How to book United flights with Turkish Miles & Smiles

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Update 5/19/20: This morning, we published a guide to the best ways to get to cities in the US and Canada using miles. The sweetest sweet spot in that post is undoubtedly using Turkish Miles & Smiles to book United awards. Since we originally wrote this guide, there have been many updates: you can now book one-way online and book either economy or business class for example. As a result, we’re re-publishing this guide for those looking to plan domestic travel in late 2020 or early 2021.

One of the best ways to book domestic United Airlines flights is with Turkish Miles & Smiles. When you can find saver award availability, Turkish charges just 7.5K miles each way in economy class and 12.5K miles each way in business class within the United States (including to Alaska and Hawaii) and much lower change and cancellation fees than United for the exact same United flights. Flights to other parts of North America (like Canada/Mexico) are just 10K each way in economy class or 15K in business class. This is true whether booking one-way, round-trip, direct, or multi-segment connecting itineraries. We’ve published a number of posts about this major sweet spot. However, with the key information spread out over multiple posts, we’ve received many questions from readers about how it works. This post is an effort to consolidate information and fully answer the question, “How do you book United flights using Turkish Airlines miles?”.

6 things to know

  1. Book via email or over the phone if you can’t online: While some itineraries can be booked online, many itineraries don’t show up online, so you’ll need to either email or call to book over the phone with Turkish Miles & Smiles at 1-800-874-8875. Note that for a while, phone bookings were not working, but we received several reports of success from 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.
  2. United Airlines Saver availability only: You must find United saver availability. Only United saver availability is bookable with partner miles. You can not book segments operated by Hawaiian or other airlines with Turkish miles. You can not use Turkish miles to book award seats that are only available to United credit card holders or United elite members — only saver availability that you see when not logged in to a United account.
  3. Connecting itineraries are OK: Award pricing is per direction regardless of segments (i.e. EWR-HNL is 7.5K one way in economy class. EWR-ORD-LAX-HNL is also 7.5K one way in economy even though there are 2 stops provided the layours don’t exceed maximum connection times).
  4. Award holds: Turkish will give you a hold for 48 hours if booking more than 7 days in advance, so there is no need to transfer before putting an award on hold in most cases.
  5. Transfers are not instant: Citi ThankYou points generally transfer in 18-30 hours. You can alternatively transfer from Marriott Rewards, but the transfer time is likely to be a week or more.
  6. No mixed cabin bookings: You can not combine an itinerary with some legs in business class and others in economy class. This makes it hard to book awards up front as United does not release much saver availability in business class. Note that Turkish updated its award booking terms late in 2019 to say it is now possible to book a mixed-cabin award in cases where one of your flights does not have a matching class of service (e.g. one leg has business class but the other leg is operated by a small regional plane with no business class cabin). However, YMMV — the online tool does not yet show these itineraries.

Award prices

Turkish Miles & Smiles has a pretty interesting award chart. You can find the full award chart here (scroll down to “Promotional award ticket table” and click the tiny red arrows to the right of those words to expand the chart).

However, they used to have a separate award chart for awards flown within a region on Turkish as well as domestic Star Alliance awards (which do not need to be operated by Turkish). They eliminated the following chart sometime last year, but awards still price according to this chart for the time being.

Here are the relevant notes that used to exit just below that chart about domestic flights::

***Applicable Mile amount for direct flights with Star Alliance member airlines in the same country.

As you can see, domestic Star Alliance awards should price at 15K round trip in Economy Class / 25K in business class / 40K in first class. Since a one-way is half the cost of a round trip, here is a simpler breakdown:

Domestic United Airlines awards with Turkish Miles & Smiles
      • 7.5K each way in economy class
      • 12.5K each way in business class
      • 20K each way in first class (Note: United no longer operates 3-cabin flights in the United states, so what United calls “first class” is really business class)

Those are some amazing prices when you consider that they apply to domestic flights across the United States — whether you’re flying an expensive regional flight to hop a state or two away, on a premium transcon flight, or all the way to Alaska or Hawaii (even with connections to get there). LifeMiles gets attention for the fact that flights can be booked for 7500 miles each way within a single US region. Turkish charges 7.5K each way within the United States.

Step by step guide

Here’s how to book United flights with Turkish Miles & Smiles.

Step 1) Check United.com for saver availability

Start at United.com and search your preferred date and route looking for saver award availability. Only saver awards can be booked with partner miles.

The flights marked “Saver Award” can be booked with United miles. Those with higher mileage prices (like 45K and 90K in the image above) can not be booked using partner miles.

Note that you Turkish can not book seats that are only available to United credit card holders or elite members. Your best bet is to make sure you are not logged in at United.com when searching.

Step 2) Try booking a United award ticket with Turkish Airlines online

Some domestic United Airlines flights can be booked online for just 7,500 miles each way (including to places like Hawaii and Alaska). Unfortunately, the online tool definitely doesn’t show everything that is bookable via the phone. Generally speaking, only basic one-stop itineraries are available online, though note that you can book one-way online. Some itineraries just don’t show up for no explicable reason, occasionally an itinerary prices higher than it should, and when booking online the member using miles must be on the itinerary (it is possible to book via phone/email for others without the member paying needing to be on the itinerary). Here are the basic quirks regarding online booking (note that you can avoid these altogether by booking over the phone):

  1. Many available routes don’t show up online. It’s not clear why, but many itineraries that are available at United.com do not show up on the Turkish Airlines website.
  2. Not all routes price correctly online. Most domestic US itineraries now price at 7,500 miles each way in economy class online. Some price at over 11K online for no known reason (the same itineraries can be booked over the phone for 7,500 miles each way).
  3. The online tool often doesn’t show the most direct routing. Even when direct flights are available, the system sometimes forces a connection (for example, rather than allowing a nonstop round trip award between San Francisco and Honolulu, the options presented required connecting through Los Angeles or vice versa).
  4. You can not book tickets for others online unless the member booking is also traveling. For example, the online system would not allow me to make a booking for my wife and son (without me) using my miles. It is possible to book travel for others over the phone and via email.

