13 Best Ways to Earn Lots of Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

Turkish Airlines Business Class

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Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles is a frequent flyer program for Turkish Airlines that has, for the most part, flown under the radar for a long time. Turkish Airlines is the national carrier of Turkey, with its headquarters in Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines flies to (at last count) 106 countries, which is mind-boggling.

There are loads of great ways to redeem Miles & Smiles miles for maximum value, but earning them is not as straightforward.

In this guide, we’ll talk about the best ways to earn lots of Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles miles, which we’ll also refer to as Turkish Airlines miles.

There are a few unique ways, particularly for residents of Turkey, so let’s get started!

Sign Up for a Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Account

Here are the step-by-step instructions for creating a Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles account:

  1. Visit the Turkish Airlines website
  2. At the top-right corner, click Sign up
  3. Fill in your information, including name, language, nationality, and date of birth
  4. Verify your e-mail address, and you’re all set

Before you jump in to earning Turkish Airlines miles, it’s important to understand a few caveats.

The only way to redeem Turkish Airlines miles online is for Turkish Airlines flights. If you’d like to redeem miles for a partner flight, such as on Lufthansa, you’ll need to call in to reserve your ticket.

There’s a pretty convoluted process for making Turkish Airlines redemptions, but it can be worth it if you have lots of miles.

Earn Turkish Airlines Miles With Credit Cards

Before Turkish Airlines added transfer partners, the only realistic way for Americans to earn Turkish Airlines miles was by crediting flights on Star Alliance partners (such as United or Air Canada) to Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles.

Due to the relatively easy criteria for Star Alliance Gold qualification, using Turkish Airlines to get there was valid. You only needed to be a Miles & Smiles Elite level to earn Star Alliance Gold.

To do this, you needed first to earn 40,000 Status miles within a year of membership. After that, you could renew your status by earning 30,000 Status miles in the first Elite year or 45,000 Status miles within 2 membership years.

Today, Asiana Airlines has even better qualification criteria, and Asiana Airlines are incredibly valuable, too!

Citi ThankYou® Rewards Credit Cards (Best Option)

Using Citi ThankYou® Rewards points is arguably the best and quickest way to earn a lot of Turkish Airlines miles. In fact, it’s the only points system that offers a 1:1 transfer ratio.

Additionally, you could potentially even increase this transfer ratio if you transfer ThankYou® Rewards Points when transfer bonuses are being offered. For example, in January 2019, Citi offered a 25% transfer bonus to Turkish Airlines, which would bring the transfer ratio up to 1:1.25.

In order to accumulate Citi ThankYou Rewards points, you’ll need to have one of their ThankYou® Rewards Points earning credit cards. It’s important to note, not all ThankYou® Rewards credit cards are eligible for transfers to partners.

Having “lower-tier” Citi credit cards such as the Citi Rewards+℠ credit card or the recently discontinued Citi ThankYou® Preferred credit card won’t make you eligible to transfer ThankYou® Rewards points to partners.

You may only use your ThankYou® points for gift cards or statement credits at a value of 1 cent per point.

In other words, you’ll need the Citi Prestige® or Citi Premier℠ credit card to begin transferring your ThankYou® Rewards points to partners.

Recommended Citi Cards (Personal)

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express- use this card to get one free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions on your itinerary, which we see as a "must-have" if you fly Delta regularly. There's currently a 30,000 bonus miles welcome bonus too. (terms apply). For rates and fees of the Gold Delta, click here.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express - This card information is being updated.

Even though there are a relatively small number of credit cards from Citi that earn ThankYou® Rewards points, the credit cards themselves have a lot of spending categories so you can multiply your points quickly.

Another thing that makes these credit cards great is the large welcome bonuses that typically come with them. Generally, welcome bonuses are in the ballpark of 50,000 ThankYou® points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of card opening.

The Citi Prestige was recently revamped, and it’s arguably the best premium credit card out there.

Here are the bonus categories for all Citi ThankYou® cards:

CategoryApplicable Credit CardsBonus Points
DiningCiti Prestige® Card5x
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card2x
Citi Premier℠ Card2x
SupermarketsCit Rewards+℠ Card2x
Gas stationsCiti Premier℠ Card3x
Cit Rewards+℠ Card2x
EntertainmentCiti ThankYou® Preferred Card2x
Citi Premier℠ Card2x
Citi Prestige® Card2x (through 8/31/19)
HotelsCiti Prestige® Card3x
Cruise LinesCiti Prestige® Card3x
All other purchasesCiti Prestige® Card1x
Cit Rewards+℠ Card1x
Citi Premier℠ Card1x

Although the Citi ThankYou® Preferred card has been discontinued since the end of 2018, we kept the bonus categories listed as some of you may still be using that card.

