Redeem Hawaii Awards for Just 7500 Miles Each Way (Even Better: 12,500 for First Class)

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I’m going to show you one of the remarkable uses of Citi points. Would you believe 60,000 points is enough for (8) flights to Hawaii — and not just from the West Coast, but including connections from the East Coast as well?

Citi has a number of ‘oddball’ airline partners like EVA Air, which offers some fantastic award values and Garuda Indonesia which offers some amazing award sales (they once ran 90% off all awards, even in first class).

One of those ‘oddball’ Citi transfer partners is Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. Turkish Airlines offers some great award redemptions. They add fuel surcharges onto redemptions, their pricing is very reasonable.

  • They charge 90,000 miles roundtrip between the US and Turkey — or anywhere in Europe — in business class. They charge 98,000 miles roundtrip between the US and North Africa via Istanbul.

  • Asia or South Africa is 135,000 miles roundtrip in business class.

  • Turkish Miles & Smiles also offers companion award tickets for fewer miles in conjunction with a paid ticket, e.g. US – Istanbul at 63,000 miles roundtrip.


Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo

One of the oddball things about Turkish Miles & Smiles is that they used to put Hawaii in the same Oceania region as Australia, so Honolulu – Auckland – Sydney on Air New Zealand was just 25,000 miles each way.

Nick Reyes reports that Hawaii has now been moved to the same region as the U.S. No more cheap Australia awards, but since all of the U.S. is in a single zone there are now cheap Hawaii awards.

  • Domestic U.S. flights are 7500 miles each way in coach
  • And 12,500 miles each way in business (domestic first) class

You can use Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles to fly United’s premium cabin domestically for 25,000 miles roundtrip.. not just between, say, Washington Dulles and Los Angeles but even all the way to Hawaii!

Making Turkish award bookings is interesting. They don’t let you book partner awards on their website. In theory you call, put the award on hold, and then physically go to one of their ticket offices to issue the award. That’s silly, and unnecessary.

You can make a booking by e-mail. You can get the email addresses of their various offices on their website. I’ve personally had good luck dealing with their LAX ticket office at reservation.lax -at- thy.com. Bear in mind they don’t work evenings and weekends.

You’ll let them know you are asking about a partner airline award booking, and give them the passenger name(s), the Miles & Smiles account number, and the specific itinerary you want.

They’ll respond with what’s need to make the booking:

  • A redemption form to sign
  • A credit card form along with a photo of both the front and back of your credit card (my guess is their process is anything but PCI compliant)
  • Copy of your photo ID
  • Copy of your Turkish Miles & Smiles membership card, the digital card you can pull up in their app will do. They literally want you to send them a copy of information they already have in their app.

You’ll transfer the points, they take about 48 hours to move over, and then when the points become available they’ll issue your award over e-mail.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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Comments

  1. What’s the chances availability remains, especially to Hawaii in business class, after a 48 hour transfer time and email processing all of the information they want?

  2. @Ron, I am assuming you mean the international routes? They do allow one way, but no more than 1 carrier. So a UA flight to Frankfurt and then an intra Europe LH flight will not work. So at least for Europe I would suggest flying AC, UA, SAS or LOT do avoid fuel surcharges which Turkish passes on. More unique options are the 5th Freedom routes of Air NZ (LAX – LHR) or Singapore (JFK-FRA) and I would avoid flying Air NZ back due to high taxes in the UK.

    Another fun fact, they do allow stopovers on partner redemptions, although they quote “When using award tickets for travel with other Star Alliance member airlines, stopovers can only be made if the award ticket value is at least 60,000 Miles in Economy Class and 90,000 Miles in Business Class.” So for transatlantic is means roundtrip, but better than nothing.

  3. Any idea what the normal fuel surcharges are on a flight from the US mainland to Hawaii using this method?

  4. @Larry,

    As United doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on domestic flights, I’d expect the typical 9/11 Fee of $5.60/each/person.

  5. An interesting article, but so many hoops to jump through for an award. And, most of all, you could well transfer the points into Turkish miles, and then find that the award space is gone by the time Turkish could book the award ticket. Or am I missing something here?

  6. Ah, thanks Gary. It strikes me as unusual for one airline (Turkish) to be able to hold another airline’s (e.g., Hawaiian’s or United’s) award space for a relatively extended period (48 hours), hence my question. But I guess my impression is unfounded. Anyway, this is good to know.

  7. @Phil – excuse me? I cited Nick (who writes at frequent miler) for the news that Hawaii is now in the U.S. zone, which I had not realized.

  8. Gary, you conveniently buried the attribution deep in your article – but sure made sure you shoved as many affiliate links in before that. But what else could we reasonably expect from The Thought Leader?

  9. @”Ron” your comments are all attacks on me for some reason. There’s nothing buried here. I am AT LEAST as sensitive to providing credit where due as any blogger, much more so than most.

    I learned from Nick that Turkish had recategorized Hawaii into the same zone as the rest of the U.S. and I gave him clear credit for that. The rest by the way follows obviously from that. But there’s nothing buried, the link to his post is right at the front of the section of the post talking about what I learned from the post. But go ahead keep on trashing me as you do.

  10. @HChris Many thanks for the heads up! Nice to know that I can fly the new Turkish business class aboard their brand new Dreamliner from ATL to Bali for only 67,500 miles one way!

  11. @Ron I’m not sure why you’re so vexed. Gary and many of the other point/mile bloggers continuously share information from each other and some at least have the courtesy to credit others. We’re all benefiting from their posts which is why you’re here as well… It’s your choice to click on the affiliate links if you feel inclined to do so or just skim over them. In my case, the information I’ve learned has made many, many, many luxury trips possible so I spread the clicks on Gary and other bloggers links as appreciation when they share a valuable tip and also for their time and help.
    The least we can do is do away with the negativity, or even better, try to be a contributing member to that community.

  12. I went to create a Miles and Smiles account — for some reason its impossible to enter in a password. I’ve tried 3 different browsers and my phone. Are they blocking new accounts for some reason?

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