Booking Turkish Airlines Partner Awards Just got Easier

Turkish Airlines has one of the most generous mileage award charts in the industry, but they’re largely not talked about much. Why? Because if you want to fly on a Star Alliance carrier and NOT on Turkish Airlines, you, the rules for booking award tickets have been quite restrictive. As of last month, things just got a lot easier.

Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles

Turkish Airlines flights on their own flights are quite easy to book on their website, but as with most airlines, they true value is with partners. As a part of the Star Alliance, theoretically you should be able to book with partner airlines in the Star Alliance. While it may be allowed, no one said it had to be easy.

Turkish Airlines is a transfer partner with Citibank Thank You points and Marriott Bonvoy points. 

Citi Prestige Card

Citi Prestige Card

Because it’s been difficult to use and there haven’t been transfer partners before, it has flown below the radar in the blog-o-sphere for a while.

Since partner awards have not been allowed online for the longest time, the only way to book the awards was to physically show up to the sales offices in a city near you to pay for the ticket. Once you got there, you could pay with cash, check, a wire transfer, or some other ridiculously antiquated method.

Seriously? You want me to fly across the country and give you my bank routing number to pay for an award ticket? No thanks.

Things have changed

It is now possible to pay for your reservation with the Los Angeles ticket office via email instead of showing up to the office in person.

Recently we wanted to take advantage of a sweet spot in their award chart and so I wrote an email to the local office (we found their email on the website, which is RESERVATION.LAX@THY.COM) and explained my situation.

We would be flying through LAX and while we could visit the local office, if there was a way to ticket beforehand in order to secure the space, we would greatly appreciate it. I was shocked when I saw this reply:

For mileage ticket bookings kindly contact our call center at 1800-874-8875.

Once the reservation is made you may send us all details and we will be more than happy to assist you with ticketing.

Your TK account shows total miles:  (XXX) miles at this time.

Once we made the booking, we wrote back in with the confirmation number and they then responded with this:

The airport taxes are $307.50 per each passenger. The total for two will be $615.00.

Total 53,000 miles will be deducted for both tickets.

At the time that the miles will show available in the membership accounts and you will be ready for payment we will forward you the credit card authorization forms and Miles & Smiles forms to be completed.

We will need both forms to be completed and send them to us along with the copy of the credit card and the copy of the ID of the credit card holder. We also need the copies of the Miles & Smiles cards.

The airport taxes are based on the current calculation as per today. We will revise and charge the taxes based on the calculation at the time of ticketing. 

Once we receive and all needed documents and the payment we will proceed and issue the tickets.

BOOM! Just like that, we sent over a  copy of our ID and Credit Card, and the forms were sent back our way. We filled them out, took a picture with our phone and sent it back. Two days later we had a confirmation number and all was well in the world. 

Emirates 777 and Turkish 737

No more showing up in a ticket office. No more silly wire transfers. We got an email from their credit card processing machine (I think they used squarespace?) and everything was booked.

After it was all said and done I even wrote them back and asked if they could provide me the partner confirmation number, which they did within a couple of hours.

It should be noted that you will have to pay fuel surcharges on Turkish issued flights, but when the miles cost is so low, it’s worth it in my opinion.

Things just got interesting…

Let’s turn on the lights and show some amazing value for your Citi Thank You Points and Miles and Smiles balances.

Europe to the USA, Business Class, 45k each way

Lufthansa, Swiss Air, SAS, even Air New Zealand. All flights from the USA to Europe are only 45,000 each way.

Fare Sale

United Dreamliner via YouTube and Kris Trexler

“Oceania” to “Oceania”

Turkish has a kinda wonky definition of Oceania, and Hawaii is included in that definition (as is Guam)

Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Honolulu, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu.

That means that you can fly on Air New Zealand from Honolulu to Auckland and beyond for only 15,000 in coach or 25,000 in business class. For such long flights that is an amazing value.

South America is Where?!

Don’t tell anyone, but they have no idea where South America is located. Just take a look at what they include in “South” America

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia

Panama’s Old Town

Look at all that Central American and Caribbean which is logged as South America. I’ll let you do the math and geography, but the options truly are amazing for some interesting routings.

If you want to fly “within” South America, you can do so for only 35,000 one-way. Imagine being able to fly from the Bahamas to Argentina for only 35,000 miles, or from Europe to South America for 52,500 one way.  South Africa is 75,000 miles, and I’m wondering if you could even route via Europe? Anyone want to try that out? Please let me know if you get it to work.

Where to find award charts

Turkish lists their award charts on their website and also their regions. You can find them all here.

Easy ways to earn Miles and Smiles points

WITHOUT a doubt, the best way to get Turkish Miles are with Citibank Credit Cards. Both the Premier and the Prestige cards offer generous sign up bonuses. I use the Premier card myself and I’ve been pretty heavy in using it lately instead of my Amex and Chase cards:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel including gas stations
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and on entertainment
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Ever since we started learning more about Citi, we’ve put most of our travel expenses on the Citi cards to earn 3x and start cranking out Citi Thank You points. If you don’t have the Citi Prestige Card, I’d highly consider giving it a look.

Bottom Line

It can be a bit of a pain in the butt to book everything via email, but you can call, get the reservation on hold, transfer the points from Citibank, and then pay via email. This is a heck of a lot easier than it used to be, which is a massive improvement!

Play around with their award chart, see if it makes sense for you, and have fun using your new favorite Star Alliance redemption partner!

Have you booked any Star Alliance awards with Miles and Smiles?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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3 Comments

  1. Sounds wonderful. Two questions: What about fuel surcharges, particularly on LH? I love the idea of Oceania including Hawaii, but how would I check for *A award space? NZ is pretty notorious for not releasing business class space, and I don’t know how to check for space and if there’s any other option.
    Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • That’s your option… air NZ since not much else gets you there. You’re right, they are stingy with space, but they’re not AS stingy on those medium routes. Honolulu is one of those routes that’s overlooked. You could also fly from AKL to many places in Oceania as well and bounce around down under. You can always use ITA Matrix to check the fuel surcharges before you book a flight. Are you familiar with how to do that?

      Post a Reply
      • It’s been a while but yes, I’ve used ITA Matrix. I was hoping that you could route through Asia, but I can certainly live with mediocre award space directly to Oceania. Thanks!

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