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Everything You need to know about booking Star Alliance awards with Miles&Smiles

Everything You need to know about booking Star Alliance awards with Miles&Smiles

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Old Jan 8, 20, 6:18 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: Gnopps
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Last Updated: 8 JAN 2020
Due to various changes to the TK IT-system booking partner awards has taken a great step back. Details below.

Online: Partially working

From 18 Nov 19, you may continue to book partner awards online for selected airlines, routes and options. Not all options that you could book with another partner is bookable through the TK website.

Availability could be checked online via the United website without being a MileagePlus member with the book with miles tool at the flight search engine. Note: For UA flights, check 'X' fare bucket, for other airlines check Saver Award.

TK Hotline: Not working

Regardless of which number you call, it's currently not possible to book *A awards via the TK hotline.

Sales Office: Working

A sales office could book *A award tickets. You could call, e-mail or visit them in person. Some offices do not answer phones or do not reply to e-mails so visiting them in person would improve your chances to book a *A award ticket.

First class award: Not working

Due to pricing issues in the TK system, TK has stopped issuing first class awards since at least September 2019.
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Old Jul 25, 16, 5:30 am
  #61  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Programs: Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Elite Plus, SAS EuroBonus Gold, American Express Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 2,230
If you read the first post again, I explicitly noted that one way awards are POSSIBLE for Star Alliance Airlines. I booked a one-way award BRU-NRT-SIN on All Nippon Airways a few months ago using TK miles. However, if you want to combine different airlines on a one way award you'll be charged for two separate awards as each as airlines can't be combined in one ticket.
LH4116 is offline  
Old Jul 25, 16, 10:54 am
  #62  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Programs: SK EBG, AY Plat, Member TG, LH, UA
Posts: 70
Hello all,

I am experiencing a very expensive TX for *A award ticket from TK Miles&Smiles: it does not make me smile at all.

I managed to reserved a ticket with UA to fly from SFO to EWR one way. It costs me 12, 500 in BC but the tax is around 700TRY or about 200USD ( about the same price if I buy revenue ticket in economy class). I checked with United website; tax and surcharge for revenue ticket is only 80-90 USD. I wonder if it is over charged or it is way of TK expensive.

Please suggest.

//KV
coolburning is offline  
Old Jul 25, 16, 12:03 pm
  #63  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Baltimore, Singapore, Vancouver
Programs: UA MP 1K, TK Miles&Smiles Elite*G, Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Rewards Gold
Posts: 170
Originally Posted by coolburning View Post
Hello all,

I am experiencing a very expensive TX for *A award ticket from TK Miles&Smiles: it does not make me smile at all.

I managed to reserved a ticket with UA to fly from SFO to EWR one way. It costs me 12, 500 in BC but the tax is around 700TRY or about 200USD ( about the same price if I buy revenue ticket in economy class). I checked with United website; tax and surcharge for revenue ticket is only 80-90 USD. I wonder if it is over charged or it is way of TK expensive.

Please suggest.

//KV
In response & for others' reference in the future, here's the "why":

I attempted to do a similar IAD-SFO-IAD Business Class booking at my local Turkish Airlines office today and was also quoted an inordinately high amount in taxes (about US$355 roundtrip, also close to the cost of a Y ticket).

This is similar to a BWI-SFO redemption I attempted 3 months ago (I paid the US$150+ in taxes on that occasion since I wanted to be on that flight)

Frustratingly I actually know exactly why this is happening:
  1. When pricing the taxes, TK's system requires the agent to key in an appropriate fare class to calculate taxes.
  2. For United Domestic Business Class redemption (Fare Class "I"), the fare class they use to calculate taxes is either "F" or "C". Both of these have high base fares
  3. As a result, the US Transportation Tax (US) which is a Percentage Tax (7.5% of airfare), is calculated off the full F class fare which is around US$2.2k each way
  4. The rest of the Taxes (ZP) (XF) (AY) are not percentage taxes and thus aren't affected, they are charged correctly by TK

Now this Percentage Tax shouldn't actually apply to Mileage Redemption Tickets as per the IRS Publication 510 (as per https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p510.pdf, pg27). However, knowing TK, I'm not sure if there will ever be a change in their systems.

Their agents were very helpful (I know the local team) but unable to do much due to the system limitations. I'm going down again tomorrow and will see if they manage to resolve the case with their Star Alliance liaison at United.

Interestingly there is apparently an option to claim wrongfully charged taxes back from the US Government via IRS Form 8849- not sure if anyone has successfully tried this route!
kohswisscheese is offline  
Old Jul 25, 16, 12:55 pm
  #64  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Programs: SK EBG, AY Plat, Member TG, LH, UA
Posts: 70
Originally Posted by kohswisscheese View Post
In response & for others' reference in the future, here's the "why":

I attempted to do a similar IAD-SFO-IAD Business Class booking at my local Turkish Airlines office today and was also quoted an inordinately high amount in taxes (about US$355 roundtrip, also close to the cost of a Y ticket).