Hot Tip: Want some more help accelerating your ThankYou points balance in a short time? Check out our in-depth guide on how to earn 100k+ Citi ThankYou Rewards points in 90 days!

Marriott Credit Cards

Before Citi was added as a Turkish Airlines transfer partner, the only way to transfer points was via Marriott, which we all know as the most flexible rewards currency in the world. I mean, how else can you describe a points system which has 40+ transfer partners?

Typically, Marriott has great sweet spots and there are better uses than transferring to Turkish Airlines, but it can be an option if you’re in a bind for Turkish Airlines miles.

As it does with most of its transfer partners, Marriott transfers points to Turkish Airlines at a 3:1 ratio.

For every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer, you’ll receive a bonus of 5,000 Turkish Airlines miles. That brings the transfer ratio up to 2.4 Marriott points per 1 Turkish Airlines mile.

With the recent revamp of Marriott’s loyalty program, you can earn Marriott points from the co-branded credit cards from American Express and Chase.

Recommended Marriott Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Card - earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points (terms apply). A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

Turkish Airlines Co-Branded Credit Cards

Turkish Airlines offers co-branded credit cards, but you can only open them in Turkey and if you’re a Turkish citizen. Though limited, if you’re living in Turkey and are a Turkish citizen, this is certainly an option.

Diners Club International Slovenia

Another interesting way to earn Turkish Airlines miles is by being a member of Diners Club International Slovenia.

Similarly to the co-branded credit cards, you can only become a member if you’re living in Slovenia. Likewise, the website is in Slovenian, so you won’t be able to apply unless you’re familiar with the language.

Refer a Friend for Bonus Miles

The last credit card related option we’ll be talking about is the referral bonus. Chase and American Express both have excellent referral bonus structures.

With Chase, you’ll receive 20,000 Marriott points for each approved referral, up to 100,000 Marriott points per year.

American Express allows you to refer your friends and family to credit cards you don’t even have! All you need to do is have an American Express-branded card such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card.

Each American Express card has different referral structures and maximum referral points per year. Log in here to start referring friends via American Express.

Lastly, Citi has a referral program that was recently initiated, but you’ll need to have received an email or letter from Citi in order to refer friends, so it’s not currently available to everyone.

You can earn 10,000 ThankYou points per approved referral and a maximum of 50,000 ThankYou points in a rolling year. Keep in mind you can only receive 5 referral bonuses per card per year with Citi.

Earn Miles Through Shopping and Dining

You can also earn Turkish Airlines miles through shopping with their Miles & Smiles partners. However, all of their partners (excluding hotels or hotel portals) are based in Turkey.

You must make purchases at stores in Turkey to  qualify, so it won’t be practical for many of us.

Still, let’s talk about it!

Miles & Smiles Shopping Partners

Some of the shopping partners are particularly interesting, including the Istanbul Aquarium, Macrocenter, and Migros. You can also earn Turkish Airlines miles from telecommunications companies like Bakcell and Travelling Connect.

To find out more information on shopping partners, visit the Turkish Airlines website.

Earn Miles Through Travel

Although Turkish Airlines’ shopping partners are limited to shops in Turkey, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are quite a few ways to earn miles through travel — even if you live in the United States.

Airfare and Airline Purchases

Turkish Airlines Business Class
Image courtesy of YouTube/Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines is the most internationally connected airline in the world, making it a convenient airline for almost anywhere you want to go.

By flying on Turkish Airlines, you’re eligible to earn Turkish Airlines miles.

Here’s what the mileage accrual looks like for travel on Turkish Airlines:

Mileage Accrual TableEconomyBusiness
Ticket ClassY, BM, H, S, E, Q, A, OT, L, VW, P, F, UC, DK, J, Z
TurkeyAll CardsFixed Miles6006003001501,2501,000
InternationalClassic CardEarnings Rate125%100%50%25%150%135%
Minimum Miles1,2501,0005002501,7501,600
Classic Plus, Elite, Elite Plus CardEarnings Rate125%100%50%25%175%160%
Minimum Miles1,2501,0005002501,7501,600

Let’s do an example calculation. If you fly from San Francisco (SFO) to Istanbul (IST), the flight distance is 6,721 miles. If you hold the Turkish Elite Plus level, you’ll earn 160% of 6,721 miles, which ends up being a total of 10,754 Turkish Airlines miles.

