Best Ways to Spend Turkish Airline Miles

Turkish Airlines Logo


Award Chart: Turkish Airlines has the same award chart for both their flights and Star Alliance partners. (Scroll down to Miles&Smiles Award Tables and click Award Ticket Table). Additionally, on that page, you can also see the award chart for a companion award when one person paid for a cash flight. However, you will still have to pay a few hundred dollars in taxes and fees. 

Award Regions: Region definitions are at the above link under “Award Region Table”. For North America, the United States, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and Antilles Netherlands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Saba, Sint Eustatius). Hawaii is considered apart of Oceania, which means tickets are super expensive from the U.S. to Hawaii but super cheap from Australia/New Zealand to Hawaii (25,000 for one-way business class/15,000 for one-way economy class).

Star Alliance Airlines: Adria, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian, EVA Air, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss, TAP Portugal, THAI, Turkish Airlines, and United.

Fuel Surcharges: Turkish Airlines passes on partner fuel surcharges and sometimes adds random ones to flights on United. You can expect very high fuel surcharges for awards on Turkish’s own flights.

Booking: You can book awards online for Turkish only operated flights. But if you want to book an award on a partner airline, you have to visit a Turkish ticket office, which are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.  (Huge pain the butt if you don’t leave near those ticket offices)

  • However, you might be able to call or email the office if you are not in that city.  Several people on FlyerTalk have had issues with the call center or ticket office quoting wrong prices and some employees not being able to process a partner award.  

Fees: Points refund before the flight ($25 for domestic and $50 for international), No Show Fee ($50), Award Changes ($25 for Turkish flights).

Routing Rules:

  • You are limited to a maximum of eight segments.
  • On a roundtrip, you are allowed either (1) One open-jaw, (2) stopover in Istanbul if flying Turkish Airlines, or (3) stopover while flying a Star Alliance member if award costs at least 60,000 for economy, 90,000 for business class, or 135,000 for first class.
  • You cannot mix airlines on outbound or inbound legs. You cannot mix cabins of service.
  • Backtracking is allowed as long as you don’t go through a more expensive region. 
  • You can redeem one-way awards for half the price.

Stopovers: One stopover is permitted for round-trip award flights on Turkish Airlines. For Star Alliance awards, one stopover is allowed for economy tickets that cost a minimum of 60,000 miles, for business tickets with a minimum cost of 90,000 miles, and for first class tickets with a minimum cost of 135,000 miles.

Sweet Spots

Flights within North America– You can fly on United for 20,000 points roundtrip in economy class or 30,000 points in business class to anywhere in U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or Antilles Netherlands. For example, you could fly LAX-Newark-Aruba in business class for 30,000 points plus about $300. 

Australia/New Zealand to Hawaii– Due to Turkish’s weird region definitions, you could fly Australia/New Zealand to Hawaii for only 25,000 for one-way business class or 15,000 for one-way economy class. That can be a steal if you can find award space. 

Turkey to the U.S.- Only 90,000 points for business class roundtrip. 

Turkey or Europe 1 to Central North Africa- It only costs 20,000 points roundtrip in economy or 40,000 in business class from Istanbul. From Europe 1 (eastern Europe), it costs 26,000 for economy and 47,000 for business class.

Turkey to India and Central Asia– Only costs 50,000 points roundtrip.

Europe to Oceania: Europe to Australia/New Zealand only costs 52,500 or 55,000 each way in business class.