Wide Open Europe Business Class Awards For 4+ People, With Wonky MileagePlus Award Price Discount

Turkish Airlines offers great business class award space on most of its flights between the U.S. and Istanbul, even for four or more passengers, through end of schedule and especially end of 2022 and early 2023. Turkish serves more countries than any other airline they’re a great way to connect to see much of the world. Their Boeing 787s have their best business class product.

This deal was first spotted by Thrifty Traveler‘s premium airfare deal alert service. Thrifty Traveler is increasing its subscription price end of day Thursday but anyone who gets in before then keeps the lower price for life. This deal is generally available on a connecting basis but that means you can find it from most U.S. cities where there’s United Airlines award space from that city to the Turkish Airlines departure gateway.

On the one hand, 60,000 miles each way using United miles is a great deal and lower than even before they raised partner redemption prices twice during the pandemic.

On the other hand, it’s probably more than it should be. American charges 57,500 miles for saver business class between the U.S. and Europe (but most award space is on British Airways, incurring significant fuel surcharges). Iberia charges 34,000 miles each way between the East Coast and Madrid. ANA (an Amex transfer partner) runs 88,000 miles roundtrip on Star Alliance airlines, plus fuel surcharges on most partners. And Turkish Airlines itself (Citi, Capital One and Bilt transfer partner) runs just 45,000 miles each way for its own flights between the U.S. and Istanbul.

Bear in mind that Aeroplan – a Chase, Amex, Capital One and Bilt partner – charges 60,000 miles for Star Alliance business class to nearer Europe without fuel surcharges. So this availability works great through Aeroplan even if this is somehow a United pricing glitch and MileagePlus doesn’t allow this to last.

What I find even more interesting is the wider disparity in prices I’m seeing from MileagePlus on partner redemptions lately.

The ‘normal’ partner business class price between the U.S. and Europe has been 77,000 miles each way:

And indeed if you book Turkish Airlines non-stop you may see that 77,000 mile price.

It’s only connecting itineraries that make the price drop to 60,000 miles.

And variable pricing isn’t just limited to Turkish, here’s a non-stop U.S. – Europe price that’s 73,000 miles rather than 77,000 miles, for SWISS New York JFK – Geneva.

Traditionally partner award prices have been (1) available only at the saver level (though some airlines have added more expensive rulebuster awards on partners, like Alaska lately with some of its partners) and (2) based on a fixed award chart, even when the award chart isn’t published. Unpublished pricing usually leads to massive inflation over time, like we’ve seen from Delta SkyMiles. So it’s surprising to see some lower prices from MileagePlus, though that’s after only just raising partner business class prices.

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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  1. There’s some very weird pricing going on, not entirely sure it’s intentional but it’s been around for a few days now, much better deals than Europe….

  2. @Gary – your point on comparative costs had me thinking of a question that has probably been asked and answered many times, but for some reason I can’t recall – does AA get a cut of the YQ $ on BA partner redemptions?

  3. This has been discussed on FT since last Thursday. Bloggers were super slow on the uptake here, but expect this to be pulled very quickly now.

  4. This could be UA’s way of acknowledging that they aren’t selling many seats at 200K-360K each way and international business travel is no where near where it was.

  5. @ Gary — Thanks! Booked J RTW ATL-IAH-MUC-BKK-NRT-EWR-ATL for 120k + ~$100 pp! Sweet deal.

  6. Kind of surprised it took the Thought Leader 3 days to get this posted. Maybe holding back while he made some personal bookings? Or too busy with the holidays and taxes, as I was?

    Also this goes way beyond the TK flights (which I’ve seen for quite some time) as really extended around the globe, at least until it was yanked today.

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