S. gateways in Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), or Washington D.C.-Dulles (IAD) for the same rate plus minimal taxes and fees. Finding award space on these routes can be tough, but it's an incredible deal if you can find it.


oman camels


Fly to India for 34K Miles in Economy or 52.5K in Business Class One-Way

You don't need to fly business class to get a great deal using Turkish miles. Case in point: It's just 34,000 miles one-way to fly economy between North America and India.

Sure, it's an even sweeter deal to bump up to business class for only 52,500 miles one-way but you may have a harder time finding the availability in business class. Looking at flights from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), I was able to find economy seats flying United to New Delhi (DEL) for just 34,000 miles plus around $6 in taxes and fees one-way.


minneapolis to New Delhi using Turkish miles


You may sometimes need to get creative in order to make a roundtrip itinerary work, but that's the beauty of being able to book one-way flights with Turkish miles. In this particular case, I couldn't find any return flights from New Delhi, but there were seats available returning from Mumbai (BOM) to Minneapolis a few weeks later. This could give you time to explore more of India between these major capitals and simply return from Mumbai without needing to backtrack.


Mumbai to Minneapolis using Turkish miles


All in, flying to India and back for just 68,000 Turkish miles plus around $56 in taxes and fees is a pretty incredible deal considering these flights usually go for over $1,000. And if you can score availability with business class seats, you'll be sitting pretty for just 105,000 miles roundtrip.


Taj Majal near New Delhi, India


Biz Class to Mexico for 15K Miles One-Way or 30K Roundtrip

Turkish miles can also be used for international flights to visit our friendly neighbors south of the border. In fact, we think it's one of the best ways to fly to Mexico using points and miles.

You can fly Air Canada or United business class down to Mexico for just 15,000 Turkish miles one-way or 30,000 roundtrip — that's half the number of miles most other frequent flyer programs charge. You may get lucky finding flights bookable online, such as this nonstop flight from Denver (DEN) to Cancun (CUN) in business class for only 30,000 miles plus around $93 in taxes and fees, roundtrip!


Denver to Cancun using Turkish miles


However, this is another award that will most likely require booking with an agent over the phone or email once you've found available saver award space. But if you want to fly fancy down to Mexico, you may want to put in the extra work to get a comfortable seat for less.


cancun mexico resort


Biz Class within Europe for 15K Miles

Want to hop around within Europe? Turkish miles can also help you fly between two international countries.

One of the best sweet spots in its award chart that doesn't involve North America is to fly business class within Europe for just 15,000 miles each way … and that includes some fairly long flights across the entire continent.

Say you're exploring France and want to hop over to Turkey to check out the crossroads of Europe and Asia before heading back home. You could book a nonstop flight from Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to Istanbul (IST) for 15,000 Turkish miles one-way in business class.


Paris to Istanbul using Turkish miles


Sure, that cash fee in euros converts to around $170 USD, but that's a small price to pay to fly in a proper business class seat within Europe considering it's only going to set you back 15,000 miles. Most other airlines simply block the middle seat of an economy row and call it business class when flying within Europe so flying Turkish Airlines is the way to go if you want a true business class seat. On some major routes, Turkish even flies Airbus A330s or Boeing 777s with lie-flat seats.


Istanbul bridge and mosque


Fly From Europe to the Middle East for 17K Miles … Or Less!

Looking for a flight between Europe and the Middle East? Turkish Airlines provides excellent routing and amazing redemption rates. It's just 17,000 miles one-way in economy or 24,500 miles in business class.

In this example from Munich (MUC) to Amman, Jordan (AMM), you'd have your pick between either economy or business class flying Turkish Airlines via Istanbul (IST). We'd say it's well worth it to fork over the extra 7,500 miles for a business class seat.


Munich to Amman using Turkish miles


It's even fewer miles if you're flying from Eastern Europe: 15,000 miles each way in economy or 21,500 miles for business class. The best deal of all comes flying between Turkey and the Middle East, on which you can book for just 12,500 miles in economy or 17,500 miles in business class.


Petra, Jordan


How to Book Flights Using Miles & Smiles

Now that you know some of the amazing places you can go for affordable rates using Turkish miles, how exactly do you get these flights booked?

That part can be a little bit tricky and while I'll go over a few of the basics here, you may want to consult our step-by-step guide on booking Hawaii flights with Turkish miles for more details. Those instructions will serve you right no matter where you're heading.

