This is a difficult time for the Turkish people. Erdoğan is a strong man and a disaster who invoked Hitler to justify new powers he seeks in the aftermath of the coup attempt in his country.
He was aggregating power before the coup, restricting rights, but has since been rounding up thousands of citizens and restricting freedoms even more. Of course a successful coup could well have led to limitations on freedom for the Turkish people as well. There was likely no good outcome.
And of course travel on Turkish Airlines is plummeting. That means plenty of award space on the Star Alliance carrier. I’ve noticed this in the past, recently, and earlier this week pointed out to another blogger that they could take their whole family on a business class award trip on their preferred dates out of New York earlier in the week. MileCards writes about it as well.
Here’s San Francisco – Istanbul business class award space for 4 passengers: Note that dotted lines are business class dates, solid lines show economy availability.
Here’s Houston – Istanbul business class award space for 4 passengers:
Los Angeles availability is good as well, though not as good:
There’s great availability Chicago – Istanbul. There’s very good availability (though not quite as much) New York – Istanbul and Washington Dulles – Istanbul. In all cases June is the weakest month, and Miami availability is the sparsest.
I’m staying away from Turkey itself. But remember that even the attack at the Istanbul airport last summer was outside security, security at the airport is good, I feel very comfortable transiting Istanbul.
And there’s an upside to the Erdoğan regime: if you don’t like your seatmate, perhaps they snore too loudly or won’t stop chatting you up when you’re trying to sleep, just discretely whisper to a flight attendant prior to arrival that they’re a Gülenist and you’ll have your revenge.
Turkish offers one of the most over the top business class lounge experiences in Istanbul. There’s billiards, golf, a race track, and a movie room with popcorn machine.
Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge, Istanbul
And when an itinerary contains a forced layover in Istanbul, Turkish will provide a free hotel night even for economy passengers. A work colleague was given the Radisson Blu at the airport when flying economy to and from Eastern Europe.
- United charges 70,000 each way to Turkey and surrounding areas in Europe, 80,000 if you make your destination the Mideast. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card‘s points usually transfer instantly.
- Aeroplan charges 57,500 each way to Turkey and surrounding areas in Europe, 82,500 if you make your destination the Mideast. Your American Express Membership Rewards points usually transfer instantly.
- Avianca LifeMiles charges 63,000 each way to Turkey and surrounding areas in Europe, 78,000 if you make your destination the Mideast or North Africa. LifeMiles frequently sells miles cheap.
Each of these three programs allow you to book awards on Turkish without fuel surcharges.