United Countdown: Turkey is an Award Lynchpin Because United Says It Is Europe

Final hours of United stopover week. Dan’s Deals has a great mega-post on stopovers weighed heavily Hawaii and a country that may be in Europe, may be in Middle East.

Another country straddling Europe and Asia is Turkey. United puts it in Europe for award purposes. That with Turkish Airlines’ great award availability (and superb IST lounge) makes a lot of Europe creativity possible. I am going through Istanbul to Malta and on to Greece later this month.

The flip side is that Turkey is a terrible transit point for Africa and Middle East awards, where Turkish has so many destinations.

Fly Africa to Africa via Istanbul and you get hit for 60,000 miles in coach, like this:

ua-mgq-ist-asmGreat trip that was.

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  • DaveS

    Probably not that many readers will be impacted by the bad pricing on Mogadishu to Asmara (though there are probably other more desired combinations affected by the same policy). Obviously IST is in Europe and an airline wouldn’t want to split a country into two different regions, so the designation for Europe makes sense to me. I just wish I had United miles left to book flights before the big changes! I’ve reduced my account down to 485 miles now and have nothing left to transfer from UR either. It will be interesting to read what the best tricks will be in the post 10/6 world since United has been a terrific program for people who love layovers.

  • john

    Why is a city split between two continents obviously in only one of the two? Its easier to say IST is obviously NOT in Africa so there is no way around high prices through IST.

  • @john – I was going to say it is obviously both. My intended point was more about Middle East than Africa, though didn’t have a ready-made example. My upcoming Istanbul – Nahkchivan, Azerbaijan crosses regions so the short flight as a MileagePlus award would have been 50,000 miles roundtrip. I have not looked into what programs put Turkey where. Some like Flying Blue put Israel in Europe which many take advantage for awards.