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Deal Alert: Fly Business Class to Europe in February for 26,000 Points

Feb. 07, 2019
6 min read
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A business class award flight to Europe will typically require between 50,000 and 80,000 frequent flyer miles each way. However, there are exceptions to this rule of thumb. Turkish Airlines is usually one of them, offering these tickets to Europe for as little as 45,000 miles each way. But by combining two separate promotions, you can now drop this even further and snag round-trip business class awards to Europe through the end of February for just 51,000 Citi ThankYou points, round-trip!

Citi's Current Transfer Bonus

The Citi ThankYou Rewards program is currently offering a 25% bonus when you transfer your points to the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles frequent flyer program. For every 1,000 ThankYou points you transfer with this promotion, you'll receive 1,250 Turkish Airlines miles. This offer is valid until midnight Eastern Time on February 20.

The Turkish Airlines 30th Anniversary Celebration Promotion

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of its Miles&Smiles frequent flyer program, Turkish Airlines is offering 30% off award flights to and from select destinations each month. For the month of February, US destinations include Boston (BOS), Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), New York-JFK and Washington-Dulles (IAD), and there are several foreign destinations featured. Normally, award tickets to Europe are priced at 45,000 miles each way in business class, and 30,000 miles each way in economy. It's also offering 30% bonus miles or a 30% discount on upgrades from select destinations. Better yet, this promotion is promised to continue "each month," presumably for the rest of 2019. So keep your eyes out for other deals in March and beyond (even though the Citi promotion ends on February 20th).

If you book just with the 30% discount, Turkish now charges as little as 31,500 miles for business class awards and a mere 21,000 miles each way for seats in economy class. Just note that the carrier refers to the lowest price for business class as "Business Limited" awards, which are the equivalent of what other programs call a saver award. The equivalent of a standard award is called "Business Seat Guaranteed" and won't price at this low level. But don't be worried by the word "Limited" in this ticket designation; once you ticket a "Business Limited" award, you'll have a confirmed reservation in business class.

Combining the two promotions

Here's how to utilize the two promotions together to reach Europe at an incredibly affordable price. With the 30% discount, a round-trip award ticket will set you back 63,000 miles. Normally that would require 63,000 Citi ThankYou points (a great deal by itself). However, these points currently transfer to Turkish Miles&Smiles at a 1:1.25 ratio, dropping your effective price to 50,400 ThankYou points. Since you can only transfer points in increments of 1,000 points, you'll need to round up.

As a result, through February 20, 2019, you can transfer 51,000 Citi ThankYou points and have enough Turkish miles to book a round-trip, business class ticket to Istanbul from Boston, Chicago-O'Hare, New York-JFK or Washington-Dulles. I've searched through the end of February, and found plenty of dates with awards available from those cities.

Once you factor in the transfer bonus from Citi, this flight can be booked by transferring just 26,000 ThankYou points to Turkish.

According to TPG's latest valuations, Citi ThankYou points are worth 1.7 cents each and Turkish Airlines miles are worth 1.3 cents, but you're bound to get significantly more value by booking these flights.

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Even though the promotion is limited to award flights into or out of Istanbul, you can travel to other cities or even beyond Europe for an incredibly low number of ThankYou points as well. For example, you could leverage the transfer bonus to fly round-trip to Tel Aviv, Israel (TLV) for just 76,000 ThankYou points. Your 76,000 Citi ThankYou points will transfer to 95,000 Turkish miles. This is enough for a round-trip, business class award ticket under this promotion, which is just 94,000 Turkish miles.

And if you're not interested in premium class awards, you could fly round-trip to Europe in economy class for 42,000 Turkish miles. This equates to just 34,000 Citi ThankYou points, which is also a bargain.

About Turkish Airlines

I've had the good fortune to fly Turkish Airlines business class, and I've found it to be one of the best offered by a European carrier. While its business class seats don't currently offer direct aisle access, what it lacks in privacy it seems to make up for with its superior catering, including an in-flight chef. Turkish Airlines is also highly regarded for it's fantastic business class lounges and free layover tours of Istanbul.

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A Note of Caution

The Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles program is one of many that passes on fuel surcharges when you redeem your miles. These fees vary wildly by destination, but you can expect to pay approximately $300 for a business class award ticket to Europe. Unfortunately, the Turkish Airlines website doesn't display surcharges for award flights unless you already have the miles required in your account, even for flights on its own metal. However, you should be able to research the surcharges by calling Turkish Airlines before you perform a transfer.

Also, TPG tested all of the Citi ThankYou airline transfer partners and found that it can take as long as a day to receive your miles. Since Turkish doesn't offer award holds, you could perform a transfer only to find that your award flights are unavailable the next day. This is a risk you take transferring points from any program when the airline doesn't offer holds and the process isn't instantaneous. To be safe, I would be sure to find a back-up award option or two before transferring your points.

Bottom Line

If you have Citi ThankYou points and an interest in traveling this February, you should really take a look at these promotions. Booking round-trip flights to Europe in business class for just 51,000 points is an astonishing value, and grabbing awards to other destinations are also discounted (as long as you can reach your destination via Istanbul). However, the transfer bonus from Citi is only around until Feb. 20, and since availability won't last forever, I'd jump on these promotions sooner rather than later.

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