If you have a Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles redemption planned, book it as soon as possible: Prices will soon increase significantly.
As first reported by Prince of Travel, the program will roll out a massive pricing devaluation Feb. 16, which will see redemption rates increase by up to 100% with a new per-segment pricing structure.
Currently, the program offers attractive redemption rates, particularly to Turkey and Europe, with economy awards starting at 30,000 miles each way and business-class awards starting at 45,000 miles, with connections included for the same price. For example, you could fly Turkish Airlines to Turkey from North America and then take a separate short-haul flight to Europe, all in business class, starting at just 45,000 miles. You could also fly to anywhere in the Middle East on Turkish Airlines or its Star Alliance partners for just 32,000 miles in economy or 47,000 miles in business class each way, which is a great deal.
While this availability was limited and sometimes hard to find, it was one of the great redemption sweet spots to Europe, the Middle East and beyond. With Miles&Smiles also a transfer partner of both Citi ThankYou Rewards and Capital One miles, Turkish miles are very easy to earn and redeem and came with great redemption opportunities. This is about to change.
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The airline has published new award charts on its website, with the cheapest saver-level (called “Promotion Award Ticket”) prices to Turkey increased from 30,000 and 45,000 miles (for economy and business, respectively) to 40,000 and 65,000 miles.
This might not seem like a substantial increase (and it is admittedly still fair compared with other programs’ rates), but another unwelcome change is that connections will now be priced separately.
This means that for redemptions to Europe via Istanbul Airport (IST), rather than the previously attractive rate of 30,000 or 45,000 miles, you will now need 50,000 to 55,000 miles in economy and 85,000 to 90,000 miles in business class, depending on where in Europe you wish to travel to (the program splits Europe into two zones for redemptions).
Redemptions on Star Alliance carriers such as United Airlines, Air Canada and Lufthansa (excluding Turkish Airlines) now have a separate award chart, with the same new pricing for redemptions from North America to Europe (up to 90,000 miles in business class).
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Domestic flights within North America flying United will increase from 10,000 to 15,000 miles each way.
Right now, we can still find awards at the previous prices in search results (such as the excellent 45,000-mile price to Europe), and Turkish has said that these prices will remain through Feb. 15. If you plan to book a Miles&Smiles redemption, we recommend doing so as soon as possible.
Miles&Smiles was once one of the best ways to redeem Citi points and Capital One miles, and while devaluations are an unfortunate reality of the loyalty industry, these increases will make Turkish miles less attractive in the future.
To its credit, Turkish Airlines has given at least seven days’ notice of the increase, which will allow Miles&Smiles members to transfer miles to the program and book redemptions at the existing rates.
After Feb. 15, if you are flying to Turkey, the new rates of 40,000 miles in economy and 65,000 miles in business class are still a decent deal, though if you are planning to connect to a flight in Europe, you may wish to look at other programs for a lower overall redemption cost.