Turkish Airlines is launching new non-stop service between San Francisco and Istanbul in April 2015 and the award space is abundant in both business and economy class – even on the inaugural flights! We’re not just talking about one or two seats – most days have at least nine award seats available.
The new service will commence on 13 April 2015 and operate 5x weekly before going daily on 13 May 2015. TK will place its 777-300ER on the route, which has full lie-flat beds in business class.
TK079 Istanbul 1305 – 1625 San Francisco 77W
TK080 San Francisco 1810 – 1705+1 Istanbul 77W
Despite the recent additions of Aer Lingus and SAS to San Francisco, getting award seats on direct flights to Europe is near impossible unless you book last-minute, and then it is usually only on United Airlines to Frankfurt to London.
Turkish Airlines’ award space follows a typical pattern: generous when a new route is announced, then stingy. We saw that with Los Angeles, Houston, and Boston, and we will see it again with San Francisco, but for now the award space is superb and there is globs of it.
Take a look:
4 seats in business or economy? Every single day has space:
6 seats? Yes.
So if you are thinking about a trip to Europe for next spring or summer and live on the west coast (or even other parts of North America), book now – you can secure award space for the whole family and know that Turkish Airlines will provide superior comfort and food in both economy and business class.
Turkish Airlines 777-300ER (77W) Business Class
Turkish Airlines 777-300ER (77W) Economy Class
Turkish also has an extensive and growing route network in Europe or you can continue on to Africa, Asia, or the Middle East – you can get just about anywhere on the world on Turkish, though award space will not be as generous as on this new route. And if you find yourself with a layover in Istanbul on a business class ticket or with Star Alliance Gold status, be sure to check out the Turkish Airlines Lounge.
How to Book
There are many ways to book this space with your points (to anywhere in Europe)–here’s five ways:
1. 90-105K Aeroplan miles (45-52.5K one-way) – Aeroplan is an American Express transfer partner and does not collect fuel surcharges on Turkish flights. If you fly through Istanbul to a destination in Western Europe, you will only be charged the “Europe 1” rate and note that Aeroplan allows two stopovers for reservations booked over the phone. If you stopover in Turkey or in Europe 2, you pay 52.5K one-way or 105K round-trip.
2. 140K United MileagePlus miles (70K one-way) – United’s steep increase in the price Star Alliance Europe redemptions is not pretty, but there is no fuel surcharge. United treats Europe as a single zone, so any destination between Iceland and Georgia will be counted in the same Europe zone and routing rules are more generous than Aeroplan in most respects.
3. 105K Avianca/TACA LifeMiles (52.5K one-way) – If you can book this online, great, but if you have to call the woefully horrible call center, well…I wish you the best of luck. But no fuel surcharge and best to use up these points if you have them before the secret October devaluation kicks in.
4. 105K Lufthansa Miles&More miles (52.6K one-way) – If you took advantage of the sign-up bonus on the Lufthansa Miles&More MasterCard, this is not a bad way to use those points, though you will pay a fuel surcharge.
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Whenever award space like this appears, I always get comments a week or two from people who dragged their feet and lost out on the space – don’t be that person!