Both Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways are both top-rated when it comes to innovative airlines. You can look forward to the onboard experience and lounges at airports when you travel with them. But which airline should you choose to fly with? Both airlines have strong networks and fly to many cities in the United States. […]

Both Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways are both top-rated when it comes to innovative airlines. You can look forward to the onboard experience and lounges at airports when you travel with them. But which airline should you choose to fly with? Both airlines have strong networks and fly to many cities in the United States. This opens up the possibility of flying to other destinations around the world. Both airlines are members of a large global alliance that offers opportunities to redeem and earn valuable miles.

Let’s take a look at Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, two flag carriers from their respective namesakes nations. We will see which one might be better for your travel plans.

Where they are based and where they fly

Winner: Turkish Airlines

Both Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways offer flights to more than a dozen U.S. airports for U.S.-based travellers. Their networks are the deciding factor in this even playing field.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has over 140 destinations worldwide via its Doha hub. Doha being in the Middle East means that most Americans won’t fly Qatar Airways to Europe unless they are planning to stop by Qatar.

Qatar Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance . U.S.-based travellers can easily accumulate points on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, to redeem for Middle Eastern powerhouses.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance. Its Istanbul hub is more centrally located than Qatar’s Doha Hub for connecting to parts of Europe. United miles can be used by U.S. travellers to redeem for Turkish flights.

The airline is able to connect passengers around the world via its 12 U.S. gateways. The most impressive thing about Turkish Airlines is that it has 266 destinations on its route maps and can fly to more countries than any other airline.

Rewards Programs

Winner: Qatar Airways

For some, this one could be a tossup. Both airlines offer strong loyalty programs, but Qatar Airways is the winner because it can transfer its Avios points to other Avios-participating carriers, which gives it tremendous flexibility.

Qatar Airways

Frequent flyers love this flexibility. It is important to transfer your points to partner programs like British Airways, rather than redeem directly from your Qatar Avios accounts, which have significantly higher redemption rates.

Qatar Airways members earn Avios based on their distance, their fare class and their elite status. If a family member has elite status, they can earn a bonus by pooling points to the same account.

Avios uses a distance-based system to award points, which has its sweet spots as well as overpriced ones. They have seen a reduction in their value, but there are still huge taxes. Avios is still a valuable program, especially because it offers partner transfer options such as Citi ThankYou points.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles program also offers many benefits for travelers. Miles earned by members are based on flight distance, fare class, and elite status. They can redeem their miles on Turkish Airlines flights or any Star Alliance member by using the airline’s award chart based on their zone. You can also transfer points from partner credit cards like Capital One, Citi ThankYou and Bilt Rewards to increase your Miles&Smiles balance.

Miles&Smiles is similar to Avios and has fuel surcharges. Be careful when booking awards — there are some airlines that charge more.

  • Transcontinental flights to North America with United for 10,000 miles per way in economy class or 15,000 per way in business.

  • United offers flights between the continental U.S.A. and Hawaii for 7,500 miles in economy class or 12,500 in business class.

  • Fly from the U.S.A to Europe with United for 45,000 Miles each way in business class. Although the airline no longer shares its award chart publicly, this is often cheaper than what United charges for an award ticket.

Extra fees

Winner: Tie

Airlines love to charge fees for extra bags, seat assignments, and other ancillary items. This is especially true when it comes Qatar versus Turkish. Here is a list of additional fees you can expect.

Qatar Airways

  • Checked baggage fees: The airline offers a free checked bag allowance. However, overweight and excessive bag fees for flights departing from the U.S. start around $75

  • There are no fees for seat assignment. However, passengers in lower tiers of business and economy class must wait until they check-in to choose their seat. For a shorter flight, a standard seat costs $9 and a premium seat $220.

  • Reservation fees: $25 fee for tickets issued or reissued over the phone or at an airline ticket agency.

  • Reservations : A reservation can be held for up to 72 hours at a charge of $10-30.

  • Change fees: All fares, except for the Lite fare bundle, offer at least one free change.

Turkish Airlines

  • Turkish Airlines charges extra for checked bags. However, there is a free allowance for overweight or excess baggage. This fee is determined by the origin airport. Fees start at $80.

  • Fees for seat assignment: For the lowest fares, there is a $9 fee. For seats that are more than 9 miles long, you will pay $139.

  • Reservation holds: U.S. passengers departing from the United States and cardholders with elite status can hold a fare free of charge for 24 hours, provided the flight is not more than seven days after the reservation time. For those who wish to keep the price for longer periods or in different circumstances, the fee is higher.

  • Fees for changes: The surcharges are based on the type of fare and destination.

In-flight experience

Winner: Qatar Airways

While both airlines are well-known for their excellent service, Qatar Airways is known for its more international and diverse cabin crew. Qatar also offers Qsuites with privacy doors that can be used to close business class seats. Turkish Airlines doesn’t offer as much privacy for its business class. However, both airlines excel in economy classes.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways crew are international — they come from all corners of the globe and speak many languages.

There are three types of service offered by the airline: first, business, and economy. Airbus A380s are the only aircraft that offer first class. The Qsuite, which is available on many routes, comes with privacy doors.

Economy class is praised for its comfortable legroom, gourmet food, complimentary non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, amenity kits on long flights, and entertainment system that offers more than 4,000 choices. The airline offers complimentary food and beverages on all routes, even the shortest.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines is known for its outstanding cuisine, thanks to the Do & Co catering partnership. All cabins offer high-end cuisine and complimentary beverages. Although the carrier offers only business and economy classes, both are highly respected for their comfort, service, and amenities.

The entertainment systems offer a variety of movies, music, and short-subject programs. All cabins have movable headrests and power ports. Long flights can also include an amenity kit. Business-class passengers can enjoy beautifully prepared meals with an onboard chef who will customize the meal to suit their tastes.

Most of the cabin crew members on Turkish Airlines are from Turkey. This reduces the number of international languages available to passengers who don’t speak English or Turkish.

Qatar vs. Turkish Recap

Qatar Airways has a slight advantage over Turkish Airlines in the Qatar Airways competition. However, both airlines have countless fans. With the availability of miles redemption for frequent flyers to the United States from partner airlines, support ranks are even greater. Your primary decision may be where you fly.

You won’t feel hungry no matter where you are sitting. Both airlines have extensive routes networks. Qatar Airways is the best option for those looking for privacy and a crew who speak multiple languages.

Maximizing your Rewards

A travel credit card should be able to prioritize what is most important to you. These are our top picks for the best travel cards in 2023, as well as those that work best for: