How To Redeem Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Miles

How To Redeem Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Miles

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Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles frequent flyer program recently underwent a major devaluation. Historically this has been a program that offered unbelievable value, though unfortunately that’s no longer consistently the case. However, there are still some good uses to these miles, so in this post I wanted to go over everything you need to know.

Why you should care about Turkish Airlines’ loyalty program

Why should you care about the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles program? There are several reasons:

  • It’s easy to earn Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles miles with some major transferable points currencies
  • Miles&Smiles saver level award pricing for travel on Turkish Airlines is attractive, especially if you’re traveling to or from Istanbul
  • For situations where Turkish Airlines doesn’t have saver award space, Miles&Smiles has surprisingly fair award rates that offer last seat availability
  • Turkish Airlines has a phenomenal business class product (among my favorite in the world), and the airline flies to more countries than any other airline in the world
  • Miles&Smiles has some unique award opportunities on Star Alliance partners, including some great award pricing for domestic United Airlines flights (though I’m not quite as enthusiastic about this redemption option as others)
Turkish Airlines business class is excellent

How to earn Turkish Airlines miles

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles partners with three transferable points currencies, giving those with credit cards easy access to these miles:

Turkish Airlines miles are easy to earn

The best uses of Turkish Airlines miles

I wanted to go over the various ways to efficiently redeem Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles miles. To start, you can find Turkish Airlines’ award tables on this page. Let’s talk more about the following:

  • Turkish Airlines’ saver level award costs — these are potentially a good deal, though not nearly as lucrative as they were in the past
  • Turkish Airlines’ standard level award costs — these are surprisingly attractively priced, given that they offer last seat availability
  • Turkish Airlines’ Star Alliance partner award costs — redeeming on Star Alliance partners can be a great deal, but booking can be a bit of a pain
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul

Redeem miles on Turkish Airlines at saver level

Up until recently, Miles&Smiles redemption rates on Turkish Airlines were incredible, among the best value awards in the world. Unfortunately that has changed as of 2024, as we’ve seen a massive award chart devaluation. Nonetheless, there are still potentially some good values to be had.

Below is the Miles&Smiles award chart for travel on Turkish Airlines, when there’s capacity controlled saver level award availability.

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles award chart

As you’d expect, there are some important things to be aware of:

  • This award pricing isn’t just one-way, but it’s actually per segment; this means that if you’re connecting in Istanbul, award pricing will be additive, which is really frustrating for an airline that overwhelmingly carries connecting passengers
  • A stopover is allowed on a roundtrip award, and that requires booking by phone (keep in mind if you have an extended layover, you can take advantage of the Istanbul city tour program, or the transit hotel program); however, with Turkish’s additive pricing, this doesn’t actually save you any miles
  • Turkish Airlines does pass on fuel surcharges on award tickets, though they’re not too bad compared to other airlines; for all of the above awards you could expect to pay $180-270 one-way in fuel surcharges for business class
  • While flying from the United States to Europe via Istanbul does involve backtracking in many cases, at least Turkish Airlines has a “proper” business class on many intra-Europe flights, so that may be a preferable option to connecting on another airline
  • Turkish Airlines can be quirky with award availability; in some cases there’s virtually no business class award availability on a flight for weeks at a time, and in other cases there are four award seats per flight almost every day, so do some searches before transferring points
  • If you search on Turkish Airlines’ website and see award pricing much higher than the amounts shown above, that simply means there’s no saver award space, and that awards are pricing at the higher costs (which I’ll talk more about below)
  • You could hold award tickets for three days by phone if you want to lock in awards before transferring points
  • Canceling or changing an award reservation costs $70, which might be a mild downside compared to some other programs

A lot of these award prices aren’t bad, but honestly aren’t great either. For example, a business class award from the United States to Istanbul for 65,000 miles, or a business class award from Istanbul to Europe for 20,000-25,000 miles, is potentially decent. Then again, that pricing isn’t much more attractive than what you’ll find through Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles, and those programs don’t pass on surcharges.

Redemption rates on Turkish Airlines are potentially decent

Redeem miles on Turkish Airlines with last seat availability

Of course you should do everything you can do to redeem your Miles&Smiles miles at the saver level, since that’s how you’ll get the lowest mileage cost. However, Turkish Airlines often isn’t very generous with award availability. While many airlines have awards offering last seat availability, the pricing is often dynamic, and in some cases you could be looking at redeeming a million miles for a ticket.

That’s why I think it’s worth calling out Turkish Airlines’ standard award chart, which offers last seat availability. That’s right, as long as a seat is available for sale, you can book it with miles. The pricing is surprisingly attractive.

Below is the Miles&Smiles award chart for travel on Turkish Airlines. The right column, with the heading “Award Ticket,” shows the standard one-way award costs (while the “Promotional Award Ticket” column shows the saver level award availability I spoke about above).

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles award chart

Like I said, I’d prefer not to redeem miles at this rate if possible. However, we’re increasingly seeing saver level award availability across airlines be tough to come by. Being able to redeem just 135,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket from anywhere in the United States to Istanbul with last seat availability is quite attractive. I can’t think of another major program with such good pricing for last seat availability.

Turkish has attractive last seat availability pricing

Redeem miles on Star Alliance partners

I’m not quite as universally excited about this as others. In general I wouldn’t redeem Turkish Airlines miles on Star Alliance partners because:

  • There are fuel surcharges in many regions, and there are other Star Alliance programs through which you can redeem miles without fuel surcharges (some Star Alliance airlines charge $500+ in fuel surcharges one-way across the Atlantic in business class)
  • While Turkish Airlines’ website does have a Star Alliance award search tool, in my experience it’s broken more often than it works, so you may have to book by phone

Nonetheless, there is potentially value to be had. What’s also nice is that all partner awards have one-way pricing, rather than the per segment pricing that you’ll find for travel on Turkish Airlines.

Miles&Smiles Airlines has two separate award charts for travel on partner airlines. The most intriguing award chart applies for wholly domestic itineraries, within any country. Award flights within a country cost:

  • 10,000 miles one-way in economy class
  • 15,000 miles one-way in business class
  • 20,000 miles one-way in first class
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles partner award chart

Since Turkish Airlines is in the Star Alliance, you could redeem those number of miles for a United one-way award ticket within the United States, including to & from Alaska and Hawaii. Best of all, there are no fuel surcharges on domestic redemptions on United.

This is absolutely an incredible redemption value. The major challenge is that actually finding saver level award availability on United can be extremely challenging, especially in domestic first class (which is priced as business class). So if you want to pursue this option, you’ll probably want to start your search on United’s website, before moving over to Turkish Airlines’ website. And then there’s the whole issue of Turkish Airlines’ website not being great for booking partner awards.

Redeem miles for United first class

There are similarly good opportunities in other regions. For example, you could redeem just 15,000 miles for one-way Air Canada business class in a flat bed between Toronto and Vancouver, just to give a further example. There would be some fuel surcharges there, though.

Redeem miles for Air Canada business class

The second Miles&Smiles award chart for travel on partner airlines is zone based, and pricing is a bit less attractive.

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles partner award chart

There are very few situations where pricing here will be more attractive than through some other Star Alliance frequent flyer programs, in my opinion.

How to book Turkish Airlines awards

How do you actually go about redeeming Turkish miles? First of all, you’ll need to open a Miles&Smiles account to search availability on Turkish’s website, but this is instant and free, and you don’t need any miles in your account to conduct a search.

Once you have an account, the process of searching for award flights on Turkish Airlines metal is easy. Just log into your account, and then follow this link, which brings you to an award search page. Alternatively, you can access this on the home page by clicking the “Award ticket – Buy a ticket with Miles” link.

Turkish Airlines homepage

On this page you’ll easily be able to conduct an award search. You’ll just want to enter your origin, destination, dates, number of passengers, and class of service.

Turkish Airlines award search page

The next page will display award flight options, and the process from there is pretty straightforward.

Turkish Airlines award search results page

The process for searching Star Alliance award flights is a bit more complicated, as the airline seems to hide this option for whatever reason. Then there’s the whole issue of award space often not showing up, to the point that I find this to be pretty useless.

I’ve warned you, but if you still want to search award availability, you’ll first need to log into your Miles&Smiles account. Then at the top right you’ll want to hover over your name, and then click on the “Miles Transactions” button.

Turkish Airlines website

On the right side of the next page you should see a section that reads “Star Alliance award ticket,” and you’ll want to click that, which will bring you to the Star Alliance search page. Alternatively, you can just follow this link.

Turkish Airlines website

The Star Alliance search page is pretty easy to use, though award availability won’t always match what you see through other programs. Quite to the contrary, I often find that it doesn’t work at all.

Turkish Airlines Star Alliance award search

Personally I often don’t have much luck getting award seats to show up even when there is saver level award availability. This space should generally be bookable by phone, but I do everything I can to avoid booking awards like this by phone, especially since Turkish Airlines’ call center can be… complicated. For me this is a major deterrent of booking Star Alliance partner awards through the Miles&Smiles program.

Bottom line

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles is a niche frequent flyer program that’s worth being aware of, especially as it is transfer partners with Bilt Rewards, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou. I wouldn’t want to book most of my awards through the program, given that Turkish imposes fuel surcharges on many awards, Turkish’s website isn’t great, and booking partner awards online can be complicated.

