Great Deal: Turkish Business Class Awards WIDE OPEN

Filed Under: Awards, Great Deals

When it comes to award availability, I don’t think there has been a better time to book your whole family to Europe in business class.

For oneworld flyers, yesterday I posted about how American is making an insane amount of business class award space available to Europe for next summer, including in their new product. Usually it’s not a great value to redeem American miles for travel to Europe, given that their main partner is British Airways, which imposes huge surcharges on award tickets.

Well, now we have something good for Star Alliance flyers. As noted by leaf in the “Ask Lucky” forum, Turkish Airlines is releasing an unreal amount of business class award availability between the US and Europe for 2016.


Turkish is an airline which tends to be pretty extreme when it comes to releasing award availability. Either they make virtually nothing available, or they seem to open up the entire plane.

So while some routes have very little space, Turkish is making a lot of business class award space available out of Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, etc. As luck would have it, Los Angeles to Istanbul is ordinarily one of the single toughest routes for snagging awards on Turkish.

To be clear, we’re not just talking about a couple of seats per flight, but in many cases Turkish is making at least eight business class award seats available per flight.

For example, more than half the dates for next May and June have at least eight business class award seats per flight on the nonstop Los Angeles to Istanbul flight:


Meanwhile throughout the summer, a similar number of business class award seats are available from Houston to Istanbul:


The flight from Chicago to Istanbul has even more award space, with almost every date having at least eight business class award seats:


There’s also decent availability to Turkish’s other US gateways, though not as consistently. Still, most gateways have eight business class award seats available on at least some dates.

This isn’t just limited to the eastbound flights — availability from Istanbul to the US is equally good.

Keep in mind that Turkish flies to more countries in the world than any other airline, so you can easily book a connecting flight on Turkish to destinations beyond Istanbul.

How much will a one-way business class award ticket on Turkish between the US and Istanbul cost you?

  • Air Canada Aeroplan: 52,500 miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles: 63,000 miles
  • Singapore KrisFlyer: 65,000 miles
  • United Mileage Plus: 70,000 miles

My first pick would be to redeem Aeroplan miles (which can be transferred from Amex Membership Rewards), given the low redemption rates and that Turkish is also one of the airlines on which they don’t impose fuel surcharges.


Turkish does have a fully flat business class product, though on their 777s it’s in a 2-3-2 configuration, so there is one middle seat in each row. Given the seven-abreast cabin, the business class seats are a bit on the narrow side.



While service on Turkish can be hit or miss, the food is excellent, as it’s catered by DO&CO.


Perhaps the highlight of flying with Turkish is their lounge in Istanbul, which is one of the best business class lounges in the world.


Bottom line

It’s extremely rare to see this quantity of business class award availability on a single flight, especially over peak travel dates. Star Alliance business class award seats nonstop from the US to Europe are usually extremely tough to come by, so this is a great opportunity.

I doubt this availability will last, so if you’re interested I’d recommend booking sooner rather than later.

Anyone going to take advantage of this Turkish award availability?

  1. There was a lot of chatter recently-ish about people getting the SSSS on their boarding passes after visiting Turkey. Just something to consider.

  2. The best thing about flying Turkish is the lounge in IST. Probably one of the best business class lounges out there.

  3. I just don’t feel like 2-3-2 in C is up-to-date nowadays. I’d do everything to avoid a middle seat when flying business.

  4. If I transit Istanbul but my final destination is in Western Europe, does Aeroplan still charge me 52.5k, or the lower Western Europe rate of 45k?

  5. By the time I got to a computer online 3 hours after your posted this, I cannot see availability LAX-IST in the summer July-August for two people on any date. Is it already all gone? I a couple of days SFO-IST in July and several days in August.

  6. Just ticketed 3 for LAX-IST-ATH-IST-LAX for next May/June. Thanks Lucky!!! Will they let us tag on LAX-??? (N.A.) as an open jaw?? e.g. LAX-MSY or LAX-OGG

  7. Great find. The problem is i’m finding UA availability domestically to be terrible. Trying to connect form SEA to LAX, ORD, or IAH is really difficult for my dates.

  8. I just booked 2 business class fares for MLE-IST-IAH-DFW for 80 k united miles a piece. That made for a perfect return from the Etihad first class trip out (LAX-AUH-MLE) for 90 k AA miles each inspired by your post a couple of days ago. Thank you so much for your posts, I was looking for several months to find an aspirational award that would let me use Advantage miles in one direction and Mileage Plus miles in the other!

  9. I read somewhere in one of the many FF blogs that if you go to Turkey you are forever branded with the SSSS flag on your boarding passes. If true, certainly not worth it IMHO.

  10. I agree with Mo. No more 2x3x2 for me. Same on most AF 777’s. That config confirms you will jump over or someone will jump over you.

  11. This is excellent news! Istanbul is such a wonderful place rich in culture and beauty. The people are very warm and welcoming too…and of course this opens opportunity for award travel beyond. Do you know what the rules are regarding onward travel (i.e. IST stopover, additional miles needed for travel beyond IST, etc.)? Turkish is a pretty solid, comfortable product even though it’s a large cabin and the seats don’t offer a lot of privacy (777-300ER).

    One note of caution for travel to Turkey, however. I just received an email newsletter the other day from a visa service I’ve used previously for other countries. There was an article advising that Turkish visas are no longer being issued at the airport upon landing! They are now requiring tourist visas to be issued in advance (or will very soon) so please plan accordingly!!

  12. @Reston Reston I travel to turkey once every couple years and travel extensively within the US and I’ve never had a problem. Seeing as TK serves more destinations than any other airline, I highly doubt its reasonable to for TSA to designate someone transitting IST as high risk (or someone visiting)

    @SFOflyguy. Turkey requires you obtain an electronic visa. You just fill out a form online, which takes like 5 minutes. I think I had my visa a day or two later. Painless.

    @me Apparently 41.2 million people would disagree with your assessment.

  13. We came back from 12 days in Turkey at the end of September. No SSSS on any subsequent domestic flights and no problem with using TSA Pre-Check. Turkey is an amazing country. And I fully enjoyed my IST-IAH flight on TK, as well as the TK lounge experience. We did the online visa in advance. It was very easy to do and the visa came electronically minutes later.

  14. I agree with Denise. Istanbul is an incredible and safe place to visit. And Lucky is right, the business class lounge in Istanbul is 75% as good as the Virgin lounge at Heathrow. Finally, I had an amazing meal of lamb chops on a flight from Vilnius to Istanbul this summer…and I was in economy on a 2.5 hour flight. Turkish Airlines impressed me for inter-Euro travel.

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