Turkish Miles & Smiles Complete Guide (online bookings once again possible)

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A few years ago, we were the first blog to uncover the killer story with Turkish Miles & Smiles that you can fly one-way within the United States — including to/from Alaska and Hawaii — for just 7,500 miles one-way in economy class or 12,500 miles in business/first class when United has saver availability. That amazing sweet spot is one of several great award deals offered by Turkish. Miles & Smiles is simultaneously one of the most valuable and one of the most frustrating Star Alliance programs given the challenges you may face in booking the itinerary you want. However, when you can find the availability you need, there is no doubt that the sweet spots can be well worth the challenges you may encounter in booking.

What’s new: This guide has undergone a number of updates. Turkish once again has a checkout button that functions, so award tickets (including those for flights to Hawaii on United) are once again easily bookable online. We have also added info about transfers from Bilt and Capital One, re-organized steps to finding availability and booking United flights, and added information about protecting miles for those of us with miles set to expire later this year.
Miles & Smiles is still making me smile…for now.

Things to know about Turkish Miles & Smiles award booking

  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 on the Turkish website. In those cases, you’ll need to either email or call to book over the phone with Turkish Miles & Smiles at 1-800-874-8875. Note that phone agents often have trouble finding availability. Email bookings still work, so try the email process detailed in this guide if you strike out on the phone. Note that you may want to send the same email to multiple ticket offices because some offices may not respond.
  2. 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 layovers don’t exceed maximum connection times).
  3. Irregular Operations can be a major headache. If your flight is cancelled by United or there is a significant schedule change, you may be in for a large headache because United likely won’t be able to help and you’ll be stuck calling Miles & Smiles and hoping they can reissue your ticket. This is the main risk in booking via Turkish.
  4. The award chart no longer shows the sweetest spot. Turkish used to include a snippet in its award chart indicating that domestic Star Alliance awards cost 7.5K each way in economy class or 12.5K each way in business class. However, they eliminated that snipped in 2019. Awards from “North America” to “North America” are listed in the award chart at 10K each way in economy class or 15K in business class. In practice, international awards within North America follow that pricing, but entirely domestic awards, such as those on United Airlines within the United States, continue to price according to the old domestic award chart snippet both online and via email.
  5. 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.
  6. Transfers times: Citi ThankYou points generally transfer in 18-30 hours. Bilt Rewards and Capital One miles transfer instantly. You can alternatively transfer from Marriott Rewards, but the transfer time is likely to be a week or more.
  7. When you create an account, your password must be numbers only and 6 digits long.
  8. No mixed cabin bookings in most cases: You can not combine an itinerary with some legs in business class and others in economy class. An exception from the program rules is that per the terms it is 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.
  9. Fuel surcharges are passed on. You’ll want to choose airlines with low/no fuel surcharges and/or departure cities that limit them. United has no fuel surcharges.
  10. United Airlines “Saver” availability only: If you’re looking to book United flights with Turkish Miles & Smiles, you must find United saver availability. Only United saver availability is bookable with partner miles. You can not book segments operated by Hawaiian 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 will be available to Turkish. Cross-reference availability with another Star Alliance carrier, like Air Canada, to see which flights should be available to partners.
  11. International first class is not bookable on the Turkish website and may not be available via phone or email. While Turkish added first class redemptions to its award chart, we only see economy and business class booking options on the website. According to Flyertalk, Turkish is unable to book first class awards.
  12. The cancellation fee is very reasonable: The fee to cancel and redeposit an award is only $25 per passenger. The mileage redeposit is sometimes instant. Note that changes theoretically also cost $25, but in my experience it was easier to cancel & re-book. Note also that numerous readers have reported free cancellation when due to a significant schedule change. In the past, bookings made on the website were easily cancellable online, but you may need to call.
  13. 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. In these cases, you should be able to book via email.
  14. 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 or via email for 7,500 miles each way).
  15. 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).
  16. You can not book tickets for others until you have booked a ticket for yourself. This might mean that you’ll need to book yourself and traveling companions under separate reservations. It may also be possible to make yourself a “dummy” booking that you will later cancel in order to unlock the ability to book for others.
  17. You can not book tickets for others on the Turkish Airlines website unless the member booking is also traveling and you must first add others as your companions. For example, the online system would not allow me to make a booking for my wife and son (without me) using my miles. However, it is possible to book travel for others over the phone and via email even when the member booking is not traveling. Note that to book a ticket online that includes you the member and other passengers on the same itinerary, you must go to “My personal details” and “My Companions” and add traveling companions there before booking (this is not necessary for phone or email bookings).
  18. There are fantastic sweet spots connecting other regions. If you’re piecing together a multi-region trip, it’s worth a look at the full Turkish Miles & Smiles award chart. Note that you want to see the “Promotional Award Ticket Table” for Star Alliance awards. There are some fantastic values, particularly between Europe and regions East (27.5K in business class to Central Asia, 45K to the Far East, and 52.5K to Oceania all come to mind). See also the region definitions as some regions are quite large.

Turkish Miles & Smiles Economy Class Sweet Spots

Asia / Far East for 45K each way

  • The short story: Turkish offers a competitive economy class award rate to what they dub the "Far East" (defined as Brunei, Cambodia, China (except Hong Kong and Macao), China Taipei, Hong Kong - SAR of China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam). That said, keep in mind that business class is only 50% more.
  • Miles required: 45K each way
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at united.com and call Turkish to book or go to turkishairlines.com, log in to your account, go to "Miles transactions" to find the Star Alliance booking tool and click "book now" to go to that search tool (not the tool on the home page at turkishairlines.com). Note that there may be bookable options that do not appear on the site (hence checking United and calling when necessary).
  • How to book awards: Book online at turkishairlines.com using the instructions above or over the phone at 1-800-874-8875 or via email
  • Key warnings: Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. However, Turkish allows a hold for long enough for points to transfer. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you get your desired itinerary on hold via phone or email before transferring points. No fuel surcharges on Air Canada, United, Avianca, or SAS. Low fuel surcharges on LOT Polish and Turkish.
  • Transfer from: Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Citi Thank You, Marriott Bonvoy

Caribbean from 7.5K each way

  • The short story: Turkish Miles & Smiles offers excellent award pricing for Star Alliance flights within North America (i.e. on United, Copa or Air Canada).
  • Miles required: From 7,500 miles each way in economy or 12,500 miles each way in business class. Note that domestic flights are 7,500 each way in economy class or 12,500 miles each way in business class which includes the continental US to/from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. International destinations in North America theoretically cost 10K each in economy or 15K in business. However, note that most Caribbean islands are classified as South America and as such are a poor deal.
  • How to find awards: Search United.com and look for "Saver Awards". You can also try searching via the Turkish Airlines website, but it does not always show full availability.
  • How to book awards: You can try booking on the Miles & Smiles website, though not all flights are available online. Previously phone bookings have worked and may again be possible. If all else fails, try booking via email. See our guide for booking United flights with Turkish for more detail.
  • Key warnings: Turkish agents occasionally can't see availability even though it is marked as "Saver". You may just have to try again with a different agent.
  • Transfer from: Capital One, Citi,

Central Asia for 34K each way

  • The short story: Turkish offers incredible rates for economy class to the Central Asia (defined as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) - but watch out for fuel surcharges on some partners.
  • Miles required: 34K each way
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at united.com and call Turkish to book or go to turkishairlines.com, log in to your account, go to "Miles transactions" to find the Star Alliance booking tool and click "book now" to go to that search tool (not the tool on the home page at turkishairlines.com). Note that there may be bookable options that do not appear on the site (hence checking United and calling when necessary).
  • How to book awards: Book online at turkishairlines.com using the instructions above or over the phone at 1-800-874-8875 or via email
  • Key warnings: Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. However, Turkish allows a hold for long enough for points to transfer. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you get your desired itinerary on hold via phone or email before transferring points. No fuel surcharges on Air Canada, United, Avianca, or SAS. Low fuel surcharges on LOT Polish and Turkish.
  • Transfer from: Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Citi Thank You, Marriott Bonvoy

