Turkish Miles & Smiles has an incredibly generous award chart which includes deals such as 7.5K one-way from anywhere in the US to Hawaii (or 15K in business class), 45K one-way business class to Europe, 52.5K one-way business class to central Asia, etc. And you can transfer points to Turkish from Citi ThankYou Rewards (1 to 1) or from Marriott Bonvoy (60K to 25K). Finding these great deals in Turkish’s award chart is easy. Booking these deals is not.
Booking award tickets with Turkish Miles & Smiles is not what most would consider an intuitive process. However, it can be done via email and isn’t all that difficult if you know what you want and how to check the availability in advance. Traditionally, one has had to go in person to a Turkish Airlines ticket office to ticket. However, it is also possible to get an award ticketed without visiting a physical office. Whether you’re trying to book to Hawaii for 7.5K miles each way, Europe for 45K each way in business class, or one of the many other Miles & Smiles sweet spots, you will need to put in a little more effort than with other programs. The good news is that the payoff is worthwhile.
Step 1) Search for availability using United.com or Aeroplan.com
Before you reach out to Turkish, find availability so you can feed the exact flights you want to the Turkish agents. Calling or emailing Turkish about availability in general on a route, rather than reaching out about specific dates and flights, is not always useful in terms of finding available flights. Furthermore, with the extra steps involved here that naturally slow down the process, you would be smart to find and verify availability in advance.
United and Aeroplan tend to be your best bets in terms of finding Star Alliance award availability. If you use United.com, make sure that you are not logged in to your United account. United credit card holders and elite members will see expanded award availability when logged in and this expanded availability is not available for partner bookings (i.e. you can not use partner airline miles to book that extra award space) Therefore, you’ll want to start your search logged out. United has a more intuitive interface, but there are times when it shows phantom availability. If you’re looking for particularly complex itineraries, it might make sense to double-check availability via Aeroplan.com.
Keep in mind that Turkish has some additional rules for Star Alliance bookings that may also limit your options further from what you see at United / Aeroplan:
- You can only have a single partner in each direction on a Star Alliance award (In other words, you can not fly from New York to Los Angeles on United and then continue from Los Angeles to Auckland on Air New Zealand. However, you could fly Los Angeles to Auckland entirely on Air New Zealand and then fly your return flight entirely on United.)
- You can have a maximum of 4 segments in each direction.
- While backtracking is allowed, you can not pass through the same airport twice in a single direction.
From what I’ve read, Turkish does not seem to impose a maximum permitted mileage (something that Aeroplan does do, so there may be some itineraries available with Turkish that aren’t available with Aeroplan).
2) Email a ticket office to inquire about availability and confirm the price
Turkish Airlines operates ticket offices in 9 US cities and 2 Canadian cities. They publish contact information for these offices on their website here. Be sure to choose “Ticket Sales Office” rather than “Airport Sales Office” or something like that.
Here is an example email very much like some I have recently sent.
I’m emailing to inquire about a Star Alliance award booking. As it is not possible to price this award online, I’m hoping you can confirm the number of miles required and any associated taxes or surcharges on the following itinerary:Passenger: [Name]Miles & Smiles Number: XXXXXXDate: November 12, 2019Class: EconomyOrigin: IADDestination: LASSegments:1) UA 632 12NOV IAD-LAX 1230 1456
2) UA 2365 12NOV LAX-LAS 1631 1745Again, I’m looking for both the number of miles required and the total cost of any taxes, surcharges, or booking fees.I really appreciate your assistance!Sincerely,[Name]
I find the response time to vary a bit but it is decent overall. You’ll need some trial and error: one office did not email me back at all while another generally emailed me back the same day if I emailed before 2pm Eastern. Keep in mind that most of the ticket offices are open 9am-5pm Monday through Friday, so you will not get a response after hours / on weekends.
3) Transfer miles and wait
When an agent responds, they will typically confirm availability and price and ask if you would like to proceed with the booking. At this point, you’ll want to transfer miles as the agent will not be able to move forward with the process until you have miles in your account. Note that transfers to Turkish Miles and Smiles are not instant. You will need to wait 1-2 days for miles to post, which can be an issue for high-demand awards. If availability is limited and your dates / route is of particular importance to you, you may consider booking with a different program.
I let my agent know that I would be transferring miles and she proactively reached out with the necessary paperwork once the transferred miles posted to my account. You may alternatively keep an eye on your Miles & Smiles account and email again when the miles are deposited.
