Turkish Airlines has launched a discounted redemption offer for Miles&Smiles members bookings its own flights across the carrier’s global network, with 30% off the usual award rates in both Economy Class and Business Class. That opens up some great value awards, including Economy to Europe for 21,000 miles and Business to Europe for just 31,500 miles, for travel through to 15th May 2022.
While Turkish Airlines has high fuel surcharges, it also offers a discount of up to 60% for those redeeming award flights, so you can take the edge off that ‘sting in the tail’ with fuel surcharges in Economy Class from Singapore to Istanbul starting at US$70 (S$95).
Turkey is also joining Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme on 16th December 2021, so it will be possible to make quarantine-free trips to and from Changi with transits in Istanbul in both directions, though the carrier’s exact VTL designated flight schedule is still to be confirmed.
Here are details of the latest Miles&Smiles discount offer.
Here are the key features of this offer:
- Sales period: 7th December 2021 – 31st December 2021
- Travel period: 7th December 2021 – 15th May 2022
- Blackout dates: 7th April 2022 – 25th April 2022
- Routes: All Turkish Airlines (one-way and round-trip)
- Award Types: ‘Promotional’ only (i.e. the cheaper ones anyway)
The ticketing period relates to local time in Turkey (GMT+3, or 5 hours behind Singapore Time).
The travel period also relates to local time in Turkey, but is only for commencement of travel on the last part of your journey (or the start of your one-way journey).
The discount is automatically applied when you search for an award ticket through the Turkish Airlines website. Here’s a Singapore to Paris Business Class itinerary at 31,500 miles (usually 45,000 miles) in May 2022.
Do bear in mind you’ll also be hit with S$330 in taxes and fees for this itinerary, including S$265 for the discounted fuel surcharge (usually S$357 for regular tickets).
Be careful when booking Boeing 777 flights with Turkish, however, as these still feature a rather dated 2-3-2 layout in Business Class, though they do convert to fully flat beds and this may not be a major issue travelling as a couple, provided you can secure a window pair.
Other competitive rates include Singapore to New York in Business Class for 47,300 miles (usually 67,500 miles), plus S$512 in taxes and fees.
When you bear in mind that KrisFlyer is charging 99,000 miles for a Singapore Airlines flight to New York in Business Class, with taxes and fees of S$149 (via Frankfurt) or $115 (non-stop), this starts to look like a bargain.
Even though you’re paying up to S$397 more in taxes and fees on Turkish, a saving of 51,700 miles far outweighs that (unless you value a mile at less than 0.8 cents).
The Turkish New York routing also includes the carrier’s Boeing 787 aircraft, with newer Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, for the 10.5-hour flight between Istanbul and the Big Apple.
You probably recognise the seat as the Stelia Symphony model also used by Singapore Airlines as its latest (and now only) Regional Business Class. The seat also appears on some Turkish Airlines flights between Singapore and Istanbul.
Business Class award availability on Turkish Airlines flights is generally very good for Miles&Smiles members.
Turkish Airlines also has an excellent lounge at its Istanbul home base for you to pass the time in transit if you’re heading further afield.
Here are the discounted award rates by region for one-way redemptions from Singapore.
Note that the discount isn’t exactly 30% in all cases, because Turkish does not support redemptions in denominations less than 100 miles, so some discounted levels are rounded up to the next 100 miles.
Turkish Airlines has an extensive network, so options here include:
- Europe: Manchester, Dublin, Lisbon, Malaga
- Middle East: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat
- North America: Miami, Washington D.C., Toronto
- South Africa: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg
- North Africa: Cairo, Algiers, Marrakesh
- South America: Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires
If it’s just a trip to Istanbul you’re interested in, travel to Turkey without quarantine has the following simple requirements for fully vaccinated travellers at the time of writing:
- Complete the “Traveler Entry” form at most 72 hours before departure, and present it at check-in and upon arrival. The form can be obtained here.
- Have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that you were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival (those aged below 12 are exempt).
- No pre-departure or on-arrival testing.
Discounted fuel surcharges
Turkish Airlines applies hefty fuel surcharges to its cash tickets, but there’s some good news – the carrier does not pass on the full fuel surcharge on its award tickets.
