5 Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles sweet spots you can use to maximize your Capital One miles
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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
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.
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.
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).
Domestic business class for 12,500 miles, including transcontinental
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.
Business class to Europe for 45,000 miles each way
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.
Mexico for 10,000 miles in economy or 15,000 in business class
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.
North America to India for 52,500 miles in business class
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.
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 photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy.
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