However, there are some situations where the program offers good value. It’s just a shame that Miles&Smiles has been devalued for redemptions on Turkish Airlines, and the program is no longer the best option for many Turkish Airlines awards.

If you’ve redeemed miles through Turkish Miles&Smiles, what was your experience like?

Conversations (21)
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  1. Chris G Guest

    Worst FF programme I've ever interacted with, full stop. The technology/lack of *A award availability, total inability to book even those showing available, having to deal with the call centre(s)... honest advice to everyone on this forum is to completely avoid them. Turkish biz class is nice to fly (although Ben, I suspect you've never had something go wrong on them...one cancelled JFK-IST flight I was on and the whole house of cards collapsed), but...

    Worst FF programme I've ever interacted with, full stop. The technology/lack of *A award availability, total inability to book even those showing available, having to deal with the call centre(s)... honest advice to everyone on this forum is to completely avoid them. Turkish biz class is nice to fly (although Ben, I suspect you've never had something go wrong on them...one cancelled JFK-IST flight I was on and the whole house of cards collapsed), but the mileage programme should be avoided at all costs.

    I was delighted finally to use my TK miles on of course a TK flight to Istanbul (only real thing it lets you book). But I can't even unsubscribe from their emails because that 'link' is super complicated. Like everything else with the programme!

  2. Lee Guest

    I lived in Turkey and flew THY frequently. Relating my own experience would be worthless. Or, any single person's experience. BUT, enough people have commented enough times about customer service that everyone is on notice. Now, add to that its recent program changes and it doesn't make sense. Let's move on.

  3. Max Guest

    Monopad is spot on. If you ever have irrops, you are practically screwed.
    I have had my star alliance award redemption ticket reservation changed by united to an unacceptable routing. While escalating to united fixed the routing and put me back on reasonable flights, Turkish cannot seem to ticket the reservation. As things stand, I will not be able to be in place for the eclipse because Turkish cannot figure out how to ticket...

    Monopad is spot on. If you ever have irrops, you are practically screwed.
    I have had my star alliance award redemption ticket reservation changed by united to an unacceptable routing. While escalating to united fixed the routing and put me back on reasonable flights, Turkish cannot seem to ticket the reservation. As things stand, I will not be able to be in place for the eclipse because Turkish cannot figure out how to ticket the reservation with changes - their agents only know to cancel the reservation and find new award seats, which do not exist an more. What's more, their ticket office phones at the airport are either unresponsive or no one ever returns voicemails. Most unprofessional airlines I have dealt with, by far
    Totally not worth it - I would transfer my miles elsewhere

  4. monopod Guest

    Step 1: Pray
    Step 2: Redeem
    Step 3: Pray for no IRROPS

    Failed step 3 the other day and had to spend almost an hour at a ticket office. The agent had troubles with the system as it's trying to ask for miles difference (given the new award chart) and they had to pull out several notebooks that they have handwritten codes they used to do tricks. Incredible stuff.

  5. Tony Guest

    Here's the most important thing to remember about TK:

    Don't expect its IT infrastructure makes sense and don't expect consistency among its agents. So don't generalize based on your own experience.

  6. LLAND Guest

    Just booked my Daughter and her mother from IAD direct to HNL for 10K +$11 ea on UA. Found X class availability on UA site and confirmed on TK. Called and transferred points instantly. The gentleman on the line was able to help, but it took 20ish min to fully book. Best to have a phonetic alphabet reference handy.

  7. Donnie Xi Guest

    I highly recommend flying Turkish business class. I don’t recommend using their frequent flyer program, after the devaluation, if you can avoid it.

    About the Star Alliance situation. First, note that TK doesn’t necessarily release saver seats to their partners. So you may be forced to book using TK miles, rather than Air Canada’s, for example. Second, note that even if you see saver level award availability for a Star Alliance partner, you may not...

    I highly recommend flying Turkish business class. I don’t recommend using their frequent flyer program, after the devaluation, if you can avoid it.

    About the Star Alliance situation. First, note that TK doesn’t necessarily release saver seats to their partners. So you may be forced to book using TK miles, rather than Air Canada’s, for example. Second, note that even if you see saver level award availability for a Star Alliance partner, you may not be able to buy it! This applies both to what you see on Turkish’s website and to the phone reservations. So don’t transfer points to Turkish in the hope you’ll grab that seat, because you may not be able to complete the transaction, at the very last step (paying the fees with a credit card).

  8. Takhliq Khan Guest

    One thing to note about the standard awards on Turkish Airlines.
    Taxes and fee are very high compared to the saver award. It’s almost double the amount charged on a saver level ticket.

  9. LOVETRAVELLING Member

    You might want to mention that upon check in they will ask you to show the credit card the Fees (If you paid by points) was paid By. wt...? they were not going to let you Board unless you had the credit card with you. someone like me that has multiple credit cards, But like to carry only a Few on Overseas Trips was facing a major issue. Luckily wife thought of Bringing the Ritz...

