Again within the day, most airline loyalty packages allowed free stopovers on award tickets. This was once 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 submit 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. After all let me acknowledge that we proceed to see some sophisticated journey restrictions associated to the pandemic, so these nonetheless aren’t as straightforward throughout the board as they was once.
Stopovers, open-jaws, and connections
First let’s focus on among the essential 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 ultimate vacation spot. That could possibly be an airline’s hub, or any metropolis enroute to your vacation spot.
You may oftentimes get artistic with routings and stopover in locations you won’t ordinarily suppose to journey by means of. For instance, if touring from the USA to Asia it may be potential to route by way of 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 may 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 once 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 will be thought of an open-jaw, as illustrated under.
Stopovers on award tickets
With the above fundamentals out of the way in which, let’s check out among the airline loyalty packages that proceed to permit stopovers on award tickets. I’ll record these roughly based mostly on how beneficiant the insurance policies are, beginning with probably the most beneficiant.
Alaska Mileage Plan
Alaska Mileage Plan is probably probably the most beneficiant with regards to its stopover coverage. Alaska will let you could have a stopover on an award ticket, so long as you’re touring between areas. Alaska Airways has a wide range of airline companions, so for instance, this implies you might fly Japan Airways from Los Angeles to Singapore by way of Tokyo, with a stopover in Japan.
Since a stopover is allowed on a one-way, this implies you might 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 means of Alaska Airways’ web site through the use of the multi-city characteristic.
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 may embrace a stopover with every one-way award.
Stopovers should not out there on awards for journey wholly inside North America. Remember that Air Canada Aeroplan is considerably a distance based mostly program. With that, the additional you fly the dearer your award will probably be. You may get artistic along with your routings, however you could 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 must name to e-book these awards (the performance will ultimately be out there on-line).
Emirates Skywards is the perfect program by means of which to book Emirates first class awards. Emirates helps you to book stopovers in Dubai on one-way tickets, however solely when reserving “Flex Plus” awards. Observe that every one top notch awards e-book into the “Flex Plus” fare band, whereas enterprise class and economic system class awards typically 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 ultimate vacation spot — Dubai is in fact a simple and standard stopover metropolis.
All Nippon Airways Mileage Membership
ANA Mileage Membership is a profitable and sophisticated program, and is even an Amex Membership Rewards switch companion. ANA has affordable 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 permit 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 companion airline (the one exception is in case you’re originating in Japan, by which case you may’t have a stopover). Mileage Membership additionally has around the world awards that permit as much as eight stopovers.
Most awards (together with stopovers) may be booked on-line, despite the fact that the interface seems to be tremendous outdated. Pay attention to companion surcharges, which may 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 idea the stopover guidelines are much more beneficiant, however your mileage might range once 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 in case you exceed the MPM (most permitted mileage). Asiana Club award rules are a bit of a black box, and don’t rely on them being interpreted how they’re written.
Asiana Membership miles are arduous to accrue, as solely Marriott Bonvoy factors switch to Asiana Membership. In any other case you’ll must earn them by means of good quaint flying.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles could be a surprisingly helpful program, each for journey on Cathay Pacific, in addition to for journey on companion airways. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles permits a stopover on a roundtrip award, although these sorts of tickets should be booked by cellphone. Stopovers are allowed each when touring on Cathay Pacific, and when touring on companion airways.
Etihad Visitor permits stopovers in Abu Dhabi for award tickets, however it’s a must to e-book the awards by cellphone. You will need to be aware that Etihad Visitor typically restricts you to connections of as much as solely eight hours, whether or not touring with Etihad or a companion. Which means a connection of something longer than eight hours is taken into account a stopover.
Etihad has a lot of companions you may redeem miles for, and there are distinctive charts for every companion. 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 principles are written, reserving companion awards with Etihad Visitor may be an journey, so I’d count on to must work arduous to get a stopover on a companion 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 based mostly award chart, which means the worth of your award is dependent upon 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 idea add to the entire journey worth.
