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Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly coast to coast in a lie-flat seat for 12,500 miles

Oct. 24, 2021
6 min read
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Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles is one of the most powerful airline loyalty programs — largely due to its extremely low redemption rates. In the past, we've covered using the program to fly to Europe for just 45,000 miles round-trip — but today, we'll shift our focus to transcontinental business-class flights.

You can leverage Miles&Smiles to book transcontinental business-class flights for just 12,500 miles each way. This is significantly less than other Star Alliance carriers' frequent flyer programs require, and sure beats spending thousands of dollars out of pocket for the same ticket.

Better yet, these flights are operated by United Airlines, which offers its premium United Polaris business-class product on flights from Newark (EWR) and New York-JFK to Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). This means you can expect an international business-class experience on these routes, with a lie-flat seat and upgraded dining.

(Photo by Zach Griff / The Points Guy)

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles miles have become significantly easier to earn over the years after the program became a transfer partner of both Capital One Rewards and Citi ThankYou. If you have these types of points available to you, keep reading to learn how to book one of the best sweet spots in the points and miles world.

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Why it’s special

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

As mentioned previously, booking a lie-flat seat on coast-to-coast flights for just 12,500 miles is an absolute steal. This is especially true when you compare it to booking with programs like United MileagePlus that charge at least 35,000 miles for the same ticket.

(Screenshot courtesy of united.com)

Of course, paying cash for a transcontinental business-class ticket isn't cheap either. Prices vary by date, origin and destination, but it's hard to find these tickets for less than $1,100 round-trip any time of year. In my experience, summer and holiday dates are even pricier.

(Screenshot courtesy of google.com/flights)

One word of warning: It can be difficult to find business-class award space on these flights. You may need to run multiple searches and be flexible with your dates to book. Consider setting up an award alert with ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG's parent company, Red Ventures) to save time.

With that in mind, only transfer miles to your Miles&Smiles account when you've found a flight you're ready to book. Remember, you cannot transfer miles back to your Capital One or Citi account. Preemptively transferring miles could leave you stuck with miles you can't immediately use.

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Related: 6 award chart ‘sweet spots’ that will save you money on domestic flights

How to book this award

To book this award, head to the Turkish Airlines website and sign in to your Miles&Smiles account. Then, click on your name at the upper right-hand corner of the screen and click "Miles Transactions" on the drop-down menu.

(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

Look toward the right-hand side of the screen, find the "Star Alliance award ticket" box and click the red "Book now" link.

(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

Now, input your desired itinerary and click the red arrow button to start your search.

(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

Click the "Business Class" button at the top of the screen, and you can view all available flights. To book, click the arrow button to the right of the flight's price and click "Select this flight" from the drop-down menu. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete your booking.

(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

It's as easy — and as inexpensive — as that!

Related: Sweet Spot Sunday: How to fly to Hawaii for just 15,000 miles round-trip

How to earn Turkish Airlines miles

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

You can transfer Capital One Rewards and Citi ThankYou points to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles at a 1:1 ratio. Likewise, Bilt Rewards will soon add Turkish as a 1:1 transfer partner, and Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Turkish at a 3:1 ratio, with 5,000 bonus miles awarded for every 60,000 points transferred.

(Editor’s note: TPG founder Brian Kelly is a Bilt advisor and investor.)

If you're looking for a new Capital One Rewards card, consider opening a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to boost your mileage balance. The card earns 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, and you can earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Those looking to get into the Citi ThankYou ecosystem can consider opening a Citi Premier® Card. This card currently offers 80,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Plus, it earns 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, at restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets. You'll earn 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

Related: A guide to earning transferable points and why they’re so valuable

Bottom line

Flying from coast to coast in economy can be a drag — it's a long flight, and frequently crowded with tourists and business travelers alike. Booking a business-class award ticket can make the journey far more enjoyable, especially if you're on a red-eye. Snagging these flights for just 12,500 Turkish miles is a killer deal, and can save you a lot of money in the process.

Featured image by Fly United Polaris to South America for just 50,000 Capital One miles. (Photo by Zach Honig/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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Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
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The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

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$695

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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.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • 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.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.