When an airline publishes a new award chart on its website without any notice to customers, it usually means one thing: no-notice devaluation. That is exactly what Turkish Airlines did last night. Although they seem to have back tracked that some, notating that the chart is valid until 2/15/24. There is no sugar coating it, this devaluation is a big bummer and eliminates a lot of the outsized value that Turkish's Miles&Smiles program offered. There is still some value in the program, but not much. We break down the details of this Turkish devaluation below, which was first reported by Prince of Travel.
Turkish Airlines Sweet Spots
Turkish Airlines offered fantastic value for a lot of different redemptions. Some of our favorites included 45,000 miles for one-way to Europe in business and 7,500 miles for one-way for domestic economy flights on United (including Hawaii). Sadly, these and many other sweet spots are gone under these new award charts.
The silver lining (for now) is that Turkish's search engine is still pricing award flights under the old chart, at least for another week. So if you have Turkish miles sitting around or have a flight in mind you want to take, book that ASAP!
This devaluation is particularly bad for two separate reasons. First, as the new award chart shows, prices have increased across the board. Second, Turkish has now adopted additive pricing to its zone-based chart. This essentially punishes travelers taking connecting flights, as we explain below.
Business class flights on Turkish between the US and Istanbul now cost 65,000 miles each way (up from 45,000). The old award price was so good that even with this 44% increase, the cost is still comparable to what other programs would charge for flights between the US and Europe.
The sweet spot for US domestic flights on partner United Airlines has also increased. Economy flights now cost 10,000 miles one-way (up from 7,500) and business class now costs 20,000 miles (up from 15,000). I'll admit that the increase for business class isn't unreasonable.
But given how frustrating Turkish's customer service is, using Turkish to book domestic economy flights on United is no longer viable when compared to other options such as Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles.
Turkish Devaluation: Introduction of Additive Pricing
With additive pricing, Turkish is now combining the price of flying through multiple zones into the cost of an award ticket. For example, let's say you wanted to fly from the US to anywhere in Europe, with a connection in Istanbul. Until now, that would have cost you 45,000 miles one-way in business.
Now, this same US-IST-Europe itinerary will cost you at least 85,000 miles, which is the sum of an award flight from the US to Istanbul (65,000) plus the cost for flying from Istanbul to Europe (20,000 or 25,000). Simply put, this is awful.
If Turkish wanted to get rid of its zone-based award pricing, they could have just switched to distance-based instead.
Here is how Turkish explains this concept on its website:
Turkish Devaluation: ToP Thoughts
Devaluations are never a good thing, especially unexpected ones with limited advanced notice to customers. But this Turkish devaluation was particularly egregious with a one-two punch to the gut. First, Turkish increases prices across the board quite significantly. Then, it introduces additive pricing where the price of award flights connecting in Istanbul now cost the sum of traveling between Istanbul and both zones involved. There is still some value in the Miles&Smiles program, but the vast majority of the sweet spots are gone.