First Class to Hawaii for 12,500 Miles and a 13-Minute Phone Call

Jul 30, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Nick and Greg over at the Frequent Miler have been doing some excellent work covering the new sweet spot within the Turkish Miles & Smiles program. Hawaii used to be a part of the Oceania region but has recently been updated to be included within the North America region, the same region as the contiguous United States.

One-way, economy-class tickets within the US on Star Alliance partner United Airlines cost just 7,500 miles, while United domestic first class — which Turkish counts as business class — requires 12,500 miles.

***Applicable Mile amount for direct flights with Star Alliance member airlines in the same country. Amounts shown reflect round trip tickets.

Saver economy availability is actually fairly abundant on United, and tickets can easily be booked for 7,500 Turkish miles and $5.60 per person each way between the US and Hawaii. United charges 22,500 United miles per person for an economy ticket on the same route, and even Singapore KrisFlyer — long considered one of the best Hawaiian sweet spots from the US — would require 17,500 miles.

While 7,500 miles is an outstanding value — especially from the East Coast — 12,500 miles for first class to Hawaii is among the most spectacular sweet spots out there.

I decided to give it a try.

The Booking Process

In the past, booking Star Alliance-operated flights using Turkish miles required either an in-person trip to a Turkish ticket office or a series of emails to a ticketing office — which may or may not go answered. These tickets are now reportedly able to be booked over the phone. Before calling, I did a close-in award search on between the mainland and Hawaii, focusing on less-sought-after routes. I very quickly found multiple dates within the next two weeks that showed saver first class availability on the flight from Kona (KOA) to San Francisco (SFO):

Armed with 13,000 Citi ThankYou Points ready to be transferred over to my Turkish account, I gave Turkish Miles&Smiles a call (1-800-874-8875). After going through a simple phone menu and four minute hold time, I got a very capable agent who confirmed my account information. She pulled up the route on which I had found saver level award availability, and her system showed the same award space I saw on There were three first class seats and nine economy seats available on the 10:00pm departure from Kona operated by a 737-900.

She then quoted me the expected 12,500 miles and $5.60 for the one-way ticket. I told her I intended on transferring over credit card points to my account and requested a hold until my miles showed up. She said the system would automatically give her hold options after she filled out all my personal info. She quickly entered my birthday and name and gave me a PNR for the ticket. She let me know I could hold the ticket for 48 hours without the miles in my account.

I quickly used the Turkish Airlines PNR and was able to pull up the itinerary on

I then confirmed the itinerary showed up on my Turkish account, and just like the agent said, I had 48 hours to pay for the ticket before the complimentary hold expired and the ticket was gone:

The phone call lasted a total of 13 minutes, and if the ThankYou points had already transferred into my Turkish account, I would be set for a first class flight from Hawaii back the mainland for a staggeringly low 12,500 miles and $5.60. Turkish miles transfer from Citi in about 1-2 days, so you’d essentially have to really hope the miles showed up before the hold expired.

That being said, I am going to call back in 24 hours to see if the hold can be extended (for research purposes) in case the transferred miles don’t show up before the ticketing deadline. As noted above, I called 1-800-874-8875 to quickly reach a Turkish agent.

Bottom Line

Booking United-operated awards to or from Hawaii using Turkish Airlines miles could be one of the best possible ways to visit the Aloha State. If you don’t have Citi ThankYou points to transfer to Turkish, Marriott Bonvoy points are your other avenue, as they transfer at a 3:1 ratio plus a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points.

The roadblock here is going to be first-class saver availability to and from Hawaii, something United (and quite frankly all airlines) are rather stingy in releasing. Use the United interactive route map to look at some lesser-known routes, and search close-in dates for the best chances of finding saver first award availability. And even if you can’t, booking one-way economy awards for 7,500 miles from anywhere in the US to Hawaii on United is a staggering deal.

This was really an excellent booking process for a partner phone booking and something all of us should investigate and book if possible.

Featured photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.