Hot Tip: Remember to double check your flight distance, fare booking class, and elite status when calculating your mileage accruals.

Crediting Partner Airlines to Miles & Smiles

Lufthansa A380 First Class Seat
If you rack up enough Turkish Airlines miles, you can fly first class on Lufthansa! Image courtesy of Greg Stone.

For those of you that don’t regularly fly on Turkish Airlines, rest assured you’re still able to earn Turkish Airlines miles by crediting partner flights to Turkish Airlines.

Turkish Airlines is a Star Alliance partner, making it easy to transfer miles to other Star Alliance airlines.

In addition, you can also credit Jet Airways, LATAM, and AnadoluJet flights to Turkish Airlines. LATAM is a Oneworld Alliance member, while Jet Airways and AnadoluJet are not in an alliance.

The Turkish Airlines website has more information about specific partner accrual rates.

Remember that you’re subject to the terms and conditions of both Miles & Smiles and the partner airline you’re flying on.

Car Rentals and Other Ground Transportation

Currently, Turkish Airlines partners with 11 different car rental partners, making it easy for you to earn miles.

Here are all the partners listed with the mileage earning structure for Turkish Airlines miles:

Rental CompanyMileRental CompanyMiles
AlamoUp to 1,000 miles per rentalAVEC500 miles/day for rentals of up to 2 days, 750 miles/day for rentals of 3 days and more, maximum of 7,500 miles per rental. 50% extra on miles with each subsequent rental starting with the 3rd rental.
Avis500 miles/day for up to 5,000 miles per rental. Another 5,000 miles when you rent at least 4 times from AvisBudget500 miles per rental
Enterprise100 miles per day with a maximum of 1,000 miles per rentalEuropcar500 miles per rental, 10% discount for Classic and Classic Plus members, 15% discount for Elite and Elite Plus members
GarentaUnknownHertz500 miles for each 1-6 day rental, 1,000 miles for each 7+ day rental
NationalUp to 1,000 miles per rentalRent Go600 miles per day, up to 6,000 miles per rental
Sixt500 miles per rental and 1,000 miles per transfer with Sixt Limousine Service

AVEC offers a very competitive accrual structure, but it’s still worth cross-checking the prices before committing to a rental with them.

Miles & Smiles Hotel Partners

Miles & Smiles partners with a whole slew of hotel brands. Many of these hotel brands, such as Hilton, only offer mileage exchanges. For example, Hilton offers an exchange of 10,000 Hilton points for 1,000 Turkish Airlines miles.

Other hotels, such as Best Western, offer miles for hotel stays, which is a better deal. The consolidated list for hotel partners is quite large, but check it out here:

HotelMiles/StayHotelMiles/Stay
Barut Hotels500 miles/stayBest Western Hotels & Resorts500 miles/stay
Constance Hotels, Resorts & Golf1 mile/$1CVK GroupUnknown
Divan500 miles/stayElite World Hotels1 mile/1 Turkish Lira (~$0.11 USD)
Eresin Hotels500 miles/stayHiltonCan only convert Hilton Points to Turkish Airlines miles (10,000:1,000)
Kayakapi Premium CavesUp to 3,000 miles per night depending on room typeKempinski Hoteliers500 miles/stay
AccorHotelsCan only convert Le Club AccorHotels Rewards Points to Turkish Airlines Miles (4,000:2,000)Maritim Hotels750 miles/stay
MarriottUp to 2 miles/$1Maxx RoyalEarn 500 miles/night
Mövenpick Hotels and ResortsEarn 500 miles/stayNG Hotels & Resorts500 miles/stay
Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah1 mile/$1 and 5,000 extra miles for stays of 15 nights or moreRadisson Blu500 miles/stay
Rotana500 miles/stayRixos Hotels500 miles/stay
Serena Hotels1 mile/$1Shangri-La Hotels & ResortsCan only convert Golden Circle Award Points to Turkish Airlines Miles (1:1 ratio)
Titanic Hotels500 miles/stayWyndham Earn up to 2 miles/$1 depending on elite status. Can also convert miles.

All in all, there are a ton of different ways to earn Turkish Airlines miles from hotels around the world. Some are specific to Turkey and some are worldwide chains, so your options are plentiful.

Miles & Smiles Hotel Booking Portals

Turkish Airlines also partners with a variety of tourism portals, most of which are hotel booking portals. Here are the specifics:

Booking PortalMiles EarningBooking PortalMiles Earning
AgodaUp to 10,000 miles/nightAntonina TurizmUnknown
Booking.com2 miles/€1Coraltravel100-200 miles/1 Turkish Lira
Kaligo.comUp to 15 miles/$1PointsHoundUp to 10,000 miles/night
RocketmilesUp to 10,000 miles/night

As you can see, there’s similarly plenty of opportunities to earn huge bonuses on miles with hotel portal bookings. Make sure to double-check that the rates are the cheapest available as the points bonus may not be worth the extra money you spend.

