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Per this Flyertalk thread, there are currently some cheap fares if you’re planning to head to Istanbul early next year. I was able to find fares on Air Canada from New York JFK to Istanbul via Toronto Pearson starting as low as $522 for dates beginning in January 2014 through March 2014, and even further out, though there was less availability the further out I looked. The cheapest fares were on 4-7 night stays, so if you were hoping for a same-day turn back it doesn’t look like it would be possible.
On Air Canada, you’re looking at 10,980 miles for $522 when crediting to United, meaning you’re looking at a cost of 4.75 cents per mile- not the best mileage run deal, but still a great deal for Europe where coach fares rarely dip beneath $700-$800 these days it seems.
The good thing about these fares is that Air Canada’s L class will earn 100% mileage when crediting to United, so just because these flights are not on United, don’t think you have to credit to them to Air Canada. In fact, these fares only earn 50% mileage when crediting to Air Canada, so it’s a much better deal to credit to United.
If you want to find which dates are available and different routings, I’d recommend you head over to the IATA Booking Matrix, where you’ll be able to play around with your dates. You can’t book via ITA, but it will help identify the dates with low fares and then you can book via your preferred online travel agency or airline website.
Although not quite matching, it looks like other airlines are also dropping their prices on this route.
On Delta, you’re looking at 10,047 miles for $588 for flights from New York to Istanbul with a stop in Amsterdam on the way out and Paris on the return, meaning you’re looking at a cost of 5.8 cents per mile – not the best mileage run deal either, but not horrible if you can make a trip out of it and if you need the Medallion Qualifying Miles.
I personally love Istanbul and had a great trip when I stayed at the Park Hyatt. It’s a fantastic city where there is plenty to see, do and eat – so if you want to plan an epic vacation, these could be great fares to get you to Turkey and from there you can easily get to other parts of the world using your miles and explore the country or hop around to other adjacent countries like Greece, or even India or the Maldives from there.
For more information on maximizing airfare purchases by choosing the best credit card and site, check out this post.
For hotel recommendations and things to do in Istanbul, be sure to check out my Destination of the Week: Istanbul as well as Istanbul Eats and Excursions. Please feel free to comment on other dates you’re able to find, or other routing ideas!