Again within the day, most airline loyalty packages allowed free stopovers on award tickets. This was the coverage with American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, and United Mileage Plus. Sadly these days fewer and fewer packages are providing this distinctive alternative that may stretch your miles additional.
On this put up I wished to recap the frequent flyer packages that proceed to permit free stopovers on award tickets, although admittedly they arrive with various levels of generosity. In fact let me acknowledge that we proceed to see some sophisticated journey restrictions associated to the pandemic, so these nonetheless aren’t as simple throughout the board as they was.
Stopovers, open-jaws, and connections
First let’s talk about a number of the vital terminology. What’s a stopover, what’s an open jaw, and what’s a connection? These phrases imply very various things, so let’s cowl these upfront.
A stopover is often outlined as a keep of 24+ hours in a connecting metropolis between your origin and closing vacation spot. That might be an airline’s hub, or any metropolis enroute to your vacation spot.
You possibly can oftentimes get inventive with routings and stopover in locations you won’t ordinarily suppose to journey by. For instance, if touring from the USA to Asia it is likely to be potential to route through Europe, and have a stopover there.
A connection is often a cease in a metropolis for lower than 24 hours, although relying on this system the utmost connection time could be as quick as 4 hours for award itineraries. Award packages typically use the phrase switch to imply connection when writing out award guidelines or program phrases and situations.
An open-jaw is if you fly into one metropolis and out of one other. For instance, say you’re flying from the USA to Asia and need to fly into Singapore and return out of Bangkok. That might be thought-about an open-jaw, as illustrated under.
Stopovers on award tickets
With the above fundamentals out of the best way, let’s check out a number of the airline loyalty packages that proceed to permit stopovers on award tickets. I’ll record these roughly primarily based on how beneficiant the insurance policies are, beginning with essentially the most beneficiant.
Alaska Mileage Plan
Alaska Mileage Plan is maybe essentially the most beneficiant in terms of its stopover coverage. Alaska will let you may have a stopover on an award ticket, so long as you’re touring between areas. Alaska Airways has quite a lot of airline companions, so for example, this implies you could possibly fly Japan Airways from Los Angeles to Singapore through Tokyo, with a stopover in Japan.
Since a stopover is allowed on a one-way, this implies you could possibly doubtlessly have two stopovers on a roundtrip ticket. There are many great uses of Alaska Mileage Plan miles.
There’s no payment to e book the stopover, and you’ll e book these instantly by Alaska Airways’ web site through the use of the multi-city function.
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada Aeroplan might be my single favorite frequent flyer program, because of the large number of airline companions that Air Canada has. Aeroplan will let you add a stopover on a one-way award for simply 5,000 extra factors. You possibly can embrace a stopover with every one-way award.
Stopovers aren’t accessible on awards for journey wholly inside North America. Take into account that Air Canada Aeroplan is considerably a distance primarily based program. With that, the additional you fly the dearer your award can be. You will get inventive together with your routings, however it’s possible you’ll find yourself paying extra miles for it.
The Aeroplan web site doesn’t allow you to e book stopovers on-line for this worth, so that you’ll should name to e book these awards (the performance will ultimately be accessible on-line).
Emirates Skywards is the most effective program by which to book Emirates first class awards. Emirates allows you to book stopovers in Dubai on one-way tickets, however solely when reserving “Flex Plus” awards. Observe that each one first-class awards e book into the “Flex Plus” fare band, whereas enterprise class and financial system class awards usually e book into this when reserving a one-way (whereas there could also be decrease pricing when reserving roundtrips).
This may be a good way to cease in Dubai enroute to your closing vacation spot — Dubai is after all a straightforward and in style stopover metropolis.
All Nippon Airways Mileage Membership
ANA Mileage Membership is a profitable and complex program, and is even an Amex Membership Rewards switch associate. ANA has cheap redemption charges — for instance, you may e book an award in enterprise class between the USA and Europe for as little as 88,000 factors roundtrip (frustratingly this system doesn’t enable one-way awards, although).
ANA Mileage Membership permits a stopover on a roundtrip, no matter whether or not you’re touring on All Nippon Airways or a associate airline (the one exception is for those who’re originating in Japan, wherein case you may’t have a stopover). Mileage Membership additionally has around the world awards that enable as much as eight stopovers.
Most awards (together with stopovers) could be booked on-line, although the interface appears to be like tremendous outdated. Concentrate on associate surcharges, which could be fairly excessive, although.