Note that when we first broke the news of this sweet spot a year ago, there were additional drawbacks that have been resolved (for example, while you could previously only book round trip online, you can now book one-ways; while airports like Newark used to be missing from the online search tool, most domestic US airports are now loaded in the tool).

Despite the drawbacks,  if you’d like to try booking a Star Alliance award like a United domestic trip online using Turkish Miles & Smiles, first log into your Turkish Miles & Smiles account. Then, click the drop-down menu to the right of your name (in the top right corner). Choose “Miles Transactions” and then look for the “Star Alliance Award Ticket” area and click “Book Now”.

That will take you to the Star Alliance booking tool, which looks exactly like the booking tool on the home page, only it works for searching Star Alliance awards (whereas the one on the home page apparently doesn’t). From there, it’s fairly self-explanatory. If you try to search via the home page, it will not work. Follow the directions above to get to the right tool.

Note that you can specify a cabin to search, but the tool returns both economy and business class results either way. You will see results tabbed as economy and business on dates when both are available:

If you search and nothing happens, it is not finding availability. This does not mean that no awards are available. Assuming you have found United saver availability, it just means that you’ll need to call or email to book. Note that sometimes, agents don’t see availability that should be there, but you’re more likely than not to have success via phone or email.

However, if your route has availability that will be shown online, you’ll see results like this:

From there, you select your desired flights and go forward to book as you would on any airline website. If you have miles in your account, you should be able to complete the process online. However, if you do not yet have miles and/or you do not find the itinerary you want online, you’ll want to move on to Step 3.

Step 3) Call Turkish Airlines. Feed the agent each segment separately. (Alternatively, the email process still works. See this post for instructions on booking via email)

To book a United Airlines award ticket over the phone with Turkish Miles & Smiles, follow these steps:

  1. Call 1-800-874-8875
  2. Press 1 to continue in English
  3. Press 1 because you’re a Miles & Smiles member
  4. Enter your Miles & Smiles number
  5. Press 1 to confirm your number is correct
  6. Press 4 for reservations

When you call Turkish Airlines to book a United Airlines award ticket over the phone, you will need to be prepared to tell the agent exactly which flights you want and then feed the agent one segment at a time.

For example, if you’re looking to fly from Chicago to Honolulu with a layover in San Francisco, you’ll need to be very specific:

“I’d like to book a partner flight on United airlines. There are 2 segments. The first flight is from Chicago (ORD) to San Francisco (SFO) on October 22nd for 2 passengers in economy class. I’m looking for flight UA 1891 leaving Chicago at 10am and arriving at 12:50pm in San Francisco.”

Let the agent find that flight. Then, move on to the next flight.

“The second segment is from San Francisco (SFO) to Honolulu (HNL) on October 22nd for 2 passengers in economy class. I’m looking for flight UA 300 leaving San Francisco at 2:10pm.”

If you instead just ask for Chicago to Honolulu, the agent will likely tell you that there is no availability (unless there is a nonstop flight available). You have to go segment by segment.

Keep in mind that the max layover on domestic itineraries appears to be 4 hours. If your itinerary has a longer layover, you’ll be charged for two awards.

Note that sometimes, agents will not find the itinerary you want. In that case, you’ll need to proceed to Step 4. If the agent found the itinerary you wanted, skip to Step 5.

Step 4) Hang up, Call again.

If the agent does not find the itinerary you wanted (and you have verified that it shows up as a saver award at United.com), politely end the call. Then, hang up and call again and try with a different agent.

Unfortunately, this is the biggest hangup with booking Turkish Miles & Smiles awards: not all agents seem to be able to find all United saver availability. I’ve sometimes been able to book on the first phone call and other times it has taken me 5 or 6 phone calls over the course of a week to find an agent who was able to book what I wanted. I’ve literally had back-to-back phone calls where one agent said there were no available seats and the next agent saw the availability I was after. You just need to roll the dice and be persistent.

Step 5) Put an award on hold

Once an agent finds your flights, you will need to ask them to put the itinerary on hold for you to transfer over the miles (since Turkish allows free and easy holds there is no reason to transfer miles before this point). The agent will need to take the names and birthdates of the passengers in your party to put it on hold. The process is a bit slow because everything gets repeated a couple of times for clarity.

Provided you are booking travel at least 7 days in advance, you will be offered a hold of 48 hours, which is plenty of time to transfer the miles necessary.

If you are booking a flight within 7 days of travel, you will only get a hold for 24 hours. That may be enough time to make the transfer if you’re lucky.

Step 6) Transfer miles

Option 1: Citi ThankYou Points

Most people will transfer Citi ThankYou points to Turkish Miles & Smiles since Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles is a 1:1 Citi Transfer Partner. Simply log in to ThankYou.com and transfer your points to Turkish Miles & Smiles like you would with any airline partner.

Transfers from Citi are not instant. Transfer times vary from 18-30 hours. You should easily receive the miles in time to ticket your held award provided you initiate the transfer right away after placing the hold.

Citi did provide a transfer bonus to Turkish Miles & Smiles once in 2018. Hopefully we will see that return.

Option 2: Marriott Bonvoy*

You can alternatively / additionally transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Turkish Miles & Smiles at a rate of 3 Marriott points to 1 Turkish Airlines mile. When you transfer 60,000 Marriott points, you’ll get a 5K bonus for a total of 25K Turkish miles. Unfortunately, Marriott transfers are slow and may take a week or more. You can’t count on a transfer from Marriott processing while you have an award on hold.