First, you'll need to understand that booking award flights with Turkish miles is a little different than booking an award ticket with Delta SkyMiles or United miles.

Unlike those programs which allow you to book any flight — even if it means shelling out a ridiculous number of miles — you'll only be able to book award flights that have available award space when redeeming Turkish miles.


Find Award Space on United's Website

Our favorite tool to use in order to pinpoint saver award space on Star Alliance airlines – the critical ingredient to making these redemptions happen – is United’s old advanced search tool.

It will be easiest to search for one-way flights separately. Make sure to select “flexible dates,” and choose the exact number of passengers traveling. Once you complete your search, expand to “view 30-day calendar” to maximize your view of travel dates.


Award search United week view


Also, make sure you are not logged in to your United account as certain elite members and credit cardholders may see award space that can’t be booked by Turkish.

In order to find the space that can be booked by Turkish at the saver award level, you’ll want to check dates that have the lowest rates showing on United’s site, expand the details, and look for the following saver award fare codes in parentheses: Economy (X), Business (I), and First (O).


united award search looking for saver award fare class


United will stamp “Saver Award” on top of the economy column but not for business or first class, so you’ll need to expand the details to check each individual flight. It’s also important to check the operating airline to ensure it’s a Turkish Airlines partner. If you’re trying to avoid those high fuel surcharges, disregard results for Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, and Brussels Airlines.

Once you’ve found flights with saver award space, write down the flight information and plug it into the respective award search tool on Turkish's website or feed the information to a Turkish Airlines agent if booking over the phone.


Turkish Airlines Flights

If you're trying to book flights operated by Turkish Airlines, you're in luck: It tends to be quite easy.

Once you've found the flights you want, just head to Turkishairlines.com and click the checkbox on the homepage next to “Award ticket – Buy a ticket with Miles.” That will bring you to the award search tool for Turkish Airlines flights only.

Thrifty Tip: Turkish also sells “standard-level” award seats on its own flights at much higher rates (and with more availability) than “saver-level” seats. Search the exact dates you found when searching United's website to find those “saver” award rates when booking with Turkish.


turkish airlines award search tool for turkish airlines flights


This search tool will not work for flights operated by Star Alliance partner airlines such as United or Air Canada. For those flights, you'll need to navigate to a different search tool.


Star Alliance Award Tickets

If you're trying to book a Star Alliance award ticket with your Turkish Miles and Smiles, log in to your Turkish account, click on your name in the top-right corner, then click “Miles Transactions.”


navigating to star award search on Turkish website


On the following screen, you’ll see the option for a Star Alliance award ticket. Click “Book now.”


turkish star award search


If you see the words “Star Award Ticket” at the top of the page, you’ve made it to the correct spot.


Turkish airlines star award ticket search


With these partner award bookings, in particular, you may not see the same results you found through United. In that case, you may need to resort to other methods to book. That may not be such a bad thing.


Book by Phone or Email

Finally, if it comes down to it and you can't find the flights you want bookable online, you can try completing the booking over the phone by calling a Turkish Airlines agent at 1-800-874-8875.

You'll want to have all the details of the flights you found with saver award space to give to the agent. In our experience, this is a fairly painless experience. We've had no problem booking three recent flights with Turkish miles – the entire process from start to finish took about 10 minutes in each case.

Another option is to email one of the 10 ticket offices in the U.S. and three in Canada. You can find the email address for any office on its website. Scroll to the bottom of the page for call center details.


turkish airlines ticket office contact info


Once again, for a more in-depth look at booking flights with Turkish miles, read our step-by-step guide for booking Hawaii flights and swap out your destination when searching.


Turkish Airlines Change & Cancellation Policy

Turkish Airlines has recently updated its change and cancellation policy for award tickets. If you change or cancel before check-in, there is a $70 fee to get your miles back. After check-in or if you simply don’t show up for your flight, there is a $150 fee. You can change or cancel over the phone and miles will be redeposited into your account after paying the fee.


How to Earn Turkish Miles

While you can earn Turkish miles by flying Turkish Airlines itself, you don’t need to in order to rack up a bunch of miles. Since you can transfer points earned with credit cards like the *venture x* or the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card, it’s super easy to earn enough Turkish miles for your next trip.

We can’t say enough good things about the *venture x*. It’s the bank’s very first premium card and it is loaded with benefits such access to Capital One Lounges and Priority Pass lounges, a $300 annual travel credit, a credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, great travel and rental car insurance protection, and more. The annual fee clocks in at $395 a year, but the benefits can easily outweigh that.

