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Maximizing the New Citi ThankYou Partnership with Turkish Airlines

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Until recently, earning Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles hasn’t been easy for anyone living in the United States. The only ways to do so has been to credit Star Alliance flights to your Turkish Airlines Smiles & Miles account or through Marriott Hotel + Air packages. Now we have another way.

Citi recently announced that the Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles program would become the latest transfer partner of their ThankYou program. You will have the ability to transfer your ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio.

Transfer Citi ThankYou points to Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles at a 1:1 ratio
Transfer Citi ThankYou points to Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles at a 1:1 ratio

Let’s discuss some of the basics of the Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles program, ways to maximize your miles to their fullest potential, and ways you can earn more miles through Citi cards.

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Basics

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles award tickets have two levels. The cheapest level is called Capacity controlled/Limited. The standard level is called Guaranteed. Both of these are exactly how they sound. Capacity controlled awards will be available when space permits, while Guaranteed awards are available as long as there is a seat on the plane available. Guaranteed awards are always going to cost a considerably larger amount of miles.

Fuel Surcharges on Turkish Airlines

Unfortunately one of the biggest downsides to many foreign airlines is their implementation of fuel surcharges. Turkish Airlines is no different, however they do tend to be a lot less than many others. A great way to avoid fuel surcharges is to use Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles to fly on a Star Alliance Airline like United.

Stopovers Are Allowed With Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

One benefit that several airlines have done away with is the ability to incorporate a stopover with an award ticket. When you redeem Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles on their own planes you will be allowed one stopover. When you use your miles to fly a partner airline, you are allowed to have one stopover when you book an economy ticket of at least 60,000 miles, a business class tickets of at least 90,000 miles, or a first class ticket of at least 135,000 miles.

Booking Flights with Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

When you’re ready to book an award ticket on a Turkish Airlines plane, you can do so by simply getting on their website. However, if you are looking to book an award ticket on a partner plane, you will need to call their reservation line at 1-800-874-8875.

How to Maximize Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

Business or First Class Flights to Europe

If you are thinking about booking a flight from New York to Istanbul, you could use 90,000 Turkish Airlines miles to fly in business class or 120,000 miles to experience first class. These are Capacity controlled/Limited awards, which means they won’t always be available to book.

Use Turkish Airlines miles to fly in business class
Use Turkish Airlines miles to fly in business class

If you were to book this same flight with United, it would cost 140,000 miles. Just keep in mind that Turkish Airlines will impose fuel surcharges on flights so it’s important to make sure the math works out in your favor for any flight you consider.

Flights from Istanbul to Seychelles

Turkish Airlines is currently running a special where you can save 50% off flights from Istanbul to Seychelles. You will need to book a flight in either coach or business class by September 14, 2017, and fly before December 31, 2017.

Flights in Coach or Business Class Within United States and North America

Another great way to use Turkish Airlines miles is for coach or business class flights within the United States on United, a Star Alliance Partner. In order to use Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles on United, there will need to be United Saver award space available.
Flights within the United States will cost 15,000 Turkish Airlines miles roundtrip for coach seats or 25,000 Turkish Airlines miles for business class seats. In comparison, flights on United would cost 25,000 United miles in Coach and 50,000 United miles for business class.
You could also expand your travels to other parts of North America. The Turkish Airlines award chart sets this region to include not only the United States, but also Netherlands Antilles, Bermuda, Canada, and Mexico. Roundtrip flights would cost 20,000 miles in coach or 30,000 miles in business class.

Ways to Earn The Most Citi ThankYou Points

There are several different ways to earn Citi ThankYou points, however one of the easiest is through spending done on certain credit cards. Let’s take a look at a few cards that will help you rack up the most Citi ThankYou points quickly.

Citi Prestige® Card

When you sign up for the Citi Prestige® Card, you will earn 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $5,000 in purchases within three months. You will also receive 3x ThankYou points on air travel and hotels, 2x points on dining and entertainment and 1x points on everything else.

Earn 50,000 Citi ThankYou with the Citi Prestige® Card
The Citi Prestige® Card has a 50,000 point sign-up bonus

One of the big negatives about the Citi Prestige® Card for many people is that it has a high $450 annual fee. However, there are a lot of benefits that come along with the card. To start, you will receive a $250 air travel credit each year. This will cover things like airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades, and other incidental fees. If you have been considering Global Entry, which includes TSA Precheck, then you will receive a $100 statement credit to cover the application fee. When you book four or more consecutive nights at a hotel through or the Citi Prestige concierge, your fourth night will be free. The benefits of the Citi Prestige® Card don’t end there. You will also receive a complimentary Priority Pass membership, which will get you into over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide.

Citi Premier℠ Card

You will receive 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after signing up for the Citi Premier℠ Card and spending $4,000 in purchases within the first three months. When you use your card, you will receive 3x points on travel, which includes gas stations, 2x points for dining out and on entertainment, plus 1x on everything else.

The Citi Premier℠ Card has no foreign transactions fee, however it does have a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

While you still have the opportunity to earn ThankYou points with the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, it’s mostly known for its introductory APR. When you sign up you will receive 15 months of 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers. If you are planning to transfer a balance from a different credit card, there is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3%, whichever is greater.

Citi ThankYou Preferred comes with15 months of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers
Citi ThankYou Preferred is known for its introductory APR

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, you will have the chance to earn ThankYou points on purchases. You will receive 2x points at restaurants and on entertainment. All other purchases will earn 1x points. The best part for some is that the Citi ThankYou Preferred card comes with no annual fee.

AT&T Access Card from Citi

Another opportunity to earn Citi ThankYou points is with the AT&T Access Card from Citi. When you sign up you will receive 10,000 ThankYou points once you spend $1,000 on purchases within three months. You will earn 2x ThankYou points on purchases made at retail and travel websites, as well as products and services purchased from AT&T. You will then earn 1x points on all other purchases made with your card. The AT&T Access Card from Citi comes with no annual fee.

The Bottom Line

Over the past several years Citi has been adding additional transfer partners to their ThankYou program. The hope has been that it would help make the program a little more competitive with other transferable points programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. The latest addition of Turkish Airlines gives cardholders another appealing option for redeeming points for travel.

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