Turkish Airlines sweet spot booking of 7,500 miles + $5.60 within the US

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I just finished booking our round trip business class tickets from the US to Greece. This was my first time working with Turkish Airlines….and trust me, it took quite a bit of work – it took 5 hours to get my booking done. It was a series of errors with their system but I stuck with it, and it all paid off in the end.

READ THIS: The ultimate step-by-step guide in bookings with Turkish Airlines using miles and points

Just a week after booking our trip to Greece, I got busy again. This time I decided to give Turkish Airlines yet another try. Seriously? Was I really willing to spend another 5 hours with Turkish Airlines? Well, I’m one to never give up. I like the challenge. I figured that I knew what to expect and that I’d be more ready this time around.

The 7,500 miles sweet spot deal

For the longest time, I’ve read of sweet spot deals of 7,500 miles one way + $5.60 when you book via Turkish Airlines and fly within the US. This is flying coach with United Airlines (a Star Alliance partner just like Turkish Airlines). I’ve actually been playing around with this deal for the past year, but never really moved forward with booking anything. I was able to find one way flights from major airports in the mainland US to Hawaii for 7,500 miles + $5.60.

My goals were very clear and specific

I had very specific requirements:

  • specific date
  • specific window of time (after 9pm flying the red eye flight)
  • had to be a direct flight
  • flying United Airlines
  • coach/economy

For this booking though, my goal was to book a ticket from Los Angeles to New York (Newark EWR). Otherwise, it will help you to be very flexible, and you could find better availability if you have more room for flexibility.

The booking process in my mind

In a perfect world, this was my game plan in booking with Turkish Airlines to fly United Airlines.

  • Check award availability using Turkish Airlines website, or United Airlines website
  • Jot down the flight information (date, flight number, # of points or miles required), include other flights as back-up in case your first choice does not work
  • Call Turkish Airlines and inquire if seats are available for the flights I wrote down
  • If available, request Turkish Airlines to HOLD the reservations, they should give you a confirmation or reservation # (or letters)
  • Once reservations are on hold, transfer the amount of points from your credit card program to your Turkish Airlines account
  • Once transferred, book your trip online using TK website
  • If that does not work, call Turkish Airlines and speak to a rep and book
  • Pay the fees using a credit card
  • Done

How to search United Airlines website to find Turkish Airlines flights

Why do this? This website gives you a 30-day window view. You will be able to see at-a-glance the days with lowest fares. The key thing about award flights is flexibility. If your dates are set, and you can’t travel outside those dates, that could limit your options. So be flexible. For this example, we are looking for availability on days that show 15K + $5.60 fees (one way). The idea here is NOT to book with United. You are only using United to search for Turkish Airlines flights.

  • Go to United website
  • Click Advanced Search
  • Select the # in your party
  • One Way (I prefer choosing one way segments)
  • Flexible Dates (pick the month when you want to travel)
  • Cabin: Economy
  • Show flights from All Star Alliance airlines
  • Click Find Flights
  • If you have a United Airlines account, DO NOT sign in to your account

When you choose Flexible Dates, you will get a 30-day view similar to the one below. Keep your eyes on the ones with low fares. Look for the flights in the 15K + $5.60.

  • Select the date that works for you. For this example, I clicked on Nov 24
  • For Economy flights, make sure it shows Saver Award, United Economy X or XN
  • Remember, you need the flight details.
  • Click on the DETAILS under the flight times
  • The info will be expanded giving you complete details – time, airports, connection time, flight #
  • Once you have the flight info….that’s all you will need from the United Website.
  • You will NOT book with United Airlines
  • STOP…I MEAN IT…STOP.

Search available flights via Turkish Airlines website

Now that you have the flight info from the United site, it’s time to search from Turkish Airlines website (this is best done using a desktop computer),

  • Sign in with your Turkish Airlines account
  • Under your name on the top left, click your name, then click Miles Transactions, this takes you to a new window
  • Click BOOK NOW under Star Alliance Award Ticket
  • Enter your airports, dates, and cabin type (for me, I chose One Way)
  • Pick the date/s you want to travel (if you found your date from the United site, enter the date here)
  • Pick # of travelers (if more than one in your party, just search for 1, clicking 2 or more, I got this message “The first award ticket can only be issued under your name. If you want to have it issued for a loved one, please contact the nearest sales office.”)
  • If you’re lucky, you’ll find something like this where it showed lots of flights in economy for 7,500 miles
  • Click the flight times that work for you, and jot everything down.

Look at my results below. I see many flights using 7,500 miles, but it looked “GRAY” – I couldn’t click on them. If you are able to go beyond this point, then you might be able to book this yourself (as long as you have the miles and points in your Turkish account)

Another way of searching via Turkish Website

When you get to the homepage, you will see a box labeled Award Ticket – buy a ticket with miles. Click that and it takes you to another window where you could key in the date/s, # of passengers, etc. Personally, I’ve tried both search functions, it’s a hit and miss. I suggest you try both.

