Edited by: Stella Shon
& Kellie Jez
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Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles miles have historically been difficult to earn due to the lack of transfer partners available, which made it increasingly difficult to earn enough points without flying a ton and crediting your flights to earn Turkish Airlines miles.
However, Turkish Airlines is now transfer partners with Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, and Bilt Rewards.
Miles&Smiles has a lot of excellent award sweet spots — and because it hasn’t received a lot of coverage in the frequent flyer world, these sweet spots have stayed below the radar for the most part.
For example, one-way flights are allowed (but you cannot fly more than 1 carrier on inbound or outbound flights), you can have up to 4 segments on one-way awards, and you can have up to 8 segments on round-trip awards.
It also uses a region-based award chart, so there are definitely lots of opportunities for optimization and award sweet spots.
Let’s get started!
Although there are lots of opportunities to optimize Turkish Airlines miles, we’ll first go over some of the pros and cons before deep-diving into all the sweet spots.
To begin with, fuel surcharges are always passed on, so be aware of that when booking award flights.
If you are booking Turkish Airlines flights only, you can reserve your flights completely online. Otherwise, you’ll need to call the sales office at 800-874-8875.
Turkish Airlines has an online search engine that could potentially allow you to book partner flights online. The major downside to this is that the search engine is very buggy and often doesn’t show all possible availability.
We recommend starting your search first on United.com and then locating flights under the Saver award bucket. Once you’ve located options, ring up the Turkish Airlines sales office to book Star Alliance tickets.
There are a few fees Turkish Airlines charges as well:
On all award tickets operated by Turkish Airlines, 1 stopover is allowed. You are allowed 1 open-jaw (instead of a stopover) for round-trip awards.
Miles&Smiles miles expire 3 years after they are earned, but you can pay $10 per 1,000 miles and extend them for 3 years.
Mixed cabin awards are allowed, but you’ll pay the price for the higher class on the itinerary. You also can’t mix carriers for 1 direction of the flight.
For example, if you’re flying from the U.S. to the Middle East, you cannot fly to Turkey on Turkish Airlines and to Cairo on Egyptair; you must fly on Turkish Airlines the whole way.
Your entire itinerary may have up to 8 segments if it is round-trip, and 4 if it is one-way.
You can backtrack, but the same airport can’t be in your itinerary more than once in the inbound and outbound legs. This would normally be a great opportunity for optimization, but it’s pretty much nullified because of the restriction on mixed carriers.
If you’re short on Turkish Airlines miles and need 10,000 miles or less, you can pay €25 (~$26) per 1,000 miles to top off your balance.
You can redeem miles for someone else, but they need to be registered in your Miles&Smiles account beforehand.
Whew! Now that we have that business out of the way, let’s dive into this guide.
The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.
Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.
Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.
Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
As a frequent traveler with excellent credit, you’re always on the lookout for a credit card that comes with all the bells and whistles. And the easier it is to understand, the better!
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great sign-up bonus, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.
The card offers unlimited miles at 1.25x per $1 and no annual fee. When you consider the flexible rewards, frequent travelers come out on top.
Interested in a travel rewards credit card without one of those pesky annual fees? Then say hello to the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, the no-annual-fee version of the more popular Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
In addition to no annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne card offers no foreign transaction fees.
But is this card worth its salt, or is it merely a shell of the more popular Capital One Venture card?
As we stated above, Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Rewards.
There is no shortage of ways to earn lots of Citi ThankYou Points, so give this method a lot of thought if you want to earn Turkish Airlines miles!
Citi transfers at a 1:1 ratio in 1 to 2 business days.
Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.
The Citi Premier® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!
This no annual fee card rewards cardholders for everyday purchases. Earn bonus points at supermarkets and gas stations, plus your points are rounded up on every purchase.
Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!
The Citi® Double Cash Card has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market, and the card now has the ability to earn Citi ThankYou Points!
This means that cardholders of the Double Cash card will now earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points. This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional ThankYou point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker.
Citi has turned the Double Cash card into a top choice for those who are looking for an everyday, no-fuss credit card.
Earn big on purchases in your top eligible spend category, up to the first $500 each billing cycle, with no annual fee!
The Citi Custom Cash® Card is inventive when it comes to cash-back credit cards. Instead of earning a set amount of cash-back on predetermined bonus categories, the Citi Custom Cash card earns 5% cash-back on your highest eligible spend category each billing cycle, without an annual fee.
Thanks to that unique perk, you’ll never need to worry about whether you’re using the right card for the right purchase, as your Citi Custom Cash card will always pay you 5% back on whichever category you end up spending the most on each month.
Another great way to earn a lot of Turkish Airlines miles is with Marriott Bonvoy.
Although the time to transfer Turkish Airlines points is unknown, it will probably take around 1 business day for transfers to complete.