Middle East for 32K each way

  • The short story: Turkish offers incredible rates for economy class to the Middle East - but watch out for fuel surcharges on some partners.
  • Miles required: 32K each way
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at united.com and call Turkish to book or go to turkishairlines.com, log in to your account, go to "Miles transactions" to find the Star Alliance booking tool and click "book now" to go to that search tool (not the tool on the home page at turkishairlines.com). Note that there may be bookable options that do not appear on the site (hence checking United and calling when necessary).
  • How to book awards: Book online at turkishairlines.com using the instructions above or over the phone at 1-800-874-8875 or via email
  • Key warnings: Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. However, Turkish allows a hold for long enough for points to transfer. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you get your desired itinerary on hold via phone or email before transferring points. No fuel surcharges on Air Canada, United, Avianca, or SAS. Low fuel surcharges on LOT Polish and Turkish.
  • Transfer from: Citi Thank You, Marriott Bonvoy

North America from 7.5K each way

  • The short story: Turkish offers incredible value on domestic Star Alliance flights. This makes Turkish the absolute cheapest way to book flights within the US on United -- including to Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Miles required: 7,500 miles each way in economy class or 12,500 miles each way in business class domestically on United within the US or domestically on Air Canada within Canada (can include connections for the same price). For North American international flights (e.g. US to Canada or Mexico), 10K each way in economy class or 15K each way in business class.
  • How to find awards: Search United.com and look for "Saver Awards". You can also try searching via the Turkish Airlines website, but it does not always show full availability.
  • How to book awards: Not all available flights are displayed online at the Turkish Airlines website (and for many months the checkout page has been broken and missing a button to pay for your reservation. Then they added a checkout button but flights fail to ticket). Previously phone bookings have worked and may again be possible. If all else fails, try booking via email. See our guide for booking United flights with Turkish for more detail.
  • Change ang cancellation fees: The fee to change or cancel is $25 per passenger, though I've been unsuccessful in finding agents who know how to change a partner award. Thus cancelling for $25 is your best bet.
  • Key warnings: Turkish agents occasionally can't see availability even though it is marked as "Saver". You may just have to try again with a different agent. Irregular operations can cause a huge headache in getting in touch with Turkish to get your flight fixed. Booking via Turkish is not for the faint of heart (or those who can not drop back 10 yards and punt when things go sideways).
  • Transfer from: Bilt, Citi, Capital One

Hawaii for 7.5K each way

  • The short story: Turkish offers the same pricing on flights to Hawaii as for other domestic US awards, making them an unbelievable value for flights to Hawaii.
  • Miles required: 7,500 miles each way in economy class or 12,500 miles each way in business class (can include connections for the same price)
  • How to find awards: Search for available award space at United.com.  Important: make sure that the results indicate that the award is a "saver award", otherwise it won't be bookable.
  • How to book awards: While it's theoretically possible to book online (details here), you'll likely have much better luck via phone.  Even then, it may take several calls to get an agent who can see that the award space is available.  Details for booking via phone can be found here.  See also:  Turkish still a mixed bag, but patience helps.
  • Key warnings: Turkish appears to have a max connect time of 4 hours on a domestic itinerary, so itineraries with a longer connection would require 2 awards. Also, for an unknown reason, Turkish agents often can't see award space that other partner airlines can see.  You may have to call several times to get an award booked.  Keep in mind that transfers to Turkish are not instant; it will take 1-2 days for the miles to show up in your Turkish Miles & Smiles account.  As a result, we highly recommend calling to put an award on hold before you transfer points to Turkish miles.

Turkish Miles & Smiles Premium Cabin Sweet Spots

Africa from 60K each way

  • The short story: Turkish offers excellent pricing to North Africa on Star Alliance carriers and decent award pricing to Central and Southern Africa.
  • Miles required: 60K miles each way in business class to North Africa, 72.5K miles each way in business class to Central Africa, and 85K each way in business class to Southern Africa
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at united.com and call Turkish to book or go to turkishairlines.com, log in to your account, go to "Miles transactions" to find the Star Alliance booking tool and click "book now" to go to that search tool (not the tool on the home page at turkishairlines.com). Note that there may be bookable options that do not appear on the site (hence checking United and calling when necessary).
  • How to book awards: Book online at turkishairlines.com using the instructions above or over the phone at 1-800-874-8875 or via email
  • Key warnings: Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. However, Turkish allows a hold for long enough for points to transfer from Citi. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you get your desired itinerary on hold via phone or email before transferring points.
  • Transfer from: Capital One, Citi ThankYou points, Marriott Bonvoy

Asia / Far East for 67.5K business / 100K first

  • The short story: Turkish offers excellent rates for both business and first class to the what they dub the "Far East" (defined as Brunei, Cambodia, China (except Hong Kong and Macao), China Taipei, Hong Kong - SAR of China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam) - but watch out for fuel surcharges on some partners.
  • Miles required: 67.5K each way in business class, 100K each way in first class
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at united.com and call Turkish to book or go to turkishairlines.com, log in to your account, go to "Miles transactions" to find the Star Alliance booking tool and click "book now" to go to that search tool (not the tool on the home page at turkishairlines.com). Note that there may be bookable options that do not appear on the site (hence checking United and calling when necessary).
  • How to book awards: Book online at turkishairlines.com using the instructions above or over the phone at 1-800-874-8875 or via email
  • Key warnings: Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. However, Turkish allows a hold for long enough for points to transfer. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you get your desired itinerary on hold via phone or email before transferring points. No fuel surcharges on Air Canada, United, Avianca, or SAS. Low fuel surcharges on LOT Polish and Turkish.
  • Transfer from: Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Citi Thank You, Marriott Bonvoy

Caribbean from 12.5K each way

  • The short story: Turkish Miles & Smiles offers excellent award pricing for Star Alliance flights within North America (i.e. on United, Copa or Air Canada).
  • Miles required: From 7,500 miles each way in economy or 12,500 miles each way in business class. Note that domestic flights are 7,500 each way in economy class or 12,500 miles each way in business class which includes the continental US to/from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. International destinations in North America theoretically cost 10K each in economy or 15K in business. However, note that most Caribbean islands are classified as South America and as such are a poor deal.
  • How to find awards: Search United.com and look for "Saver Awards". You can also try searching via the Turkish Airlines website, but it does not always show full availability.
  • How to book awards: You can try booking on the Miles & Smiles website, though not all flights are available online. Previously phone bookings have worked and may again be possible. If all else fails, try booking via email. See our guide for booking United flights with Turkish for more detail.
  • Key warnings: Turkish agents occasionally can't see availability even though it is marked as "Saver". You may just have to try again with a different agent.
  • Transfer from: Capital One, Citi,

