Request volume for my award booking service is down, naturally, since we help people primarily to find premium cabin international awards and international travel is mostly turned off from the United States right now. However Spencer Howard has done a great job keeping up on frequent flyer award space as it becomes available.
Spencer runs a free email newsletter where he sends out award availability alerts. Earlier today he flagged fantastic availability for the whole family on Turkish Airlines from a variety of U.S. gateway cities. You can redeem those seats using miles from any Star Alliance frequent flyer program. And from Istanbul you can connect onward to much of the world.
This prompted me to look for some other award space too and come up with a bunch of Star Alliance routes that are available across the Pond for four or more passengers next year.
Wide Open Award Availability
Turkish Airlines has availability for four or more business class award passengers across numerous routes between the U.S. and Istanbul, including New York JFK, Newark, Chicago O’Hare, Boston, Atlanta, and Washington Dulles. This appears to be the case January through mid-May.
Here’s a calendar of availability for four business class awards on the Chicago – Istanbul route for March:
Looking at the Chicago route I also noticed that United appears to be offering at least four business class award seats many days for Chicago – Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Zurich. And there’s also availability on Austrian Chicago – Vienna and on TAP Air Portugal Chicago – Lisbon.
It’s a great time to be booking international award travel for 2021 and mileage redemptions tend to be quite flexible, where you can pay a modest fee to cancel an award and redeposit miles into your airline account.
Booking These Awards
You can book this award space using any Star Alliance frequent flyer program. Connecting in Istanbul can be convenient for travel to Eastern Europe, the Mideast, Southeast Asia, and Africa. However if you’re just traveling to Europe prices are as follows:
- Air Canada Aeroplan (Amex, Capital One partner) 57,500 miles one way, no fuel surcharges
- ANA Mileage Club (Amex transfer partner, not instant) 88,000 miles round-trip
- Avianca LifeMiles (Amex, Citi, Capital One partner) 63,000 miles one way, no fuel surcharges
- Turkish Miles & Smiles (Citi partner) 45,000 miles one way
- United MileagePlus (Chase partner) 77,000 miles one way after recent devaluation, no fuel surcharges
Fuel surcharges tend to be $183 each way for travel between the U.S. and Istanbul non-stop, though the actual amount (and also for taxes) will depending on where you’re originating and traveling to.
The best value without fuel surcharges is Aeroplan, at 57,500 miles each way, and points transfer instantly from American Express.