Reader Question: Turkish Airlines Partner Airline Award Redemption Ridiculousness?

3 Comments

A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me an email about the ridiculous process of trying to get an award ticket issued on a Turkish Airlines Star Alliance partner.

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Here’s the email from the reader:

Being an Elite Miles&Smiles customer (Star Alliance Gold) I was expecting not a special or VIP service but a very decent one.

Facts

I decided to utilize my miles to buy a ticket with TAP. After almost 30 minute with a lady over the phone (probably based somewhere in India not familiar with the airport codes) I got only the PNR code valid 48 hours

Is not possible to issue the ticket online paying the taxes with credit card.

The customer center doesn’t know how much taxes I have to pay.

Only the Turkish Airlines Sales Ticket counter will tell me and will issue the ticket!

Then I check the website of TK and the Zurich Airport sales desk is supposed to be open until 7:30pm according to their website.

I went there at 6pm and no one was there. It was closed. I called again the Call Center and they answered that the sales ticket counter is open only 3 hours before each flight ( there are three daily flights from ZRH to IST). Today flight TK1910 departed regularly at 6:45pm!!

It’s really a nightmare. Tomorrow morning I’ll go again to the airport and hope to get the ticket. Living not in Zurich would be another inconvenient event.

The dedicated contact number (+902124652302) for Elite members printed on the back of the card is out of order.

The fast growth of TK is reflected in a chaotic and inefficient service center.

Is it really worth to collect miles if when you need to spend them you have to go through a torment?

The Turkish Airlines experience can be fine as long as everything goes as planned. When there were weather issues in IST last year, the airline was in chaos for days and took very little care of the affected passengers (survival of the fittest basically).

I would imagine that this requirement of visiting a ATO, CTO or GSA to issue a partner award ticket is more for revenue protection. They simply don’t want to issue partners awards easily for which they need to pay for the operating carrier some revenue when the flight is taken.

I remember getting some vouchers from United Airlines back in the day that required you to turn them in at the airport. Once I got another voucher after the agent refused to issue the ticket using one due to being “busy”.

Conclusion

I have flown Turkish Airlines several times and do have a Miles&Smiles account as well but haven’t credited anything there.

Airlines really should get their act in order when it comes to partner award redemptions. I absolutely loath having to give them a call to have partner award issued. I would rather do it myself on their website.

This is likely, however, a revenue protection issue as well. Many don’t know that they can also redeem on partners and especially when their websites don’t clearly show this option. Also, phone agents are often advised not to offer partner awards unless the caller specifically asks.

There is no excuse why Turkish Airlines couldn’t calculate the taxes and fees to issue the TAP award ticket over a call. Having to visit an airport ticket office for a simple transaction such as this is simply ridiculous.

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