Option 3: Buy miles from Turkish

Turkish Miles & Smiles will sell you up to 50,000 miles for 3 cents per mile. These miles post instantly to your account, so this can be a way to top off your account for a valuable award.

Option 4: Buy Citi ThankYou points

As long as you have a card that earns Citi ThankYou points, and you have at least one point in your account, you can buy additional ThankYou points for 2.5 cents each, up to a maximum of 100K points per year.  You can then transfer those points to airline miles.  Greg wrote about this in detail a while ago: Buy miles via ThankYou Rewards. He then wrote a post about doing it specifically for award to Hawaii. See: $386 to Hawaii round trip from anywhere in the US.

Step 7) Call back to ticket before deadline

Once you have the miles necessary in your account, you’ll need to call back to ticket your held award.

The process is pretty straightforward: you’ll call Turkish again and tell them that you need to pay for an award you have on hold. You’ll give them the PNR and they will verify all of the information. The agent will then transfer you to an automated system to enter your credit card information. After you enter credit card info, the agent came will verify the first 4 and last 4 digits of the card number and your Miles & Smiles number and then transfer you to an automated prompt to enter your Miles & Smiles PIN. That “PIN” is the password for the account. Once that is complete, the award can be ticketed.

Change / cancellation fee for Turkish award tickets

Changes before check-in will incur a $25 fee (the ticket must be used within 1 year of the day it is issued). Changes after check-in or a no-show will incur a $50 fee. Itineraries can be canceled over the phone and miles are immediately re-deposited.

Bottom line

Turkish Miles and Smiles offers the hands-down best value for booking United Airlines domestic award flights. Unfortunately, the process for booking isn’t always easy, but it can be well worth a little effort for the huge mileage savings, especially on expensive regional flights or awards to far-off parts of the country like Hawaii and Alaska where United Saver awards would cost several times as many miles for the same flights.

For other posts on Turkish Miles and Smiles, see:

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Marc

If paying for any taxes with a United card that offers free checked bag(s), does the benefit convey? Can’t find much on checked bag allowance on the mainland to Hawaii Turkish Star Alliance bookings on United.

Eric Vielbig

Hello, Nick, others.
I received further info from the “Feedback Team” in response to my request/”feedback”, but want to run this by others to see if it makes sense??. From previous comment string, I shared that the deal buster for me after going through saga was when Customer Center Agent told me (and confirmed when I questioned), that Traveler had to present the Credit Card used for Mileage redemption booking fee/taxes at the airport. In this case I’m in CA and was booking for 2 travelers for EWR (NY) to LAX. My credit card was used so that wouldn’t work. I still don’t see how this can be a requirement because from my previous experience with Turkish, and several times with Aeroplan, once I’ve paid for the booking, I simply get the United Confirmation # and print itinerary from there, update passenger info, load TSA Pre info, etc. as applicable, check in and get United boarding passes via the normal process. (Ditto British Aire withh AA I believe). Never have I been asked at the airport to present a CC for the The Aeroplan, Turkish, (BA) booking fee????, but the following was received from the Turkish feedback team via email, which seems to confirm it is a known requirement:

We are performing an upgrade our service channels to improve our infrastructure. Turkish Airlines’ aim is always to improve and offer the best service.

We would like to point out that the related credit card used to purchase the tickets must be presented by the owner because of security reasons. This security check is being randomly applied by our system.

The card may be presented during boarding at the airport. You can also apply to nearest official Turkish Airlines sales office any time prior to your flight in order to complete the presentation process. We will unfortunately not be able to remove the check any other way.

I still can’t believe this is actually a requirement, so would like Nick others to comment based on their far greater experience. Workaround I guess would be to book using a CC from Traveler that they carry with them, but if not necessary…

Thx in advance for the review/reply

Eric Vielbig

Thanks Nick. That position of Turkish’ didn’t make sense to me but glad to have your input and your recent examples. Appreciate the quick reply.

Andrew C

Hi Eric & Nick,

I had the same experience when booking UA flight from EWR to HNL (I am travelling on the booking). For me, the phone agent mentioned I needed to go visit a TK sales office before my flight to verify CC / Passport.

Neither airport has TK staff so it sounds like it would be a PITA to verify. Would there be a risk of TK cancelling my award if I do not head in verify? I already have the UA ticket number and PNR. thanks in advance for the help!

Andrew C

Last edited 1 month ago by Andrew C
Megan

Booked 5 round trip tickets states to Hawaii. Turkish air states tickets are confirmed however, United only has record of my ticket and states it is not confirmed but on “hold”. Called back to Turkish air and they just confirm they are confirmed tickets and tell me to contact United. I am in this endless loop of not knowing if we have tickets secured and unable to select seats because United has no record of our flight. Help

Megan

Yes, TA provided this by email and I provided to United for search and still nothing.

Megan

Just tried them all and it states “Unfortunately your booking could not be found”

Megan

Just following up as it seems others have had this issue. After emailing my local Turkish Air office they first gave me the same answer that tickets were confirmed. I provided screenshots from United. They finally were able to check that there was a technical issue booking with miles for multiple tickets. They reissued the tickets with new United confirmation number. It is still not perfect missing last leg but they are working on it. I can now see all 5 passengers on United website. I hope this is a rare experience however, it will be hesitant to book again with Miles & Smiles. Thanks for all the tips here.

Joey R

Thank you for posting this! I am following closely. Hope your trip is awesome! We are going to Maui in Apr via Southwest due to the intro bonuses + referral between me and my wife. (75000+20000+50000) We are booking four round trip tickets form BNA to OGG. The round trip tickets cost right at 30000 per passenger with only $44.00 total taxes and fees with 2 free checked bags.