The best part is that you can currently earn 75,000 Venture Miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Considering you earn at least 2x for every dollar you spend on the Venture X Card, you’ll earn a total of at least 83,000 Venture Miles, which can be transferred instantly to 83,000 Turkish miles.


*venture x*

Learn more about the *venture x*.


Don’t want a high annual fee? The *capital one venture card* has been a fan favorite among travelers for years – and for good reason. It’s truly one of the best travel credit cards for beginners. You earn 2x points on every purchase and even get a credit that covers the cost of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck – all for a card with a $95 annual fee.

Capital One currently offers a welcome bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months from account opening, which gets you enough Turkish miles for a one-way flight to Europe in business class — or nearly enough for a roundtrip.


*capital one venture card*

Learn more about the *capital one venture card*


The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card is another great way to earn points that can be transferred to Turkish miles. You’ll earn 3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and for travel booked with the card. Plus, there is a 75,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 within the first three months.


Citi Strata Premier Card


Learn more about the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card (for full disclosure, this is not an affiliate link).


If you’re earning points on rent with Bilt Rewards, you can also transfer points to Turkish miles at a 1:1 ratio. And finally, Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to Turkish Miles & Smiles at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred.


Bottom Line

If you have a ton of Capital One miles or Citi ThankYou points and haven't thought about Turkish Miles & Smiles before, you should put this valuable frequent flyer program on your radar. Not only is it great for flying Turkish Airlines around the world, but it's also the cheapest way to get to Hawaii and back using points and miles. And there's plenty more you can do with Turkish miles as well.

Sure, there are some extra steps involved to get certain flights booked. But for those willing to put in the extra legwork, you'll be rewarded with some of the cheapest redemption rates of any mileage program. Give Turkish miles a shot and you might end up reading our next guide while sipping some Turkish coffee in Istanbul.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

23 Responses

  • I just almost every month until next May from Dallas to Istanbul but it’s 105000 each way for business.

    • Follow the instructions in this post to search United’s site first for nonstop flights from DFW-IST. Any flights bookable at 77,000 miles each way should be bookable at the 45,000 rate via Turkish’s site. For example, I see most Thursdays and Saturdays in January and February 2023 are available flying DFW IST

  • Are those screenshots old? Turkish updated their award chart. A roundtrip to Hawaii is 20k miles, not 15k. Take a look at the page you linked to.

    • Hi Christopher,

      The screenshots were taken the day the story was posted. Indeed, the award chart does show 20k miles for economy flights within North America. This is the rate for flights between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. However, there is a nuance for domestic travel. Turkish used to highlight this below its award chart but it no longer spells this out. Fortunately, it still applies in practice though and flights that are wholly within the U.S. (including flights to Hawaii and Alaska) will price out at 7,500 miles one-way or 15,000 miles roundtrip.

  • Every single award on Miles & Smiles website is now showing at least double. For instance, any one-way award from any city in the US to IST in business is showing 105,000 miles. Any intro-European award (CDG-IST, for instance) is showing 30,000 miles in business. This is not right, has there been a devaluation?

    • Hi Cameron,

      When you see one-way business class awards for 105,000 miles one-way on the Turkish website, those are the non-saver award rates. Turkish will sell this level award on several more dates than it sells a saver, or “promotional” award as Turkish calls it.

      It will be easiest to pinpoint which dates are available at the “saver award” level by searching on United’s website using it’s advanced search. Follow the instructions above under the “How to Book Flights Using Miles & Smiles” header to pinpoint the dates available first. Then, plug in those dates you found via United’s site into the Turkish award booking tool. It will be easiest to search for the nonstop routes first.

      Look for 77,000-mile one-way rates for routes between U.S. and IST on United’s site. Plug in those same dates into Turkish’s site, and it should be 45,000 Turkish miles one-way.

      Currently, I do see several “saver-award” level tickets available on the CDG-IST route starting in mid-August. And there is good availability ORD-IST for 2023 travel, for example. Hope this helps!

      • “Turkish will sell this level award on several more dates”

        Saying the full pricing is just on “several” more dates is pretty misleading – for SFO there’s about 8 days in the next year where the discounted tickets are actually available.

        • Hi Julian!