Central Asia for 52.5K business / 72K first

  • The short story: Turkish offers incredible rates for both business and first class to the Central Asia (defined as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) - but watch out for fuel surcharges on some partners. Still, it may be worth those fuel surcharges for first class redemptions in some cases given the low mileage rate.
  • Miles required: 52.5K each way in business class, 72K each way in first class
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at united.com and call Turkish to book or go to turkishairlines.com, log in to your account, go to "Miles transactions" to find the Star Alliance booking tool and click "book now" to go to that search tool (not the tool on the home page at turkishairlines.com). Note that there may be bookable options that do not appear on the site (hence checking United and calling when necessary).
  • How to book awards: Book online at turkishairlines.com using the instructions above or over the phone at 1-800-874-8875 or via email
  • Key warnings: Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. However, Turkish allows a hold for long enough for points to transfer. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you get your desired itinerary on hold via phone or email before transferring points. No fuel surcharges on Air Canada, United, Avianca, or SAS. Low fuel surcharges on LOT Polish and Turkish.
  • Transfer from: Bilt, Citi Thank You, Marriott Bonvoy

Europe for 45K business / 67.5K first

  • The short story: At 45K each way in business class or 67.5K each way in business class, Turkish offers one of the best mileage rates to Europe - but watch out for fuel surcharges on some partners. Still, fuel surcharges may be worth it in some instances given the low rates (particularly in first class).
  • Miles required: 45K miles each way in business class or 67.5K each way in first class
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at united.com and call Turkish to book or go to turkishairlines.com, log in to your account, go to "Miles transactions" to find the Star Alliance booking tool and click "book now" to go to that search tool (not the tool on the home page at turkishairlines.com). Note that there may be bookable options that do not appear on the site (hence checking United and calling when necessary).
  • How to book awards: Book online at turkishairlines.com using the instructions above or over the phone at 1-800-874-8875 or via email
  • Key warnings: Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. However, Turkish allows a hold for long enough for points to transfer from Citi. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you get your desired itinerary on hold via phone or email before transferring points. No fuel surcharges on Air Canada, United, Avianca, or SAS. Low fuel surcharges on LOT Polish and Turkish.
  • Transfer from: Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Citi Thank You, Marriott Bonvoy

Hawaii for 12.5K each way

  • The short story: Turkish offers the same pricing on flights to Hawaii as for other domestic US awards, making them an unbelievable value for flights to Hawaii.
  • Miles required: 7,500 miles each way in economy class or 12,500 miles each way in business class (can include connections for the same price)
  • How to find awards: Search for available award space at United.com.  Important: make sure that the results indicate that the award is a "saver award", otherwise it won't be bookable.
  • How to book awards: While it's theoretically possible to book online (details here), you'll likely have much better luck via phone.  Even then, it may take several calls to get an agent who can see that the award space is available.  Details for booking via phone can be found here.  See also:  Turkish still a mixed bag, but patience helps.
  • Key warnings: Turkish appears to have a max connect time of 4 hours on a domestic itinerary, so itineraries with a longer connection would require 2 awards. Also, for an unknown reason, Turkish agents often can't see award space that other partner airlines can see.  You may have to call several times to get an award booked.  Keep in mind that transfers to Turkish are not instant; it will take 1-2 days for the miles to show up in your Turkish Miles & Smiles account.  As a result, we highly recommend calling to put an award on hold before you transfer points to Turkish miles.

Middle East for 47K business / 69.5K first

  • The short story: Turkish offers incredible rates for both business and first class to the Middle East - but watch out for fuel surcharges on some partners. Still, it may be worth those fuel surcharges for first class redemptions in some cases given the low mileage rate.
  • Miles required: 47K each way in business class, 69.5K each way in first class
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at united.com and call Turkish to book or go to turkishairlines.com, log in to your account, go to "Miles transactions" to find the Star Alliance booking tool and click "book now" to go to that search tool (not the tool on the home page at turkishairlines.com). Note that there may be bookable options that do not appear on the site (hence checking United and calling when necessary).
  • How to book awards: Book online at turkishairlines.com using the instructions above or over the phone at 1-800-874-8875 or via email
  • Key warnings: Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. However, Turkish allows a hold for long enough for points to transfer. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you get your desired itinerary on hold via phone or email before transferring points. No fuel surcharges on Air Canada, United, Avianca, or SAS. Low fuel surcharges on LOT Polish and Turkish.
  • Transfer from: Citi Thank You, Marriott Bonvoy

North America for 12.5K business

  • The short story: Turkish offers incredible value on domestic Star Alliance flights. This makes Turkish the absolute cheapest way to book flights within the US on United -- including to Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Miles required: 7,500 miles each way in economy class or 12,500 miles each way in business class domestically on United within the US or domestically on Air Canada within Canada (can include connections for the same price). For North American international flights (e.g. US to Canada or Mexico), 10K each way in economy class or 15K each way in business class.
  • How to find awards: Search United.com and look for "Saver Awards". You can also try searching via the Turkish Airlines website, but it does not always show full availability.
  • How to book awards: Not all available flights are displayed online at the Turkish Airlines website (and for many months the checkout page has been broken and missing a button to pay for your reservation. Then they added a checkout button but flights fail to ticket). Previously phone bookings have worked and may again be possible. If all else fails, try booking via email. See our guide for booking United flights with Turkish for more detail.
  • Change ang cancellation fees: The fee to change or cancel is $25 per passenger, though I've been unsuccessful in finding agents who know how to change a partner award. Thus cancelling for $25 is your best bet.
  • Key warnings: Turkish agents occasionally can't see availability even though it is marked as "Saver". You may just have to try again with a different agent. Irregular operations can cause a huge headache in getting in touch with Turkish to get your flight fixed. Booking via Turkish is not for the faint of heart (or those who can not drop back 10 yards and punt when things go sideways).
  • Transfer from: Bilt, Citi, Capital One

South America for 35K if originating in the Caribbean

  • The short story: South America is a poor value via Turkish if originating in North America, but much of the Caribbean is classified as South America and as such Caribbean islands to South America present a solid value.
  • Miles required: Too many from North America (75K each way), but 35K each way in business class "within" South America (which includes many Caribbean Islands to/from South America, so it may be worth positioning to the Caribbean to pay just 35K miles one-way to anywhere in South America). Note that the Turkish region definition for South America isn't entirely reliable as it includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, but those islands actually price as part of the US. Noting that inaccuracy, here is how Turkish defines South America: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, CHILE, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Maarten (Dutch Part), Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uruguay, Venezuela, Virgin Islands (US).
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at united.com and call Turkish to book or go to turkishairlines.com, log in to your account, go to "Miles transactions" to find the Star Alliance booking tool and click "book now" to go to that search tool (not the tool on the home page at turkishairlines.com). Note that there may be bookable options that do not appear on the site (hence checking United and calling when necessary).
  • How to book awards: Book online at turkishairlines.com using the instructions above or over the phone at 1-800-874-8875 or via email
  • Key warnings: Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. However, Turkish allows a hold for long enough for points to transfer from Citi. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you get your desired itinerary on hold via phone or email before transferring points. No fuel surcharges on Air Canada, United, Avianca, or SAS. Low fuel surcharges on LOT Polish and Turkish.
  • Transfer from: Citi Thank You, Marriott Bonvoy

Getting Turkish Miles & Smiles miles

You can of course earn Turkish Miles & Smiles miles by crediting Star Alliance flights to Turkish. Wheretocredit.com is a terrific resource for determining your earnings for paid flights.

For those who prefer to earn / generate miles without flying, there are several options.

Bilt Rewards (instant transfer)

Turkish Miles & Smiles is a 1:1 Bilt Rewards transfer partner. Simply open your Bilt Rewards app, link your Turkish Miles & Smiles account, and transfer.

Note that Blue members (those with no Bilt Rewards status) must transfer in increments of 2,000 points.

Transfers from Bilt Rewards are instant.

Capital One Miles (instant transfer)

Turkish Miles & Smiles is a 1: 1 Capital One transfer partner. Simply log in to your Capital One miles-earning account and click “redeem rewards” and then “convert rewards” to transfer in increments of 100 miles (with a minimum transfer of 1,000 miles).