Megan

That’s awesome. We did Maui last April. Marriott 50k certificates SUB. My sister stayed at Residence Inn Maui Wailea which was going for over $800 a night. I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea using Hilton points 95k a night-I think the going rate was $1,500 a night. Enjoy your time there

Joey R

Megan that is funny we are using the Marriott Bonvoy 5 free night certificates to say at the Residence Inn Maui Wailea! Did your sister say it was good? The cash price for the 5 nights was $4700!! What a deal! LOL! I pray all works out with your United booking through Turkish Miles & Smiles!

Megan

Awesome! I am still sitting on 5 free nights from P2 haven’t decided on how to use. Residence Inn was great. It sits on an incline/hill so the walk back up from the beach can be a work out however, my sister said they had a shuttle to the mall which is next to Grand Wailea/beach. The Residence Inn had great breakfast spread and the kitchenette in room was a great add. If you are brining kids you might want to see if Grand Wailea is offering day passes for purchase to use the pool as they have a pretty big waterslide which the kids loved. We only did one excursion which was snorkeling through Kai Kanani Sailing @kaikananisailing out to Molokini crater. Food and drink/bar is included and highly recommend. If you are going to do the road to Hana I highly recommend purchasing the audio tour through the app Gypsy Guide. It gives so many tips, history, and comedy during your drive. We were never able to get in at Mama’s Fish House which I know everyone recommends.

Eric

Hello,
Noting this article is 2 years old, hoping my comment will get read and replied.
I discovered the Turkish sweet spot via another online forum, but this one s even better/more helpful.
First, thank you for setting the expectations – good mileage redemption value but (very) difficult learning curve (that is my generous assessment).. I’m still not sure I’m going to hang in there. depends on whether issues I’m experiencing are temporary. The 7500 is sweet, and I’m already heavily invested in time spent. However, that said, it is still proving to be unworkable. I’m using the very good and prescriptive and good input from this article. However, 2 days straight could not get through to call center ( at least 15x calls spread out. auto reply “too much customer call volume”). tried the email route (thx to this article tip) and after pinging several locations got a response from LAX team. They pushed back and I pushed back and they finally provided a reservation – but then redirected me to call center “to pay”. can’t get through. Looked online (logged in) and can see the booking and a “pay” option – but when I try that , no-go and redirects to call center. Also my first encounter with call center, couple months ago, accent was so thick that believe led to misinterpretation and incorrect booking. The “Feedback Team” was very good, knowledgeable, and responsive and eventually fixed the problem and follow up email apologized and told me the phone agent “would be disciplined” (yikes – wasn’t looking for that!).

SO…. any other options to pay? any luck if I’m just persistent via email that they will take the payment that method?

The Calif to Hawaii looks good as we’ll use that in future and that one does appear to pop up online.

But my present need to for EWR>LAX for Thxgv “week” and don’t want to leave passengers stranded. I’m covered with more expensive (miles) via JetBlue, but since the Saver flights finally popped up, if I could get the Turkish/United transaction done, I’d cancel the JB and save a bunch. The Saver flights are there so it’s just a matter of connecting with Turkish w/o 10 more hours of my time, and then them not fumbling.

Appreciate any input/insight!

Joseph Robbins

Thanks for the comment it has some great info! Can you provide the email you used I am unable to find any on Turkish website…

I am looking at trying this this weekend via call and email attempt to book early Apr 2023 from BNA to OGG. I currently do not have any transferable points to send to Turkish but am looking at getting the Capital one Venture X or the Citi Premier soon to cover. I just wanted to try this and see if I could book and then cancel the booking if successful till I actually have points. I do not want to get one of those cards if this isn’t something I can nail down. Will advise after my attempt! I want to use this option as the other closest I can use is CUR points with Southwest for around 34000 roundtrip x 4 for the whole family. I would much rather use Turkish for 60,000 rather than 136,000 with Southwest for 4 roundtrip tickets.

Eric

I’m not the right person to comment on your CC timing. I had capitol one and transferred first (instantaneous), then started looking how to use. I will provide you email contact – THEN – my info to the Feedback team. I cancelled my transaction – complete nightmare as you’ll see and couldn’t continue to risk traveler – nor spend any more time. My limited input – if you can’t complete transaction online you’re in for a lot of risk/trouble. That being said, I will likely use this for future LAX to hawaii…as those seem to be readily available and we go there a lot. I will wait for a long time before i try mainland for anyone other than myself:

Email:RESERVATION.LAX@THY.COM

Feedback/saga:
This was a completely unworkable process. I ended up cancelling the reservation. I am hoping that in return for my troubles, multiple hours spent, and constructive feedback, you will consider crediting my account with mileage for all my efforts.
I was attempting to use my Miles for 2 tickets (for my daughter and her friend) to travel from New York to California – using a flight with your Star Alliance partner United. Very straight forward transaction. Could not be completed online. Could not get through to your Call center so I started with your LAX team.
Please see attached for my correspondence with LAX team. After no further response from “Paola”, I WAS finally able to get ahold of your Call center THIS morning, to attempt to make payment/complete the transaction. If you record these conversations you can confirm everything I am relaying:
First agent this morning: I gave her the Turkish Booking info. She then made me tell her every detail of the flight, passenger info, contact info… Why? It all comes up with the booking reference. I can see that when I’m logged into my account. Regardless, I provided all that information. Then she proceeded to tell me I had to Call United Airlines to pay for the ticket.???? I told her that was incorrect, but she insisted. I hung up. I called back 1 hour later and spoke to another agent. Same process (asked me to provide ALL the information associated with xxxxxx), but then they transferred me to payment system to input Credit card info. That all proceeded correctly. However, when confirming my ticket, the agent informed me that Traveler would have to show/present the credit card at the airport of departure. I am in California and made this reservation for my daughter and her friend in New York. They have no means to present my credit card at EWR airport?? Agent confirmed that is the required process. I cancelled reservation at that point. Very Very disappointing.
I hope you will consider my request for a mileage credit and advise me how to more easily transact a reservation like this in the future.
Thank you and respectfully,

Eric

Hello – did you receive my previous reply couple hours ago? Checking back, I didn’t see it here but maybe a glitch. Not looking to rant, but have “taken” (used) a lot of good input from forums, self-help you tube videos, etc. over the past and figured I needed to “give” back….