This is similar to a BWI-SFO redemption I attempted 3 months ago (I paid the US$150+ in taxes on that occasion since I wanted to be on that flight)

Frustratingly I actually know exactly why this is happening:
  1. When pricing the taxes, TK's system requires the agent to key in an appropriate fare class to calculate taxes.
  2. For United Domestic Business Class redemption (Fare Class "I"), the fare class they use to calculate taxes is either "F" or "C". Both of these have high base fares
  3. As a result, the US Transportation Tax (US) which is a Percentage Tax (7.5% of airfare), is calculated off the full F class fare which is around US$2.2k each way
  4. The rest of the Taxes (ZP) (XF) (AY) are not percentage taxes and thus aren't affected, they are charged correctly by TK

Now this Percentage Tax shouldn't actually apply to Mileage Redemption Tickets as per the IRS Publication 510 (as per https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p510.pdf, pg27). However, knowing TK, I'm not sure if there will ever be a change in their systems.

Their agents were very helpful (I know the local team) but unable to do much due to the system limitations. I'm going down again tomorrow and will see if they manage to resolve the case with their Star Alliance liaison at United.

Interestingly there is apparently an option to claim wrongfully charged taxes back from the US Government via IRS Form 8849- not sure if anyone has successfully tried this route!
Do you mind to suggest which page should I read about that ?
coolburning is offline  
Old Jul 26, 16, 3:10 am
  #65  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Baltimore, Singapore, Vancouver
Programs: UA MP 1K, TK Miles&Smiles Elite*G, Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Rewards Gold
Posts: 170
Originally Posted by coolburning View Post
Do you mind to suggest which page should I read about that ?
I'm not sure if I understand your question. If you're looking to read about how mileage redemption tickets should not be charged the Percentage Tax, it is on p27 as indicated. Info on Credits and Refunds is on p29.

I went ahead and paid my taxes today at the high rate, local office was still limited by their system even though they called United and were told that United only charges AY. Will attempt to claim the tax refund. Will update in 2 months.

I'm actually curious: has anyone attempted to redeem an award on United (domestic) via THY's US offices? Seems unlikely that the agents based in the US would contravene their own domestic tax code (of course it is possible they don't know better, and the tax code is a complex thing)
kohswisscheese is offline  
Old Jul 26, 16, 8:49 am
  #66  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: CPH
Programs: UAMP S, TK M&S E (*G), Marriott P, IHG P
Posts: 8,028
I actually tried to redeem UA domestic tickets using TK Miles, the problem is that for Y fare the tax is actually higher than UA's fare (which is unbelievable). I did this through their HKG office but then I decided not to do it because it's insane.

For me, this is just a way for TK to get some $ out of issuing us an award ticket, for me tax=fuel surcharge.
nacho is offline  
Old Jul 26, 16, 3:33 pm
  #67  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Programs: SK EBG, AY Plat, Member TG, LH, UA
Posts: 70
Unhappy

Originally Posted by kohswisscheese View Post
I'm not sure if I understand your question. If you're looking to read about how mileage redemption tickets should not be charged the Percentage Tax, it is on p27 as indicated. Info on Credits and Refunds is on p29.

I went ahead and paid my taxes today at the high rate, local office was still limited by their system even though they called United and were told that United only charges AY. Will attempt to claim the tax refund. Will update in 2 months.

I'm actually curious: has anyone attempted to redeem an award on United (domestic) via THY's US offices? Seems unlikely that the agents based in the US would contravene their own domestic tax code (of course it is possible they don't know better, and the tax code is a complex thing)
Thank you very much and I will look forward to hearing how can you proceed for tax refund.

By the way, I am still in the trouble of redeeming award ticket for UA domestic flight. Local office here at GOT, they do not know how to issue the award ticket so they canceled my reservation at the end. Now I am waiting for TK's customer relation to say what will they do for me since it is their totally fault. I think I soon will leave TK for good. ><''
coolburning is offline  
Old Jul 27, 16, 7:27 am
  #68  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: CPH
Programs: UAMP S, TK M&S E (*G), Marriott P, IHG P
Posts: 8,028
Originally Posted by coolburning View Post
Thank you very much and I will look forward to hearing how can you proceed for tax refund.

By the way, I am still in the trouble of redeeming award ticket for UA domestic flight. Local office here at GOT, they do not know how to issue the award ticket so they canceled my reservation at the end. Now I am waiting for TK's customer relation to say what will they do for me since it is their totally fault. I think I soon will leave TK for good. ><''
Have you checked the cash price for those tickets? Last time I wanted to book LAX to DEN and they charged me more YQ than a UA revenue ticket which is unbelievable. You could email to TK US offices and they might be able to help you.