    You might want to mention that upon check in they will ask you to show the credit card the Fees (If you paid by points) was paid By. wt...? they were not going to let you Board unless you had the credit card with you. someone like me that has multiple credit cards, But like to carry only a Few on Overseas Trips was facing a major issue. Luckily wife thought of Bringing the Ritz Carlton credit card that was used to purchase the Ticket.
    Has anyone else had that issue? this happened in Seattle, never any issues with Turkish anywhere else.

    1. Takhliq Khan Guest

      Have had multiple award flights with TK the past couple of years. Just flew last month from JFK to Saudi Arabia via IST and then back. No questions asked about credit card used.

      Wife and son flew with them in January and even though I paid the taxes with my credit card and I wasn’t flying, they were not asked any questions. Our experience from 2022 was the same. Multiple award flights and no questions about credit card used.
      So maybe it’s Seattle specific?

    2. Peter Guest

      I got asked last year at IAD on way to IST/AMM. I had the card I booked with using TK miles, only because I recall the phone agent telling me to bring it.

      Four other TK flights on that trip and was not asked once (none of those airports were in the US).

    3. Jules Guest

      Happened to me and P2 at ZRH for a TK award flight. Booked the flights several months in advance and used a credit card to pay the taxes/fees which I ended up cancelling. Lucky I had a spreadsheet on my laptop which included the last 4 digits of the credit card. Otherwise, I was told by the check-in agent that we would be denied boarding and there was no way to override the system.

    4. Stan P Guest

      You don’t the need the card physically- I didn’t have it on me and going through the statements and finding it and giving them the full number was absolutely good enough …

    5. Tony Guest

      I flew SFO-IST and back last month... I was told when booking the card may need to be shown at check in. My card was replaced last summer but I saved the old card in case. Sure enough in SFO the agent asked to see the card so she could verify the last four digits. Again in IST I was asked to produce the credit card used. I made the award booking over the phone.

  10. K_D New Member

    Just be award that, if you cancelled your award reservations, you might never see your miles/points again. It was a nightmare for me for two years and gave up.

  11. Mark P Gold

    Might want to also mention the annoyance of not being able to book an award ticket for someone else other than yourself if it's the first time.

    1. Davisson Guest

      You'll need to do the regarded way of going to a ticket office for the companion. You can't just book an award for yourself and then expect the next time you can book a companion. I've tried and it doesn't allow you until you do the offline crap.

    2. Takhliq Khan Guest

      Not necessarily true. In January, I burned 2800 miles I believe to book a ticket online for myself from Istanbul to Ankara. I had no intention to fly as I am in the US.
      Once I did that, I was able to book tickets for my wife and son without any trouble. However, you do need to add them to your account as travel companions before you try to book a ticket for them.

    3. omatravel Guest

      From what I have read online, people have had mixed results if they actually don't fly the ticket they booked, but it is an interesting data point.

    4. Eli Guest

      That's only true when booking TK flights bot start alliance

    5. omatravel Guest

      From what I've seen if you've booked and flown an award by yourself, the next time you go to book this feature is allowed automatically. From comments I have read Turkish feels this is a "security" enhancement.
      You also have to have all of your companions added to your profile on the Turkish website for you to select them.
      I did find that you can at least see availability for more than 1...

      From what I've seen if you've booked and flown an award by yourself, the next time you go to book this feature is allowed automatically. From comments I have read Turkish feels this is a "security" enhancement.
      You also have to have all of your companions added to your profile on the Turkish website for you to select them.
      I did find that you can at least see availability for more than 1 seat via the app but you will not have success in booking there until you've cleared their "security".

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Tony Guest

I flew SFO-IST and back last month... I was told when booking the card may need to be shown at check in. My card was replaced last summer but I saved the old card in case. Sure enough in SFO the agent asked to see the card so she could verify the last four digits. Again in IST I was asked to produce the credit card used. I made the award booking over the phone.

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Stan P Guest

You don’t the need the card physically- I didn’t have it on me and going through the statements and finding it and giving them the full number was absolutely good enough …

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Chris G Guest

Worst FF programme I've ever interacted with, full stop. The technology/lack of *A award availability, total inability to book even those showing available, having to deal with the call centre(s)... honest advice to everyone on this forum is to completely avoid them. Turkish biz class is nice to fly (although Ben, I suspect you've never had something go wrong on them...one cancelled JFK-IST flight I was on and the whole house of cards collapsed), but the mileage programme should be avoided at all costs. I was delighted finally to use my TK miles on of course a TK flight to Istanbul (only real thing it lets you book). But I can't even unsubscribe from their emails because that 'link' is super complicated. Like everything else with the programme!

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