During this COVID-19 crisis, it is certainly not the time to travel. On that note, our team has temporarily ceased taking any non-essential trips for the time being and only encourages travellers to be in the sky when the situation alleviates. Until then, our team will continue to post old travel reviews and new travel deals in hopeful anticipation of the earliest dates we all can take to the skies again!
Turkish Airways just posted a fantastic deal out of the Far East to Istanbul (or Europe) for the winter season in 2020 and beyond starting at US$1,577 (S$2,300).
For frequent travellers, we know that a return business class flight out of Singapore on a 4-5* carrier easily goes over S$4,000. This deal however, doesn’t start in Singapore, but rather in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. Pre COVID-19, Turkish Airlines operated 11 weekly flights on an ageing A330 featuring a 2-2-2 configuration in Business Class. For this deal, it seems that only its late morning departure from Kuala Lumpur is valid.
However, as reported earlier by Andrew from Mainly Miles, Turkish Airlines has planned to bring their new 787-9 Business Class to their Istanbul-Kuala Lumpur/Singapore routes. This new 787-9 Business Class seats are definitely a step-up in Turkish Airlines’ hard product, featuring a 1-2-1 configuration, complimented with the new ‘Aurora’ design, based on the Stelia Symphony seat.
If these seats look familiar to you, that’s because these are the same business class seats that Singapore Airlines deploys on its Boeing 787-10 that flies to regional hubs around Asia and Australia. I flew this seat in 2019 on my way back from Perth to Singapore and you can check out the review here.
Upon further research, it seems like Turkish Airlines is not restricting this deal to just its capital hub Istanbul, but to many other cities in Europe. For example, I found fares to Barcelona, Vienna, Oslo to be just a further S$200-S$300 more. Considering that economy class tickets easily surge past a $1,000 during the Christmas season and that one is also able to access the excellent Istanbul Business Class lounge, I’ll deem this a no brainer. You can pick your choice: experiencing the Mediterranean coast in Barcelona, bask in the Christmas markets in Vienna, or hop on a sleigh in Oslo; all seem pretty good options for this upcoming winter!
The inter-Europe Turkish business class seats are largely on a Boeing 737 with a 2-2 configuration on this narrow aircraft, so don’t expect it to be as fancy as what you see on the Boeing 787. Most do still serve meals that you would associate with business class.
making a great deal even better
To double down on this great deal, Turkish Airlines has a very generous stopover policy in an attempt to enhance its capital Istanbul as the world’s preferred air hub. For its business class passengers, Turkish Airlines will offer a complimentary 2 night stay at a 5* star hotel, allowing passengers to explore Turkey while boosting its tourism dollars. You can find out more about this policy here, and I fully encourage you to take advantage of it since its largely free! Here are the main Terms & Conditions to tap on this wonderful offer:
- Flight must be purchased and not redeemed with miles
- Must be a round-trip ticket
- The departure and arrival city must be the same. (E.g KL-Istanbul-Rome-Istanbul-KL is valid, but KL-Istanbul-Rome, Barcelona-Istanbul-KL is invalid)
The fare checks in as fare class J, and the table below shows the total miles earned for each mileage programme. I personally would go for Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles programme with a 135% bonus, but if you have a vested interest in renewing your Krisflyer Gold, there’s that option too at 100%. As always, you can verify this on your own at wheretocredit.com
Turkish Airlines miles are especially useful for getting from Asia to Europe, where one way redemptions are at 45k miles, compared to Krisflyer miles which are 92k miles.
There is no doubt that airlines are struggling immensely with cash flow problems which are leading to rumours that airlines might go bust during this downturn. I personally think state-funded airlines are generally safe, as respective governments are going to bail them out. The Turkish government has a 49% stake in Turkish Airlines, so I’m rather confident that Turkish Airlines will pull through this ordeal.
With a new business class seat complimenting an outstanding existing soft product, Turkish Airlines stands out as one of the top contenders to travel to Europe. Don’t forget too that Singapore Airlines has a sweet spot redemption rate to Istanbul at 49k miles one way, but as it is an award ticket, you won’t be earning any miles on that.
Do let us know if you will be taking advantage of this deal!