This system has totally different guidelines relying on the way you’re redeeming your miles. Basically Mileage Financial institution supply three totally different award varieties:
- JAL awards, for journey totally on Japan Airways
- Associate awards, for journey on a single JAL companion
- oneworld award tickets, for journey on two or extra oneworld airways
For journey on JAL, stopovers aren’t permitted.
For those who’re touring on a single companion award, you may have as much as three stopovers on an award. With just a few exceptions, you’re allowed six complete segments. There are some limitations for particular companions, although:
- For those who’re touring on Korean Air, you’re solely allowed two segments, however you may embrace a stopover
- For those who’re touring on China Jap, you’re solely allowed 4 complete segments and you can not have a stopover in China
- For those who’re touring on Hawaiian Airways, Royal Air Maroc, or Vistara Airways, you’re solely allowed 4 complete segments
For those who’re touring on a oneworld award, you’re allowed a whopping seven stopovers. You may solely have eight segments in complete on an award, in order that does restrict the practicality of the stopovers. For those who had been to maximise all seven stopovers, you’d must stopover in every metropolis by which 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 must earn JAL miles by means of 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 of 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 companion, and can be an incredibly valuable program. This system permits a free stopover in Istanbul on a roundtrip award, although you do must e-book by cellphone, and that may be a little bit of a ache.
Turkish Miles&Smiles additionally permits stopovers on Star Alliance companion awards — you may have one stopover on a roundtrip. Nonetheless, that is solely out there if the award prices at the very least 60,000 miles for journey in economic system, 90,000 in enterprise, or 135,000 in first.
TAP Air Portugal Miles & Go
TAP Air Portugal Miles & Go doesn’t permit stopovers when redeeming for journey on TAP, although this system does permit stopovers when redeeming on companion 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 once certainly one of my favourite frequent flyer packages — it was a Chase Final Rewards companion, stopovers had been allowed on one-way awards, and award prices had been affordable. 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 may journey in enterprise class all over the world for 220,000 SkyPass miles and make as much as six stopovers. Exterior of that area of interest award, no stopovers are permitted for award journey. I don’t see a lot worth in that, given how arduous it may be to search out SkyTeam companion award house for therefore many segments.
There are two different packages which might be value mentioning — British Airways Govt Membership and United MileagePlus. Whereas they don’t permit “free” stopovers within the conventional sense, they may be helpful for these making an attempt to go to a number of locations on one journey.
British Airways Govt Membership
British Airways Executive Club is a unique program in that the worth of your award is calculated by the gap and cabin of service for every phase. You may e-book as many segments as you’d like on a single ticket, however you’ll pay for every certainly one of them, as the worth is cumulative.
In lots of circumstances the associated fee for brief segments is low, so you may go to a number of locations at an inexpensive value.
British Airways Govt Membership additionally has a “secret” multi-carrier award chart. For those who’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 in case you had been to e-book every phase individually.
You may e-book as much as eight flight segments this manner, and have a stopover in every metropolis in case you’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 incredible worth for redeeming Avios.
Many brokers don’t even know this chart exists, so it typically requires calling just a few occasions to search out somebody who is aware of 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 known as an “Excursionist Perk.” That allows you to add a free one-way phase to a roundtrip award, in case you meet sure situations.
These are the principles to e-book this, all based mostly 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 should be inside a single area
- The cabin of service of the Excursionist Perk should be in the identical cabin or decrease than the one-way previous it
There’s one other unpublished rule that’s essential to spotlight. For those who’re reserving a blended cabin award and the primary phase of your itinerary is in economic system class, the free one-way can solely be in economic system class. For those who attempt to choose enterprise class, you’ll pay the usual enterprise class award charge. That creates issues once you’re flying United domestically to attach with a global award, because the service releases comparatively few premium cabin award seats lately.
It’s essential to notice you may solely get one free one-way on a reservation, so in case you construct in two Excursionist Perks that meet all the guidelines, solely the primary one will probably be free.
Stopovers may 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 permit this.
Personally I get probably 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 strategy 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?