          I understand your frustration. In the past, Turkish used to release more “saver award” space than it has recently. We’re hoping this changes in the future, but for now, you are correct. It is increasingly rare to see the saver award or “promotional award” rates (as Turkish calls it). The higher rate you see (which is more than double) is the standard award rate Turkish charges. While this is available on most dates, it’s not a good deal.

          Instead, just follow the instructions above to search for “saver award” space via United’s website and plug those exact dates into the search on Turkish’s website. We keep a close eye on award space and will alert Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members whenever it opens up. Hope that helps!

  • Hey Peter,
    I’m seeing the same 105,000 from SFO to IST on Turkish Air today for May, 2023.
    About a week ago I was seeing the 45,000 and 105,000.
    What do you think is going on?

    • Hi Garry,

      The 105,000-mile rate from SFO to IST is the higher-priced rate that Turkish will charge for its own flights on several more travel dates than the 45,000-mile “saver award” rate. This inventory is constantly in flux and saver award seats were likely available when you checked earlier but are no longer available. These could open up in the future, so keep your eyes peeled.

      The best way to pinpoint when “saver award” space is bookable is to use United’s website as explained above in the “How to Book Flights Using Miles & Smiles” section. For routes from the U.S. to IST, isolate the search to the nonstop route and filter in United’s search for “nonstop only”. Once you spot dates available for 77,000 miles on United’s site, check to make sure it’s a flight operated by Turkish Airlines, and then plug those exact dates into Turkish’s award search tool. Those dates should have flights available for 45,000 miles one-way in business class on Turkish’s website.

  • Hi,
    I booked a United flight from ORD to SNA for next month but I then spent several hours trying to get seat assignments. Turkish was telling me to call United and vice versa. Even after I called United for the third time with the TA confirmation number, the UA confirmation number and the TA ticket numbers, all United could tell me was that although there was a reservation in their system for me they had nothing my family members (who I booked at the same time) and even that reservation had been cancelled (although my credit card was charged for the service fee) or not completed (maybe because the service fee charge hadn’t gone through yet?). Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Very helpful. Couple of things folks should know. Turkish miles expire after 3 years. You cannot use them to buy tickets for anyone other than yourself. At least that was my experience. Which is a bummer. You can pay $10 to transfer 1000 miles. So that can become pricey quickly. The site is terrible at showing what awards are available. If you put in desired dates chances are they will say sorry not available. The number goes to a call center that knows nothing and recommends you send a feedback memo to the airline. Which doesn’t trigger a response. These were my experiences today. Others may have better luck. I can see it working if you have lots of flexibility and are traveling alone and on a whim.

  • Can you only purchase one companion flight with your miles and smiles points through Turkish Airlines or could you buy more than one?

    • Yes, you can book more than one companion using your Turkish miles. You can only book for yourself on the first award booking online. But you can book for anyone else by phone the first time you book with Turkish, and online thereafter.

      • Am I reading that if I transfer 60k points from Capital One to Turkish Airlines I can’t book a family of 4 RT from Continental U.S. to Hawaii? I would have to create 4 separate accounts? Would Capital One let me transfer to 4 separate accounts? Or I am reading your response wrong?

        • You can book a family of four on one account, but if this is your first time booking with Turkish, you won’t be able to do that online. Instead, you’ll need to call or email Turkish to book the flights. After you’ve made your first booking with Turkish, you can then book more than one passenger online.

          • I just booked 5 rt tickets form states to Hawaii. United is only showing my ticket and states it is not confirmed and still in hold status and will be canceled within 24 hours if payment is not made-which it has. I waited 24 hours to see if systems needed to update and am still in the same situation. United only shows my “hold” ticket and has no record or tickets for the other 4 members….also unable to choose seats. Anyone able to resolve this?

          • Hi Megan! I’m sorry you’re having trouble with this booking. It can definitely be a struggle at times when booking with Turkish miles. You will likely need to speak to a Turkish agent on the phone to resolve this issue. If at first you get an agent that doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing, I’d simple suggest to politely hangup and try calling again until you get an agent who is able to help.

  • can I use united miles on turkish portal to book those fares or does it have to be turkish miles and smiles miles? BTW-flew their Bus class from LA to Tel Aviv. It was amazing

    • Unfortunately, you cannot use United miles to book via the Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles program. There is no way to transfer United miles to Turkish miles.

  • There isn’t a way to book a stopover on the website. Do you have information on booking a stopovrr with a couple of days stay in Istanbul? I am flying from YYZ to TLV but would like to stay 2 nights in IST. The award saver flight is 47500 on the day in flying.

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