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It’s no surprise that I am a fan of Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. I mentioned it as a program every award traveler should be using and have even flown the airline a number of times from Newark to Istanbul, Istanbul to Kayseri, among others.
Buying more than 1 award ticket via their website or mobile app. Of course I was able to buy more than 1 ticket eventually but I would still declare this as only partially solved and annoyingly so.
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Booking Via Turkish Airlines Website
This was an odd thing to discover and I noticed it right away when beginning my award search. As soon as you navigate to the Turkish Airlines Award Search you need to select how many passengers to search for.
Here is the error you receive that prevents you from searching.
“You can issue the first ticket only to your name in order to verify your membership. Subsequently, you can issue award tickets for other persons as well.”
This was odd but I read the message as maybe after I book my first trip I can start to book for others. However, this was not the case. I have now booked over 6 flights via Turkish Awards and still get this message. I’ve tried booking individually and over the phone, nothing seem to work.
Booking Via Turkish Airlines Mobile App
I decided to try to the mobile app as I’ve been told a completely different tech provider operates the app compared to the website.
On the mobile app I appeared to have a little more success but was then quickly met with disappointment. I was able to successfully search for more than 1 ticket but when it came time to purchase I got an even odder message.
“If you want to have it issued for a loved one, please contact the nearest sales office.”
This was getting frustrating. No matter what I did on either the website or app I wasn’t having any luck. I finally succumbed and decided to call Turkish Airlines to book my tickets.
Booking via Turkish Call Center
This was the only way I was successfully able to book a Turkish Award ticket for more than 1 person. The number to reach Turkish Call Center is 1 (800) 874-8875 and they offer 24 hour service.
I have been able to successfully book tickets for up to 4 people via the call center although it comes with the pain of potentially holding for long periods of time or getting a confused agent.
I actually found the level of English speaking customer service agents to vary but overall have had a relatively easy experience with the call center.
Troubleshooting With Turkish Airlines
Even though I solved my issue and was able to book via the call center I still was not satisfied. I decided to try to troubleshoot by filing tickets with the airline and unfortunately am still in the process of getting it resolved.
After filing multiple tickets I tend to still get weird responses from Turkish Airlines representatives. Here are some of the responses I got when I told them I would need to be verified to book more than 1 ticket and have already flown multiple times.
“As per your feedback, we have checked your account details and we have seen that your account has not been verified yet. This process will be completed by Turkish Airlines.”
“As our website has informed, in the tickets you are going to purchase, you are needed to be included in the reservation in order to purchase tickets.”
“In order to purchased an award ticket you may contact our 7/24 call center any time.”
None of these were helpful and don’t address the route of the problem. What is the verification process and how does someone become verified? It’s been almost a year since my first Turkish flight and my account appears still in the same position.
Summary & Takeaways
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles is a great program and one we recommend for every award traveler. However, there still is some work to do in order to improve their technical capabilities as they are still way behind many other carriers.
Upon research I became aware that up until 2017 Turkish would only allow you to book an award ticket by physically visiting a ticketing office. This made the process way too difficult for most travelers, which is why the program is only recently coming on peoples radars.
Turkish Airlines with its vast route network, onboard service, and great pricing can really become a powerhouse in the award redemption space. They will still need some improvements but for now you can make it work and I suggest everyone to give them a shot.
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