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To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the start of scheduled air service, Turkey’s low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines is giving away 100,000 free nonstop one-way tickets to customers who book a one-way or round-trip flight by December 17 using the Pegasus mobile site or mobile app. The campaign is open to all routes regardless of origin, and the free tickets will be available for all routes on selected dates between December 14, 2015 and March 26, 2016. If you do get a free ticket, note that it can only be redeemed on flights that depart at least seven days after the booking is made.
If you book an international flight, you’ll receive an offer code for a free ticket that can be used to purchase a domestic or international one-way flight. So, for example, if you purchase a flight from London to Istanbul, your return journey would be free of charge. If your initial purchase is for an flight within Turkey, your offer code can only be used for domestic flights. One thing to note is that the 100,000 free tickets will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you book now before the free tickets run out.
Pegasus operates mainly in Turkey but does fly to other destinations in Europe such as London, Paris, Milan, Moscow, Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, Stockholm, etc. The airline also operates flights to Tel Aviv, Beirut and Dubai, along with a few other destinations in the Middle East. In total, the carrier offers service to 103 destinations in 40 countries.
Here are a few examples of what you can book:
London (LGW) to Istanbul (SAW) in March 2016 for $76 (return would be free if you get one of the 100,000 tickets):
Dubai (DXB) to Istanbul (SAW) in December 2015 for $161 (return would be free if you qualify for the promotion):
Unfortunately, Pegasus is not a member of any alliance. Another downside is that most of its flights go through Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) airport, as opposed to Istanbul Atatürk Airport, which is larger and more conveniently located. As a no-frills budget airline, be mindful of Pegasus tacking on extra fees for things like seat selection, baggage, as well as food and drinks on the flight. The ticket comes with a hand baggage allowance of 8 kg, and you’ll have to pay a fee in order to add a checked bag. For a sample itinerary from London to Istanbul, it cost $3 to add 20 kg (44 lbs) of luggage, while 25 kg (55 lbs) was significantly more expensive at $46. You can also get more information by checking the Pegasus baggage rules, and be sure to read Your Survival Guide to 8 Low-Cost Carriers before booking.
Although Turkey continues to face some political turmoil (and visiting could land you on a US watch list), Istanbul is still a great tourist destination offering tons of exciting attractions. Check out TPG’s Destination of the Week: Istanbul for even more suggestions on where to stay and what to do.
Maximize Your Purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as the American Express Premier Rewards Gold or Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards