Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Stella Shon
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Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles loyalty program is a highly underrated rewards program and a favorite among award travelers — for good reason.
Whether flying Turkish Airlines or one of its numerous partners, you can get incredible value for a fraction of what other programs charge for the same flights. Maximizing your miles is all about finding sweet spots, and fortunately, the Turkish Airlines award chart is filled with them.
It is also significantly easier to earn Turkish miles as the Miles&Smiles program is a transfer partner of Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Let’s take a look at the basics of the often overlooked Miles&Smiles program and some incredibly valuable sweet spots that you can book.
Before diving into some sweet spots with Miles&Smiles, let’s first look at some basics of Turkish Airlines and its Miles&Smiles loyalty program.
Turkish Airlines is part of the Star Alliance, the largest global alliance of airlines, consisting of 26 members. Other members include Air Canada, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines, among others. Turkish Airlines also flies to more countries than any airline in the world.
As for its Miles&Smiles program, Turkish Airlines publishes a zone-based award chart for its own flights and its partner airline flights. There are 2 award charts: 1 for promotional award tickets and 1 for regular award redemptions.
Searching for Turkish Airlines availability is straightforward. To look for award space:
Searching for award space can be difficult. Here’s our guide to searching for flight award space and tips on the best ways to search for Star Alliance award availability.
However, things are a bit different when looking for partner availability. For Star Alliance partners, you will want to look for a promotional award chart for partner awards as they are considered “Saver” level awards.
Searching for partner award space is also different. To look for Star Alliance partner awards, follow these steps:
Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. We recommend starting your search on United.com and then locating flights that are marked as Saver awards. United provides an easy-to-follow month-long availability calendar.
You can not use Turkish miles to book award seats that are only available to United elite members or United credit card holders. It is a good idea to do the award search when you are logged out of your United account to avoid seeing expanded availability that cannot be booked with Turkish miles.
To confirm whether or not the seat you are looking for can be booked, you can cross-reference award availability with another Star Alliance partner, like Air Canada.
If you are searching on Turkish Airlines’ website and see significantly higher award pricing, it means that there is no saver award space.
Miles&Smiles also has some IT issues where some itineraries cannot be booked online. In those cases, you must email a Turkish Airlines ticket office or call Turkish to book over the phone. Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles can be reached at 800-874-8875.
It is worth noting that Turkish Airlines passes on carrier-imposed surcharges on award redemptions, though they are reasonable in most cases. There are minimal fuel surcharges on Air Canada, Avianca, SAS, and United. Fuel surcharges on LOT Polish and Turkish are reasonable, and fuel surcharges on Lufthansa Group airlines often surpass $1,000.
Turkish Airlines’ standard award chart also offers last-seat availability, meaning that if a seat is available for sale, it can be booked with miles. However, pricing is slightly higher but gives another option if you are unable to find saver award availability.
Lastly, Miles&Smiles allows award holds of up to 48 hours if you are booking an award ticket at least 7 days in advance. It’s important to remember that you should always have a specific redemption in mind before transferring points to an airline transfer partner.
While there are many ways to earn Turkish Miles&Smiles miles, one of the easiest methods is with credit cards. With the program’s affiliation with multiple transferable points programs, racking up miles is simple.
You can transfer Capital One miles to Miles&Smiles at a 1:1 ratio.
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!
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 welcome offer, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.
Frequent travelers with excellent credit may benefit from this credit card that offers a lot of bells and whistles. And it offers easy-to-understand rewards earning and redemption.
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?
You can transfer Citi ThankYou Rewards to Miles&Smiles at a 1:1 ratio.
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!
Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio to Miles&Smiles, and you’ll also get a 5,000-mile bonus if you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points in a single transaction.
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?
Lastly, Miles&Smiles is also a transfer partner of Bilt Rewards. You must transfer at least 2,000 points, and transfers occur at a 1:1 ratio.
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.
The first sweet spot we will look at is for flights from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii. Miles&Smiles has one zone for the entirety of North America, unlike almost every other airline loyalty program. Hawaii is part of the North American zone despite being more than 2,000 miles away from any point on the continental U.S.
Miles&Smiles offers the same pricing on flights to Hawaii as for other domestic U.S. awards, making these redemptions an unbelievable value for flights to Hawaii. Although the award chart states that flights within a single region (i.e. North America to North America) should be priced at 10,000 miles one-way, in practice, you can book these awards for slightly less.
You can fly from anywhere in the continental U.S. to Hawaii for 7,500 miles one-way in economy or 15,000 miles round-trip whether you are flying from Los Angeles (LAX) or Orlando (MCO). This is the cheapest single way to get to Hawaii from anywhere in the continental U.S.
If you’re looking to book United flights with Turkish miles, you must first find United Saver award availability.
For example, here is a flight from Newark (EWR) to Honolulu (HNL). This flight is a little over 11 hours and can be booked for 7,500 miles, which is an absolute steal.
If you want to fly to Hawaii in business class, it is just 12,500 miles one-way. This is arguably even better as this prices business class for less than programs charge for economy on the same routes. This is also a fraction of what United would charge for the same flight. Award space is typically much harder to find for business class award tickets to Hawaii.