Specialty Earnings for Turkish Airlines Miles

Turkish Airlines miles are pretty valuable. If the above methods of earning Turkish Airlines miles don’t work for you, there are a couple of “specialty” ways to earn Turkish Airlines miles.

Buy Turkish Airlines Miles

Turkish Airlines sells miles at 3 cents per mile, and in 1,000 mile-increments. You can purchase 1,000 miles for $30.

You can purchase up to 50,000 miles per calendar year.

Turkish Airlines rarely offers bonuses on purchased miles. In fact, 2014 was the last time they offered a bonus on purchased miles.

Miscellaneous Partners in Turkey

There are a lot of other partners in Turkey where you can earn Turkish Airlines miles. Some of these are rather interesting, ranging from insurance providers to universities.

There are partner companies in the telecommunication, fuel, education, and energy sectors. This is rather interesting since you could earn miles on, say, Istanbul Aydin university tuition.

Final Thoughts

All in all, Turkish Airlines has been a traditionally difficult mileage currency to earn. However, with the advent of new transfer partners, it’s now easier than ever to earn Turkish Airlines miles.

Yes, you’ll need to pay fuel surcharges and go through some hoops to make award bookings using Turkish Airlines miles, but it’s often worth it to save some hard-earned miles for sweet spots.


Featured Image: Courtesy of YouTube / Turkish Airlines

FAQ

What are Turkish Airlines miles?

Turkish Airlines’ frequent flyer program is known as Miles & Smiles. The miles you can earn, transfer, and redeem are called Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Miles, or Turkish Airlines miles for short.

Which credit cards earn Turkish Airlines miles?

You can transfer Citi ThankYou Rewards Points and Marriott Points to earn Turkish Airlines miles. You’re eligible to earn Marriott points from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.

Additionally, you can earn Turkish Airlines miles from co-branded credit cards, but these are only open to Turkish citizens living in Turkey.

What are Turkish Airlines miles worth?

As is the case with most mileage currencies, the value of Turkish Airlines miles is variable. You’ll get the most value from premium cabin redemptions and the least value from economy redemptions, though the cost will be greater with premium redemptions.

The value can range from 1.3 cents per point to around 8-10 cents per point if redeeming for something like ANA First Class.

How do I transfer Turkish Airlines miles to a spouse?

The cost of mileage transfers is $10 per 1,000 miles. You’ll need to follow the terms and conditions for transferring miles.

Double check that the account you want to transfer to contains the right information and the amount of your transfer is correct before actually doing it because the transfers are one way.

Who are Turkish Airlines partners?

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles partners with Star Alliance, along with Jet Airways, LATAM, and AnadoluJet.

Their hotel partners include:

  1. Barut Hotels
  2. Best Western Hotels and Resorts
  3. Constance Hotels, Resorts, and Golf
  4. CVK Group
  5. Divan
  6. Elite World Hotels
  7. Eresin Hotels
  8. Hilton
  9. Kayakapi Premium Caves
  10. Kempinski Hoteliers
  11. AccorHotels
  12. Maritim Hotels
  13. Marriott
  14. Maxx Royal
  15. Movenpick Hotels and Resorts
  16. NG Hotels and Resorts
  17. Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah
  18. Radisson Blu
  19. Rotana
  20. Rixos Hotels
  21. Serena Hotels
  22. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
  23. Titanic Hotels
  24. Wyndham

When do Turkish Airlines miles post to your account?

When taking Turkish Airlines flights, the miles will post to your account within 2 days.

If you need to request missing miles, you can utilize their feedback form.

Are Turkish Airlines miles refundable?

The cancellation fee for award bookings is $25 for international flights and 50 Turkish Lira for flights in Turkey.

There’s also a change fee of $25 on international flights and 50 Turkish Lira for flights within Turkey. You can only change award bookings on Turkish Airlines flights, not partner flights.

When do Turkish Airlines miles expire?

Turkish Airlines miles expire 3 years after they’re earned. However, you can pay a fee of $10 for each 1,000 miles and extend them for another 3 years.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels, thanks to his love for travel hacking. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. Within 2 years, Stephen has earned millions of points and miles, enjoyed several business class cabins, and stayed in luxury hotel suites in 14 countries.

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