Airlines

Redeeming a Star Alliance flight? Don’t forget to check out Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles

Save tens of thousands of your precious points by booking your Star Alliance award tickets through Miles&Smiles.

If you’re looking to redeem Star Alliance award flights, your first instinct may be to pull up the KrisFlyer partner redemption chart. That’s not necessarily wrong, because there are some pretty good sweet spots to be had here (such as Europe to the Middle East, and the Middle East to North America).

And yet, KrisFlyer shouldn’t be the only program you consider when redeeming Star Alliance partner flights. In this post, I’m going to talk about the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles program, which can offer tremendous value for redemption flights on Star Alliance carriers between certain zonal pairs.

How to obtain Miles&Smiles miles?

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles miles can be obtained by converting points from Citibank at a 1 Citi Mile:1 Miles&Smiles mile ratio if you own a Citibank PremierMiles card, or at a 2.5 Thank You points:1 Miles&Smiles mile if you own the Citi Prestige or Citi Rewards credit card.

The transfer ratios of points between Citibank to both KrisFlyer and Miles&Smiles are exactly the same.

Transfer ratio between Citi Thank You points and Miles&Smiles miles

Why Miles&Smiles?

Redemptions for Star Alliance flights on both KrisFlyer and Miles&Smiles will attract a fuel surcharge component wherever partner airlines levy them. Since the taxes and surcharges will be the same regardless if you redeem a Star Alliance partner flight through KrisFlyer or Miles&Smiles, you’ll want to compare mileage costs to achieve the best value.

Here’s the Miles&Smiles Round-Trip award chart (one-ways cost half the miles shown):

Singapore falls under the “Far East” zone in the Miles&Smiles chart.

Some great redemptions from the Miles&Smiles program

Here are some redemptions which will save you several thousand miles when using the Miles&Smiles program for Star Alliance award flights rather than KrisFlyer:

Singapore <-> North America

Redeeming a one-way Star Alliance award ticket from Singapore to the United States will set you back 97,500 KrisFlyer miles. If you were to use the Miles&Smiles program, this will only cost you 67,500 miles. That’s 30,000 miles saved on a one-way ticket which can be put towards another holiday.

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There are some fantastic Star Alliance products to try out on your way to North America. ANA’s Business Class, Asiana’s Business Class, and EVA Air’s Business Class products are some great products to fly on to North America.

ANA Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

Singapore <-> Europe

An even better redemption, in my opinion, is using Miles&Smiles points for flights between Singapore and Europe. If you redeem a flight to Europe on a Star Alliance carrier, it will set you back 85,000 miles one-way when redeemed via KrisFlyer. When redeemed with Miles & Smiles miles, this will only cost you 45,000 miles one-way. Saving you 40,000 miles, which is enough for a round-trip Business Class redemption to Bangkok on Singapore Airlines.

From Singapore to Europe, EVA Air would be a great pick and their flights to Europe are on their Boeing 777-300ER aircraft which features the excellent reverse herringbone style seats. Most of their flights to Europe fly through Bangkok and you will be able to experience the EVA Air lounge in Bangkok and the excellent SilverKris Bangkok during your transit.

EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class seat

Singapore <-> South America

Aaron has previously covered some sweet spots of KrisFlyer’s Singapore Airlines and Star Alliance award charts in an article here. However, if you wanted to fly purely on Star Alliance carriers to South America, the Miles&Smiles program still comes out miles ahead than KrisFlyer.

Using the same example which Aaron used to illustrate a redemption from Singapore to South America via Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines,  a redemption with KrisFlyer miles will cost you 100,000 KrisFlyer miles along with the applicable taxes. Under the Miles&Smiles program, this should only cost you 75,000 miles one-way.

United States <-> Europe

If you are traveling between the United States and Europe and want to fly United’s new Polaris Business Class cabin on their new Boeing 787-10s between New York (EWR) and Frankfurt. Redeeming this flight with KrisFlyer miles will cost you 65,000 KrisFlyer miles one-way along with the applicable taxes. On Miles & Smiles, this will only set you back 45,000 miles one-way.

United Polaris Business Class | Photo Credits: United
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If you’re planning to ask “Can I redeem Miles&Smiles miles on Singapore Airlines long-haul flights?”, short answer: no. This is because most Star Alliance partner airlines do not have access to Singapore Airlines long-haul award space.

The drawback

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles has supposedly updated their search engine to allow the booking of Star Alliance awards online. However, I was unable to find any online and had to call up the Turkish Airlines ticketing office in Singapore to perform the booking. Perhaps you will need some miles in your account before being able to do so. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’d recommend searching the United or Aeroplan websites to look for Star Alliance award seats yourselves before phoning up the Turkish Airlines ticketing office if you are not able to see Star Alliance partner airline award seats when browsing the Miles&Smiles website.

At present, even if you perform the booking of awards over the phone, you must still head down to their ticketing office to issue the ticket. This might seem like an extra hurdle to cross, but when you are saving bucket loads of miles through using the Miles&Smiles program, it is definitely worth the effort.

Their office is rather conveniently located at The Gateway in Beach Road and it’s rather accessible via public transport, but only open on weekdays between 0900 – 1800. 

Concluding Thoughts

If you are already set on booking award flights on Star Alliance carriers, you should most definitely consider performing your redemption through the Miles&Smiles program if possible. After all, the applicable taxes on your award flight will cost the same regardless if you redeem them via KrisFlyer or Miles&Smiles. So why not save yourself a few thousand miles and use those miles you saved for another getaway.

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The caveat to all of this is you have not converted all your points to KrisFlyer miles and have a sizeable points balance in Citibank, which you should have given the epic Citibank promotion earlier in the year. 

Again, this is why there is a need to diversify your points portfolio such that you can get access to other frequent flyer programs. If you don’t currently own a Citibank card or want to pick up another card in the Citibank portfolio, you can check out some of the ongoing offers here.

(Cover Photo: Anna Zvereva, Wikipedia Commons)


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Mehul
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Mehul

Isn’t Turkish redemption @65k miles plus taxes (close to 250 usd) – if ur flying sq isn’t it 95k plus 95 sgd tax … also isn’t it that y need to first call Turkish and check if they have availability and then transfer miles which may be a week by which time the seat may already be taken

Mechu
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Mechu

Would YQ payable be the same as what is shown on matrix? Any idea if there specific carriers where the YQ is lower?

Aaron Wong
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yq will match what ITA matrix says. what may be different however, in very, very limited cases, is taxes. there are some countries that charge taxes based on the revenue price of the fare- and since for award tickets the fare component is 0, that particular tax will be 0 for an award ticket. hence your taxes and surcharges figure may differ on an award ticket compared to what ITA says. that said, 95% of the time it should match.

yes, some airlines will have lower yq than others for a given route.

Christian
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Christian

I love the EVA to Europe idea, but I can’t seem to find any award space in business class far out on the award calendar. Booking only a couple of weeks ahead is tough to plan. Any suggestions?

Billy
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Billy

One of the greatest things about miles and smiles is the family membership, which allows each family members to earn miles on the same account. This is very useful if your children don’t travel often to earn miles for redemption on their own. So you can accumulate miles faster in a single account for redemption. And for Europe bound redemption Turkish Airlines has a lot more destination via Istanbul than SQ of other airlines. I wish more credit cards like Amex would allow points transfer to Turkish soon.