Joseph Robbins

Eric, yeah but all I read was…”tried the email route (thx to this article tip) and after pinging several locations got a response from LAX team. They pushed back and I pushed back and they finally provided a reservation…” So no email address was listed. It seems that Turkish has taken them down from their site or something all that is there is a phone number….Yes I have too gotten a lot of good info from people on here and other forums. I am new to the game only been doing it since Feb of this year. Thanks again!

Joseph Robbins

Nick,

Yes sir I have done that and it takes you to a contact page where you select a state/city then the type of office you are looking for and for all the cities listed there, none of them have a “ticket sales office” listed in the drop down as the email instructions say…

2) Email a ticket office to inquire about availability and confirm the priceTurkish 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.”

Eric

Thx Nick . Not going to drive to Los Angeles from my beautiful Central Coast City.
But the rest of your info has been good. Just wish Turkish could deliver. really feels like rolling the dice each time. Have to go back to air canada – event though more miles and that obnoxious fee… :). But their communication and their systems way less sketchy….

Eric

I see now. looks like goes through an approval process. Though everything I shared was professional and helpful – including the email address. Oh well

Joseph Robbins

Eric,

I just emailed them and got this response.

Dear Valued Passenger,
Our office is closed to public and assist passengers through e-mail (reservation.lax@thy.com)
Working hours : 09:00- 17:00 weekdays
Closed on weekends and public holidays.
We will answer your email at first come-first served basis and as soon as possible. The response time is longer than usual, due to the high intensity.
If you have purchased your ticket through a travel agency , please contact with your agency for any refund/rebooking requests.
You can reach us at 1-800-874-8875(24/7)
We thank you for your patience and apologize for the inconvenience.

Will see how long ti takes for them to respond…stay tuned lol!

Joey Robbins

All,

Just got a response back from Turkish email saying I have to book via telephone. See response below:

Dear Passenger,
 
To check availability and purchase your Award Star Alliance ticket kindly contact us 24/7 at 1 800 874 8875.
 

Best Regards,
 

PAOLA DUMEZIC
Reservation Department

Turkish Airlines,
2101 Rosecrans Ave.
Suite 5264
El Segundo, CA 90245
T +1 310 640 8989-49921

Last edited 2 months ago by Joey Robbins
Eric

I’m sure the email address tagged it as spam. That’s OK – was just trying to relay my current experience and office that responded in case helpful and since requested by a reader

David

Urgent question, if I’m already booked on a United flight using United miles, but later found a cheaper price for same flight using Turkish miles, can I double book myself first using Turkish Miles and THEN cancel the United booking, or do i need to cancel the United booking first which would make me nervous? Flight departs in less than 24 hours but i do have option for free cancellation of United flight

Eric

Probably no help for you since your q from a month ago, but my vote would be a strong NO. Make sure your Turkish is correct (AFTER you read the confirming email/ticket), THEN cancel United. I did what you proposed and then found out the Turkish info was incorrect. United flight was way higher (miles/points) at that point. Several hours with Turkish Feedback team (booked additional/correct reservation) and a month later (miles from incorrect flight finally refunded)…and all was fixed. quite the scramble/stress.
Same scenario if I would have waited: I would have just used/kept my United if it was still in place after I discovered the Turkish error – and cancelled the Turkish/fight it out later. at least no stress about reaching my destination w/o a large increase in $/miles.

hiFlyer

I was trying to book a Lufthansa Business class flight India to US through Turkish miles. I did see availability online (after I selected Star Award Ticket) but after I went to the step to enter passenger details, it won’t go forward. I called the customer service and they couldn’t even see it (I guessed that they were probably going through the homepage which only works for Turkish metal flights). What do you do in this case, has HUCA or email been known to help in cases like this?

Victoria

Once I book it, how would I get the booking into my account with United?

Taylor

Insanely bad customer service. I’ve been hung up on twice…I ask the agent about the availability, they say just a moment…then go silent for a few minutes and hang up the call?? So weird.

Zachary

United site shows saver availability and aircanada shows the same flight available for star alliance award booking, but when I call Turkish they say they don’t have any availability? Any tips? I fed the segments to them individually and together and still no luck. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

fob

this still works. I had to HUCA 15 times though, but it worked eventually.
Try looking up United flights through Air Canada’s website as well. You can see which flight from United are available for partners

Joseph Robbins

HUCA?

Chris

Hang up, call again? (guessing)

Joseph robbins

Thanks I should have seen that lol

Oliver

Thanks for this guide! I managed to get two flights on the first call. The third flight was not available. What I noticed was that on the economy saver awards the price in united miles should not exceed 22.5K points to be valid for booking through Turkish Awards. This still works 2021

Michael

Is anyone else not seeing Saver flights on united at all anymore? Not sure if it’s just the legs I’m looking at, but seeing very little availability if any at all.

B-ri

I didn’t see saver any more as well but I just changed a flight that I booked a year ago and I was able to feed it through to the agent. I looked for flights to Hawaii that had 22.5K miles for two people one way and that cost $5.60 in tax, I think those are the ones available for Turkish airlines. It took 4 calls and maybe 20 min wait each time to get someone to help and that also didn’t hang-up/drop the call but it was worth it. That guy is a ledgend!
I didn’t see saver any more as well but I just changed a flight that I booked a year ago and I was able to feed it through to the agent. It took 4 calls and maybe 20 min wait each time to get someone to help and that also didn’t hang-up/drop the call but it was worth it. That guy is a ledgend!

