Turkish Business Class award space is widely available from this summer through the beginning of next year to Europe. You can book award space for up to eight people in Business Class on routes from America to Turkey and beyond with United miles, Asiana miles, Aeroplan miles, Lifemiles (of Avianca), and many other Star Alliance miles.
Where Turkish Flies
Turkish currently flies from eight American cities to Istanbul, and adds Atlanta to the list in about a month: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Miami, Washington D.C (Dulles), Boston and New York.
From Istanbul, you can connect to over 100 countries. Turkish Airlines has destinations in more countries than any other airline in the world.
Turkish’s long haul flights feature flat bed Business Class on a variety of planes that either have a 2-4-2 configuration or 2-2-2 configuration. The 2-4-2 configuration is not ideal since no seat has both aisle access and a guarantee that no one will climb over it during the flight. The 2-2-2 configuration is preferable as you can choose a seat in the middle aisle which would guarantee no one climbs over you. At the end of the day though, a fully flat bed and great catering should overcome the moderate inconvenience of the 2-4-2 configuration.
Read this trip report of Turkish Business Class from Washington D.C. to Istanbul to get a more detailed perspective on Turkish Airlines’ product.
Award space is excellent July through February from most Turkish gateways in the United States to Istanbul in Economy and Business Class for up to eight people.
Chicago to Istanbul: for 8 people
For the return flight back to Chicago, about half the amount of days are available in Business Class.
Space in Business Class for the return back to Atlanta is just as widely available.
Houston to Istanbul: for 8 people
Space in Business Class for the return back to Houston is just as widely available except in July and August.
Miami to Istanbul: 8 people
For the return flight back to Miami, about half the amount of days are available in Business Class.
Boston to Istanbul: 8 people
For the return flight back to Boston, the same amount of space is available in Business Class with the exception of August and September.
New York to Istanbul: 8 people
For the return flight back to New York, about half the amount of days are available in Business Class.
The exceptions I see are:
- the Los Angeles and San Francisco to Istanbul routes are spotty with Business Class seats up until September, but from September through February availability is wide open for up to 8people; for the return flight back to Los Angeles there is plenty of space in Business for up to 8 people, and for the return flight back to San Francisco September through February has tons of Business Class seats
- the Washington D.C. to Istanbul route has few Business Class seats available except in August, January and February for up to eight people; for the return back to Washington D.C. there is plenty of space in Business from September through February
Best Miles to Use
Any Turkish award space you see on united.com is equally bookable with any Star Alliance miles. Here are the cheapest Star Alliance miles to Europe:
Aeroplan (loyalty program of Air Canada) divides Europe into two regions– the cheaper region is for Western Europe and the more expensive is Eastern Europe, so travel to Turkey is 57,500 Aeroplan miles each way in Business Class. United and United Partner are separate categories because United charges more miles to fly premium cabins on partner redemptions.
Asiana, ANA, Lufthansa, and Singapore collect fuel surcharges on Turkish award flights. Aeroplan, United, Avianca, and Copa do not. I would use Asiana miles or Aeroplan to book an award on Turkish Airlines to Europe. A roundtrip Business award between the US and Istanbul costs 80,000 Asiana miles + $412.66 ($340 in fuel surcharges). The same award would cost 115,000 Aeroplan miles + about $77 (only taxes and fees, no fuel surcharges).
If you want to book the Turkish space to somewhere outside of Europe, check out this comparison of Star Alliance award charts to all regions of the world.
United, ANA, LifeMiles (Avianca), and Aeroplan display Turkish Airlines award space on their websites. If you want to book with another type of miles, search united.com and call the airline whose miles you want to use in order to book.
In 2011, I flew from Los Angeles to Entebbe/Kampala, Uganda on Turkish, then returned from Nairobi to Los Angles with a stopover in Istanbul. This was a cash ticket in economy, and the flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul was the most painful of my life because I couldn’t fall asleep despite exhaustion.
You could book the same trip with miles in Business Class at the moment.
It would cost 160,000 United miles + $79, or fewer miles with other types of miles.
How to Get the Miles
The Starwood Preferred Guest personal and business credit cards from American Express come with 25,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $3,000 and $5,000 respectively in the first three months of cardmembership. Starpoints transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Japan Airlines Mileage Bank.
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (personal)
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Both Asiana and Aeroplan, my top two choices of miles to use to book Turkish Airlines, are 1:1 transfer partners of Starwood Preferred Guest.
Aeroplan is also 1:1 transfer partner of Membership Rewards, which you can earn from The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz. It comes with 50,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Membership Rewards transfer to around 20 hotel and airline programs including Delta, Singapore, and British Airways.
The card has a $475 annual fee in the first year. But it comes with huge benefits like airline fee reimbursement, airport lounge access, and hotel status. Be aware that the “regular” Platinum card is worse than this offer because it has a smaller sign up bonus and only a $25 lower annual fee.
For more info on setting up and maximizing the benefits, see Get the Most Out of Your Platinum Card.
Turkish Airlines award space is wide open from the United States to the rest of the world from July 2016 through the February of 2017. You can book it with any type of Star Alliance miles, but some of the best deals are with Asiana and Aeroplan to Europe.