Wide Open Star Alliance Business Class to Europe for 8 or More Passengers from Several Cities!

Turkish Airlines is offering amazing award availability between several US cities and Istanbul. I’d act quickly because 8 or more award seats in business class per flight simply will not last.

Turkish flights are feast or famine for award space. They opened business awards every day when they launched their San Francisco route. Historically Chicago – Istanbul has been the easiest flight on which to secure space. I’ve always had a tough time with Washington Dulles – Istanbul.

In the US they serve Boston, Chicago, New York JFK, Washington Dulles, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Houston, and Atlanta.

Here’s Houston – Istanbul for 8 passengers, green and blue dates show business class available:

And here’s New York – Istanbul for 8 passengers.

United’s award calendar is the quickest to search, you can see months at a time and you don’t even need to log in. But sometimes United.com is less than reliable. So I ran a search using Aeroplan’s website, which I find to be generally the most reliable, putting up a month-long calendar using Award Nexus.

Here’s Chicago – Istanbul for 8 passengers.

While there are dates with this many business class seats in the opposite direction, availability is much better for US-Istanbul than for Istanbul – US (although it is quite good for 8 passengers on Istanbul – Atlanta).

Turkish Airlines generally offers a good seat, good food, and a very good business class lounge in Istanbul. There’s billiards, golf, a race track, and a movie room with popcorn machine.

Turkish is also useful for European travel (connecting in Istanbul and flying Westward) as well as to the Mideast. They’re a great option for getting to Israel and to Athens. Turkish can also be good for travel to Asia and Africa.

Turkish serves more countries in the world than any other airline (and fourth most destinations and will provide a free hotel night in Istanbul if flight schedules force an overnight connection in Istanbul.

You can book Turkish Airlines US-Europe for:

  • Aeroplan: 57,500 miles each way and no fuel surcharges. Aeroplan is an American Express Membership Rewards instant transfer partner.
  • Avianca LifeMiles: 63,000 miles each way and no fuel surcharges. LifeMiles has regularly sold miles very inexpensively for quite awhile.
  • United Mileage Plus: 70,000 miles each way and no fuel surcharges. United is a Chase Ultimate Rewards instant transfer partner.

All three carriers allow connections within the US to the Turkish international gateway city, and beyond Istanbul to other cities in the region for no additional miles.

(HT: Don’t Call the Airline)

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. @Gary, Please stop posting about award tickets in business class and first class. According to many commenters on the Alaska Air devaluation, having people use these tickets will only force airlines to stop offering these awards or to start charging ridiculously high prices for them. Swine who use free tickets deserve only coach, if that even.

  2. Quit snitching Gary. Been like this for weeks, have my eye on biz for summer 2017

  3. @John Did I really just read that??? Swine? Exactly what are you doing reading this blog sir? Just perusing the swine daily times?

    In the words of the age-old adage: “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

    Maybe there is some correlation we could draw here between Johns, ducks, & SWINE.

  4. I just booked a UA/TK ticket for 4 of us last week, and found it all by myself (!!!) without it being published in a major blog. Have recent devaluations taught us nothing? I often travel with my significant other and two miniature humans and I’d like to be able to find seats for all
    of us together in the future. These tickets were very easy to find if you’re just willing to look. No need to draw extra attention.

    You might also want to mention the State Department warning.


  5. @Michelle S – sorry, I’m going to strongly disagree with you. I get you want to keep this information to yourself and those you deem deserving (who look hard constantly or whom are lucky enough to stumble upon it). But:

    1. Real program members benefit by being told now is a great time to look versus a week from now.

    2. This is hardly the first time Turkish has done this, we saw availability like this as recently as December.

    3. That availability was covered by blogs including this one and it happened again.

    4. Turkish availability goes in cycles, this availability will disappear regardless of being publicized. Writing about it doesn’t make the space disappear, writing about it lets more members take advantage of the space while it’s available.

    I simply don’t agree with the selfishness, especially when it’s based on faulty reasoning.

  6. @Credit I’ve written about Miles & Smiles and its sweet spots, it is difficult for US members to earn Turkish miles through things other than flying. Without multiple sources of miles it’s not a practical option for most.

  7. You think it’s selfish when people (not just me) don’t want otherwise sustainable deals like this broadcast all over the Internet. I think your lack of stewardship to the community on this is selfish. Name calling is fun!

    You’re really not sharing any secrets here (and I’m not withholding any). Anyone with 2 minutes and an Internet connection could have found this.

  8. @Michelle S-Calm down. Turkish tourism is tanking. Nobody wants to go there. As a result I ‘m sure we’ll continue to see award deals on TK for quite awhile, blogs not withstanding.

  9. Maybe reword the title to “Wide Open to Istanbul”. While that’s technically Europe – at least half – searching for availability onward from IST to the rest of Europe significantly reduces award availability.

  10. Exactly, I’m not sharing secrets. And Turkish releasing 8 business class seats per flight isn’t sustainable, we know their patterns, they do this and then the space dries up and then they do this again.

    Of course anyone could have found this, but most people don’t search for space every day. Telling them it’s there today, book your travel now rather than thinking a about it next week, has value for some.

    But if it’s so easy, and not a secret, then what exactly is your complaint?