Transfers from Capital One are instant.

Citi ThankYou Points (not instant transfer)

Turkish 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.

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.

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. Turkish processes these transactions directly, so mileage purchases appear like ordinary airline charges.

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-by-step guide to booking Turkish Miles & Smiles award tickets

Turkish Miles & Smiles sweet spots can be a terrific deals in many cases provided you know how to find and book awards and you are prepared to deal with irregular operations. Unfortunately, if United cancels your flight or it undergoes a significant schedule change, you are likely in for some headache in getting in touch with Turkish and getting their help reissuing your ticket. This potential difficulty means that booking via Turkish is not for the faint of heart.

That said, finding and booking awards is not as difficult as it once was. Follow the steps below to book.

Check United.com for saver availability

It is easiest to start your search at United.com (note: do not log in to your United account) for your preferred date and route looking for saver award availability for United-operated flights. Only saver awards can be booked with partner miles. (Note that any Star Alliance partner awards shown on United.com should also be available to Turkish Miles & Smiles).

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

Note that 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 because if you log in you may see expanded availability that Turkish can not book.

Check the Turkish Airlines website

Once you’ve found saver availability via United, you can try searching the same date via the Turkish Airlines website. As we’ve previously noted is the case with the Turkish Airlines website, availability shown online via Turkish Miles & Smiles is very much hit or miss. The good news is that you will find some good options easily bookable online (and awards are once again bookable online now that the checkout button has been restored). The bad news is that you will not see all of the bookable options on the website.

Unlike other airline websites, you will not start your search on the Turkish Airlines homepage, rather you’ll want to log in to your Turkish Miles & Smiles account and then click the drop-down from your name and choose “Miles transactions”.

Turkish miles

You can then find the “Star Alliance award ticket” booking engine to the right of your name.

Turkish miles

Clicking “book now” will bring you to the Star Alliance Award Ticket booking engine.

Turkish miles

When you click the calendar to select dates, you can find a box to easily search for one-way awards, which is likely the easiest way to search.

Turkish miles

After searching, if awards are available in both economy class and business class, you will see radio buttons to select which class of service you would like to see displayed.

Turkish miles

If you receive a message that no flights are available, this does not always mean that no awards are available. Assuming you have found saver Star Alliance availability via United.com or the Aeroplan website, you should be able to book that space by phone or email. Note that sometimes agents don’t see availability that should be there, so it may take multiple tries to book successfully. While I’ve at times gotten an agent able to book on my first call, other times it has taken many calls or a copy/paste email to multiple ticket offices to get a ticket booked.

Calling Turkish Airlines to book via phone

The key to phone bookings with Turkish Miles & Smiles is that you must 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 an 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 and also keep in mind that agents often can’t see availability that should be there. Be prepared to hang up and call again multiple times (or try via email).

Keep in mind that the max layover on domestic itineraries appears to be 4 hours for tickets booked via phone or email. If your itinerary has a longer layover, you’ll be charged for two awards. The online booking tool sometimes returns results with longer layovers priced as a single award.

Book a Turkish Miles & Smiles award via email

Turkish Airlines operates ticket offices in 9 US cities and 2 Canadian cities. They publish contact information all of their ticket 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 template that I use.

Hello,

I’m emailing to inquire about a Star Alliance award booking. I would like to book the following itinerary:

Passenger: [Name]
Miles & Smiles Number: XXXXXX
Date: February 12, 2021
Class: Economy
Origin: IAD
Destination: LAS
Segments:
1) UA 632 12NOV IAD-LAX 1230 1456

2) UA 2365 12NOV LAX-LAS 1631 1745

Can you confirm the number of miles required and the total taxes & fees and help me place this award on hold?
I really appreciate your assistance!
Sincerely,
[Name]

Note that some offices will not respond to your email. You’ll need some trial and error: some offices almost never respond and others are more reliable. Since this varies all the time, your best bet is to just send the same email to multiple offices (note that in the past, when specific responsive offices have been widely publicized, they have inevitably become non-responsive shortly thereafter). Keep in mind that most of the ticket offices are open 9am-5pm Monday through Friday, so you may not get a response after hours / on weekends and/or you may need to try an office in a different area.

When booking via email, Turkish requires all of the following paperwork (but read on afterwards for the work-around):

  1. 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.
  2. 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 of the booking member.
  3. 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).
  4. Photo of your ID. I provided both front and back.

Note that I have alternatively had success putting an award on hold via email and then calling to pay for taxes and ticket the award without a need for any of the above paperwork.

Putting an award on hold

Turkish Miles & Smiles allows award holds when booking via phone or email. 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 birth dates of the passengers in your party to put it on hold.

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. Note that transfers from Bilt Rewards and Capital One are instant, but transfers from Citi ThankYou points take 18-30 hours.

If you are booking a flight within 7 days of travel, you will only get a hold for 24 hours. Citi points may transfer in that window, but Bilt or Capital One would be safer bets within 7 days of travel.

Once your itinerary is on hold, you’ll want to transfer the miles to pay for your award. As noted above, if an office puts your award on hold via email, you can simply call Miles & Smiles and give them the PNR from the email and pay to ticket over the phone.

Calling to ticket

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 you were given when you put your tickets on hold 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 your account (which you likely remember is a six-digit number). Once that is complete, the award will be ticketed. Note that unlike searching for award space, ticketing a reservation once you have it on hold is very easy and shouldn’t require more than one call.

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. Note that many readers have reported paying no cancellation fee when cancellation is due to significant schedule changes.

Turkish Miles & Smiles expiration policy

Turkish Miles & Smiles miles expire 3 years after they are earned. Transferring more miles to Turkish does not extend validity of your existing miles.

You can pay a fee of $10 per 1,000 miles to extend miles for another 3 years, though at 1c per mile, that is quite expensive. It is best to avoid transferring unless confident you will use the miles within 3 years.

That said, it can be worth paying to extend the miles if they are about to expire and you are very confident you will use them. For instance, the fee to extend 15,000 miles for 3 more years is $150. Given that 15K Turkish miles can get you a round trip ticket to Hawaii, it certainly may be worth paying $150 to extend the miles rather than allowing them to expire.

To extend your miles online, simply log in to your account, click your name to expand the menu, go to “Miles Transactions” and find the button to “Protect miles”.

On the next page, you can choose how many miles to protect and see the fee.

Again, that can be worthwhile. It’s nice that Turkish allows you to choose to protect an amount less than your entire balance.

Turkish Miles & Smiles Elite Status

Turkish Miles & Smiles sometimes matches status for those with oneworld status. See Status Matcher for recent data pounts.

For those looking to earn status the old fashioned way, here are the tiers and requirements:

Note that you’ll want to check wheretocredit.com before choosing to credit your flights to Turkish to be sure that they are eligible to earn the miles you expect.

One key benefit of elite status may be the ability to pool family miles.

Bottom line

Turkish Miles & Smiles has some fantastic award chart sweet spots. However, they can also easily be the most frustrating program given the inexplicable difficulty in booking awards in some circumstances. The award sweet spots can be worth the challenge for those who don’t mind making a few phone calls or sending a few emails when necessary.

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ktenorman

Has anyone found a way around the error “For Star Alliance award ticket transactions, the ticketing process is not possible for non-members” booking online? I am booking for a family member.

David

Nick, do you happen to know if you can book half business half economy over the phone on a one way?

