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5 Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles sweet spots you can use to maximize your Capital One miles

Oct. 26, 2021
7 min read
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Capital One has quickly gone from being an underdog to a leader in the transferable points space.

Not only does Capital One offer one of the largest and most diverse collections of transfer partners, but most transfers now process at a 1:1 ratio.

Of this large list of partners, one of the most valuable is Turkish Miles&Smiles. It was first added as a transfer partner in April 2021, but it's a lot more compelling now that Capital One miles transfer at a 1:1 ratio to the program instead of 2:1.5.

Although many people have probably never thought of booking flights through Turkish Miles&Smiles, the program offers some of the lowest-priced Star Alliance awards. Some TPG staffers have gone as far as calling it the hottest loyalty program of the year, and it’s easy to see why.

Today, we’ll spotlight a few of our favorite ways to get outsize value from your Capital One miles by transferring to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles.

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Hawaii for 7,500 miles each way

(Photo by Timur Alexandrov/EyeEm/Getty Images)

Flying to Hawaii is rarely cheap. Cash tickets often cost over $500 round-trip from the mainland U.S., and award tickets are typically more expensive than other domestic flights — even with programs that still have award charts. However, this isn’t the case with Turkish Miles&Smiles.

United typically charges 45,000 miles or more for a round-trip for an economy award ticket to Hawaii, but Turkish Airlines charges just 15,000 miles for the same round-trip ticket. In fact, Turkish charges this same rate for all domestic flights, including to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These awards are bookable online and carry no fuel surcharges.

(Screenshot courtesy of Turkishairlines.com)

Since the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is currently offering new cardholders 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, you'd be able to book round-trip flights to Hawaii for a family of four with the card's sign-up bonus alone.

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If you're feeling extra fancy, you could book these flights in business class for just 12,500 miles each way — less than what United would charge for a coach ticket!

The only problem is that business-class award space to Hawaii is hard to find, but you may luck out by traveling on off-peak dates and setting award space alerts with ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG's parent company, Red Ventures).

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

Domestic business class for 12,500 miles, including transcontinental

(Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

As mentioned above, Turkish charges just 12,500 miles each way for domestic business-class awards on United, regardless of the distance.

While business-class award availability on Hawaii flights is rare, it's easier to find it on other domestic routes. If you're booking far in advance, or very last minute, you might even find availability on premium transcontinental routes between Newark (EWR) and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) that feature United's top-of-the-line Polaris business class seats. However, even if your flight doesn't offer lie-flat seats, booking a business class award for 12,500 miles is a bargain.

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

Business class to Europe for 45,000 miles each way

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy)

Turkish isn't just good for booking domestic flights. When you're ready to travel overseas, you can book business-class awards from North America to Europe (both Zone 1 and Zone 2 per the partner award chart) for just 45,000 miles each way. That's a steal compared to the 60,000+ miles most programs charge for these awards.

In addition to Turkish Airlines itself, you can redeem your miles for flights operated by Star Alliance partners. Just note that some of the partners, particularly Lufthansa and Swiss, tack on hefty fuel surcharges. You can avoid fuel surcharges by flying with like LOT Polish Airlines, Scandanavian (SAS), TAP Portugal and United.

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

Mexico for 10,000 miles in economy or 15,000 in business class

(Photo by YangYin/Getty Images)

While award flights between the U.S. and Mexico on United booked directly through United MileagePlus would set you back at least 17,500 miles each way in economy or 30,000 miles in business class, you can again save a ton of miles by booking through Turkish Miles&Smiles instead. Specifically, Turkish charges just 10,000 miles in economy or 15,000 in business class for any award between the U.S. and Mexico, regardless of whether you're heading to Cancun (CUN), Puerto Vallarta (PVR), Mexico City (MEX) or anywhere else in the country.

In other words, the current signup bonus on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card would be enough to book two round-trip business class awards to Mexico.

Related: 14 of our favorite points hotels on the beach in Mexico

North America to India for 52,500 miles in business class

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Although there are many ways to travel between North America and India, award rates are typically on the steeper side. However, Turkish offers some of the lowest rates.

Turkish includes India in the Central Asia zone on its award chart and charges as little as 34,000 miles each way in coach and 52,500 in business. By comparison, most other Star Alliance loyalty programs charge at least around 25,000 more miles each way in business class, so the savings can be significant. Just remember to avoid partners like Lufthansa if you don't want to pay high fuel surcharges.

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

Bottom line

If the Turkish Miles&Smiles program wasn't already on your radar, it should be. There are tons of spectacular uses of Turkish miles for both domestic flights and ones to the other side of the globe.

Turkish miles are easier to earn than ever now that miles transfer from Capital One at a 1:1 ratio. If you have the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, for instance, you can effectively earn two Turkish miles for every dollar you spend on the card as the card earns two miles per dollar on all purchases. And as you can see, the card's 75,000-mile sign-up bonus can go far if you redeem the miles through Turkish.

Keep in mind that Turkish is also a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Rewards so you can earn Turkish miles with cards like the Citi Premier® Card. However, unlike Capital One, which typically processes transfers to Turkish instantly, transfers from Citi may take a day or two.

Featured image by Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles is one of the most valuable airline programs in the Capital One transfer partner portfolio (Photo by Chris Dong/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 featured card

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

1 - 10X points
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

80,000 bonus points
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®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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

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
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®

    80,000 bonus points
  • 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