United cuts earning rates on partner Turkish


Earlier in the year United Airlines quietly changed the earning rates in their MIleagePlus program for a number of partners on higher fare classes. This past weekend another change was pushed through, this time on deep-discount fares with partner Turkish Airlines. Effective March 1, 2013 the three cheapest fare buckets – W, G & P – will go from earning 100% credit to earning nothing. Considering that Turkish has been publishing some rather incredible deals lately in these fare classes (mostly G) this is a major blow to mileage runs. Not necessarily surprising, but definitely disappointing.

Per a statement from United Airlines on FlyerTalk over the weekend:

I’ll spare you most of the details, but over the past few weeks we have been discussing a resolution to this G/W/P accrual issue with the relevant parties, including Turkish. As some of you have noticed, this involves an agreement to discontinue PQM/PQS and award mileage accrual on these fares.

Quite a bit of spin there, to be sure.

It is worth noting that these fares don’t earn points in the Turkish Miles & Smiles program and that, over the past year or so, they’ve not been crediting properly to United without significant manual intervention. That said, it is still disappointing to lose the option.

The calculators over at the Wandering Aramean Travel Tools site have been updated to reflect the new rates.

Update: While previous reads of the TK site indicated that those fares were non-earning that doesn’t seem to be the current case. I don’t know anyone who has tried recently so cannot confirm one way or the other.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

21 Comments

  1. I guess we just have to hope for UA match on some of these flights. Glad I’m on UA to IST this month…

  2. UA has near-matches on many of the fares, at least to IST. For the cheap stuff beyond the discount fares aren’t there, but I can get ~$500 into IST on UA metal, just like on TK metal, in many cases. TK is still a bit cheaper but for actual 100% credit and MMer credit I’ll take UA metal.

  3. This is sad news. I’m flying TK IAD-IST-CMN and back at the end of February. Since my flights will be completed before March 1st will United still credit me those miles or is March 1st the deadline to have them post? Should I credit the miles to US instead? I rarely fly them.

  4. How does United treat this if a ticket was already booked specifically with so that the mileage would count on United? It’s booked long before the change date for travel in April (outbound in G, return in V).

    Am I better off emailing United proactively in advance or after the fact asking for credit? Any advice on how to try to get this credited somewhere useful since it is over 9,000 flown miles one-way.

  5. You’re likely screwed, Harrison. The official policy is that earning rates are based on the rules in effect on the day of travel. The company announced an exception to that with the PQM rates change earlier this year but apparently they didn’t bother to alert their front-line staff of said exception so passengers are still getting screwed.

    You can try, but odds are that you just have a cheap vacation, not a great mileage run.

  6. Is there anywhere else that I could credit the miles to at least have a chance of using them someday? I know US is not a possibility, does anybody else still count these Turkish fare classes?

  7. Thanks Seth for the heads up. I guess that I am also screwed just like Harrison. I have a IAH-IST trip set up for May booked back in November and it turns out is in G class. Any other ideasregarding these miles besides “Enjoy Istambul”?

    1. Sorry, guys, but I’m not aware of any program which allows one to accrue on TK G fares. 🙁

      On the plus side, Istanbul really is a great destination. I might be headed over for dinner this weekend just because I can.

  8. I can join for dinner on Saturday if you decide to go 🙂

    Are TK’s classes different that UA? Is P a discounted biz class fare, or is it a discount economy? And is W analgous to UA’s W, or a much lower class?

    Seems like UA is none to happy with TK’s pricing

  9. Who said that TK M&S doesn’t accrue miles with G fares?
    Per their website, only X/Z/I fares do not accrue miles.

    1. There was a time when they didn’t from what I recall in prior reads of their site. Interesting to see that they aren’t listed there now. That said, the site doesn’t have full details on which fare classes do earn so it is hard to be completely convinced without some first-hand experience.

  10. Any chance of doing a buy-up at the airport or with TK by phone to get into a mileage-earning fare class or are all buy-up C-class fares still treated as your original fare class for partner earning?

    1. Change fees will depend on the fare rules. Odds are it will cost you a few hundred dollars to make that change. As for Comfort Class, I know they have historically offered buy-ups at the airport. I do not know if they credit as the new or original booking class. If you buy up in advance, paying the full fare difference, you should get the proper credit.

  11. Thanks Seth for posting this. I was literally about to click buy on a cheap TK summer fare which is in W class when I happened to look at your blog. I am going next week on a $450 JFK-IST G fare and back before end of month so I should be safe with that flight. This is a real shame because TK’s product is so much better than UA’s between NYC and IST and its the sort of thing that might eventually drive me away from MP since I make this trip so often on TK. It looks like TK’s Miles&Smiles still offers credit for those W/G/P fares but their award charts aren’t so great…

  12. Thanks, Seth. Awesome blog, as always. I emailed Aaron (UA Insider) and asked him if UA would make any exceptions as my return is on Mar. 3 and I booked in December. I realize I am likely out of luck absent buying up to another fare class but I’ll keep you posted if/when I hear back from Aaron.

  13. It certainly would simplify things if TK & LH would merge as was once rumored.

    The *A politics are definitely strange. At times TK is cited as giving Middle East coverge and the *A answer to EK & EY. But often LH & UA don’t seem to cooperate with TK on fares etc. And now it seems to be getting more competitive.

    It’s too bad because TK does have a good product.

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