Reader Question And Poll: Should I Take Miles Or A Cash Refund From Turkish Airlines?

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After the DoT reaffirmed that airlines had to offer cash refunds for cancelled flights, airlines started getting creative.

Many airlines offered bonus vouchers if you accept a voucher instead of a cash refund. Readers have reported getting bonus offers when calling American, Frontier, JetBlue, and Spirit for example. Those offers are typically a 20% or 25% bonus voucher.

One DDF member that used my hack to get 4 $14.31 Spirit tickets between NYC and Fort Lauderdale for his family wound up getting back $258 for accepting vouchers instead of a cash refund!

Some airlines have offered miles in lieu of a cash refund. Whether that is worthwhile depends on how you value those miles and what you would do with them.

DDFB member Foy asks if he should take a $587 cash refund or 54,300 Turkish miles and wonders if the miles are really worth $1,629 as Turkish claims.


If the miles were really worth $1,629, then Turkish wouldn’t be offering them. However Turkish miles are actually quite valuable.

In this case Turkish is effectively selling the miles for 1.08 cents each. That’s a good rate for buying miles in general, but especially for programs with sweet spots.

Some examples from the post on Turkish miles that I wrote a couple of days ago, along with the actual cost of the ticket at 1.08 cents per mile:

  • Fly one-way anywhere in the US, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and USVI, for just 7.5K miles in coach ($81) or 12.5K in business class ($135) on United with no fuel surcharges.
  • Fly one-way anywhere to Canada or Mexico for just 10K miles in coach ($108) or 15K in business class ($162) on United with no fuel surcharges.
  • Fly one-way to Europe for 45K in business class ($486) on United with no fuel surcharges.
  • Fly one-way to Israel for 32K miles in coach ($346) or 47K in business class ($508) on United with no fuel surcharges.

Those are some pretty great values! But then again I try not to hoard miles as they’re always subject to devaluation. Keeping them as bank points shields them from devaluation and you can transfer them to airlines on demand.

And of course the other caveat is that you need to find saver award availability, though that’s currently excellent for travel into 2021.

Additionally, Turkish miles expire on 12/31 that occurs more than 36 months after they were earned, so miles earned now would expire on 12/31/23. Activity doesn’t extend their miles, so it’s use it or lose it.

That’s a good amount of time to use the miles and potentially get a great value from them, but then again, cash doesn’t expire.

What would you do with a $587 Turkish Airlines ticket?

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32 Comments On "Reader Question And Poll: Should I Take Miles Or A Cash Refund From Turkish Airlines?"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


Aren’t you extremely against holding on to one Airlines points?


I assume in this scenario it is someone who had and a has a future redemption in mind. If so, then points would be more valuable. The consideration you are referring is someone who has no redemption planned and therefore the value of the points is more viotile than keeping on to cash or similar. In short term points are overall more valuable than points. However, just to hold on points means risking devaluation and other such type scenarios.


A lot depends on their personal financial stability. Do they need the cash flow or are they stable enough to pay of their current obligations. I voted for the cash refund because it’s the correct option for most people. Not necessarily all people.


IMO, someone like me that is seriously considering flying fairly soon would take the points.


Business ticket to Israel one way is 47000 miles. Definitely worth 587 dollars


Off-topic. I booked with Chase Rewards a flight in Air Tahiti Nui, they canceled flight due to virus. They will not refund miles they said I have credit to use with no change fee for a future flight until 2021. Any way to get points back into CR? Thank you


chase points dont transfer to Turkish – where would I generate TK miles?
what is the reward rebooking / refund cost?

Joseph a

I would take cash because unless the entire us currency crashes it’s a sure bet. Leaving it in Turkish airlines as points is risky because they can devalue the points or file for bankruptcy and the value is gone. For the time being I can’t see airfare expensive so the points value is Deminished.


Agreed. Well said

ר מאיר בעל הנס

Citi cc bm 15000 or Marriott chase – will never have enough
Chase cards bm so much better!
I guess no TK for me


The airlines might declare bankruptcy any time soon. Take your money back ASAP!


Hey Dan, so I was in touch with turkish a few months ago trying to book turkish award flights yet they kept insisting that no awards flight can be booked by phone, HUCA didn’t help either. Did anyone else have this experience??

Jack out of the Box

Fuel surcharges should be gone! At this point the airlines should pay the passengers to “please use our fuel so we don’t have to pay to store it”.

Wishful thinking. 🙁


Fuel surcharges were never about fuel.


My biggest concern is that after this epidemic, airlines will stop offering points refund and also remove lots of award availability, which will make it very difficult to find a seat…


I can’t believe that more than half the people responding would take the miles. For 95%+ of travellers, this would be a bad call. 1.08 cents for Turkish miles is a good price, but not a great price. It would have to be around half a penny to make this a good deal for most. Cash is king. People say there will likely be good award availability in the next year. That’s true. But you know what else there will be? Cheap tickets! I’ll bet you could fly to just about any Turkish destination in the next year for $587 (especially since if you redeem miles, you still have to pay the nasty int’l taxes! And you know what you can do with that $587? Fly any airline you’d like (including Turkish) to any destination you like. And you’ll even earn more frequent flyer miles doing so. Go to a site like secretflying every day and watch the sales. There are great deals almost every day — for cash. Or you could decide not to travel and use this money for something else. It’s an absolute no brainer to take the cash, unless you are going to immediately deploy the miles for a specific, very lucrative redemption.


What’s a slowly boiled frog? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?


It depends how you like your frogs. I prefer them roasted.


I had booked a flight with miles slated to expire on Dec 31st. Turkish said if I get the refund in miles , the miles that would have expired Dec 31st last year will still expire….Not a good refund option in my case


Is it true that if an airline cancels a points booking u had with them then u can request a diff flight where there is no points availability instead of them just refunding the points


I just had same question. Five business class tickets for $17,500 to Israel. They offered to rebook me, or a full refund to my CC, or 15% bonus for airline voucher, or 1.6M Turkish points. My intent was to just rebook. But first I checked and there were five 94k points RT business class tickets available for a flight on the very next day. So i took the 1.6M points, rebooked for the very next day for 94k x 5, and was instantly made whole plus have enough points for 11 more RT biz class tix sitting in my account! Sick deal. I have a daughter going to seminary next year, so guess who will be going for a few random short weekends for free? 🙂 Availability is WIDE open for pretty much any dates except winter holiday season. I am going to book a few trips now before Turkish limits availability or devalues points, etc.