Although Turkish Airlines does pass on fuel surcharges, they will be minimal for all flights operated by United.
Some routes from United hubs, such as Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), and Newark (EWR), feature lie-flat Polaris business class seats.
Another incredible sweet spot on the Miles&Smiles award chart is for business class anywhere within the U.S for just 12,500 miles one-way, regardless of distance flown.
This includes routes such as Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX) and Newark (EWR) to San Francisco (SFO), which feature United’s Polaris business class seats. United’s Polaris business class is often considered one of the best domestic business class products you can book with points and miles. The Polaris business class seat arrangement is in a 1-2-1 configuration, so all the seats have direct aisle access.
Flying across the country can be incredibly expensive, even in economy, with prices being upwards of $1,000 at peak times. Being able to book a flight worth that much for just 7,500 miles or business class for just 12,500 miles is an absolute steal.Hot Tip:
United Polaris business class is often considered one of the best business class products on certain domestic flight routes. Check out our detailed guide for the best domestic first and business class airlines.
For trips to Europe, there may not be a better program. Miles&Smiles offers one of the lowest mileage rates for flights from North America to anywhere in Europe, whether it be to Istanbul (IST), Madrid (MAD), or Warsaw (WAW). Turkish breaks Europe into 2 zones: Europe Zone 1 and Europe Zone 2.
A one-way promotional business class ticket from the U.S. to anywhere in Europe costs just 45,000 miles. This is significantly cheaper than awards with great programs like Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles, which charge at least 60,000 miles one-way.
This can be even more valuable for flights from the West Coast that may be priced higher with other programs due to the longer distances traveled.
Here is an example where you can fly United Polaris business class nonstop from Chicago to Brussels for 45,000 miles and $5.89 in taxes and fees:
Since all awards are priced at the same amount, you have the option to fly directly to Turkey from North America and then backtrack to a destination in Europe.
Although it may not seem worthwhile to fly out to Turkey to get to elsewhere in Europe, this allows for the opportunity to experience Turkish Airlines’ stellar business class product, which can feature lie-flat seats and inflight catering. You will want to look for flights on a Boeing 787 or an Airbus A350 aircraft to get Turkish’s newest business class product, which is a significant improvement over its older business class product. Turkish Airlines’ intra-European flights also have a true business class product, unlike nearly every other European competitor.
However, if you wanted a more direct route to Europe, you could fly Turkish Airlines’ Star Alliance partners like United or LOT Polish Airlines. You will also need to account for high fuel surcharges with certain airlines.
Another incredible sweet spot is for business class flights to the Middle East. Incredibly, it costs just 2,000 miles more to fly from North America to the Middle East to destinations like Amman (AMM), Dubai (DXB), or Muscat (MCT) than for flights to Europe.
Adding a potential 5-hour flight for just 2,000 more miles is an excellent way to redeem your Turkish miles.
Again, because of Turkish Airlines’ zone-based award chart, it does not matter where in North America you fly from. Note that award space can be difficult to come by on certain popular routes, such as Istanbul (IST) to Dubai (DXB).
Lastly, there is another sweet spot for those looking to get to Central Asia. Turkish has a broad definition of Central Asia and considers popular destinations like India and Nepal to be a part of it.
Flying to India and its neighbors can be incredibly expensive and involves a long, nonstop flight or connection. However, flying to India for just 34,000 miles one-way in economy or 52,500 miles in business class is a fantastic redemption.
For example, you can book this nonstop one-way flight from Chicago (ORD) to Delhi (DEL) in economy for just 34,000 miles and about $28 in taxes and fees, with the return also at 34,000 miles. This is an excellent value as tickets often cost more than $1,000.
This is a nearly 15-hour flight that can be booked for as few as 34,000 miles one-way in economy. This is an incredible way to get the best value out of your Turkish miles.
Miles&Smiles has some pricing quirks that provide phenomenal value for award tickets. Whether you are going to Hawaii, Europe, or Central Asia, it’s hard to beat the low mileage rates that the program provides.
It is best to find award availability on a partner website like United.com to see if availability shows up. You can save thousands of miles by booking through Miles&Smiles instead of other Star Alliance partner programs like United MileagePlus and Air Canada Aeroplan.
Better yet, you can also book one-way flights with Turkish miles if you want to go down that route.
Whether you are flying Turkish Airlines or one of its partners, you can find fantastic values, thanks in part to many sweet spots on the Miles&Smiles award chart.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
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.
Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles program is a transfer partner of Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. Bilt, Capital One, and Citi transfer at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers from Marriott Bonvoy occur at a 3:1 ratio, and you get a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer.
We recommend starting your search on United.com and then locating flights marked as Saver awards, as they can be booked with partner airline miles. United provides an easy-to-follow month-long availability calendar. You can also double whether or not the seat you are looking for can be booked by cross-referencing award availability with another Star Alliance partner, like Air Canada.
Yes, Turkish Airlines is a transfer partner of Capital One Miles. You can transfer miles at a 1:1 ratio.
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Ehsan is an avid traveler who has traveled to 100 countries, diligently using points and miles to fund his journeys. Currently, he holds 32 active credit cards and earns over a million points and miles annually, primarily using them for luxury hotels and long-haul premium cabins.
UP's Bonus Valuation
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.