4) Fill out paperwork
Turkish will next require all of the following paperwork:
- Miles & Smiles redemption form: This is a form that includes the basic route and price information and asks you to indicate the type of award (i.e. an award ticket on Star Alliance Flights). You’ll sign this form.
- Credit card authorization form. This form has your PNR and fare information. It also asks for date of birth, email address, phone number, driver’s license number, credit card information, and signature.
- Photos of your credit card (both front and back). Be aware that you may need to crop / resize your photos (my email kept bouncing back saying that the ticket office box was full and the message was undeliverable, but it turned out that my files were too large).
- Photo of your ID. I provided both front and back.
- Miles and Smiles card front and back copy. I didn’t have a physical card and couldn’t find a digital one on the desktop website. However, you can get your “Digital Card” in the main menu of the Turkish Airlines app when you are logged in and that was sufficient.
The above steps may seem a bit tedious and excessive compared to other programs, and it is certainly more information than most programs will ever request. However, if you’re comfortable passing on the information, I can confirm that the ticket offices are capable of ticketing an itinerary once they have the above documentation.
5) Receive confirmation
After the Turkish ticket office has received your documentation via email, they will let you know when your booking is complete and the system will send you a ticketing email as soon as the journey has been ticketed. You’re done!
Traditionally, you had to call Turkish Airlines to put an award ticket on hold and then visit a physical ticket office (one of the nine in the US or others in different major cities around the world) in order to fill out the required paperwork. Being able to complete this process via email means that an award can be ticketed without speaking to anyone or making an unnecessary visit to a ticket office. Note that it is possible (and indeed likely) that some ticket offices will be unwilling to ticket via email. If you receive a response telling you that you must first call Turkish Airlines to set up an award, you may want to try a different ticket office. Keep in mind also that Turkish may require some members to ticket in person and/or change this process at any time. However, for the time being, ticketing via email is fast, friendly, efficient, and easy.
Nick, thank you for this article! Thanks to the guidance from this article, I was able to book two economy tickets from the US East Coast to Honolulu for 7,500 points each. My experience in April 2023 was quite similar to yours here.
I enjoy the podcast you and Greg post each week. You guys are 2nd to none when it comes to providing relevant information relating to traveling via points. Keep it up!
I sent an email to the Atlanta office 4 days ago and didn’t hear back from them. I then called their ATL office and was told the flights were full for the dates I was trying to book. I wish they would have emailed me back.
I just booked 2 flights from Washington DC to Honolulu and back using Miles and Smiles points. Here is my experience.
I found several United Saver award flights for my dates but the Turkish Airline website indicated there were none available. Next, I called Turkish Airlines several times but they said there was nothing available even when I pressed them United had Star Alliance flights, and gave them the flight info. Next, I emailed multiple US sales offices but the few that responded only said to call flight reservations. Finally, I went back to their website and found a much better flight (only one stopover) by trying a different date. Interestingly, this flight was not available as a saver award flight on United.
After getting the award flights, I confirmed United had my reservation but I have no baggage allowance even though I used my United Explorer’s credit card to pay for the fees. This is because Turkish Airlines does not share what credit card you used with United. No one can avoid baggage fees by just bringing carry-on luggage since United Economy flights charge you a handling fee of $25 plus the $30 check luggage fee each way. It’s cheaper to just check a bag ($30) but you run the risk of getting delayed or lost luggage. The next day, after getting my reservations, I logged into the Turkish website and they did not have my profile information anymore…. The Turkish App still had my profile information. This company is a hopeless wreck. Yes, you can book a great deal with very few award points but you are going to have to treat the search as a game. Can you outwit outlast outplay the Turkish incompetence?
It looks like there are no more US-based “Ticket Sales Office” listed online to email. I also saw none in Canada, Australia, Singapore, Ireland, or the UK. The rest of the primarily English-speaking countries didn’t appear available among the options with Turkish. There was one recently listed for Boston in the past week, but after I emailed them a few times in the past week (never getting an answer) spread out by a business day or more each time, they took that email down. With that in mind, is there another kind of office where it works?
[…] If united.com shows saver level award space but Miles and Smiles does not, call 800-874-8875 or email to make your Turkish Airlines […]
[…] via email by providing pictures of the front and back of my license and credit card, etc (See: Book Turkish Miles & Smiles awards via email. Here’s how.. However, I long ago found that once you have a PNR from the ticket office, you can call the 800 […]
[…] readers who booked over the phone early this year. Email bookings should also still be working, so try the email process if you strike out on the phone. Note that you may need to try more than one ticket office (there is […]
Nick, I can’t find any of the United States ticket office email addresses, the link in the article just provides a single phone number. Do you know if the email option is still available?