MFK

Have they devalued their program or added saver/non-saver awards? I was just looking at award flights and the costs are double what I’ve seen before and what you’ve posted here, if not more. Previously I’ve booked business class RTs to Central Asia for 105,000 miles (even less when I hit upon a promo award period), but OWs are now showing up as 125,000, which is what their award chart now shows. Am I doing something wrong, because I’m not seeing any mention of a devaluation searching FlyerTalk, various travel blogs or online in general? Thanks in advance for any insights.

Dave

Same issue, site shows horrible redemptions like OW to TLV for 120K in business.

SgFm

I just transferred Citi TYPs to Turkish. It took two minutes!

Frank

Data point which I discovered accidentally: If you search for a particular route and date and get no results, try the search again (simply by clicking the giant red “>” button).

Today, it has happened three times where I get no flights available for a particular date, only to try the exact same search again immediately and got flight options.

I don’t know if this is a temporary glitch or something that has been going on a long time, but it has help me discover a whole bunch of flight options that it initially told me weren’t there.

Frank

Update: This is still happening today, 2 days later. My first search turns up nothing; searching again comes up with availability.

Miz

When does this happen? Does it happen when you search for TK awards or when you search for partners (*A and others) awards?

I am asking because TK website has two different search engines. One for TK awards, and the other for partners (*A and others) awards.

Frank

Sorry not to be clearer, it’s when I search for “Star Alliance award tickets” (via the “Miles Transactions” link as described in the article).

Just did the same search ten times in a row. The one available flight appeared four times (searches #1, 7, 8, and 9); the other six searches yielded a message that there was no availability.

Last edited 1 month ago by Frank
Monica

Anyone else having trouble signing up for a Turkish Airlines account? I fill in all the information but once I hit submit it shows me the loading thing and then keeps on the same page.

Michael

Try Microsoft Edge browser – worked for me after same trouble opening account in Chrome.

abelucky

Fair warning if you transfer Capital One points! They will flag and restrict your account if you make a point transfer to Turkish Airlines. My Venture X card was restricted today after a virtual card number purchase (it was for an online gym class purchase). But, the reason they cited was because I transferred 7500 CO points to Turkish Airlines, along with other “suspicious activity” that they couldn’t affirmatively say to me. However, the transfer was 50 days ago, and I used my card normally until today. I called CO twice and the 2nd rep followed up with verifying my transfer and identity, and released my account the same day. Still, I thought I was gonna get my account closed and have to redeem my points at 0.5c like Greg here!

r2e

Not sure if “Ticket Sales Office” are listed on https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-us/any-questions/get-in-touch/ any more. I only see Airport Sales Office and City Office.

[…] sometimes showing availability for these flights. However, it is not consistent. You can read a complete breakdown in this post for how to book online. If it doesn’t work, revert to the traditional phone and email […]

Jana

Excellent info, thank you! Are there benefits using family membership for me and a spouse on Turkish Miles & Smiles? Both of us currently have separate M&S accounts.

Heather

Thanks so much for this article Nick! I was able to book 5 economy tickets for my family because of it. I did have to email eight offices and call 4 times. Every office and agent said they couldn’t find award space, except two of the offices I had emailed. I did have to email back the forms though. When I called in with a reservation number, the agent said United had canceled the flight, but she just couldn’t see it! Thanks again, this was so helpful!

Nun

The Miles & Smiles website doesn’t seem to match the pictures in this post. If there really is still a Miles Transactions page, do you have a direct link?

When I go to my M&S account I eventually get to search for awards at, https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-int/miles-and-smiles/book-award-tickets/ I used Aeroplan to find both domestic UA savers on the Aeroplan site and separate BOS-FRA LH savers on Aeroplan, but the TK site only shows TK metal or zero results.

Nun

Thanks for redirecting me! I followed this more carefully and was able to figure it out.

FYI I bookmarked this direct link which seems to work if logged in
https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-us/miles-and-smiles/account/book-star-award-tickets/

Last edited 4 months ago by Nun

[…] Turkish’s program is one that I know very little about. There are some sweet spots in the program, like flying from the US mainland to Hawaii for 7,500 points. […]

T Dang

You had mentioned that it costs 45K for economy to Asia / Far East and 50% more if for business. So we still have to find United biz saver before calling Turkish air to book right? TIA.

J W

I understand that Turkish will not allow a stopover on a one way award, but do you think I would be able to change the second leg of the one way flight after arriving in Istanbul on the first leg, or do they not allow changes once one leg of the route is flown? I know this may seem stupid, but I’m curious if there is a way to force a stopover by paying the change fee as I will be staying in Istanbul for a few days before continuing on a domestic route.

iahphx

Booked EWR-HNL in coach last year. An incredible deal, but a huge PITA. Most people reading your blog can probably get it done — I had to make multiple phone calls — but gird yourself for the difficult task ahead. I didn’t realize flight irregularities could be a big problem. The flight from EWR the day before I left was cancelled due to bad weather. If that had happened to me, UA wouldn’t have been able to simply rebook me? I can only imagine the headache of getting TK to help in such a situation.

THEsocalledfan

Nick,

I once again booked Hawaii with Turkish yesterday despite my last near disaster doing this. Here are some notes:

  1. Sioux Falls (FSD) still is not on in the Turkish system. I’d bet other regional airports get this treatment.
  2. I am an expert on finding award availability and it is impossible to book Sioux Falls flights by phone; only email agents seem to be able to help.
  3. Blasted numerous US based offices for help, and only got 1 hit. They told me to call the 1-800 number.
  4. I pointed out in email to that office that the phone agents cannot book Sioux Falls flights and I need help.
  5. They responded no availability for the FSD-DEN flight segments.
  6. I responded showing expertflyer and aeoroplan availability for 3 seats and that it is clearly bookable.
  7. They responded with a dummy ticket, but charged 22.5k round trip per person. (suspect a glitch that charged me separately for the 2 flight in one direction; not worth fighting as it is still a steal and the hard work was done)
  8. Called in to ticket; english credit card system down; had to guess my way through Spanish.
  9. Somehow managed to get them ticketed for 22.5k rt! Not even mad about the mistaken 7.5k surcharge!

Now, we will see if the ticket breaks again….last time, the phone agents were of ZERO help; only ticket offices could help.

Last edited 6 months ago by THEsocalledfan
Miz

What is the email address of email agents?

Edwin

how do you show expertflyer availability?

THEsocalledfan

Buy expert flyer. (I think they have a free trial?) Look of united saver seats; Nick and Greg have many articles on searching award inventory….. seat spy also a great option for this…..

Jack

THEsocalledfan,

Coincidentally, I’m also an FSD flyer and running into this same issue when calling in to book. Are you willing to share which US ticket office you had success emailing with?

I also had trouble when creating my Miles & Smiles account as Sioux Falls isn’t even listed as a possible city for my account details (home address). I ended up getting around this by using a neighboring city and my correct zip code. Did you run into this issue or know if it will create any additional problems for me if I’m ever able to get something booked?

Thanks in advance!

THEsocalledfan

Jack,

I don’t recall having issues making an account, but that was long ago for me. (Got one many, many years ago for a killer status match deal….) LA and Chicago are the only 2 that seem to help for me….

Jack

Thank you for the response! I did hear back from the LA office and they told me to call the customer service number for reservations. I let them know that I was having trouble booking over the phone due to my originating airport not being listed in their system. Now it’s radio silence…

THEsocalledfan

Don’t bother with the phone; utter waste of time. You HAVE to have the ticket office figure it out, or you won’t get anywhere. It is okay to pay on the phone system once queued up, but that is it.

At best, you can expect one email a day; don’t expect more. Say you called in and since FSD is not loaded, there is nothing they can do, and you need them to get it booked for you since they appear to be the only ones who can help. Patience is key with Turkish…..and high stress tolerance when travel approaches.

