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Sweet Spot Sunday: Star Alliance business-class flights to Europe for 45,000 Turkish miles each way

June 14, 2021
9 min read
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Sweet Spot Sunday is a weekly series highlighting the best-value award redemptions across loyalty programs.

Europe is my favorite place to travel. I have friends and family around the region and I'm a European citizen. So naturally, I'm always on the hunt for great ways to get to Europe with points and miles.

I recently started earning more Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou points, both of which transfer to Turkish Airlines' Miles&Smiles program. This program has a great award chart, and offers excellent deals on flights from the U.S. to Europe in business class. You'll pay well under 50,000 miles one-way.

This is an excellent deal and one that I think everyone in the points and miles world should be aware of as Europe starts to reopen. Denmark, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy and Spain are already open, and there's talk of a total reopening of EU borders this summer.

Here, I'll show you why booking business-class award tickets to Europe with Turkish Miles&Smiles is a good deal and walk you through how to book. Then, I'll discuss how to earn enough Turkish miles to book a business-class ticket to Europe.

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Why it’s special

Business class on board Turkish Airlines' new Boeing 787-9. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy).

Turkish Airlines award tickets to Europe are an incredible value when you compare its pricing to other carriers. United MileagePlus charges 60,000 miles — at a minimum — for a one-way flight to Europe in business class. These days, the carrier prices all award tickets dynamically and typically adds a surcharge for partner flights. This results in United charging at least 75,000 miles for a one-way business-class ticket to Europe on partner airlines.

(Screenshot courtesy of united.com)

On the other hand, Air Canada Aeroplan charges based on the length of a flight. Flights from the East Coast start at 60,000 points, but quickly rise when you book longer flights. Further, Avianca LifeMiles charges 63,000 LifeMiles for a one-way business-class flight to Europe.

(Screenshot courtesy of aircanada.com)

Turkish charges the same 45,000 miles on all flights to Europe, so all awards to the region are predictable and affordable.

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(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

The upside to MileagePlus, Aeroplan and LifeMiles is that, unlike Turkish Miles&Smiles, they don't add fuel surcharges to award tickets on carriers like Lufthansa and Swiss. That said, you can avoid these surcharges by booking with a handful of Star Alliance partners that don't add fuel surcharges. These include the following carriers that fly from the U.S. to Europe:

So if you're booking with Turkish miles, try and stick to these airlines to get the best deals on your award tickets. You shouldn't pay more than the taxes and fees levied by the origin and destination countries. This includes the TSA security fee and landing taxes levied by some countries.

Related: 7 great airline mileage programs for booking Star Alliance awards

How to book this award

(Photo by vaalaa/Shutterstock.com)

You can book most Star Alliance awards on the Turkish Airlines website. Let's take a quick look at the step-by-step process.

Step 1: Log in to your Turkish Airlines account

Head to the Turkish Airlines website and either sign up or log in to your account. You can find these buttons at the upper right-hand corner of the page.

(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

Step 2: Find the Star Alliance booking page

Now, you need to navigate to the Star Alliance booking page. Click your name at the upper right-hand corner of the screen and select "Mileage Transactions" from the drop-down menu. Then, click the "Star Alliance award ticket" header at the center of the screen and click the "Book now" button.

(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

Step 3: Search for your flight

Now, enter your desired itinerary at the center of the screen and click the red arrow button to start your search.

(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

Step 4: Select your flight

Your search results will appear at the center of the screen. Click the "Business Class" button to only see business-class flights. Click on its price to see more details and then click the "Select this flight" button to start the booking process.

(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

Step 5: Confirm your flights and pay

You should now see a flight summary. If all looks good, enter your passenger information and follow the on-screen prompts to book your ticket.

(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

Related: Book this, not that: Star Alliance award flights

How to earn points for this award

Turkish Airlines doesn't have a U.S. cobranded credit card, but points are getting easier to earn. You can now transfer two types of points to the airline. Further, you can credit Star Alliance partner flights to the airline. This may be advantageous if you fly a lot of low-cost United tickets and want to earn based on distance instead of the cost of your ticket.

Also note that Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Turkish miles at a 3:1 transfer ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus awarded per 60,000 points transferred. This means 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points are worth 25,000 Turkish miles.

Related: Maximizing Marriott Bonvoy’s unique airline transfer options

Transfer points from Citi ThankYou

You can also transfer Citi ThankYou points 1:1 to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, so it's generally better than transferring from Capital One. Here's a look at some of the best cards for earning Citi ThankYou points:

  • Citi Prestige® Card: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Opening any of the cards mentioned here will give you more than enough miles/points for a business-class flight to Europe with Turkish Miles&Smiles. Do your own research to find which card has the right benefits, points-earning structure and annual fee for you. For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2x miles on all purchases while the Citi Premier has a handful of 3x points-earning categories.

Related: How to redeem Citi ThankYou points for maximum value

Transfer miles from Capital One

Turkish Miles&Smiles is one of Capital One's newest partners. (Photo by The Points Guy)

Capital One recently added Turkish Miles&Smiles as a 2:1.5 transfer partner, so 10,000 Capital One miles are worth 7,500 Turkish miles. While not the best transfer ratio, it can be worthwhile given Turkish's low prices on flights from the U.S. to Europe.

Some of my favorite Capital One cards include:

Related: Your ultimate guide to the 19 Capital One transfer partners

Bottom line

Here, I showed you one of the best sweet spots for booking business-class tickets to Europe: 45,000-mile flights with the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles program. You'll get the best deal when you book one of these tickets on a carrier that doesn't add high fuel surcharges to their tickets. This includes major carriers like United, SAS and LOT Polish Airlines. You can leverage this to get an ultra cheap business-class award ticket with little out-of-pocket expense.

Start planning your travel early as the region continues to reopen to tourists. Demand is picking back up, and Star Alliance award space will dry up alongside the surge in demand.

Safe travels!

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more