In researching options for a couple of anticipated family trips over the next year, I recently stumbled on a lap infant sweet spot that I hadn’t previously known about: Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles charges 10% of the miles required for an adult ticket for an infant award (rounded in increments of 100). This is a great deal since most programs charge 10% of the cost of an adult revenue fare.
Sweet spot spotlight:
- The short story: Turkish Miles & Smiles charges 10% of miles required for an adult ticket for a lap infant ticket (plus taxes).
- Miles required: 10% of the number of miles required for an adult ticket (rounded to the nearest 100)
- How to find awards: You can now search for a lap infant right in the Star Alliance search tool online.
- How to book awards: Book online or over the phone (if you’re lucky and the stars align) or via email when all else fails
I hadn’t known about this sweet spot because I couldn’t previously find any information on the Turkish Miles & Smiles website about lap infant pricing on award tickets and the search tool did not previously allow adding an infant. However, you can now include an infant in your award search, whether you’re searching on Turkish Airlines metal or via the Star Alliance search tool.
My wording on that last sentence was an intentional reminder that Turkish has separate tools for searching award inventory on Turkish Airlines versus on Star Alliance. You can check the “Award ticket” box on the Turkish Airlines home page to search for awards on Turkish metal. However, if you want to search for Star Alliance awards, you need to log in your your Miles & Smiles account and choose “Miles Transactions”, and then find where it says “Book a Star Alliance award”. Once you reach the search tool, it looks the same, but it produces Star Alliance results (whereas the home page search does not).
I am happy to report that lap infant pricing held up on partner awards. For example, an adult business class award from Warsaw to New York costs 45,000 miles one way. A lap infant adds 4,500 miles and a small amount of taxes over the adult taxes (no fuel surcharges on the infant ticket).
Initially, I assumed that a lap infant award was a flat 4,500 miles. It actually wasn’t until I was trying to ticket a Hawaii award via email that I realized that the lap infant fee was 10% of the adult miles. See this example search from the website that shows an infant fare to Hawaii at 800 miles (while 10% of 7,500 would really be 750 miles, I assume they are rounding to the nearest 100).
Note that lap infants within the United States are ordinarily totally free when added via the operating carrier (which is usually possible within the United States). I’ve brought a lap infant on United to Hawaii on a ticket booked via Turkish for free on more than one occasion, though each time it has required a chunk of time at the airport on the day of departure for agents to figure out how to add the lap infant (and I wasn’t able to do it in advance). I might consider paying the 800 miles here or 1300 miles in business class to save myself some time wasted at the airport, but it would no doubt be a bit frivolous. This sweet spot is much more important on international lap infant award tickets, which are not at all free (and in fact can be quite expensive through some programs).
Overall, this is a great deal. Note that this isn’t the best lap infant pricing among Star Alliance airlines — Air Canada Aeroplan charges just 2,500 miles or $25 CAD (about $20 USD) for a lap infant ticket. And a couple of other Star Alliance airlines also charge 10% of the adult mileage (including both ANA and Asiana). However, Turkish has some great sweet spots where this would save you a significant number of miles overall. For example, Star Alliance business class to Central Asia (which includes India and Nepal for instance) costs 52,500 miles one way in business class for an adult. Add 5300 miles for a lap infant and you’d likely save miles booking via Turkish over other Star Alliance programs with good lap infant pricing.