I'm back from a whirlwind trip to Dubai, Oman, Glasgow, London, and Amsterdam. Ya know, a typical relaxing vacation. It was great trip and I was even able to meetup with a couple of STTP Premium members in Amsterdam.
It's good to be back at it with the newsletter though, so let's dig into it!
I'm seeing business class award space on Turkish Airlines 4 on a bunch of routes. Each route at least has space from October through January of next year, though some have space starting in July or even as early as May.
I'm also seeing space on routes that utilize the Boeing 787-9 with Turkish's latest business class seat/cabin. Still, even on the older business class product, it can be a great way to get a family or group of friends on the same flight.
Now, let's get into the award space!
Straight To The Points:
Taxes/fees (per person):
Some programs pass on most of the surcharges, but not all. For example, the total taxes/fees with Turkish will be ~$170 one-way and ~$380 round-trip while ANA requires ~$495 round-trip.
Drop me an email if you book!
DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that the COVID-19 situation and the resulting travel restrictions could prevent you from traveling. Additionally, please make sure you understand the cancellation, redeposit, and change fees required before booking with a particular program.
Travel Restrictions and Requirements
Travel restrictions change by the day. Please take a look at the US embassy site for your destination. Here's a link to the US Embassy site for Turkey.
The star of the show is the inflight catering and the lounge in Istanbul. While inflight food can be tough to get right, Turkish has a rep for doing just that.
On the Boeing 787-9, Turkish offers 1-2-1 seating with lie-flat seats. Overall, it's a nice seat. If you're like me and have wide shoulders, it might feel a little snug up top but it's still a comfy seat.
On the Boeing 777, you'll have 2-3-2 seating. I generally only suggest this for couples and families or groups of friends as only some seats have direct aisle access. Of course, if you have it, then someone has to climb over you.
On the Boeing A330, you'll find 2-2-2 seating. Slightly better than the 777 but still not quite as nice as the 787-9.
Still, both aircraft have comfy seats and you still get the same great catering and lounge access.
The following dates have award space for 4 people. I've noted which aircraft is used on each route. Please make sure you check which aircraft will operate the date you wish to book.
Best Ways To Book
If you're flying nonstop to Istanbul and have Bilt, Capital One, or Citi points, 45,000 Turkish miles one-way is a solid way to go. Yes, the surcharges bring the total taxes/fees to $170 on the outbound, but I still think that's a solid deal.
You can even call Turkish and hold the award space before you transfer. Turkish will also allow you to include a stopover on a round-trip ticket if you only have Turkish flights on your award.
If you want to avoid the surcharges, 63,000 LifeMiles one-way is the way to go if you have Amex, Brex, Capital One, or Citi points.
Capital One is currently running a 20% transfer bonus to LifeMiles through March 31 which makes this an even better option as you'd only need to transfer 52,500 miles to LifeMiles.
This can also be a good option if you want to connect in Istanbul to another European destination as the taxes/fees with Turkish miles could jump a bit.
Typically, ANA Mileage Club is the best round-trip option if you have Amex points. In this case, I'm not so sure. While 88,000 miles round-trip is great, ANA passes on all of the surcharges which brings your taxes/fees to $450+. Personally, I'd use 2,000 more miles with Turkish and pay less out of pocket.
Aeroplan could be a good option if you have Amex or Chase points. However, this is not a great option from IAH or LAX as the rate will jump from 70,000 points to 85,000 points from those two airports.
If you depart from airports east of IAH, Aeroplan could be a solid option if you want a stopover on a one-way award with a total flight distance of fewer than 6,000 miles. You can also include a stopover on a one-way for 5,000 miles.
If you only have Chase points, United is your best bet at 77,000 miles one-way and no surcharges. You can use the Excursionist Perk to stopover in Istanbul on your way to another European destination.
How To Book
If you don't know the exact dates you want to fly, keep things simple and use United's calendar search option.
Once you know the exact dates you want, you can run the search with the program you'll be using to book. As always, I recommend confirming the program you're using sees the award space before you transfer points.
Transfers to Turkish aren't instant so you can call to put the award on hold if you prefer (800-874-8875) before transferring Citi points. They'll hold the space for up to 72 hours. Transfers from Citi usually take 24 hours or so while transfers from Capital one are instant.
I absolutely loved Istanbul and highly recommend a visit, especially if you're a history nerd. There's also plenty of great food to try, great views to take in from a rooftop bar, and make sure you enjoy a full Turkish breakfast.
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