A great option for Marriott hotel fans who want a no annual fee card and automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Casual travelers who like to frequent properties that are part of the Marriott Bonvoy collection of brands may want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.
The Marriott Bold card rewards cardholders for Marriott stays and gives them a boost towards Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Marriott loyalists will love this card's annual free night award, automatic elite status, and up to 17x points per $1 on Marriott hotel stays.
If you’re a frequent traveler and a Marriott loyalist, there’s a lot to love about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. The card comes packed with several great benefits like a free hotel night once a year, automatic Silver Elite status (with a fast-track to Gold Elite status), and multiple options for redeeming points.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, the latest mid-tier offering in the Marriott Bonvoy lineup of cards, offers cardholders automatic elite status and ways to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on each of their stays and daily purchases.
A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.
So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?
Never before has there been a credit card built specifically with renters in mind. Enter the Bilt World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card, designed specifically to help renters earn rewards on their rent payments with no fees.
Of course, aside from rewards on rent, there are many other solid benefits that the card offers that add extra value to cardholders. In this guide, we provide a complete breakdown of everything the Bilt card has to offer to help you decide whether the card makes sense for you.
Hot Tip: Don’t miss our dedicated piece on the best ways to earn lots of Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles.
Let’s discover the best ways to redeem your Turkish miles!
In general, unless you are planning on booking a flight aboard Turkish Airlines, we always recommend starting your search on United’s website.
It’s just so much easier to use, and if you find availability for Saver awards, you should be able to redeem your Turkish Airlines miles for those partner flights.
Singapore Airlines is a Star Alliance partner and thus eligible for use with your Turkish Airlines miles, and one of the best ways to do so might be the trip from Asia to the Maldives.
As a highly popular tourist destination, flights to the Maldives can be overpriced, and finding award availability can be difficult.
However, if you’re able to find a flight, you can take off from anywhere within Asia, including Tokyo (HND/NRT), Hong Kong (HKG), and Singapore (SIN), and get all the way to the Maldives from just 7,500 miles one way in economy. You can’t get much cheaper than that.
SWISS Air has an excellent route network, a great business class product, and flies to a huge tourist destination: Switzerland.
It, unfortunately, does levy fuel surcharges. Nevertheless, if you’re able to pony up $750 to Europe or $365 from Europe each way, it’ll be worth it to use Turkish Airlines miles here.
SWISS flies to Geneva (GVA) from New York (JFK) and Zurich (ZRH) to these 7 cities:
SAS is the main flag carrier for 3 countries: Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
It flies the A330 with a great staggered 1-2-1 configuration. You’ll have plenty of room to stretch out, a comfortable bed to rest in, and great food en route to Scandinavia!
For each of the 3 countries mentioned above, SAS flies to the respective country’s largest hub airport: Copenhagen (CPH) in Denmark, Oslo (OSL) in Norway, and Stockholm (ARN) in Sweden.
Nonstop Flights on SAS to Copenhagen (CPH):
Nonstop Flights on SAS to Oslo (OSL):
Nonstop Flights on SAS to Stockholm (ARN):
Austrian Airlines generally operates 2 aircraft on flights from the U.S. to Austria: the 767 and 777.
If possible, choose the 767 over the 777 when flying Austrian Airlines.
The 767 has a better business class product, with a staggered 1-2-1 configuration that offers direct aisle access for every seat. The 777 alternates rows with a 1-2-1 and 2-2-2 configuration, so direct aisle access is a luxury you’ll have to hope for.
You’ll be able to fly one-way for 45,000 miles plus $750 in taxes and fees to Austria and return to the U.S. for 45,000 miles plus $370 in taxes and fees.
The 767 is flown from Vienna (VIE) to New York (JFK) and Washington, D.C. (IAD), while the 777 is flown from Vienna (VIE) to Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), and Newark (EWR).
Flying across the country in America can be exceedingly expensive. With economy flights in excess of $500 to $1,000 at times, and business and first class in excess of $2,000, you definitely want to save money where you can.
If you are planning a transcontinental flight involving Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), New York (JFK), or San Francisco (SFO), you might want to read this section.
United Airlines is going to be your best bet here since Turkish Airlines is a Star Alliance partner.
Its premium transcontinental routing includes United’s fabulous Polaris business class product. Even better, flying this product will only cost 15,000 miles each way and 30,000 miles round-trip.
This is probably the best deal you’re ever going to get on United Polaris class across the U.S.!
Here’s the breakdown for the other cabin classes:
|Cabin Class||Turkish Airlines Miles Cost|
Taxes and fees will generally be minimal, with a maximum of $50 levied each way.
Hot Tip: Using Turkish miles to fly across the U.S. in Polaris business class is one of the best ways to get maximum value on domestic award redemptions.
With an average flight time of 14 hours from Canada, your trip to India will definitely be more comfortable in business class.
Air Canada levies fuel surcharges of $560 each way, so your total taxes and fees will be approximately $610 each way.