Last edited 1 year ago by B-ri
Oliver

It doesn’t show saver on the website anymore, like in his screen shots. But anything below 22.5K Miles is basically a Saver. I just booked the last leg of our flight. Had to wait a couple of weeks for it to reach that price again, but it was worth the wait

[…] good sweet spots in the Turkish award chart. You might want to read a series of excellent Frequent Miler’s posts if you want to learn […]

[…] The intra Domestic Star Alliance award chart (i.e. within North America) is not online but can be found on Frequent Miler here […]

[…] being told that the “system is being upgraded” and that Star Alliance bookings are […]

[…] from the home page will not work. See our Guide to booking United flights with Turkish Miles & Smiles for more […]

David

Just a quick update and DP on these bookings. I was only given 5 hours for a hold. Not sure if this is consistent for anyone else, but definitely makes it really close to try and get the TY points transferred in time.

[…] is possible to book United domestic awards via Turkish Miles & Smiles for 7.5K each […]

Kim

Okay, you got me. I am ready to sign up for a Turkish Miles & Smile FF account to start looking/booking. The Turkish FF program does not have a separate space for a middle name. (Yes, I’ve read that Turks don’t have middle names. So that makes sense.). However, I do have a middle name and it is on my passport. Should I add my middle name behind my first name? Does it or does it not matter for the FF program? I think on a ticket, I would definitely want my middle name, even if it was smashed against my first name. However I am unclear on what the best thing to do for this? Absent some advice based on experience, I guess I’ll go with inclusion and the risk that my middle name being smushed into my first name. If others do have experience, I would love to hear it. (Yes, I have googled, but wasn’t able to find anything even semi-definitive.)

OR97

Nick, if you can help with one step in the online booking — I have not completed a booking yet, so not sure how this goes. When I try to search for more than 1 person I get an error message, “You can issue the first ticket only to your name in order to verify your membership. Subsequently, you can issue award tickets for other persons as well.” does that mean you complete the entire booking for yourself and then have to start over?

Also is there a way to ‘hold’ the flights with doing an online booking, before transferring over? Or can you only do a hold for phone/email bookings?

Vikas

did you get any solution? am facing same issue.,,

OR97

I have not tried this yet but this is from another FM post: “ As a reminder, you’ll need to save additional passengers to your account in order to book for others (and I believe that the Miles & Smiles member using his/her miles to ticket the flight needs to be on the reservation when you book online, whereas you can book seats for others over the phone or via email).”

https://frequentmiler.com/good-united-business-class-transcon-hawaii-availability-book-with-turkish/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Frequent%20Miler%20%28Instant%29

JASON MORGAN

Nick, I just checked ORD>NYC and EWR does actually show, but LGA does not.

Mike

Finally have the TY points for this. Is there ever any saver availability on the nonstop DEN-HNL flight? I can only find saver awards with a stop in CA somewhere.

[…] in this week’s podcast with Nick of Frequent Miler – where we discussed his Turkish Miles & Smiles deal of 7,500 miles to Hawaii(!) – I  had the same suspicion… but this time, I put my money […]

KayKay

Nick, first thank you guys for all the hard work in the past year.
Informative and entertaining.
I have a question
We are flying ewr to lih and back koa to ewr In May. I don’t mind any type of connection I know there is no direct flight. Open to fly to Honolulu and book separate from there too.
Was hoping to find any business option to book with Turkish miles. So far no luck at all.
Is it almost impossible? Full with economy saver but not business first saver.
Am I doing something wrong?
Thank you

Brands

Nick, just curious, I can’t seem to find availability online, even though I am using dates with availability to Hawaii on United from 45K round trip. Is the best way to email them still? Is there still decent award availability, at least in economy, even if award space does not show up online on Turkish Air’s website?

Brands

Great. Thanks for the info, Nick!

Ken

Hi guys
As we revisit the Turkish/ United Domestic flights topic 6 weeks after UA’s dynamic pricing kicked in, what are we seeing in terms of 7,500 miles o/w when there’s now no more alignment with UA Saver ass availability.

Im a UA 1k. If I book an award seat using TK miles on UA metal, is it possible to get my UA status recognized an I’ll sit in premium economy? I’m assuming no complementary UA upgrades while flying UA metal on a TK awards ticket, right?

Please advise
Perhaps an article on Turkish deal post-UA Dynamic Pricing.
Thanks
Ken

Will

Dumb question: To transfer from Citi to Turkish, do I enter my Miles&Smiles number with or without the “TK”? I.e.: “TK123456789” or “123456789”?

Will

Thanks Nick!

[…] in this week’s podcast with Nick of Frequent Miler – where we discussed his Turkish Miles & Smiles deal of 7,500 miles to Hawaii(!) – I  had the same suspicion… but this time, I put my money […]

Captain Greg

I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this, but I tried to book flights today and was told I could not do it over the phone and HAD to visit an office. I HUCA, and was once again told I couldn’t book it over the phone but could email. So, I’m going to try emailing. Wondering if this has happened to anyone else?

Captain Greg

Ah, great. Thank you Nick! I just emailed my local branch. Keeping my fingers crossed!

pixielott46

YOU DEAL KILLER””!!!!!!

[…] in this week’s podcast with Nick of Frequent Miler – where we discussed his Turkish Miles & Smiles deal of 7,500 miles to Hawaii(!) – I  had the same suspicion… but this time, I put my money […]

Kim

I work a mile away from the Turkish airlines office in LA so I stopped by there to book my tickets. It was painless and super easy! Now I’m wondering where else I should go 😀

Kris

If I book a United flight via Turkish miles and I have a United Economy Plus subscription, can I select economy plus seating? Am thinking of signing up for the subscription if I can.