I haven’t tried to book via email since the pandemic began, but you’re right that the info is no longer there on the Turkish site. Nonetheless, a google of Turkish Airlines Ticket Office [Enter City name] seems to yield contact results / email addresses still, though not on the Turkish site. Keep in mind that THY means Turkish Airlines. I don’t know the origin of the three letter code, but charges on a statement from Turkish code as THY.
Okay, thanks for the info!
Did you have any success booking via email? I tried emailing the Boston office 4 days ago, but still haven’t heard back. Incidentally, when I booked with the Boston office about 9 months ago, they got back with a reservation 3 days later. Curious to know what you found.
[…] readers who booked over the phone early this year. Email bookings should also still be working, so try the email process if you strike out on the […]
[…] you see as a saver award on United.com that doesn’t show up on the Turkish Airlines website, try emailing a ticket office. On these example dates to follow, I believe United.com shows the nonstop available in economy […]
This was a great guide. I did everything exactly as it was laid out above right to up emailing the ticket office in BOS. from there they replied via email and told me to call in. the agent on the phone confirm everything, took my CC info and issued me a ticket within minutes. Thanks Nick!
I followed the template you laid out and have run into issues today. I found saver award flights available on United.com, and emailed the Chicago Ticket Sales office. The representative directed me to call the miles and smiles department because my miles and smiles account didn’t show that I had any miles in my account (I haven’t transferred my Citi thank you points yet because I want to make sure I will be able to use them in advance). I called the miles and smiles number (800-874-8875), provided the exact dates of travel that the United.com site showed saver award flight availability, but the miles and smiles department representative told me they have no award flight availability for my dates of travel. Any advice? Thanks!
The story I’ve been getting from Turkish agents over the phone today is that they can see the flights but they cannot “select a fare”. I’ve been instructed to email. Looks like we could end up in an endless circle.
[…] Turkish partner awards can be booked via email (otherwise it’s necessary to go to a Turkish Airlines ticket office). […]
[…] we broke the story on that sweet spot last month, we initially thought that booking had to be done via email. We later posted that bookings could be made via phone, which has been true for many (but not all) […]
[…] Unfortunately, all of this has considerably limited my available mileage options. For example, while you can redeem Singapore KrisFlyer miles on United flights (17.5k miles one-way), the connection can’t be longer than 4 hours. The same logic seems to apply to an amazing sweet-spot redemption via Turkish program, recently discovered by Nick at Frequent Miler. […]
[…] Turkish Ticket Sales Offices, so email is going to have to do it. Nick has a great write-up about how he booked his flights to Hawaii. It’s hard to believe it’s […]
Does anyone know if you can book a flight via email for someone else who is not the account holder?
I’ve emailed three different Turkish Airlines locations’ ticket sales offices and have yet to receive a reply. I copied and edited exactly the email example in this post. Any way to get them to respond? I’ve even followed up once to date.
Same here. I don’t believe this is working via email.
Super disappointing. Seems dead then? I will keep trying a bit more.
[…] it seems no longer to be necessary, as you should be able to book your ticket via email. Please read carefully that link if you’re going to follow that […]
I tried inquiring about the United flights through the email method described but haven’t received any response. I emailed three different offices: Boston, San Francisco, and LA. Then called the Seattle office and the agent directed me to book on the Star Alliance website. Can anyone share which office they are able to get an email response?
When did you email them? Are you emailing the ticket office?
I emailed several of the ticketing offices (not airport ones) and haven’t received a response either. A lot of the emails returned unsent as well. I’d like to know which office as well if possible.
I emailed the Ticket Sales Office. Sent the first email The Boston office on Wednesday night and the other two emails to the SF and LA offices Thursday morning. Still no reply so far.
Yes, I have tried Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco. No response.
[…] How to book awards: Traditionally, you have needed to call Turkish Airlines to put the award on hold and then travel to a Turkish Airlines ticket office to ticket the award. However, bookings have been working via email. See: Book Turkish Miles & Smiles awards via email. Here’s how. […]
Would it be possible to put award on hold by calling and then ticket via email? Otherwise it feels awfully long process in which award seat may simply disappear.
I’d like to know that too.
when you are discussing award availability on United.com, you mean the ‘saver award,” correct? (i.e. 22.5K one way to HNL, not the everyday lowest award availability at >45K)
Yes, that is what Nick is referring to.
