Wish you could snooze in a lie-flat seat or chow down on some incredible meals (with champagne) while flying over the ocean? Today we’re going to show you how you can fly Turkish Airlines Business Class for FREE! Here’s exactly how to do it.
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If we haven’t met, we’re Jana and Brett, and we’ve traveled to more than 30 different European countries! We love to share our travel adventures and show you how you can travel Europe too!
We recently enjoyed a 13-hour Turkish Airlines Business Class experience from Turkey to the USA. But there’s no need to be jealous — you can have that business class experience too…without paying out of pocket!
It usually costs $3,000-4,000 for a 1-way ticket between the U.S. and Europe. If you’re like us, you want the luxury of a king or queen in business class on a backpacker’s budget. We enjoyed this experience for just $200 per person. But it gets even better for you!
Today we’re going to show you how to fly Turkish Airlines Business Class for completely free.
Ready? Let’s go!
Travel Credit Cards
Most airlines will let you book a flight one of two ways:
- By paying for that flight using a currency like the US Dollar or Euro (that’s the normal way).
- Or by booking what’s known as an award ticket using points and miles.
A 1-way business class flight on Turkish Airlines between the U.S. & Europe costs only 45,000 miles. The reason I’m saying “only” is because it usually costs around 30,000 miles to fly in economy, and at least 60,000 for business class. So 45,000 for a business class ticket is one of the best deals that exists! (Although we did snag a deal for 16,500 points one time!)
But those numbers might seem meaningless right now because your Turkish Airlines miles account balance is likely ZERO.
So how do you get Turkish Airlines miles?
Earn Turkish Airlines Miles
There are lots of ways to get your hands on Turkish Airlines miles. But the best way to get a whole lot at once is by signing up for travel credit cards.
Most travel credit cards give you a sign-up bonus after you spend a certain amount of money on the card in the first few months. You also earn a small amount of miles for each dollar you spend on the card.
So you’re probably thinking, “Great! I’ll open a Turkish Airlines credit card, collect the sign-up bonus, and book my business class flight for free!” Well…
Unfortunately, there’s not a credit card in the U.S. that allows you to directly earn Turkish Airline miles. But don’t worry, there’s still a way to earn enough points to get that free Turkish Airlines business class experience!
I’m going to show 7 steps using travel credit cards that allow you to earn miles now that can be used for Turkish Airlines later.
Note: We use the terms “miles” and “points” interchangeably. Both mean the same thing!
Step 1: Open one of the Best Travel Credit Cards for Turkish Airlines Miles
2 major credit card programs are best for performing this trick: Citi ThankYou Points and Capital One Venture Miles. Both programs allow you to take their “currency” and trade it for Turkish Airlines miles at a 1:1 ratio. Just like trading a dollar for a euro.
So Step 1 toward your goal of flying Turkish Airlines Business Class for free is to open a credit card that earns points or miles in one of these programs.
There are currently 3 of these travel credit cards that will give you enough points to book Turkish Airlines business class from the sign-up bonus alone:
- Citi Premier: 60,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
- Capital One Venture Rewards: 60,000 miles after spending $3000 in the first 3 months
- Capital One Venture X: 75,000 miles after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
Step 2: Earn the Sign-up Bonus
So Step 2 after you open one of these cards is to earn the sign-up bonus.
Once you do that, you’ll be sitting on enough points to book an award ticket for Turkish Airlines Business Class.
But how do you actually trade those points for Turkish Airlines miles? That’s Step 3.
Step 3: Transfer Points to the Turkish Airlines
I’ve jumped into my Capital One account, and I’m going to show you how to transfer Venture miles to Turkish Airlines since there are two capital one cards on the list.
In your account, click the button that says “Redeem” and then scroll down to the option that says “Convert Rewards.”
Capital One runs a promotion in various programs from time to time that can make your transfer even more valuable. For example, we snagged a deal for only 33,750 miles per person when we flew recently!
But no promotion today, so scroll down to find Turkish Airlines and click “Transfer Miles.”
Step 4: Create a Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Account
Now this is a good time to point out: before you can actually transfer your miles, you’re going to need a Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles account. So here’s how you create that:
- Head over to turkishairlines.com and click “Sign Up.”
- Enter all the required info.
- Before you click submit, make sure you’re using the same name for the Miles & Smiles account as you have on your Capital One account.
