How to Get a Business Class Upgrade on Turkish Airlines

Use Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles to book a business class award directly rather than paying for the upgrade.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 
Published

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Turkish Airlines offers one of the best business class experiences in the world. That gives travelers even more reason to try to escape the airline's economy class experience for the comforts of business class.

But, how can you upgrade your Turkish Airlines flight to business class? And how much will it cost you?

Turkish Airlines upgrade overview

All Turkish Airlines passengers are able to upgrade their economy class ticket using Miles&Smiles miles. In addition, top-tier Turkish Airlines elites get a couple of business class upgrade vouchers each year.

How to get a free Turkish Airlines upgrade

The only way to score a free business class upgrade on Turkish Airlines is by earning Miles&Smiles Elite Plus elite status.

Upon reaching this top-tier Elite Plus status, travelers earn two cabin upgrade vouchers — one voucher valid for each year of the two-year elite status year.

Elite Plus members can redeem these upgrade vouchers to upgrade from economy to business class, regardless of whether the member paid cash or redeemed miles.

Turkish Airlines upgrade cost using miles

Turkish Airlines charges the same price to upgrade into business class regardless of whether you paid miles or cash for your original ticket and regardless of your original booking fare class.

For flights between North America and Europe (including Turkey), travelers have to pay 85,000 Miles&Smiles miles each way to upgrade from Turkish Airlines economy to business class.

Turkish Airlines last-minute upgrades

Turkish Airlines makes it easy to upgrade a Turkish Airlines flight within 24 hours of departure. These upgrades don't require Turkish Airlines award availability. Instead, if there's a business class seat available on your flight, you can pay Miles&Smiles miles to upgrade to it.

These appropriately named "Last-Minute Upgrades" are only applicable at Turkish Airlines check-in counters.

All Miles&Smiles members are eligible to take advantage of these upgrades — as long as you already have enough miles in your account. And like other Turkish Airlines mileage upgrades, you can apply an upgrade even if you originally booked your flight with miles.

Restrictions on Turkish Airlines upgrades

Turkish Airlines places few restrictions on its mileage upgrade program. Travelers should just keep two things in mind:

  • Valid on Turkish Airlines flights only. Travelers can't upgrade codeshare flights operated by other airlines. You must be traveling on a Turkish Airlines flight to utilize this upgrade option. If you're flying on another airline, contact Miles&Smiles to see if you can apply a Star Alliance Upgrade Awards (SAUA).

  • Companion tickets cannot be upgraded. Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles travelers booked on a cash ticket can opt to add a companion to their reservation for a discounted award price. If you take advantage of this booking option, you won't be able to upgrade the companion ticket to business class.

Benefits of upgrading to Turkish Airlines business class

The biggest benefit of a Turkish Airlines business class upgrade is — of course — flying in a business class seat. And Turkish Airlines offers a pretty spectacular business class product, often landing it on lists of best business class products in the world.

Turkish Airlines business class covers the basics with seats that recline into fully flat beds, large in-flight entertainment screens and power outlets. Plus Turkish Airlines business class passengers get at least 1 GB of free in-flight Wi-Fi.

However, onboard catering is where Turkish Airlines really excels. Turkish Airlines goes so far as to have "Flying Chefs" on board to serve you meals on real porcelain tableware.

This over-the-top experience has earned Turkish Airlines the award for the world's best business class catering in the 2023 Skytrax World Airline Awards.

(Photo courtesy of Turkish Airlines)

Travelers who upgrade to Turkish Airlines business class will get almost all of the perks as passengers who originally booked business class. In addition to the onboard experience, those perks include greater luggage allowance, lounge access and priority check-in.

🤓Nerdy Tip

However, one benefit that upgraded travelers won't get is additional miles. If you originally booked an economy cash ticket, you'll still earn miles based on your original economy booking fare class — not based on your upgraded business class ticket.

How to earn Turkish Miles&Smiles

The best way to upgrade your Turkish Airlines flight is by using Miles&Smiles miles. The good news: Miles&Smiles miles are easier to accumulate than you might realize. That's because Turkish Airlines is a transfer partner of several major U.S. transferable point programs.

You can transfer points to Miles&Smiles at a 1:1 transfer ratio from the following three programs:

In addition, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles at a 3:1 ratio. Plus, you'll get a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring at least 60,000 Bonvoy points. That means a transfer of 60,000 Bonvoy points would net a total of 25,000 Turkish miles.

Get Turkish Airlines miles fast

Two transferable points currencies programs partner with Turkish Airlines, including Citi ThankYou and Capital One Miles, both of which offer a 1:1 transfer ratio.

If you need to earn a bunch of Miles&Smiles miles quickly, though, consider applying for one of these cards and earning the sign-up bonus.

Top Turkish Airlines cards
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
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Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
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Citibank Strata Premier Card
Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
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Apply now

on Citibank's application

Rates & Fees
Annual fee

$95.

$0.

$95.

Welcome offer

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.

Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com.

Earn rates

• 5 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

• 2 miles per $1 on all other purchases.

• 5 miles per $1 on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel.

• 1.25 miles per $1 on all purchases.

• 10 ThankYou® points per $1 spent on hotels, car rentals and attractions booked through the Citi Travel site.

• 3 points per $1 on air travel and other hotel purchases.

• 3 points per $1 on supermarkets.

• 3 points per $1 on gas stations and EV charging stations.

• 3 points per $1 on restaurants.

• 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

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The bottom line

Turkish Airlines business class is one of the best business class experiences in the world. That makes it worth learning about how to upgrade to Turkish Airlines business class.

However, most travelers should try to use Turkish Miles&Smiles to book a business class award outright rather than paying to upgrade. The mileage cost to book a Turkish Airlines business class award matches the mileage cost required to upgrade your flight. If you've already paid for an economy ticket, consider if it's worth the miles to upgrade to business class.

Finally, remember that "last-minute upgrades" aren't capacity controlled. That means you can upgrade to business class if there's any business class seat available and you have the miles.


How to maximize your rewards

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