Lance Schultz

Does this work for segments using united express?

John

Has anyone had any luck booking award travel on United recently? I’ve been trying for several days and while they can see the United flight, they aren’t able to book it. They keep saying that they are having a system issue and to try again the next day or to go and book in person at the sales office….

Chris

John, Did you ever have any luck doing a phone booking? I just tried today and two different agents told me that due to a system upgrade they can’t book Star Alliance awards

John

Gave up after two weeks of calling twice a day….they said that they could see the flight but couldn’t book it, due to system updates. Finally one of the agents said I could email the New York ticket office, so I was able to book it that way. NYC.TICKETING@THY.COM

Good luck!

Michael Almquist

I was told the same thing

Chris

I used the email method and got my tickets reserved and then called in and provided the payment for taxes and finished the booking.

Michael Almquist

Did you use the travel request form? I just emailed it to my local office’s email. Thanks for the help!

Chris

Didn’t use any form, just used the email format that Nick outlined in his article on how to book through email. Key is to lay out each flight with United flight numbers, departure and arrival times and airport codes.

Steve

Just to confirm (haven’t done Citi Thank You Points yet but this has me thinking!)- the 7500 points each way applies to regular United metal and Regional operated United flights in US? (but not is you connect on Hawaiian) You don’t have to pay the tax with the United card to get free carry on- it’s booked as regular economy, not basic? The 10,000 points each way in North America is for Canada and the Caribbean?
Thank you for all your research on this sweet spot, and have a great upcoming trip.

[…] spot for award travel within the US, recently consolidating information and publishing a post on How to book flights on United using Turkish Miles & Smiles. However, domestic US flights are not the only sweet spot; given the recent development that Citi […]

Benny

Called 8 times in last 4 days. Asked for dozens of choices (all available at UA and SQ) from HNL to US mainland(SFO, LAX, DEN, ORD, IAH) during 3 weeks window in Nov., , either system update or no availability. Gave up, going to use SQ instead

Benny

Still within 24hrs window after ticketing from SQ, so went for another shot with TK. The agent told me I had to go to the office to make the reservation for partner operated flight…..

Another hint for SQ, I can find flights available in their website but cant book directly (showing 30K miles one way even for itinerary with less than 2 hrs connection ). They are now providing online chat option to make reservation, quite useful when dealing with complex itinerary. After sending them the link of award chart and hold for ~20mins, they manually corrected price.

Sam

Call today after HUCA 2 times, they said the system is upgrading. Not sure if they are lying or not. The previous agent find the flights but said no availability.

Don

Are you able to book round trip itineraries where one direction is in business and the other is in economy?

nohohh

Nick, now it looks like you can specify cabin class online.

Also, talked to few reps today they keep saying their system isn’t letting them to book partner award since the 20th.

Nate

this was also my experience, both yesterday and today. I wonder if this is dead.

Don

The agent I just spoke with said that there was a system software update, and suggested I call back or try to book online.

Nate

well i was told yesterday that the system had received an update and that it would be up today. when i called today, i was told they don’t know if the same ability to book partner rewards would be there with the newly updated system. i find that odd. the online booking tool for partner awards does not work. ticket offices reached out via email are sending back responses, suggesting that you call the 800 number. I have a feeling they’re about to plug this.

Don

I can’t imagine they would do away with partner awards. One of the requirements (whether tacit or not) of joining an alliance is partner awards. I can imagine them plugging it as they rework redemption costs, but I think it’s unlikely they’d block them completely.

Nate

I agree with you, and obviously i’m not suggesting that they won’t book partner awards. When I said “about to plug this”, I meant take away the sweet spot.

nohohh

Seems like a rep issue. sounds to me they just being lazy. called today 09/23 first rep again said we are having tech issues call back later tomorrow. HUCA. next rep actually tried searching and even though UA shows 6 savers available no luck with TK tried one way or round trip.

Nate

might you be willing to share (even privately) which office you emailed?

Sam

I would like know as well

Nate

i emailed the NYC office and they responded positively. they were able to find availability for us. so that avenue seems to work, and i would recommend it until their booking systems are up and running again.

Captain Greg

Did you use nyc.refunds@thy.com to email the New York office? After emailing the Miami office twice in the last two days with no response, I just emailed the New York office at that address hoping they will help me out. I would love to know if there is a better email address to use. Thanks!

Milwaukee Nick

I emailed the Boston ticket office and got a positive response for ORG-SFO-OGG one way 7,500 miles + $5.60. I called in and the ticket agent charged me 15,000 miles because it was two flights. I told him I was quoted 7,500, he didn’t care. I have the piles and it’s for my father-in-law to come with us, so I just did paid it – but then emailed the Boston office to see if they could help me get the 7,500 points back. We shall see.

Milwaukee Nick

Oops..details! (6 hour layover…shucks)

Keep in mind that the max layover on domestic itineraries appears to be 4 hours. If your itinerary has a longer layover, you’ll be charged for two awards.

Note that sometimes, agents will not find the itinerary you want. In that case, you’ll need to proceed to Step 4. If the agent found the itinerary you wanted, skip to Step 5.

[…] How to book awards: Book with Turkish via phone or email. Please see: How to book United flights with Turkish Miles & Smiles. […]

Bob

If you have a priority status with Star Alliance (Ex – United Gold) and use Turkish Miles or Singapore Miles to book an award ticket for travel on United, do you have any status while using the award ticket like extended seating, priority boarding, etc?

adam garrett

You should, though I’ve never done it.

dominick

I assume domestic would also equal AC yyz-yvr lie flats in J?

dominick

when they say “Applicable Mile amount for direct flights with Star Alliance member airlines in the same region” what do they mean by “direct”? Nonstop? or just no stopovers?