Asiana Membership is one other airline with a beneficiant stopover coverage. For award journey on Asiana Airways, you may have a stopover in Seoul, even on one-way awards.
Award journey on Star Alliance carriers get a bit trickier. In principle the stopover guidelines are much more beneficiant, however your mileage could differ if you truly go to e book these awards. You’re allowed as much as eight segments on a roundtrip award, and you’ll have as much as seven stopovers. Which means you may cease for so long as you’d like in every connecting metropolis.
Nonetheless, there are limits on the variety of segments for sure awards, and also you might need to pay for reservations individually for those who exceed the MPM (most permitted mileage). Asiana Club award rules are a bit of a black box, and don’t depend on them being interpreted how they’re written.
Asiana Membership miles are onerous to accrue, as solely Marriott Bonvoy factors switch to Asiana Membership. In any other case you’ll should earn them by good quaint flying.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is usually a surprisingly helpful program, each for journey on Cathay Pacific, in addition to for journey on associate airways. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles permits a stopover on a roundtrip award, although these sorts of tickets have to be booked by telephone. Stopovers are allowed each when touring on Cathay Pacific, and when touring on associate airways.
Etihad Visitor permits stopovers in Abu Dhabi for award tickets, however you must e book the awards by telephone. You will need to observe that Etihad Visitor usually restricts you to connections of as much as solely eight hours, whether or not touring with Etihad or a associate. Which means a connection of something longer than eight hours is taken into account a stopover.
Etihad has various companions you may redeem miles for, and there are distinctive charts for every associate. Etihad Visitor permits stopovers when touring on Air Canada, Air Europa, Air Seychelles, All Nippon Airways, American, Asiana, Gulf Air, Hainan Airways, Korean Air, Malaysia Airways, Oman Air, and Royal Air Maroc.
Whereas that’s how the foundations are written, reserving associate awards with Etihad Visitor could be an journey, so I’d anticipate to should work onerous to get a stopover on a associate airline.
Japan Airways Mileage Financial institution
Japan Airways Mileage Financial institution has among the many most beneficiant stopover insurance policies, however provided that you’re touring with companions. The airline has a distance primarily based award chart, that means the worth of your award relies on the entire distance you journey. Having a beneficiant stopover coverage is smart, as you’ll pay extra miles to journey additional distances and every phase ought to in principle add to the entire journey worth.
This system has totally different guidelines relying on the way you’re redeeming your miles. Primarily Mileage Financial institution supply three totally different award varieties:
- JAL awards, for journey completely on Japan Airways
- Companion awards, for journey on a single JAL associate
- oneworld award tickets, for journey on two or extra oneworld airways
For journey on JAL, stopovers aren’t permitted.
If you happen to’re touring on a single associate award, you may have as much as three stopovers on an award. With a couple of exceptions, you’re allowed six whole segments. There are some limitations for particular companions, although:
- If you happen to’re touring on Korean Air, you’re solely allowed two segments, however you may embrace a stopover
- If you happen to’re touring on China Jap, you’re solely allowed 4 whole segments and you can’t have a stopover in China
- If you happen to’re touring on Hawaiian Airways, Royal Air Maroc, or Vistara Airways, you’re solely allowed 4 whole segments
If you happen to’re touring on a oneworld award, you’re allowed a whopping seven stopovers. You possibly can solely have eight segments in whole on an award, in order that does restrict the practicality of the stopovers. If you happen to have been to maximise all seven stopovers, you’d should stopover in every metropolis wherein you make a connection.
Whereas JAL has an extremely beneficiant program and coverage, the draw back is that the one factors that switch to Japan Airways Mileage Financial institution are Marriott Bonvoy factors. In any other case you’ll should earn JAL miles by flying.
Singapore Airways KrisFlyer
Singapore KrisFlyer permits stopovers when touring on Singapore Airways, although solely on sure sorts of tickets:
- When reserving a Saver award, you’re allowed one stopover on a roundtrip, however no stopovers on a one-way
- When reserving an Benefit award, you’re allowed two stopovers on a roundtrip, or one stopover on a one-way
Observe that your stopover can solely be for as much as 30 days, or else it is going to be thought-about two separate awards. Singapore Airways used to permit extra stopovers for $100, however sadly that’s not potential.
