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

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 10/24/2021 Andrew Kunesh
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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.

a close up of an office chair: (Photo by Zach Griff / The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (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

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (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) © The Points Guy (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) © The Points Guy (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.


Video: CTA Reduces Some Fares In New Budget (CBS Chicago)

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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) © The Points Guy (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) © The Points Guy (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) © The Points Guy (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) © The Points Guy (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) © The Points Guy (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 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 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, dining, gas and groceries. 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 photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

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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.

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