Honestly, check both options

Depending on my mood, if I have specific dates in mind, I just go directly to the Turkish website to search for availability. If I’m not finding any luck, I search via United. Then when I find something that works, I write everything down and call Turkish Airlines to book.

Call Turkish Airlines to book

Since I could not click on the flight results, I decided to call Turkish Airlines directly. I knew exactly what to expect and I was ready for it. Last time, it took me 5 hours to book my roundtrip business class tickets to Greece. I figured anything less than 5 hours would be a major win for me.

  • The phone # to call was 800-874-8875. Here’s what I had prepared for the call
  • My Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles account number. It’s a 9-digit # that begins with TK
  • My Turkish Airlines PIN code. It’s a 6-digit number
  • My flight information that I want them to book for me
  • My credit card information

What to expect when calling Turkish Airlines

  • You will be asked for the full names of the traveler/s
  • Spell the names out phonetically – for example Jason – J for Juliet, A for Alpha,  S for Sierra, O for Oscar, N for Nancy
  • Do the same for the the email address
  • When asked for your phone #, for us in the US, our phone number begins with a +1 (that’s the country code, then the area code and phone number)
  • Credit Card name (exactly as shown on the card)
  • Expiration Date and Security Code

Once the agent finds the flight that you requested

The agent will send you an email with a Booking Reference Number (PNR). It’s a 6-digit code. You will be given “time” to finish the transaction:

– pay the fees (using a credit card)

– pay the amount of miles required to book (basically, you’re authorizing Turkish Airlines to apply your miles to the booking

This is a two-step “payment” system. The agent will NOT take the payment info from you. You will be transferred to a voice prompt that will ask you to key in your credit card number, expiration date, security code.

For the miles/points transfer, you will be asked to punch in your Turkish Airlines 6-digit PIN code. This is KEY!!!

Once that’s all clear, the agent will confirm, and an e-ticket is sent your email immediately. I was confident this booking would work better than my first booking with Turkish Airlines.

ADVERTISER DISCLOSURE: DaddyTravelsNow is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com  This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.

For more deals, follow me on my travel page on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter 
Updated: Feb 4, 2024
On our upcoming trip to Hawaii, my wife, Nancy, couldn’t stay the entire time we’re in Hawaii. She needed to fly back sooner than expected, With having miles and points, it makes things easy to decide to book flights on the “fly” without having to worry so much about the costs. This post will show you:
  • How I booked her flight from Honolulu, Hawaii back to Los Angeles using 7,500 miles + $5.60 each way with Turkish Airlines
  • Another example of a round trip booking from Mainland US (from Denver to Honolulu, and from Honolulu to Detroit) for 7,500 miles + $5.60 each way with Turkish Airlines

First option – Southwest

There were flights with Southwest from Honolulu to LAX. It was also dirt cheap for 7,715 points and $5.60 in fees with Southwest. However, there were two issues:
  • not a direct flight (with a stop on Maui)
  • arriving really late in LA (10:35pm)
I booked the flight anyway just so Nancy’s got a guaranteed return ticket. But the good husband that I am wanted to make sure that Nancy gets on a direct flight from Hawaii that arrives in LA earlier in the evening vs late night.
Waldorf Astoria – Grand Wailea Resort -Maui

Let’s check Turkish Airlines

Wait, does Turkish Airlines fly to/from Hawaii?  Well that’s not the case here. Turkish Airlines has access to flights operated by United Airlines, and your goal is to find a United flight that you could book with Turkish Airlines. If you are lucky, each way will cost you 7,500 Turkish Airlines miles + $5.60. Or, you could use 15,000 miles + $11.20 a round trip to/from Hawaii.
I signed into my account with Turkish Airlines, and searched for HNL-LAX flight and did not find any availability with their website. I decided to then check United Airlines website, and for her return date of Feb 22, I found a:
  • Saver Award
  • United Economy (X)
Those are my triggers. There’s a big chance that Turkish could have availability with those combinations. United was charging 11,600 miles + $5.60, and to be honest, I was willing to pull the trigger with United. We have lots of United miles, but hey, I wanted to give Turkish another try. 
If you want a complete guide how to find the sweet spot award with Turkish Airlines, here’s what I wrote – step by step details how to go about your search.