Turkish Miles & Smiles
Turkish Miles&Smiles is a Citi ThankYou switch associate, and can be an incredibly valuable program. This system permits a free stopover in Istanbul on a roundtrip award, although you do should e book by telephone, and that may be a little bit of a ache.
Turkish Miles&Smiles additionally permits stopovers on Star Alliance associate awards — you may have one stopover on a roundtrip. Nonetheless, that is solely accessible if the award prices no less than 60,000 miles for journey in financial system, 90,000 in enterprise, or 135,000 in first.
TAP Air Portugal Miles & Go
TAP Air Portugal Miles & Go doesn’t enable stopovers when redeeming for journey on TAP, although this system does enable stopovers when redeeming on associate airways. Particularly, you may have one stopover per roundtrip. Whereas TAP is a part of the Star Alliance, the airline additionally has some distinctive companions, like Emirates.
Korean Air Skypass
Korean Air SkyPass was one among my favourite frequent flyer packages — it was a Chase Final Rewards associate, stopovers have been allowed on one-way awards, and award prices have been cheap. Sadly this system isn’t what it as soon as was.
Korean Air SkyPass not permits stopovers, besides on “SkyTeam Round the World” awards. You possibly can journey in enterprise class all over the world for 220,000 SkyPass miles and make as much as six stopovers. Outdoors of that area of interest award, no stopovers are permitted for award journey. I don’t see a lot worth in that, given how onerous it may be to seek out SkyTeam associate award area for thus many segments.
There are two different packages which can be value mentioning — British Airways Government Membership and United MileagePlus. Whereas they don’t enable “free” stopovers within the conventional sense, they is likely to be helpful for these making an attempt to go to a number of locations on one journey.
British Airways Government Membership
British Airways Executive Club is a unique program in that the worth of your award is calculated by the space and cabin of service for every phase. You possibly can e book as many segments as you’d like on a single ticket, however you’ll pay for every one among them, as the worth is cumulative.
In lots of circumstances the fee for brief segments is low, so you may go to a number of locations at an inexpensive value.
British Airways Government Membership additionally has a “secret” multi-carrier award chart. If you happen to’re touring on two or extra oneworld airways (three or extra if any segments are on British Airways), you need to use this award chart and pay fewer Avios than for those who have been to e book every phase individually.
You possibly can e book as much as eight flight segments this fashion, and have a stopover in every metropolis for those who’d like. You’re not allowed to backtrack, and also you’re solely permitted a single open-jaw. With a little bit of flexibility and creativity these awards can supply a improbable worth for redeeming Avios.
Many brokers don’t even know this chart exists, so it typically requires calling a couple of occasions to seek out somebody who is aware of the right way to e book multi service awards or being insistent and having the agent double examine the coverage for reserving multi service awards.
Whereas United MileagePlus doesn’t explicitly allow you to e book stopovers on awards, this system has what’s referred to as an “Excursionist Perk.” That allows you to add a free one-way phase to a roundtrip award, for those who meet sure situations.
These are the foundations to e book this, all primarily based on United’s outlined award areas:
- The Excursionist Perk can’t be within the area the place your itinerary begins
- Journey should finish in the identical area the place it originated
- The origin and vacation spot of the Excursionist Perk have to be inside a single area
- The cabin of service of the Excursionist Perk have to be in the identical cabin or decrease than the one-way previous it
There’s one other unpublished rule that’s vital to spotlight. If you happen to’re reserving a combined cabin award and the primary phase of your itinerary is in financial system class, the free one-way can solely be in financial system class. If you happen to attempt to choose enterprise class, you’ll pay the usual enterprise class award fee. That creates issues if you’re flying United domestically to attach with a world award, because the service releases comparatively few premium cabin award seats lately.
It’s vital to notice you may solely get one free one-way on a reservation, so for those who construct in two Excursionist Perks that meet all the guidelines, solely the primary one can be free.
Stopovers could be a good way to stretch your miles & factors additional. Sadly many airline packages have eradicated this chance through the years, although there are nonetheless some packages that enable this.
Personally I get essentially the most worth from the Alaska Mileage Plan and Air Canada Aeroplan stopover insurance policies. Past that, I fairly admire the coverage of Emirates Skywards, because it’s a technique to get a stopover in Dubai when redeeming an award between two different factors.
There are a number of different packages that also supply stopovers, although they’ve of various levels of usefulness.
What has your expertise been with airline award ticket stopovers?