Ever since I first read about the ability to use just 7,500 Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles for domestic United tickets (including Alaska and Hawaii!), I’ve been a major fan of the currency. I wasn’t sold on Citi ThankYou Points, as the currency seemed weaker than both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards. However, the value of Miles & Smiles changed the calculus completely for me. I’ve since booked five tickets using Turkish miles, for a value of over $3,000!

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Turkish has been all over the map in regard to being able to successfully book United tickets.

Running Into the Same Wall Again and Again

I’ve been eager to book a father-daughter trip this summer. With a few ides on the table, the two things I need to line up are award flights and an “open” destination. I’ve been eyeing Florida or a beach destination in Mexico in particular.

United has had some decent X-class Saver award availability, which means Miles & Smiles should be able to see and book this space. I’ve sent off a couple requests to my Turkish reservations office of choice that tends to respond within one business day.

And they’ve shot me down every time. It’s getting frustrating.

The first trip I tried was a three segment itinerary to Omaha, just to see if it would work with two connections and two regional partners. This was shot down. The office stated that they could not see the DEN-OMA inventory, which was still clearly available to me on United’s website.

The second attempt was a ticket to Daytona Beach, again with two connections. Just like the first, the reservations office said they couldn’t find the space to DAB. A day later, it was the same story to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Well, it isn’t ideal, but I decided to try an itinerary with just one connection to Orlando. No dice. I’m quickly developing a love-hate relationship with my favorite award currency.

frustration Turkish Miles & Smiles

What to Do Now??

At this point I’m wondering if I’m starting to get on the nerves of the reservations agents. I mean, who sends them four requests within a 10-day span??? But I am a major award travel nerd, and I really want to nail something down for this summer.

I’ve not tried calling Turkish Airlines in over 4 months, and that is the next step. Email has generally been easy enough, as I just copy and paste everything into a template, change the dates and segments and off it goes. Takes 2 minutes after a United search. Easy peasy. But if the reservations office obviously cannot see all award inventory, this could continue to be an exercise in futility.

I’m curious to see if the call center has any better luck. For a while, they were really good at finding space, and it nearly always matched United’s  Saver space. However, I have heard multiple anecdotal reports of not being able to book all segments with Turkish miles. I’m also wondering if there is some issue with a 2-stop ticket, as I have yet to successfully book one of these. The inability to book the 1-stop ticket tells me it’s probably a more systemic issue.

Anyone else been having difficulty with Turkish Miles & Smiles tickets lately? Or is it just me?