Khai

Thanks for the detailed step by step instructions! Step 2 didn’t work for me as I couldn’t find any availability on Turkish airlines. I checked both United and ANA and found saver award availability for one flight (HSV-HNL) and followed Step 3 to book the flights via phone call. I called 3 different times and none of the agents were able to find any availability (even after I fed the info for each segments). I then emailed the ticket office (using the email method you shared) and surprisingly received reply on the next day with a 48-hour award hold confirmation for that exact flight (with PNR I was able to look up on United)! I immediately transferred points from Marriott, which took approximately 2 days. By the time the miles showed up in my Turkish accounts, it was already past the 48-hour award hold period. I called back regardless, provided the PNR, and the agent was still able to see the award hold, and had no problem processing the payments and confirmed the booking. Thanks again for finding this sweet spot and I’m glad I’m able to hop on this awesome deal! =)

paul5795

Great info as usual. I can’t help it though, every time I see a post about this deal I ask myself “am I going to be able to use this before it is dead??” And now you even have info about buying Thank You points, something, of course, I don’t need to do — but will increase the pressure on this deal even more. Lol.

Ethan

Nick, this is GREAT info!! I’m looking at a one way from ORD to JFK next summer for a my wife and toddler. Very important question–will using Turkish pts to fly United allow me to select our own seats (this will be first time we are flying domestic w/our 3 yr old child. Previous times were as a lap so seat selection is not a concern, but hearing some of these stories how families/child doesn’t get assigned next to parents can be frightening!)? Thanks!

Ethan

Oh that’s good to know we’re able to pick our seats! Yes, regular economy is enough for us for this short flight. This is actually our positioning flight back to NYC from Asia (we are flying J from Asia but since there were no awards space to JFK for 3, we chose ORD).

sal

HI, since you are able to select seats. Is the selection done on Turkish website or United. Thanks for the help.

Dan

Nick,

I was able to book via turkish on united on flights for next July. However when I try to pick seats on United they don’t recognize the confirm number from Turkish.

I have been back and forth btw United and Turkish customer service in last 2 days any thoughts? Should I cancel and rebook?

United told me as it is today I have no reservation and can’t fly. Turkish meanwhile says I have a ticket and won’t refund the miles. Escalation within Turkish has been fruitless.

Is it possibly because the flight is so far out? Stuck here because I may need to cancel hotel cars etc. Thanks in advance.

Dan

Dan

Yes I have the info from Turkish and have spoken wit UA no recognition. I’m leaning towards canceling waiting for points to refund the trying to rebook. Will cost me 100 but time spent already is 8 hours of banging my head against phone. At one point one united rep said they only hold for 24 hrs. I booked about 30 hours after hold wondering if this caused the problem.

Tom

You mentioned UA flights on Saver award availability only. Any idea on the Saver flights came up on united.com under “Exclusively available to you as a MileagePlus Premier® member and MileagePlus Chase Cardmember” , do they qualified or no? Thanks.

Tonya

Can you book a flight by chatting with them through WhatsApp?

uzay

My experience has been quite different in the last week. If I try to book a “north america” originated flight on United, Turkish will not book the ticket it on the phone. For whatever reason I was able to book and pay my Hawaii originated flight but for the flight from LAX to Hawaii I was told I had to go to an office within 7 days to complete booking. Ditto for making changes to existing miles reservation, i.e. have to go to a sales office in person to pay the dollar change fee. Perhaps it was just misinformed agent though I have to say she did sound like she knew what she was talking about. I’ll add that I am Turkish and spoke to the folks Turkish line (not sure why that would matter but just in case).

Tami

Can you book United international flights this way?

Enrico

Great article. I didn’t know it was possible. yeah call-in can be more effort, there it is just a matter of availability, Lifemiles has been were restrictive and low, even though there was a save award on united, and a matter of how much is your time worth calling and getting cheaper flights.

Anna

In one place you said they can hold the award for 72 hours and later in the article you said 48. So is it a two day hold or a three day hold?

Steve

As a DP I held a reservation on 8/23 and they were able to ticket the flight when my TY points transfer posted on 8/27

rocco

How about adding a lap child to a Turkish reward ticket? Any insight?

Arun Baheti

How does this work with the new United dynamic award pricing — no “saver”?

CaveDweller

All this can end in Nov. and worse before I can book it . Oh well it was a great short one then but some thing may come up.
CHEERs

Neil

Comment on your “bottom line” – I agree Turkish offers great value for long haul flights but on expensive regional flights you might also want to consider Lifemiles. I’ve booked two under 500 mile expensive regional flights in the last two weeks – Avianca seems to be charging 6500 miles plus roughly $15 (United would be 10,000 miles plus security fee, not sure if they still charge late booking fee). Now of course there are negatives with Avianca (including higher cancellation fees) but if you can get your itinerary to ticket you’ll save time over the Turkish call-in process. I know Lifemiles get lots of hate and I’ve been frustrated using them on business class to Europe but I have to say I’ve been amazed how easy they were to use on my domestic flights over the past few weeks. And I’ve also found you can then call in your United frequent flyer number and get any status benefits you have (not sure if that is also true on Turkish). Just a thought ….

Neil

Absolutely, in agreement on all points. Just wanted to remind people if it is a short regional that prices out at 6500 miles (or less? no idea if 6500 is the lowest) and they don’t mind the higher cancellation fee then a lifemiles online booking will cost about the same but be less stressful than calling Turkish. And if you have Lifemiles in your account and are worried about the company going broke, that’s an additional incentive to burn them.