    As you say I am not sharing secrets, just award availability. Some people have an interesting idea of being entitled to award space, mileage-earning, what have you that only has value to them when others can’t use it to. But as you say it’s not complicated.

    Which is it, simple and obvious or a secret not to be shared?

  11. @Gary, Yes, sarcasm on my part of course. Some, however, do blame the AS devaluation on you and other bloggers for posting and bragging about scoring first-class flights for free. They contend it angers airline execs and passengers who pay face value for tickets to see “low class” folk riding up front for free and that is what caused Emirates to force the devaluation. See comments to recent posts on Rene’s Points.

  12. This should be relevant.

    Visit turkey before it becomes another Islamic baket case

  13. @john Alaska can set whatever price it wants in conjunction with the seat costs from Emirates. My complain there was lack of notice. And Alaska doesn’t say that highlighting the Emirates redemptions was the issue, they highlight travel hacking like the guy who was in the media redeeming tons of segments via Alaska’s routing rules and direct flights with stops [this is a farce, it isn’t the reason, but it’s alaska’s explanation]


  14. I think we can all agree that Turkish is not the next Emirates, but after successfully killing all good deals on airlines that have showers on the planes, maybe we can take it just a little easy on Star Alliance J?

    “Wide open to Europe” …but you might want to forget about the stopover.


    There’s a reason it’s wide open and why a lot of us (myself included) wouldn’t want to get off the plane in IST right now. At least if you’re going to publicize, give people the whole story.

  15. EXACTLY 😉 Nothing to see here, move along.

    I actually just booked this (yesterday, thank God, before you published this). TK was not my first choice. Emirates (J) was, but we couldn’t find availability (which used to be pretty good before people knew you could take a shower selfies using Alaska miles). We’re not leaving the airport in Turkey (as I’m sure would be the case of many other readers if they knew what was going on over there).

    Gary, A LOT of people read your blog (and others). Teach a man to fish.

    Call me over entitled, but I’m just trying to get to where I’m going the best way I can afford, just like everyone else. Some of us have family (in-laws) in that part of the world and I’d like for my kids to be able to see their grandparents every now and then. Each year it gets harder and harder to find tickets. I really don’t want to go back to flying paid Y on LH to India or having to shell out for 4 Standard J awards on United. That means less time with family. I’m just as selfish as everyone else.

    You can share some low hanging fruit without chopping down the tree. A little more discretion would be greatly appreciated.

    Gary, as always, I think you have the best intentions when sharing these deals. You may think you’re making it easier for people, but you’re not.

  16. TK is usually relatively generous, but 8 seats are a lot. Within the *A network, TK, TG, AC, and to some extent NH and OZ are quite reliable for premium award space. Thanks for pointing this out Gary.

    About AS move on Emirates, if the problem is people taking advantage of routings, then they should tighten up the rules IMO. One of the big 3 used to have a free stopover on a US gateway city, where we could get a free one way in addition to the trans-oceanic long haul award itself. I got a free one way to San Diego from that award, then the airline changed the rule w/o changing redemption rates then.

    I am not convinced about unsustainable redemption rates either. I read on Alaska’s 10K that last year alone, AS made an incremental $34M in selling miles, and that is the incremental revenue only. If each first class redemption, say LAX-SIN, is priced at $25K, and AS has overhead of 25K per ticket, $34M will still yield 680 tickets, or 1.8 F tickets per day. I don’t know AS business structure, but I think it is safe to say that their overhead per award ticket is nowhere near $25K.

  17. Yesterday there was a $200 R/T fare to Turkey. With all the ‘activity’ going on there, you’re going to see plenty of low fares and award availability. Turkey isn’t on my ‘go to’ destination list these days.
    It’s dangerous, and this from a New Yorker.

  18. @gary leff~ the bold type header of this article is click-bait of the highest order. Which is what you want. However, it does not tell the whole story.
    Bemoaning the fact that it is hard for you and your followers to easily acquire the right miles made me smile. Heavens above, zut alores!~ imagine, having to actually buy miles (LifeMiles for the terminally clueless) instead of getting your 126th Credit Card with a zillion free miles attached!
    Welcome to the real world!
    Oh, and finally, your lame defence of your position in response to @Michelle S posts above is pretty pathetic. I hope you know what you are doing in helping demolish/diminish the award programs, but their is a chance, I suppose, that you are so blinkered, you may not be fully aware. Keep the ‘golden goose’ fable to front of mind.

  19. @glenn t – “Bemoaning the fact that it is hard for you and your followers to easily acquire the right miles made me smile.” what on earth are you talking about?

  20. i agree the headline is misleading given that these are all examples to istanbul.

    i agree with gary that it is silly for entitled experienced game players to act as if this information shouldn’t be shared, or as if it is some super secret easily exploited trick anyway. it serves gary to post it as content, but the reality is how many readers, of this huge blog, even considered going let alone booking a ticket based on this? and if turkish didn’t want people booking 8 open seats, wouldn’t they, you know, only make 4 available?

    i just got to istanbul a few days ago, and i’m staying here with the cats for a few weeks. tourism is down for obvious reasons, but they are not really the most realistic ones. terrorism works based on fear and exaggeration of risks, exactly what can be heard in some of the people above. they are scared of getting blown up in istanbul, although they are thousands of times more likely to be hit by a car in berlin.

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