Use your miles to get an upgrade/business reward ticket which has much better value.
nacho is offline  
Old Jul 27, 16, 7:41 am
  #69  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Baltimore, Singapore, Vancouver
Programs: UA MP 1K, TK Miles&Smiles Elite*G, Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Rewards Gold
Posts: 170
Originally Posted by nacho View Post
Have you checked the cash price for those tickets? Last time I wanted to book LAX to DEN and they charged me more YQ than a UA revenue ticket which is unbelievable. You could email to TK US offices and they might be able to help you.

Use your miles to get an upgrade/business reward ticket which has much better value.
It might still be worth it to redeem for United First transcontinental flights.

I emailed THY's US office for clarification but I believe the agents are limited in what they can do. Have also asked for the case to be escalated to the US GM if possible (honestly, it's a violation of the tax code!)

Will continue to update.
kohswisscheese is offline  
Old Jul 27, 16, 7:44 am
  #70  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Baltimore, Singapore, Vancouver
Programs: UA MP 1K, TK Miles&Smiles Elite*G, Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Rewards Gold
Posts: 170
Originally Posted by coolburning View Post
By the way, I am still in the trouble of redeeming award ticket for UA domestic flight. Local office here at GOT, they do not know how to issue the award ticket so they canceled my reservation at the end. Now I am waiting for TK's customer relation to say what will they do for me since it is their totally fault. I think I soon will leave TK for good. ><''
I wouldn't get your hopes up trying to get customer relations to do something for you- I don't think they would care very much (nor is there much they can do). If US domestic flights are your primary redemption bookings, probably worth looking somewhere else with less hassle.
kohswisscheese is offline  
Old Jul 27, 16, 1:40 pm
  #71  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Brisbane QLD AU
Programs: QF
Posts: 231
My brother has approx 9,000 TK miles he earned on Air NZ which expire at the end of the year. Can you convert TK M&S points to any hotel programs to avoid having to do an award ticket?

I met some TK staff at the TBEX convention in Spain last year and asked them about partner awards on TG and their reply was that TG weren't in Star Alliance!

They were busy getting people to answer a survey asking people what was most most important to them when choosing an airline a) IFE b) catering c) onboard service. Call me old fashioned but I figured airline safety might rate a mention.

There's that famous expression "engine's running but nobody's behind the wheel" but it was more a case of keys not even being in the ignition.
ozflygirl747 is offline  
Old Aug 1, 16, 1:12 pm
  #72  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: C2
Programs: TK*G, oneworld Sapphire, Skyteam Elite Plus
Posts: 396
Based on your experience, which airlines would have the lowest taxes? When I'm booking with Miles&More miles, the lowest taxes are on LO, AV, NZ and CA. Is it the same rule with burning M&S?
sinus is offline  
Old Sep 20, 16, 12:50 pm
  #73  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Programs: SPG Gold, Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold, Club Carlson Gold
Posts: 1,656
Originally Posted by nacho View Post
I actually tried to redeem UA domestic tickets using TK Miles, the problem is that for Y fare the tax is actually higher than UA's fare (which is unbelievable). I did this through their HKG office but then I decided not to do it because it's insane.

For me, this is just a way for TK to get some $ out of issuing us an award ticket, for me tax=fuel surcharge.
How much?
slickvik is offline  
Old Sep 21, 16, 7:21 pm
  #74  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Programs: SPG Gold, Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold, Club Carlson Gold
Posts: 1,656
I was able to do this successfully for a United ticket! I emailed the local office, they gave me the amount of taxes and fees ($117 for a $347 ticket), somewhat high but still not bad for 20,000 miles that are about to expire 12/31. They did require a few strange things like a credit card authorization form, and a signed turkish airlines form approving the use of the miles, and pictures of the credit card and my driver's license. This is still better than going to the airport to pay though. Within an hour the ticket was issued. The responsiveness of the staff was really quite incredible and I think I will book all my tickets through the local office going forward.
slickvik is offline  
Old Sep 27, 16, 10:05 am
  #75  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Exile
Posts: 14,823
My wife is looking at booking a *A award originating in BLZ (Blantyre, Malawi) using her TK miles due to expire this year. However, there are no TK ticket offices in Malawi for her to complete the ticketing.

Would it be possible for me to visit a TK ticket office elsewhere in the world on her behalf (with the appropriate authorisations, paperwork, etc...) to pay the taxes and get the ticket issued? The ticket will be in her own name, so no issues about identity fraud, etc...
B747-437B is offline  

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