No, Turkish did not devalue its award chart (still 7.5K each way domestically)

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A report came out this morning from Ryan at Miles to Memories about a Turkish Airlines award chart devaluation, but on the contrary I’ve found that there has been no devaluation — domestic economy class can still be booked for 7,500 miles each way and domestic business class can still be booked at 12,500 miles each way. Rather, the award chart changes Ryan points to are the ones we reported in November of 2019 (See: Turkish changes award chart: Act now for some sweet spots (but don’t panic – there’s good news, too!). The good news is that a few searches with the online tool easily verified that there has been no devaluation — flights from the mainland to Hawaii, like this one from Washington Dulles to Honolulu, still price at just 7,500 miles each way in economy class (and the other changes he points to are not new as seen below in this post).

I just priced this out minutes ago and it still costs just 7,500 miles each way to get from the East Coast of the US to Hawaii via Turkish Miles & Smiles.

The confusion run into by Ryan at Miles to Memories is because Turkish removed its domestic pricing more than a year and a half ago (as we reported). Even since I first reported the Turkish sweet spot, the North America-to-North America international pricing has been 10K miles each way in economy class or 15K each way in business class. We’ve long noted that this can be a great deal for flying to Canada or Mexico and we have included this sweet spot in our posts about the best ways to get to cities in the US and Canada using miles as well as to the Caribbean and Central America.

However, Turkish used to publish this separate chart outlining prices for domestic flights on their award chart:

That chart shows round trip pricing, so in terms of one-ways, the pricing for domestic Star Alliance flights was and still is 7.5K each way in economy (15K RT) or 12.5K each way in business (25K RT). Also noted in our very first post about Miles & Smiles when we broke the news about the domestic flight sweet spot back in July of 2019, there was always this note below the chart:

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

And at the time, I noted that I was unsure whether “direct” meant “nonstop”, saying:

However, I was slightly unsure about what this would mean for connecting itineraries since the note below the chart mentions it is the applicable amount for direct flights.

But in that very first post, I debunked the idea that direct meant nonstop when I reported that I had successfully booked Washington to Chicago to Honolulu for 7.5K miles each way. Indeed, that domestic pricing has held up for countless readers in the nearly two years since (and that domestic pricing also applies to domestic itineraries wholly within Canada on Air Canada or India on Air India or China on Air China, etc).

When Turkish removed the “domestic” part of the award chart in November 2019, I reported that change and noted that it was possible that the 7.5K awards would go away. I’ve been glad that as of May 2021, no change has been made to domestic pricing.

Also noted in that November 2019 post is that there was a change to the way the award charts were named. I noted at that time that I had initially “had a heart attack” when a reader first alerted me to a “new” award chart and then I saw what I thought was the “new” Award ticket table (which is where Ryan is finding the higher prices that he thought were new). However, I noted at the time that Turkish had renamed its charts and the Award ticket table appears to be an “anytime” award table. The “Promotional award ticket table” is the saver / partner award table and it shows no changes today from what I reported in November 2019. Indeed, there have been no changes to the anytime award table either. That “anytime-like” Award ticket table shows the same (high) prices today that it did in November 2019. I know that for sure because I recorded the award chart prices in that table on November 16, 2019 (I last modified that file at 12:19pm that day according to the timestamp on my computer). The prices in that “Award ticket table” are identical today. The chart for saver Star Alliance awards remains the “Promotional award ticket table” as I reported at the time.

That’s not to say that Turkish couldn’t eliminate that domestic flight sweet spot. Indeed, it hasn’t been on their award chart for a long time. It is possible that they will get rid of it. However, there has been no news on that front yet and I’m hopeful that there won’t be soon. Neither has there been any change to the anytime ticket table.

A real problem that Ryan points to is not being able to find business class award space. Ryan reports finding no business class award space on any route anywhere domestically on United. Thankfully, I was able to verify that United business class space is indeed still bookable via Turkish for 12.5K each way in business class as shown below (the second flight is available).

In fact, I even found lie flat availability to Hawaii from San Francisco at 12.5K one way.

However, I did not see nearly as much domestic business class availability as there should be. It’s frustrating that Turkish has so much trouble seeing space that should be available, though that isn’t necessarily surprising as the Turkish online tool and phone agents have long struggled to find availability on nonstop routes for some inexplicable reason. I’ve had better luck emailing ticket offices — when they respond.

The bottom line here is that it is not yet time to panic: it looks like business as usual with Turkish. Let there be no doubt that business as usual with Turkish can be frustrating, especially when things like schedule changes and flight cancellations happen, but there has been nothing added to that frustration today. That may not quite sound like good news, but there isn’t any bad news yet, either.

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Frank

I think I figured out why the UA site and the Turkish site conflict in terms of availability of award seats on United. Unless I’m wrong, there are two issues:

  1. UA sometimes displays certain flights as exclusively bookable by United cardholders or Premier members when that isn’t true. I was able to prove that (I think!) my comparing availability when logged in and logged out. At the moment, the one-way flight LAX-KOA at 1:45pm on Aug 28 shows as “exclusively available” for 22,500 miles when logged in, but I can book it for the same 22,500 when logged out. And, I can book that flight on Turkish even though UA says it’s “exclusive”. So, sometimes “exclusive” award tickets are bookable via Turkish.
  2. It appears that the Turkish web site uses the UA “X” fare bucket (which I believe is for Saver awards available to anyone), as UA expert mode shows consistently (at least based on my testing) that “X” has to be available on the flight for it to show up on the Turkish web site. I can only assume that there is greater availability when you call Turkish because they must have access to different inventory.

These two issues combined are what makes it so confusing. The lessons, I believe, are: (a) don’t always believe that an “exclusive” flight, as shown on the UA web site, can’t be booked on Turkish, (b) “X” class has to be available on a UA flight to be available on the Turkish web site, and (c) as many have noted, call Turkish for greater availability.

I believe that XN reflects availability of seats exclusively for UA Premier Members and MileagePlus card holders, while X is supposed to reflect Saver availability that is open to anyone. If XN and X are both non-zero, the UA site sometimes gets it wrong.

Hope I’m not missing something on this…

D Bo

I’m trying to book a Turkish economy award to Hawaii and the United website no longer seems to designate economy savers. Nick or anyone else have any tips or tricks?

TALHA ANWAR

They didnt had any news to report. Now Turkish will give them the news to report. F**** idiots.

Jennifer

I stopped reading Miles to Memories awhile because the writing was just too painful to read (desperately need a copy editor) and now they’re publishing fake news.

Nikolay

Another odd thing with Turkish that I found out about recently (I don’t think it has been widely reported) – award availability on their own flights doesn’t always show up on partners’ (more comprehensive) search engines (United, ANA, Aeroplan, etc). In my case it was for a ATL-IST flight in J.

THEsocalledfan

Me thinks Shawn may need to check in on what his crew is publishing…… Nice work, Nick.

Matthew

See, you guys shouldn’t worry about bringing attention to good deals – the other major blogs do a great job of doing that themselves!