However, spending the few hundred dollars extra might be worth it because it only costs 52,500 miles each way to fly to India in business class from Canada.
Air Canada operates 2 nonstop routes to India as follows:
On these routes, Air Canada utilizes the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with an excellent business class product.
This is a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration with direct aisle access, loads of privacy, and solid catering.
Turkish Airlines has an extremely generous definition of Oceania, which we can use to our advantage. Specifically, the region includes these islands, countries, and territories:
Notice that Guam and Tahiti are included with Australia, New Zealand, and the like. This is an astonishing observation because flights from Oceania regions to Australia can be more than 7 hours long!
You will mainly be searching for Air New Zealand flights here, since Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Hawaiian Airlines are not Star Alliance partners.
|“Intra-Oceania” Flights in Each Cabin Class|
And here is an example route you can take:
The Far East, as defined by Turkish Airlines, contains the following:
Basically, the Far East includes all of Asia with the exception of India, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, and Central Asia.
Since this is such a huge region, you can get tons of value from flying business class within the Far East for only 35,000 miles each way.
Of course, you’re still limited to 1 carrier, but there’s still some room for optimization. As always, you’ll be on the hook for all fuel surcharges.
Here are some example routes:
Another sweet spot is flying from Europe 2 to the Far East or vice-versa in business class.
Europe 2 includes:
The Far East includes:
Hot Tip: To view all of the regions under Turkish Airlines’ frequent flyer program, click this link and expand the table that says Award region table near the bottom of the page.
With flights up to 12 hours long, paying only 45,000 miles is a great deal. Your fuel surcharges will be at their lowest when originating from the Far East as opposed to Europe 2.
Here are some example routes from Europe 2 to the Far East:
And here are some examples you can take from the Far East to Europe 2:
If you are interested in visiting the Middle East, you can transit through Europe to fly to the Middle East for only 47,000 miles each way!
Here are the countries included in the Middle East:
Remember that you may not fly across the Pacific, as you would be transiting through a more expensive region (Far East) and would therefore be subject to the award prices for the Far East.
You must fly transatlantic to qualify for this award price. Finding a good route shouldn’t be a problem, though, because you’ve got tons of options.
Here are some example routes:
Your taxes and fees will be pretty high, but it might be worth it — you’re basically getting another 5- to 6-hour flight from Europe to the Middle East for only 2,000 miles more.
If you want to fly on a short-haul, international flight from Europe 2 to the Middle East in business class, it won’t cost you very much at all!
With business class flights priced at 24,500 miles, there’s some solid value to be had with this redemption.
Here are some unique and awesome redemptions you can make with only 24,500 miles:
Turkish Airlines also has a very inclusive definition of South America, so we can use this to our advantage — especially when flying between Europe 2 and South America.
Here are the countries and territories that make up South America:
The list of areas governed by the South America award chart is huge!
We won’t be able to look at all the routes to Europe 2, but here are several great options you can book with 52,500 miles each way:
ANA is one of the world’s few 5-star airlines as voted by Skytrax. This is, in part, due to its wonderful service — the airline is renowned for the way it treats its passengers.
Fortunately for us, you can experience ANA’s business class all the way to Japan for just 67,500 Turkish miles.
Even better, ANA launched a new seating configuration that one-ups every other business class out there.
Although its old business class seats are still excellent, “The Room,” which can be found on select B777-300ERs, features alternating seats and sliding doors that guarantee the ultimate in privacy.
Not every route features “The Room,” but here are some routes that do:
The very last redemption here is on United Airlines. You can fly domestically to Hawaii for 7,500 miles one-way, or 15,000 miles round-trip.
This is an excellent deal, and one of the best, if not the single best way to fly to Hawaii from the mainland U.S. Also, it includes any East Coast flights as well.
The same flight in business class costs 25,000 miles round-trip or 12,500 miles one-way.
Considering that some of these flights contain lie-flat seats in business class, it could potentially be a huge sweet spot for travelers headed to Hawaii. Here are some example routes to fly:
Although Turkish Airlines is a relatively unknown frequent flyer program, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of the Miles&Smiles program by utilizing Capital One, Citi, Marriott Bonvoy, and Bilt as transfer partners.
There are a few booking quirks, and it is generally not a “beginner-friendly” award program. But if you’re willing to stick it out, you can book some awesome sweet spots!
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Bilt World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Yes, you must be a member to search for award availability.
You may check your miles balance by signing in on the top right corner of the Miles&Smiles homepage.
Turkish Airlines miles expire 3 years after they are earned. You can extend miles for another 3 years at a rate of $10 per 1,000 miles.
Yes! You can transfer from Capital One, Citi, Marriott Bonvoy, and Bilt!
You can earn Turkish Airlines miles from any Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, or Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, or the Bilt card.
You can contact Turkish Airlines 24 hours a day at 800-874-8875.
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This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.