Nick, what do you expect to happen when UA goes dynamic pricing later this year? How would you find Saver fares if they no longer technically exist?
Then using Aeroplan becomes even more valuable. Since UA would only release whatever they define as “saver” to partners.
It’s similar to Delta going full-on crazy with business class points, but Virgin Atlantic still books at the saver level.
Is it possible to book multiple people? My family and I’ve been eyeing a trip back to Hawaii and are getting ready to shell out cash. Would only have to spend a couple hundred in TY points to get all 5 of us there. That’d be much better than paying a few grand.
Wondering the same thing…
[…] Book Turkish Miles & Smiles awards via email. Here’s how. […]
I just called up TK office twice to inquire about United award availability that I saw on United’s website (without logging in). Sadly, although United was showing availability on two different routings to HNL out of IAD, neither was available to TK. Not that day, not the previous day. At least the agents confirmed it would have been 7,500 TK miles (+$5.60 in tax). Oh, well, back to scrambling 22,500 United miles per person… It was too good to be true.
Try emailing as described in this post. It is commonly known that phone agents are YMMV. E-mail seems to be the way to get it done. I’ve gotten plenty of itineraries priced out with availability already. Only 1 time had one that they said wasn’t available. Unfortunately, with it being Friday, you probably won’t hear back until Monday, but it’s worth an email.
I actually did hear from them today (Friday night, 9pm EST) via email. The quote came back at 15,000 miles. 🙁
11.E 15000PTS ( required miles )
I double checked (via email) that it wasn’t for 2 people. The agent emailed back saying that it was indeed for 1 person. When he changed the date to a different random date in August, it was showing 7,500.
Interesting. Was there a difference in terms of layovers? What are the itineraries? Perhaps you hit up against the maximum connect time, so it priced as two awards?
Could it be? It is less then 5 hours for the first one…. Both priced the same 22,500 on United. Both look the same in his email exerpt.
This itinerary is 15,000: IAD SFO HK1 0631 0935 SFO HNL HK1 1410 1737
This one is only 7,500: IAD SFO HK1 1600 1850 SFO HNL HK1 2019 2244
United domestic awards booked through united significantly relax the typical domestic maximum connection time (4hrs, provided a valid connection is available). I haven’t been able to figure out what their rules are, but I think I’ve seen upwards of 8hr connection times w/o breaking the fare on united.com. But Turkish is presumably requiring connections on domestic itineraries to be 4 hrs on Aeroplan, I presume it wouldn’t show. As Nick suggested, if you see the itinerary show up on Aeroplan, it’s probably good to go on Turkish. If you don’t see it on Aeroplan, then it’s possible it may not be available (or in this case, will require more miles than you hope).
I think Bill’s got it basically all right. The only thing I’ll add is that it’s notable that Aeroplan has maximum permitted mileage between any two given cities, whereas my understanding is that Turkish does not. To give an example, I was recently in Crete Greece and needed to get to Milan. The shortest (in terms of travel time) itinerary apart from Ryanair was flying via Brussels Airlines from Heraklion airport to Brussels to Milan. However, that itinerary was about a hundred miles longer than Aeroplan’s maximum permitted mileage between Heraklion airport and Milan, so Aeroplan did not show that flight as bookable. However, I would expect to be able to book that with Turkish miles and smiles. So the Aeroplan litmus test isn’t totally accurate, but when it comes to Hawaiian flights, I would expect the Aeroplan litmus test to be accurate.
Bill & Nick – thank you for your thoughts. Today, I opened up an Aeroplan account to test the theory. Two Hawaii itineraries – same route with 4.5 hour layover and 7 hour layover – are showing as available at 22,500 Aeroplan miles. I am not familiar with Aeroplan program but I assume that 22,500 is a saver award level. TK rep keeps saying those routes/layovers are double at 15,000 each. So, looks like Aeroplan intel is not fool proof either.
Interesting. I’d have expected Aeroplan to have a similar max connect time. I guess the fact that they don’t is good news for those who want to use Aeroplan miles to book but bad news for filtering out what Turkish can’t book.
My best guess then remains that it’s a 4hr max connect time since your itinerary w/ a connection under 4hrs priced at 7500 (as did mine) but 4.5 hours is apparently too much.
I just ticketed HNL-ORD-IAD 7,500 mile tickets over the phone with a call center (operators are located in Europe) since going back and forth with the local office was becoming tedious. I put a reservation on hold (hold is good for 72 hours) and called next day to ticket. For credit card details and account pin code they send you to a brief automated system where you enter the details using the phone’s key pad. Worked like a charm!