That applies whether the award is booked under the Miles&Smiles programme, or using partner FFPs like Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
Turkish has two types of award ticket – ‘Promotional’ and ‘Regular’ (kind of like the equivalent of ‘Saver’ and ‘Advantage’ in the KrisFlyer programme), and applies fuel surcharge discounts to those redeeming at the following approximate levels.
|Award Ticket Fuel Surcharge Discounts|
|Economy Class||60% discount||40% discount|
|Business Class||20% discount||10% discount|
These discounts aren’t part of this specific promotion (they apply year-round), but it means you won’t be stung quite as badly as you might think when redeeming your miles with Turkish.
Remember we’re only looking at ‘Promotional’ awards in this article. Not only are those you want to be securing anyway, since they are much cheaper, but they are the only ones eligible for the 30% miles discount during this promotion.
Effectively, Economy Class award tickets enjoy a fuel surcharge discounted by around 60%, while Business Class award tickets pay approximately 20% less, compared to the regular fuel surcharge you’ll pay for a cash ticket (and see quoted on sites like ITA Matrix).
Paying the remaining fuel surcharge on top of your miles outlay is still a significant level to consider though, especially in Business Class where the lion’s share still applies.
Here are the fuel surcharges payable in US dollars for one-way tickets from Singapore by region, with the discount shown for ‘Promotional’ award bookings compared to cash fares on these routes.
|Turkish Airlines Fuel Surcharge (US$)
Note: Fuel Surcharges are applied by Turkish Airlines in US Dollars, as quoted in this table. Amounts in Singapore Dollars will fluctuate slightly due to exchange rate variation.
In Economy Class it’s a nice discount, but it’s still a decent saving in Business Class too.
For a round-trip flight to Europe in Business Class, you’ll be paying US$388 (S$519) in fuel surcharges when travelling on an award ticket, compared to US$512 (S$685) on a cash fare.
Remember though, Singapore Airlines applies a 100% discount to its fuel surcharge in all classes for award ticket bookings (i.e. it doesn’t pass on a fuel surcharge at all!).
Flexible change and cancellation
This particular promotion is valid across the entire Turkish Airlines network, so while it might be a bit of a punt to lock in award travel between now and 15th May 2022 given the continued uncertainty over travel restrictions, a speculative booking towards the end of the offer period should be worth considering.
That’s especially true since Turkish levies only a US$25 refund fee on award tickets (around S$33 at the time of writing), giving you the flexibility to refund your miles later if the trip becomes impossible.
Changes to any tickets booked under this promotion are free of charge, under the airline’s current flexible change policy, however do note that you won’t be able to move your travel outside the 7th December 2021 to 15th May 2022 promotion period without stumping up the additional miles payable, and that any changes will have to be completed inside the ticketing window (i.e. before 31st December 2021).
Transfer from Citi
The only credit card points in Singapore supporting transfers into the Turkish Miles&Smiles programme is Citi, with each transfer subject to a S$26.75 fee.
Citi ThankYou Points
Bear in mind though that if you are holding multiple cards, for example the PremierMiles and one of the Citi Rewards cards, you’ll be hit with the conversion fee for each one, as the points balances do not pool between your card accounts.
For a full list of bank to frequent flyer miles transfer options, check out our continually updated guide here.
With travel becoming more certain in the months ahead, this generous Turkish Miles&Smiles offer is a much better prospect than it was this time last year, and comes on top of the carrier’s already competitive redemption rates.
One-way flights to VTL countries with a transit in Turkey already protect your quarantine-free return on a VTL designated flight, and Turkey is joining the VTL anyway next week, so there should be some Turkish Airlines flights also offering this option on the way into Singapore too (TBC).
The deal is especially good between Singapore and Europe or the USA in Business Class, where this offer means parting with around half the miles KrisFlyer is charging for redemptions.
While you’ll also be hit with the Turkish Airlines fuel surcharge, a year-round discount is applied for award tickets to take the edge off, and the miles saving far outweighs the higher cash outlay on these routes.
Flexibility is built in with unlimited date changes (within the promotion and ticketing windows) and a competitive US$25 refund fee, so it’s certainly worth considering a transfer into Miles&Smiles to take advantage of this offer if you’re looking to head to Europe or the USA before mid-May 2022.
Full details of the promotion, including a full list of terms and conditions, are available at the Turkish Airlines website.
(Hat-tip to Suitesmile)
(Cover Photo: Papas Dos)