If you are looking for amazing miles and points trips, Turkish Airlines should be on your radar – even if you don’t plan to visit Turkey. The airline is part of the Star Alliancewhich has 26 member airlines including United Airlines, Air Canada, ANA and Air China.
Through this partnership, you can use your Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles miles on the Turkish Airlines website to book flights with partner airlines. And if you know the sweet spots, find some great deals that will stretch your miles even further.
Here’s a quick look at how you can earn Turkish Airlines miles, followed by the top five sweet spots to redeem.
How do you get Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles miles?
As with any other frequent flyer program, the easiest way to earn Turkish Airlines miles is by flying with the airline. But if you’re not flying with Turkish Airlines, your secret weapon is Citi ThankYou Rewards programThis allows you to collect points with certain credit cards.
For example the Citi Premier® card pays you 3 Citi ThankYou points for every dollar you spend on restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, hotels and flights, plus 1 point per dollar on other purchases. New card members can earn welcome bonus points: Earn 60,000 Bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $ 4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. The annual fee is $ 95.
The Citi ThankYou points you earn can be converted into miles from more than a dozen frequent flyer programs. When you choose Turkish Airlines, you will earn 1 Miles & Smiles mile for every Citi ThankYou point you transfer. Points transfer in increments of 1,000.
Where to find sweet spots with your Turkish Airlines miles
Shopping for airline tickets is like shopping for groceries: some stores charge different prices for the exact same product, and sometimes there is a sale or a special price.
The same applies if you pay with miles. Turkish Airlines has many routes whose flight with a partner like United costs fewer miles than you would pay if you had actually booked miles through United. Here are some of the great deals you can find.
1. Fly to Hawaii for 10,000 miles in business, 15,000 in business class each way
One of the best deals on your Miles & Smiles miles is a flight to Hawaii. In contrast to many other airlines, which classify Hawaii in a separate price category, Turkish Airlines classifies Hawaii as part of the USA. So if you want to fly to Honolulu from Washington DC, it will cost as little as $ 10,000 in Economy Class and $ 15,000 in Business and First Class. Those coveted first-class seats are hard to come by. So if you see one, book it. Despite what the awards table says, you may even see routes as economical as 7,500 miles each way for an even better deal.
Depending on which city you are leaving from, your Turkish Miles & Smiles miles may give you one of United Airlines’ flat seats for first class or business flyers. Flights from San Francisco are typically flown by United Airlines 777 aircraft that are flat in business class. If you connect on many flights to Newark, you can have flat seats on both stretches of the route: first from Newark to San Francisco and second from San Francisco to Honolulu.
United’s prices are more than twice as high for the same flights, costing 22,500 in Economy and 40,000 in Business / First Class.
2. USA to Europe: 45,000 miles each way in Business Class
Your Turkish Airlines miles earn you a business class seat on a United flight from Chicago or other locations in the US to Europe for just 45,000 miles each way. The same flight booked through United would cost you 60,000 miles. Save 25% by using Turkish Miles & Smiles instead of United MileagePlus miles.
3. Europe to the Middle East: 17,000 miles each way in Economy or 24,500 miles in Business Class
The flight from London to Dubai with a stopover in Istanbul takes more than 14 hours. But it only costs 17,000 Miles & Smiles miles in Economy or 24,500 in Business Class.
Compare that to booking United Miles: the same flight from London to Dubai will cost you 27,500 United Miles one way in Economy and 55,000 miles in Business class.
4. Europe to the Far East: 30,000 miles each way in business or 45,000 in business
Another big deal is driving 30,000 or 45,000 miles from Europe to the Far East, depending on which class of service you choose.
Since the Star Alliance has many partners in Europe and Asia, you can travel back and forth between many destinations with just one stop or in many cases without interruption – often at a price that is much lower than booking directly with the partner would pay.
For example, using your United miles, this flight from Paris to Tokyo would set you back 49,500 miles in economy class or 82,500 miles in business class. The same flights with Turkish Airlines miles only cost 30,000 in Economy or 45,000 miles in Business Class.
5. Regular special offers
Regularly check the Specials page under the Discover tab on the Turkish Airlines website. The airline does occasional sales so buyers can save 25% or even 50% off the price of an award ticket.
The final result
Turkish Airlines gives you phenomenal value to redeem points and miles on flights around the world. Often times, you can save tens of thousands of miles on their US partner United Airlines, and collecting is easy with the Citi family of credit cards.
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