This is a combination Travel Deal and Destination report – made possible by great fares out of NYC to Istanbul from October – December. The Istanbul Marathon just happens to be November 11, 2012! The airfare cost is between $525 and $580.
The events offered are the marathon, a 15K race, and a 8K race. In addition, they have a 8K fun run – no timing, no ranking. Last year, 2,181 people took part in the marathon, 4,092 in the 15K, and 2,248 in the 8K. Those are pretty healthy numbers for a non-major, foreign marathon. The rates are as follows:
- Marathon – 50 TL ($27)
- 15K – 50 TL ($27)
- 8K – 20 TL ($11)
Those are some exceptional rates for an international marathon. It begins at 9am on Sunday, November 11, 2012 in Istanbul. The time limit is 5:30 hours. Registration is open until September 30, 2012.
The reviews for this race are excellent. It is a tremendous opportunity to see a foreign city that has an exotic element and great history. This is your chance to see it all from the streets – 26.2 miles worth!
Here are some links:
Marathon Reviews – Link
Marathon website – Link
How To Get There
The current deal is with flights leaving NYC area airports, but you can always find different fares from other airports to JFK. The airlines are Delta and United. Here are some of the dates:
If you play around with both options, you can get stopovers up to 24 hours in different European cities on the way over or on the way back. It gives you a chance to check out Europe and run a nice marathon for a little more than it would cost to fly from the East coast to the West coast of the US. In addition to a great rate, you will earn 10,000 frequent flyer miles – if you are an elite flyer with one of the airlines, you can earn anywhere from 25% bonus to 100% bonus redeemable miles. So, for example, if you are Gold Medallion flyer or higher with Delta, you will earn around 20,000 redeemable miles. That is almost enough for a low-availability ticket anywhere in the US! Again, another great deal!
Where To Stay
This is a great chance to use some free nights from credit card applications. There are many very nice hotels in Istanbul that you will have the opportunity to stay in. Here are some of them:
- Hilton Istanbul – $240 a night or 40,000 Hilton HHonor points
- Hilton ParkSA Istanbul – $198 a night, 32,000 Hilton points, or 17,500 points and $60
- Conrad Istanbul – $288 a night, 40,000 Hilton points, or 20,000 points and $68
- Hilton Garden Inn Istanbul Golden Horn Turkey – $130 a night, 30,000 Hilton points, or 15,000 points and $50
- Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Istanbul – Old Town – $174 a night or 24,266 Hilton points
- Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Istanbul – Moda – $222 a night or 31,026 Hilton points
Hilton HHonor points are some of the easiest hotel currency to come by. To see my applications I made for two Hilton cards, read this previous post.
- Grand Hyatt Istanbul – $240 a night or 15,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points (Category 4)
- Park Hyatt Istanbul – $340 a night or 18,000 Hyatt points (Category 5)
Hyatt hotels have some great ways for you to earn a free night. There is the current Hyatt Chase card offer that gives you a $75 statement credit after your first purchase (thereby eliminating the non-waived annual fee of $75) and 2 free nights in any Hyatt (also after the first purchase). You can apply here (I do not receive a commission for this link). In addition to that, Hyatt is a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards. So, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Chase INK Bold business card, you can transfer points over for your stay that way as well (ie, for a 3 night stay at the Park Hyatt, you would need to transfer 54,000 points). You can earn those points through the different offers – Chase Sapphire Preferred link (currently 40,000 points after $3,000 spending in 90 days) or the Chase INK Bold card link (currently 25,000 points after first purchase and an additional 25,000 points after spending $10,000 in three months). I do not receive a commission on either of those links.
- Ritz-Carlton Istanbul – $265 a night or 50,000 Marriott Reward points
- The Istanbul EDITION – $278 a night or 30,000 points
- Istanbul Marriott Hotel Asia – $92 a night or 25,000 points
- Renaissance Polat Istanbul Hotel – $160 a night or 25,000 points
- Courtyard Istanbul International Airport – $80 a night or 15,000 points
Marriott points can also be easily obtained, thanks to Chase. You can earn 50,000 points after your first purchase, courtesy of the Marriott branded Chase card here (I do not receive a commission from this link). Marriott is also a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards. So, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Chase INK Bold business card, you can transfer points over for your stay that way as well (ie, for a 3 night stay at the Istanbul EDITION, you would need to transfer 90,000 points). You can earn those points through the different offers – Chase Sapphire Preferred link (currently 40,000 points after $3,000 spending in 90 days) or the Chase INK Bold card link (currently 25,000 points after first purchase and an additional 25,000 points after spending $10,000 in three months). I do not receive a commission on either of those links.
Starwood Preferred Guest Hotels
- W Istanbul – $278 a night, 20,000 SPG points, or 8,000 points and $150
- Sheraton Istanbul Maslak Hotel – $163 a night, 7,000 points, or 2,800 points and $45
- Sheraton Istanbul Atakoy Hotel – $260 a night or 12,000 points
- Le Meridian Istanbul Etiler – No available rates for those dates
SPG points can be obtained through their partnership with American Express. They have business and personal cards that both offer 10,000 SPG points after first purchase and an additional 15,000 points after spending $5,000 in 6 month – business link and personal link (I receive a commission for these links).
So, there you have it! A great airfare deal to an exotic city for a wonderful marathon and some of the best lodging options that you can secure through points. Hopefully, some of you can get in on this and enjoy this marathon.