For many departing airports, Turkish Airlines are the best choice by far with a layover in Istanbul.
Recently, I took an urgent flight and business class (for at least one of the flights) was fully booked and swapping about the dates resulted in very long layovers and it was easier to fly economy.
The flights were good. No issue with the seats, service, aircraft quality. It struck me, aside from the economy seating, everything else was business class quality due to Miles & Smiles Membership.
- 💻 Access to Istanbul Lounge — The ticket did not matter. Miles & Smiles status enough and I think (on a lucky day) the staff could certainly help with an upgrade or more comfortable seat.
- 🛃Priority Immigration — Usually this does not matter much to me. However, when arriving in Istanbul one must transfer via security for another international flight. I was unaware there was anything much Miles & Smiles could do here, but I could go through the priority queues.
- 🛫 Boarding — Same again. If you care to board the plane quickly. Miles & Smiles will give you this.
In conclusion: The most effective, economic use of a status with most loyalty programs is not to spend as much as possible, but to achieve the highest possible status and take advantage of all the various perks on offer.
Although, on that trip I look a bit jealously at the business class seats, I am not sure the experience was inferior. Unpaid internet on the plane (due to Miles & Smiles), extra food, and it was also quite interesting to observe the difference in manner between those in economy vs. those in business.
In business, it is not that common to have conversations. Passengers are concerned with their time and departing the aircraft as soon as possible. I noticed in economy passengers took their time (on screens that weren’t very helpful) to fill in surveys and I am not sure that even something small like this, I’ve ever seen in Business.