THEsocalledfan

And be prepared to prove there is award availability for your FSD-DEN or FSD-ORD flight! They will often say there is not…..I like to use expert flyer then confirm with aeroplan.

Jack

Thank you for the advice. I’ve already been practicing my patience with several days of calling and “hang up, call again”. Good to know that it’s a deadend on the phone and email is the only way to go when initially getting the reservation qeued up. I wish I would have checked these comments sooner to see that it is infact possible to book from FSD.

I have confirmed saver space on all segments through United and crosschecked availability with Aeroplan so I’ll be prepared for that when they inevitably tell me it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, space is drying up for my desired date range and I’m now looking at connecting through DEN and SFO on the outbound.

Thanks again for the advice/tips though. I’m a sucker for a good deal so even though I could save myself the headache and book through United at 45k roundtrip, I’m still going to exhaust all options through TK first.

THEsocalledfan

If you see my last booking, you will note I didn’t even try to argue the 22.5K rt fee as I was just so tired at that point. Note, I had a absolute nightmare last minute with a TK UA Hawaii booking last Feb…..to keep this simple, watch your reservation on the united system to make sure it does not look broken…..I had a flight number change on my outbound where the ticket never got updated. I realized it too late, and just when I needed a phone option, it was utterly of no use for all the same reasons. When that happens, you need a least a week of time to get an ticket office to fix by email…..

There is a very strong argument to be made to simply book the long haul segments with Turkish and simply book the short segments with united, aeroplan, etc. The combined total is still way cheaper than UA, and you could avoid a lot of headaches. That exactly what I did for a trip to Instanbul in October so I could simply book via the Turkish website…..

turgutbey

I was able to book a flight for my wife using my brand new turkish acct. No previous booking for myself required. I booked over the phone as the availability did not show online. Route was sea-ewr on UA. The phone booking payment system errored out and the agent had me use the turkish language system. ( Probably unrelated to booking a ticket for my wife.) I speak decent turkish so that worked for me.

Todd

This is an amazingly comprehensive writeup! So in that vein, you might consider adding this. For the more complex callcenter systems, i enter all of the numbers required to get me to a rep. This not only saves time but it also makes me much more willing to call and research stuff. Here are the numbers and pauses (commas) for iphone, I am sure android would be something similar. 1 (800) 874-8875,,1,,,,,,,,,1,,9301704xx,,,,,1,,,,,,4
Hope that helps!

Andrew

Just got back from a round trip to Italy on Turkish business class that I booked last December during their 30% off promotion. Round trip to Europe in lie flat for 63k is a steal! No major issues booking, but the wait times can be killer.

SamBam

Nick, I’m not sure how to tell if a flight is a saver award or not on United’s website. Sometimes above the fare amount, “saver” is written clearly….and sometimes it says nothing at all…even though it may still be a saver fare!!!

I just booked Seattle-Istanbul on Turkish (yes fuel/taxes were steep) in business class for 45k each way. (That’s the saver price.) But on UAL’s website, it’s not specifically stated as “saver”. I just noodled it out based on the price being in GREEN, and stated as “lowest”.

What’s up UAL??? How do we know if a flight is a saver award if “saver” is not written in the fare box???

Last edited 6 months ago by SamBam
SamBam

BTW, since I have the citi Rewards plus card, the flight before taxes/fees was only 81K round trip. $387 in taxes/fees. Still a good deal I thought.

SamBam

In fact, searching on multiple domestic routes over multiple dates, I only saw “saver” in economy….not in business. Turkish Airlines does indeed “see” the saver awards that are written in the UAL fare box.

SamBam

Thanks. Now I get it. You the man.

slaven

maybe i’m doing something wrong, but i checked for a 3 week span in 2023 from ORD-OGG and could not find 1 flight available, though on United.com it shows them.

Neil

You should check out seatspy. Not 100% on point, but probably the best tool for quickly finding UA saver space. It looks like ORD-OGG is available on most Mondays in early 2023. I did that to use some orphaned ANA miles to book 5 seats (economy) to OGG through DEN for the kids spring break next April.

SamBam

Last week I did a Citi to Turkish point transfer. Instant. YMMV.

Dick Bupkiss

I am interested in booking a multi-city award itinerary on TK — using TK miles, all flights are on TK metal: North America > IST (stopover in IST for N days) then continuing on TK from IST to another regional destination, finally returning from there to IST to North America (origin and return destination are the same). It’s a fairly straightforward, rational routing A to B to C (where B=IST), with a multi-day stopover in IST on the outbound, returning C to B (no stopover) to A. Out and back, with a stopover in IST on the outbound.

I have a TK M&M account, I am able to log in on TK.com. I can find availability there for all the individual legs I want: I see availability for the longhaul outbound and return flights. I see availability for the regional flights from IST out and back to IST.

If I look on United.com, I can see the multicity award option and can put this together (although I do not see all the inventory availability that I see on turkishairlines.com). But I don’t want to book it on united.com, I want to book it on turkishairlines.com, using TK miles.

I am looking all over the TK website for some “multi-city” option, and I do see that option for PAID tickets. As soon as I tick the checkbox for “Award ticket – Buy a ticket with Miles” it kicks me over to the award ticket page, where I can only book one-way flights. There is no option for Multi-City awards (there isn’t even an option to book round-trip), just one-way. I’ve tried multiple browsers, all behave the same.

What’s up with that (other than their website sucks)?

Is there no option to book multi-city award flights (or even round-trip award flights) on TK.com?

Joseph fisher

Thank you for this amazing guide it really helps. I just have one question, when I find a flight on United.com for an x amount of points. When I call Turkish to book it they will charge me that x amount of they will charge me the 32k point to Middle East ?
TIA

Execula19

For the last week I’ve been trying to reserve IAD-Bodrum on Turkish metal and am getting a price of 115,000 miles for business. There are plenty of award seats available. Changing the itinerary to IAD-IST quoted the same 115K. Has there been a huge devaluation on Turkish miles lately?

Terry

Data points…

Fri – 3/18

Fri – 3/25

  • Called Turkish Airlines at 800-874-8875 – waited about 5 minutes and was able to put a hold on my reservation (OGG – DEN on United).
  • Tried to transfer Citi TYP from P2’s Citi Primier to my TK account. Didn’t work because the names on the Citi and TK accounts need to match.
  • Called back to straighten that out (waited about 20 minutes). Learned that there can be more than one TK account on the reservation. Added P2’s TK account. The agent nearly completed the reservation and their systems went down. Told me to call back in 30 minutes.
  • Called back. The agent couldn’t find my reservation. Started the process over agian and they said they could no longer find availability for my itinerary.

Sat – 3/26

  • Tried again multiple times. Most times they couldn’t find the itenerary. Once they found it and started booking it but their systems went down again.

Sun – 3/27

  • Called a couple more times…couldn’t find availability, again.
  • Finally talked to someone who was able to find availibility and get it booked, transfer the points, and take payment for the fees. She sent me an email while I was on the phone so I could look it over before she finalized it.
  • I checked that the flight is ticketed on united.com so I think I’m good now.
kristin

OMG – I haven’t wanted to go on a trip that bad yet ;0

ben

Probably a noob question, but I hope that someone can help. In my united.com account, there is a section for me to enter my frequent flyer account numbers. For my Miles and Smiles account, do I need to enter TK before the string of numbers? Thanks.

Arthur

Thanks for the great guide.

I was able to put a hold on CDG-IST-SFO through the phone. The agent correctly identified all three options for CDG-IST (16:15, 15:45, 19:35) and allowed me to hold the 16:15 flight (longest possible connection time) with the IST-SFO flight operated on the following calendar day.