Turkish Airlines Sweet Spot Guide

Transferring miles to Turkish Airlines

I also decided to transfer points from my Capital One account to Turkish Airlines. I was confident that I would need 7,500 miles for this booking. I transferred 8,000 since I needed to transfer in 1,000 increments. Why did I transfer ahead of time? I learned that once Turkish finds the availability, they can’t book the trip without your points in your account. Their call center is busy, and the agents are trained to advise the customers to call back when you are truly ready with your points all ready to book. So instead of calling them back, I made sure to have my points already in my Turkish account. I DO NOT advise doing this if you have to transfer A LOT of points. I didn’t mind the risk. Transferring 7,500 Capital One miles to Turkish would not hurt me at all.

Call Turkish Airlines to book

Since I could not book the flights directly using the Turkish website, I decided to call Turkish Airlines directly. I knew exactly what to expect and I was ready for it. Last time, it took me 5 hours to book my roundtrip business class tickets to Greece. I figured anything less than 5 hours would be a major win for me.

  • The phone # to call was 800-874-8875. Here’s what I had prepared for the call
  • My Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles account number. It’s a 9-digit # that begins with TK
  • My Turkish Airlines PIN code. It’s a 6-digit number
  • My flight information that I want them to book for me
  • My credit card information

What to expect when calling Turkish Airlines

  • You will be asked for the full names of the traveler/s
  • Spell the names out phonetically – for example Jason – J for Juliet, A for Alpha,  S for Sierra, O for Oscar, N for Nancy
  • Do the same for the email address
  • When asked for your phone #, for us in the US, our phone number begins with a +1 (that’s the country code, then the area code and phone number)
  • Credit Card name (exactly as shown on the card)
  • Expiration Date and Security Code

Once the agent finds the flight that you requested

The agent will send you an email with a Booking Reference Number (PNR). It’s a 6-digit code. You will be given “time” to finish the transaction:

  • pay the fees (using a credit card)
  • pay the amount of miles required to book (basically, you’re authorizing Turkish Airlines to apply your miles to the booking

This is a two-step “payment” system.

  • Step 1: The agent will NOT take the credit card payment info from you. You will be transferred to a voice prompt that will ask you to key in your credit card number, expiration date, security code.
  • Step 2: For the miles/points transfer, you will be asked to punch in your Turkish Airlines 6-digit PIN code. This is KEY!!! Do not screw this up.

Once that’s all clear, the agent will confirm, and an e-ticket is sent to your email immediately. Once I received the confirmation email, I checked the United Airlines website to manage the booking and selected seats….DONE!

Sample testimony: booked a flight to Hawaii from Mainland US (Denver, CO) and back home to Detroit

Sandy M. from my Daddy Travels Facebook Travel Group recently booked a trip to Hawaii coming from her home state. Here’s what she shared:

I live near Detroit, so on the way there to Honolulu, I am taking a positioning flight to Denver the next morning, flying United from Denver to San Fran to Honolulu…. on the way home no positioning flight needed….Honolulu to San Fran to Washington DC home to Detroit.

The flights I found on United, Turkish reps could not find, I called multiple days emailed several different locations and no response. So I ultimately found both on the Turkish website, booked mine going  online easily but couldn’t book my husbands online…ugh. So then I called Turkish and they said there were no more tickets to book. I checked their website and it wasn’t there either. I panicked for the next three hours I was looking for another option and then magically my flight from Denver appeared as open and found my same flight for my husband and called Turkish again and booked his going to Hawaii.

On the return trip, I found it on Turkish website and booked both my husband and my flight with a Turkish rep on the phone (took a couple of calls for the rep to understand me). The process took a long time and was a bit overwhelming. Thanks for all your help and support making my first big redemption…. I am so excited!

Which credit card points transfer to Turkish Airlines

Citi credit cards that earn ThankYou® Points

  • Citi® Premier Credit Card
  • Citi Double Cash® Credit Card
  • Citi Rewards+® Credit Card
  • Citi Custom Cash® Card
  • AT&T Points Plus® Card From Citi

Capital One credit cards that earn Capital One Miles

  • Capital One Venture X
  • Capital One Venture 

Find links for these cards here

Patience and flexibility

Your dates may or may not always show availability with Turkish. After all, these are award flights and awards are not available on ALL days….so be flexible.

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the step by step Jason! Does Citi premier and Capital one transfer to any of the star alliance members i.e. Austrian Airlines, Air France, UA etc..?

    1. John, I just saw this comment…sorry. Yes, Cap One Star Alliance Partners with Air Canada, Avianca, EVA, Turkish, TAP, Singapore. For Citi Star Alliance – Avianca, EVA, Singapore, Thai

  2. Hi I just transferred Citi point to Turkish airlines however been more than 24 hours still not posted. Meanwhile I have few promo tickets on hold! Anyone have recent transfer experience?

    1. I had 3 bookings where I transferred from Citi to Turkish, and all of them transferred quickly – within a minute. My last transfer was back in February. Feel free to to inquire with my facebook group

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