- Now click submit and make note of your membership number, which you’re going to need in the next step.
Now back in your Capital One account, enter your new membership # and click “next.”
Enter the amount you need to transfer — in this case 45,000 — and click “complete transfer.”
Once you’ve submitted your points transfer, those points should arrive in your Miles & Smiles account within 24 hours, and (if I remember correctly) you should even get an email notifying you when that’s complete.
So once you’ve got 45,000 miles in your Miles & Smiles account, how do you actually book your business class ticket?
Step 5: Search for Available Turkish Airlines Business Class Tickets
For that, login to your Turkish Airlines account, and click this link that says “Award Ticket – Buy a ticket with Miles”.
Now before we go any further, let’s talk briefly about a potential downside to flying Turkish Airlines. Unless I’ve missed something, the only direct flights between the U.S. & Europe are to/from Istanbul. So if you were hoping to board a flight in the U.S. and wake up in Rome, for example, it’s not quite that easy.
But in most cases, connecting between Istanbul and another airport in Europe won’t cost you any extra miles as long as Turkish Airlines flies there. And if you really don’t want a connecting flight, dude, stay in Istanbul! It’s an unbelievable city with some of the world’s best food.
Before you actually transfer your miles from Capital One, I highly recommend you search Turkish Airlines to make sure there are award tickets available for the route and date of your choice. No one wants to get stuck with a bunch of points they can’t use, so I’m going to show you how to search for availability now.
- Enter your origin (that’s probably going to need to be a big international airport if it’s in the U.S.), your destination, and then choose a date to start your search.
- If you’re booking a one-way ticket, be sure to select that, then click the button labeled cabin and select Business Class, and submit your search.
- If there are award tickets available on the day you selected, you’ll see those options listed on the next page, and you can click each one for more information.
In past searches, I’ve run into two potential problems:
- Unavailable route. If your search doesn’t come up with any results, this means at the very least that your route isn’t available on the day you selected. I feel like this isn’t the most user-friendly platform, so if this happens to you, you’ll have to do some extra work on your own. Try clicking over to the day before or after and see if any availability shows. If you try a week’s worth of days and find nothing, there’s a good chance that either the route doesn’t exist, or there just isn’t any business class availability.
- Unavailable (or pricey!) award seats. This brings up the second potential problem. Turkish airlines only opens up a handful of award tickets per flight, and once that allotment is booked, additional seats will either cost a LOT more than you’re expecting to pay, or won’t be available at all. Because of this, it’s always best to book award tickets on Turkish Airlines as far in advance as possible. Flights can usually be booked starting about 11 months in advance.
But once you’ve found availability and transferred you points, it’s time to book!
Step 6: Book your Turkish Airlines Business Class flight with Miles!
Click “Select this Flight,” go through the normal booking process, and you’re done!
But wait…I know what you’re thinking. “You said you were going to show me how to book Turkish Airlines Business Class for free. What’s that extra charge?”
Well, airlines separate taxes and fees from the cost of the flight, and your award ticket purchase won’t cover those. So that means you’ll likely be left with $170-$250 you still have to cover.
I mean, $200 for a flight that normally costs about $4000 is a steal! But don’t worry, I’ve got a plan for you for that $200.
Step 7: Reimburse yourself for the fees
If you used the Capital One Venture Rewards card during this process, you ended up with at least 66,000 miles from the sign-up bonus and the spending you needed to earn it.
You transferred 45,000 miles, leaving you with at least 21,000. So when it comes time to book your award ticket on Turkish Airlines, pay the additional fees with your Venture card. Here’s why.
Your Venture miles can also be used to reimburse yourself for a recent travel purchase. And since the fee for a flight is considered a travel purchase, you’ll see it here when it posts to your account.
You can reimburse any of those purchases charged to your account within the past 90 days. You simply select the charge, click to reimburse it, and — voila — you’ve just booked Turkish Airlines Business Class for completely FREE!
Time to Travel Europe!
If traveling Europe on a budget is a topic you’d like to explore more, don’t miss this video! In it, we share how we spent one year visiting 20 countries in Europe for less than $1000 per month — without hitchhiking, staying in hostels, or spending all our time in super cheap countries.
Bonus: Business Class tickets give you complimentary access to the Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge… see how awesome it is here!
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