The call took about 20 minutes, including spelling out 2 names, birthdates, email addresses, etc. The agent was very competent and helpful.

He said my award reservation is on hold for 72 hours, but I’m planning to ticket as soon as my TYP transfer (I definitely don’t want to test that time limit!).

I wanted to share my experience since it seems like phone agents have more flexibility now. Fingers crossed that’s the case!

Arthur

P.S. I do see the reservation/award hold under “my flights” on the TK website. It also states I have “2 days and 23 hours until final payment date” in addition to showing the “Pay and fly until Sunday, January 16, 2022 08:55PM (Paris local time).

There’s a button for “Manage this booking” and one for “Pay and fly.” Neither works, unfortunately (nothing happens when l click on it).

I’m well aware I got lucky with a good agent who was able to help me, and I hope I don’t need to cancel or make any changes to this reservation (the other comments on here are painful to read).

Maybe my positive experience is because it’s all TK-operated flights? Either way, I’m looking forward to my first flights with them.

[…] Booking tips can be found in Frequent Miler’s Turkish guide. […]

[…] United awards can be found using Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles (warning: Turkish can be persnickety to deal with), ANA (round-trip awards only), or Air Canada […]

Teo

For an itinerary originating in Turkey I was only given a hold time of 6 hours. 🙁
Any pointers if they will be able to add a UA segment after the transatlantic TK flight?

[…] is a mammoth Frequent Miler’s guide to everything Turkish (airline, that […]

[…] hear your rebuttal, and yes, the Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles program has some sweet-spots and Citi Thank You Points are uniquely positioned to take advantage of that; but booking Turkish […]

Frank

Heads up: I’m on day 5 of my attempt to transfer from Citi ThankYou points to Turkish. Started Saturday 6/19 and nothing has happened other than they’ve deducted it from my Citi account. Called Citi ThankYou desk and they said “3-5 business days” and refused to look into it until the sixth business day after the transfer was initiated. HUCA yielded the same indifference. Of course, their T&C says that most Turkish transfers get done with 24 hours but it can take up to five days.

Last edited 1 year ago by Frank
Frank

Now 10 days with no sign of my points at Turkish. Citi started a “case” and told me it takes 5 more days to investigate.

Clyn6

Did you get your points?

whocares

great guide! Applying for a Citi TY Premier card through the FM link. 2nd card going through you guys.

Lonnell

Hi,
so I remember reading a story about Turkish airlines that made me attempt to open a Turkish airline account. The story did say that I would likely have problems. I definitely had problems. I cannot remember the reason right now why the story made me want to open the account, but it may have been because of transfer availability. I looked diligently through past stories, but to no avail.
My focus now is on the Maldives because I have several certificates from Marriott. The problem is finding the best possible award ticket. I have points all over the place. I have MR, UR, AA, Delta, and some other randoms. Is there any suggestion you can make, or offer toward this goal?
Also, if Turkish happens to fall in there, do I need to call in order to get an account set up with them?

Javan

You can’t book a ticket via email. The only office that even has a reservation email address is LAX, and their response: “Please call 1800 874 8875 to book and purchase your award tickets.” I tried it twice. Not sure why they have a reservation email if you can reserve tickets???

[…] if you generally fly domestically, Turkish Airlines might be your best option. The carrier partners with United Airlines, which means you can redeem Turkish miles for a one-way […]

[…] if you generally fly domestically, Turkish Airlines might be your best option. The carrier partners with United Airlines, which means you can redeem Turkish miles for a one-way […]

[…] if you generally fly domestically, Turkish Airlines might be your best option. The carrier partners with United Airlines, which means you can redeem Turkish miles for a one-way […]

[…] if you generally fly domestically, Turkish Airlines might be your best option. The carrier partners with United Airlines, which means you can redeem Turkish miles for a one-way […]

[…] in case you typically fly domestically, Turkish Airways could be the best choice. The provider companions with United Airways, which suggests you may redeem Turkish miles for a […]

[…] in the event you usually fly domestically, Turkish Airways may be the best choice. The service companions with United Airways, which suggests you’ll be able to redeem Turkish […]

[…] when you usually fly domestically, Turkish Airways could be the best choice. The provider companions with United Airways, which suggests you may redeem Turkish miles for a […]

[…] if you generally fly domestically, Turkish Airlines might be your best option. The carrier partners with United Airlines, which means you can redeem Turkish miles for a one-way […]

[…] if you generally fly domestically, Turkish Airlines might be your best option. The carrier partners with United Airlines, which means you can redeem Turkish miles for a one-way […]

Beth

Thank you for the comprehensive guide. I am hoping you can help me navigate my experience. I booked United flights with Turkish Miles for 12/16/21. I now have flights showing for 12/16/2021 AND 11/16/2021. They only took out points for one date and I have no idea where the November flights came from. When I called they told me not to worrry about it? Also, how can I choose seats for these flights? I have a Turkish booking reference but cannot find how to convert this to a United unmber and select seats. We are a family of 5 and need the kids near us, I am always fine with paying to choose the seats. The Turkist website is so sketchy and I have spent nearly a dozen hours on the phone with various Turkish agents trying to book and correct this so I am quite nervous there will be a problem with seats/departure. Thank you for your insight!

Mark Ruthers

What is “China Taipei”? You mean “Taipei, Taiwan”?

Darin

I commented when you first put this post up about my EWR-TLV experience suggesting that there needs to be a huge asterisk that booking TK should be for experts only and even then I would think twice. I had another experience recently that underscores this. Honestly, as tempting as the sweet spots are, I really think everyone needs to proceed with extreme caution when attempting to redeem with TK.

My recent experience was booking EWR-HNL many months ago, a huge value at 12.5k miles in business. This booking has lead to literally hours of pain and suffering with TK.

  • EWR-HNL service was cancelled by UA and in the end, I needed to switch to OGG due to intra-island COVID testing rules. I had initially switched to EWR-LAX-HNL, but by the time I needed to move to OGG, no award flights were available to switch to, so I ended up buying a ticket.
  • I called TK to do the refund and after about 30 minutes on the phone with an agent, they told me they could not complete the refund and I would need to contact the agency who booked it (I explained that TK was the agent, but they insisted I would have to go to the CHI sales office in that case).
  • Multiple HUCAs, all with the same result: we can’t do this, contact the sales office.
  • No response from CHI sales office email, tried a few others as well.
  • With the date of travel approaching and no resolution, I asked a phone agent if they could simply cancel the flights so I wouldn’t be a no-show and I’d deal with the refund later – they were able to do this.
  • Wrote to TK customer care, stating specifically that phone agents couldn’t handle and I was getting no response from sales office. Their reply: “Please contact our call center for assistance”
  • A TK expert on FlyerTalk suggested I personally go to a ticket office (airport ticketing).
  • Went to JFK during hours listed on the website when they would be open – no one was there.
  • Went to JFK a second time when I knew there was a flight leaving.
  • At first, the ticketing agent said they couldn’t handle, I would need to reach out to the email address (that no one responds to). I insisted that no one responds there, she claimed she would follow up with them personally to ensure they handled. At this point, her colleague started speaking to her in Turkish and showing her something on the screen. She then started doing some work on her computer and said she would try to handle. The transaction took over an hour with several calls from the agent to someone at TK, but at the end of the day they charged me $25 per ticket and said my miles would be back in my account within 72 hours. Oh, and I also needed to provide IDs for every passenger on the itinerary (had to have these texted to me while I was there) and the original form of payment used.
  • A couple of days later, I indeed had the miles back in my account.

tl;dr – their redemption rates are very tempting, but if you need to have ANY interaction with TK, it can be extremely painful and cause hours of work. Proceed with extreme caution.