Guest – Which ticket office did you email? I’m having trouble getting a response from the 2 I’ve emailed so far – SFO and ATL. Thanks!
I corresponded with Washington DC office but it got very tedious very quickly since it is not a real time and the discussion was spanning multiple days while availability was changing. I had better luck “mentoring” folks in their call center (located somewhere in Europe) in looking the A-B-C tinerary. What they do it to plug in A to C and then quickly say “nothing is available”. You have to walk them trough A-B segment, make them check B-C segment and then put together A-B-C itinerary. Good news is that you can ticket it over the phone. They send you briefly to an automated service that asks you to plug in the pin number phone’s key pad and then put it your credit card number, expiration and security code in the same manner and voila!
Great DP! What number did you call?
The main TK number: 1 (800) 874-8875. It goes to European call center during PM N American hours.
I bet that’s it. For example, Singapore won’t allow you to book a domestic Star Alliance itinerary with a layover of longer than 4 hours. This has long been a problem with booking itineraries to Hawaii from the East Coast because many of them have overnight layovers, but Singapore will not book them as a single award ticket.
So totally theory at this point, but I put five bucks on the theory that they have a similar max connect time. your first itinerary had a five-hour layover, your second itinerary has about an hour-and-a-half layover. That’s got to be the difference. And that kind of makes sense actually as I have a completely unrelated itinerary in a different part of the world that they told me couldn’t be booked as a single award and my guess was and now my firm expectation is that it must have violated the max connect time.
Does one only have availability in Business class?
Instead try Singapore for 17.5k each way, don’t pay 22.5k
Just signed up for the program and found this promo:
Invite your friends to join Miles&Smiles and earn up to 2,500 Bonus Miles!
I just can’t find any promo T & C. Would the new member need to take a flight or need to meet some other requirements .. no clue.
On the Turkish Airlines website link under NY, there is no “ticket office” in the drop down window-only Airport Sales office,
Cargo office and Head office. Where did you find a “ticket office” option?
Did you try a different city?
Since you mentioned that backtracking is allowed. Does Turkish allow a free stopover? Wouldn’t mind flying East Coast to HNL, stay for a few days and continue to the West Coast…
Not on a one-way award and according to what others have written (haven’t personally verified) you have to be spending a minimum of 60K RT in econ or 90K RT in biz to get a free stopover.
Any idea what the implication of wanting to add a lap infant would be on these awards?
Domestically within the US, it should be free. Internationally, I’m not sure.
Great find! Big problem!!!
E-mail is a horribly insecure medium. I *might* be willing to give my FF # via email, but I would never give a credit card number via e-mail. In fact, Turkish is violating their agreement with the credit card companies with respect to required security policies (PCI-DSS) by accepting card numbers this way (I do IT Security professionally and have done some work in this area).
I see there’s a comment that one can now book these flights on the Turkish website – that’s a much better way to go. I would ask that you verify booking via the website, and if that’s correct, post an update to this article and deprecate the email process. Even if online booking isn’t available, e-mailing credit card numbers is a very bad idea.
You can’t book these on the website. Your other option is to go to a Turkish ticket office.
*You can’t book the United domestic awards I wrote about earlier for the trips to Hawaii.
If I were attempting this booking, I’d first try to get the required materials to Turkish using something like Firefox Send (https://send.firefox.com/). I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to balk, but worth a try.
It depends on where you reside. You got the matter reversed.
For US consumers, credit card liability protection is so strong, i.e. you are not responsible for any fraudulent charges, I dont see why one is so worked up by giving out credit card number – after all, during our daily lives, many many places our credit card information is accessible by others – most restaurants in US do not use the handheld device for you to pay the bill by table side like in everywhere in Europe – your card is taken away by the waiter to process the payment then he brings back the charge slip for you to sign, as well as your card. Meaning your card is out of your sight for quite a while. Bad things can happen during that time, and did happen occasionally – all you need to do is to report the fraudulent charges to your bank and your bank would take care of the rest.
On the other hand, when your loyalty accounts are hacked, it takes a lot of efforts to get the balance restored.
You don’t need to do that anymore. I booked an award recently. All you need to do is transfer your miles in and book the award on their website. Then they email you the ticket. The process was easy.
There are some awards you can book online once you have the miles — but, for example, I don’t see any domestic United awards online even though I have miles in my account.