Turkish now has a checkout button for Star Alliance award tickets (but does it work?)

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Turkish Miles & Smiles has one of the most incredible sweet spots in award travel: it costs just 7,500 miles one-way in economy class for a domestic Star Alliance flight (like anywhere in the US to places like Hawaii or Alaska on United) or 12,500 miles in business class. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been easy to book. We’ve documented how you can email or you can call, but both are hit or miss. Then we shared when awards became bookable online, but unfortunately at some point the website lost its checkout button. The good(ish?) news is that the checkout button is back. The bad news is that no matter how many times I’ve tried it and Turkish has put a pending charge on my credit cards, it errors out without ticketing.

Before Tim published his post earlier this afternoon about the awesome United award availability (and reduced prices!) between Hawaii and points in the mainland, I got online with Turkish to see if I could book any of it via Turkish for less. I had noticed a couple of days ago that the checkout process had changed a bit and I thought that perhaps there would once again be a way to check out.

Indeed, there is a way to check out now after choosing passengers and payment method. You can use a saved payment method or enter a new one. It doesn’t matter — I got the error above every time except one. That last time, I tried using a different card and I got this message:

As you can see, that last time notes that payment has been processed but my reservation has not been created. That might lead you to believe that my card only actually got authorized on that last attempt. But you’d be wrong.

The charge from United is an award I booked via United based on the availability that Tim reported. All of those other pending charges from Turkish are some of my numerous attempts to book different dates, routes, and numbers of passengers (on the last reservation attempt).

Unfortunately, I have nothing to show for my efforts but those pending charges. I’m not looking forward to needing to follow up with Turkish via the “feedback form” when those charges inevitably don’t get reversed automatically. At least they didn’t debit the miles from my account.

Moral of the story: you can now check out and pay for a Star Alliance award via the Turkish Airlines website, just don’t expect it to actually ticket. If you do ticket something successfully, let us know in the comments. If you try repeatedly and fail and end up with nothing but multiple pending transactions, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

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Gubmintmole

Trying to use the website to day to see if I can find literally an Star Alliance reward tickets from Washington or New York to almost anywhere next April and coming up with nothing so far….not a single available award ticket to book, WAS/NYC to LAX, SFO, PHX, SEA, DEN and a few others all coming up snake eyes so far

Adam Garrett

Are there any decent workarounds for your first booking not being the account holder with Turkish Miles & Smiles if I’m looking to book United for others?

Gubmintmole

I am late to this discussion, but after reading the Emirates issue it makes me ask if there is a better chance at success using the Turkish Airlines app instead of the desktop version?

paul5795

My personl Turkish Airlines booking horror story is just too recent for me to contemplate calling them once again to try to book.

THEsocalledfan

The morale of the story is use Turkish for Hawaii…. don’t use for most other domestic use.

Nun

Have you tried Ritz? When I’ve been unable to make an international purchase it saves the day. I don’t know if that’s what’s happening here though.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nun
Buzz

Ahh the Turkish insanity. I’m currently on about my 7th call to try to get an award cancelled and redeposited. I’ll happily pay the $25. You feel like you hit the lottery when you actually accomplish the task.

Brian

Run don’t walk from Turkish award travel.

Don’t say *I* didn’t warn you.

rick b

Some award sweet spots aren’t worth the time and headache. You end up effectively working for minimum wage if you compare savings vs. time wasted.

NoHohh

this has been the case for about 5-6 months now.

NoHohh

should have read the entire article. you are right.

Tom

I guess you get a blog post out of it, but for the regular Joe, the 2.5k* that they would have saved on a one way award versus the mileage plus costs come nowhere near justifying the time wasted with TK.

*Per Tim’s post earlier, UA were offering flights in Y for 10k vs. 7.5k with TK

Anonymous

There was 12.5k availability in early June for EWR-OGG direct. Same 12.5k price works for some other dates around May/June as well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous
Anonymous

I see (sporadic) 12.5k EWR-OGG space as far out as Jan 10, 2023. There’s space at that rate pretty much every month for at least 2, if not 4+. Not all nonstops, though.

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous
LarryInNYC

Welcome to the Hotel Cappadocia. You can check out, but you’ll never leave.

Nate

The discovery of the Turkish sweet spot was awesome, and the blogosphere and the hobby has you to thank for it, Nick. Many of us have taken advantage of this over the last few years, yet in many cases it has meant stressful experiences booking awards, getting replies from ticket offices, and/or dealing with the aftermath when changes to awards were needed. If the experience has taught me something, it has been that Turkish has to be one of the worst airlines to deal with. Their customer service is the horror of the traveler, and especially those in our hobby. I’d rather pay a few more miles and have the peace of mind that the booking and (pre/post) flight experience is predictable. Over the last few years at least, traveling to Hawaii with miles has been much more attainable through many of the other carriers.

Frank

It would be a cool article ranking the airlines based on customer service in terms of award ticketing. At times, Avianca Lifemiles has been my nightmare. Hours of frustration must be calculated in the mix of “value” of award tickets.

Jeff

We could do that now. You’ve made the bottom two (w Avianca at the bottom). Southwest would have to be at the very top. United would probably be #2. There would be a huge middle group of usually functional but sometimes not (some partner awards not showing well or at all, but usually good) that would range from AA to Virgin, ANA, BA, AC, Alaska.

Donald Trump

How would you rate ANA (customer service regarding booking/changing award tickets) compared to Turkish and Avianca?

Execula19

Haven’t they always had a Star Alliance award checkout button? It doesn’t always find seats that should be available, but it’s been there