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

harry B

I am a member of Mile&smiles TK441653433
I want to up-grade my economy ticket however my transaction
cant get through ( hung ), I just want to buy more mile&miles point so
I cant un-grade my seat.
I try to call but also failed. I think there is some technical issue
of transaction for award miles.
3 of my creditcards has no problem if you think my card got an issue.
I can event buy ticket for friends at turkish airlines website.
My credit card is regular used.
I did all I can called turkish airlines, tried and tried again, and transaction on the phone, until I arrive at Turlish airline office in my Country. I was surprise they told me in Turkish airline office in Indonesia they cant help me to purchase point for miles.
Worse thing happen, as soon as I change my flight at the turkish airlines office, I am no longer able to change my flight online at turkish airlines website.
I also try to book my seat, I can get seat at my Departure flight, but on my return flight its said I need to paid. Ofcourse I refused. Just unfortunately I cant booked one way seat ( departure seat, because its become automaticly all my seat will be cancelled because I didnt booked the return seat ).
I am very up seat and dissapointed, never experiences such things.

[…] Award flights can be booked via email or over the phone per Frequent Miler […]

Michael

Diggin the sweet spots section, especially business class flights to Europe!

[…] least one reader was far overcharged on the cancellation fees despite protesting that program terms indicate a $25 cancellation […]

Agnes

DEN-LIH went up from 7500 to 11500 one way today. I was able to book SFO-LIH for 7,500. The agent can’t see 7,500, so I had to book it online. I hope this is only a glitch, but I went ahead an book what I can, before it got worse, such as SFO-LIH 11,500 for all.

54austin

My recent experience was relatively painless, although not complete yet. I called on Aug 7 to put on hold two United flights (EWR-LAX, SFO-EWR) for two passengers in business class. The first agent couldn’t find award space and offered me Alaska Airlines seats instead. She also couldn’t quote miles required or taxes/fees and suggested I call Alaska Airlines (oy). I thanked her for her time, and called again. The second agent had no problem finding the space and putting the awards on hold. I got the email confirmation immediately. and then initiated a transfer of 50k miles from Citibank. Still waiting on the points to hit my M&S account (it’s been about 20 hours). I’ll update when ticketed. BTW, this is my first time booking with M&S.

Last edited 2 years ago by 54austin
54austin

Just ticketed the flights. The Citibank transfer was initiated Friday evening (around 10pm) and the miles were in my M&S account by Sunday morning 7am. During the call with the M&S agent, you are transferred to an automated system to submit your credit card info and M&S login info, so have both handy. Otherwise, pretty easy and not super time-consuming.

Mauro

Hi 54Austin, the confirmation number you gave the agent when you were ready to book was the same as your United confirmation number?

54austin

No, but if I go to the UA website and enter the TK conf no, my flight will show (but with the UA conf no).

Darin

I know there are great sweet spots with TK, but I would recommend against using them for anyone but the most patient and knowledgeable mileage geeks, despite your very thorough guide. Dealing with TK is incredibly frustrating and requires many HUCA sessions and persistence. Pain points on my last booking (EWR-TLV rt booked in June):

  1. Non-stop saver awards were available on UA, but on multiple calls to TK over weeks, agents could not find the space. Later the space was even available on TK’s website, but the agents still couldn’t find them (and I spoke to MANY). Which brings me to my next point.
  2. Even if you are traveling on the itinerary, on the TK website your first booking cannot include additional travelers. So while I could pull up availability on the website I could not book for 2 passengers and TK agents on the phone could not find the availability.
  3. E-mail was completely non-responsive, I tried several different offices with no response.

After weeks of phone calls, I did find the needle in the haystack agent who was able to locate and book the flights. But I don’t know that I would do it again, the difference in miles is not worth it (often there are other sweet spots with ANA or AC that are slightly higher).

HoKo

Great guide, one recommendation is that you mention that it is best to avoid booking travel on star alliance carriers that impose high fuel surcharges. It would be good if you could link to a post that talks about approximate expected fuel surcharges on each star alliance carrier

MichaelR

1 – I wish cancelling an award ticket was only $25/ticket. I tried HUCA 4x and each time was told it was a $200 cancellation fee/ticket. I finally bargained them down to $150/ticket, stinks but better than $200.

2 – It’s been nearly 4 weeks since I cancelled, and I still don’t have the miles redeposited into my account. I cancelled a Hawaii trip 3 days before departure, playing chicken, hoping United would Cancel the flight, but low and behold the flights all departed on time. I was told the cancellation fee was due to the fact that I cancelled within 2 weeks but I could NOT find anywhere on Turkish site that specifically states this fee. Was told the reservations numbers don’t match and each time was told it would take 10-14 business days to redposit. Because the flights were changed 4x from Jan-July, they have tried each different reservation number to cancel and refund the miles.

But they had no problem posting the charge the day I paid for the cancellations fees….

Michael Ryan

Hey Nick, thanks for getting back.

I referenced that sameTurkish URL numerous times, and each time they stated it was a $200/ticket fee. I thought about disputing the charge, but then possibly I’d be out 75K Turkish points. Not sure If I should try another agent or office, but the Boston office is the one I’ve been dealing with.

And yes, was booked via Turkish email and cancelled via numerous phone calls.

Either way, I’m stuck now trying to navigate getting the fee reduced/refunded and also receiving my points back. Going on 4 weeks….

Michael Ryan

Afternoon Nick – thought you might like another data point. I have spoken to ‘David’ the past month, and every time I call he tells me 5 more business days for the miles to be redeposited. Today I call and am told an add’l 20 days! I speak to a supervisor, ‘Sharon’, and she proceeds to tell me 30-50 business days. You can’t make this S$!T up.

I explained I paid the crazy $750 fee ($150/ticket) on July 15th and am entitled to a timely refund of my miles, she then explains ‘why would I need to use my miles now because of COVID-19…”
WOW – now they’re telling me I have no reason to use the miles now. This situation is nuts now.

Lies, lies and more lies. Contrary to everything I’ve heard about them with cancellations I’ve had the EXACT opposite experience. Now just waiting again…..stuck.

Just FYI for others who cancel Turkish awards…..

Stvr

1. They have not responded to dozens of my emails since February. I wouldn’t even be recommending this.
2. Is book by phone possible now? In March it wasn’t. Did they upgrade their systems in the pandemic?
3. In my experience, their online shows a good amount of what United has but you can ONLY book for yourself, not others. Any insight on that?

JamesD

Are the ticket offices open? I tried last week to ticket via email with Boston with no reply and yesterday with Atlanta? So should I try the phone option? Does it work right now? Last time they would not even try to book an award trip. Thanks

Jacob

Just FYI I’ve called and emailed every single listed sales office in the last few days–no office picked up the phone, but I did receive emails back only from the Chicago and Boston offices.

Buzz

This is a great guide. I have many Thank you points and many, many United miles due to being a Million Miler. I’m curious if my status would pass through so I could select Economy Plus seats. I guess I’d have to transfer some points and make a trial booking.

Darin

At least online, the TK frequent flyer number you use to book the tickets is locked in and cannot be changed (both on UA & TK). I haven’t tried calling UA or TK to change it, but you can only add UA numbers to additional travelers.

Buzz

I found I was unable to do it that way. My current method is to book the ticket and later DM the Turkish FB team and have them add my United number to the ticket. It then shows up in the United app where I can re-select my seats in Economy Plus.

Also, United has Saver fares that only Chase card holders can see. Those aren’t likely to be seen by Turkish.