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 needed 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 difficult 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 talk about among the necessary 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 may very well be an airline’s hub, or any metropolis enroute to your vacation spot.
You possibly can oftentimes get artistic with routings and stopover in locations you may not ordinarily suppose to journey by means of. For instance, if touring from the USA to Asia it could 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 will be as quick as 4 hours for award itineraries. Award packages generally 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 might be thought-about an open-jaw, as illustrated beneath.
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 checklist 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 relating to its stopover coverage. Alaska will let you’ve got 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 instance, this implies you may 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 may probably have two stopovers on a roundtrip ticket. There are many nice makes use of of Alaska Mileage Plan miles.
There’s no payment to guide the stopover, and you’ll guide these immediately by means of Alaska Airways’ web site through the use of the multi-city function.
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada Aeroplan might be my single favourite frequent flyer program, because of the large number of airline companions that Air Canada has. Aeroplan will allow you to add a stopover on a one-way award for simply 5,000 further factors. You possibly can embody a stopover with every one-way award.
Stopovers aren’t accessible on awards for journey wholly inside North America. Needless to say Air Canada Aeroplan is considerably a distance primarily based program. With that, the additional you fly the dearer your award will probably be. You will get artistic together with your routings, however you might find yourself paying extra miles for it.
Better of all, Aeroplan stopovers will be booked immediately on aircanada.com, making the ticketing course of very easy.
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Air France-KLM Flying Blue has just lately launched free stopovers on awards. Particularly, you’re allowed a free stopover when completely flying with Air France or KLM. There aren’t any further miles required, however taxes and costs may very well be greater. Notice that you simply’ll have to guide these sorts of stopovers by telephone in the intervening time, by means of the Flying Blue name heart.
It is a implausible alternative to go to Amsterdam or Paris enroute to your closing vacation spot. This may very well be helpful if you happen to’re connecting to a different level in Europe and simply need to go to two cities, or if you happen to’re on a journey with two lengthy haul flights, and also you simply need to break up the journey a bit.
Emirates Skywards is the very best program by means of which to guide Emirates top quality awards. Emirates helps you to guide stopovers in Dubai on one-way tickets, however solely when reserving “Flex Plus” awards. Notice that every one top quality awards guide into the “Flex Plus” fare band, whereas enterprise class and financial system class awards typically guide 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 in fact a straightforward and well-liked stopover metropolis.
All Nippon Airways Mileage Membership
ANA Mileage Membership is a profitable and complex program, and is even an Amex Membership Rewards switch companion. ANA has affordable redemption charges — for instance, you possibly can guide 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 if you happen to’re originating in Japan, through which case you possibly can’t have a stopover). Mileage Membership additionally has around the world awards that permit as much as eight stopovers.
Most awards (together with stopovers) will be booked on-line, although the interface seems tremendous outdated. Pay attention to companion surcharges, which will be fairly excessive, although.
Asiana Membership is one other airline with a beneficiant stopover coverage. For award journey on Asiana Airways, you possibly can 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 once you truly go to guide these awards. You’re allowed as much as eight segments on a roundtrip award, and you’ll have as much as seven stopovers. Meaning you possibly can cease for so long as you’d like in every connecting metropolis.
Nevertheless, there are limits on the variety of segments for sure awards, and also you may need to pay for reservations individually if you happen to exceed the MPM (most permitted mileage). Asiana Membership award guidelines are a little bit of a black field, and don’t depend on them being interpreted how they’re written.
Asiana Membership miles are laborious to accrue, as solely Marriott Bonvoy factors switch to Asiana Membership. In any other case you’ll should earn them by means of 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 companion airways. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles permits a stopover on a roundtrip award, although these sorts of tickets should be booked by telephone. 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 important to guide the awards by telephone. It is very important 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. Meaning a connection of something longer than eight hours is taken into account a stopover.
Etihad has a variety of companions you possibly can 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 will be an journey, so I’d count on to should work laborious 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 primarily based award chart, which means the worth of your award relies on the whole distance you journey. Having a beneficiant stopover coverage is smart, as you’ll pay extra miles to journey additional distances and every section ought to in principle add to the whole journey worth.
This system has totally different guidelines relying on the way you’re redeeming your miles. Primarily Mileage Financial institution provide three totally different award varieties:
- JAL awards, for journey fully on Japan Airways
- Companion 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.
If you happen to’re touring on a single companion award, you possibly can 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:
- If you happen to’re touring on Korean Air, you’re solely allowed two segments, however you possibly can embody a stopover
- If you happen to’re touring on China Jap, you’re solely allowed 4 complete 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 complete 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 complete on an award, in order that does restrict the practicality of the stopovers. If you happen to had been to maximise all seven stopovers, you’d should stopover in every metropolis through 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 should 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
Notice that your stopover can solely be for as much as 30 days, or else will probably be thought-about two separate awards. Singapore Airways used to permit further stopovers for $100, however sadly that’s now not potential.
Turkish Miles&Smiles is a Citi ThankYou switch companion, and will be an extremely helpful program. This system permits a free stopover in Istanbul on a roundtrip award, although you do should guide by telephone, and that may be a little bit of a ache.
Turkish Miles&Smiles additionally permits stopovers on Star Alliance companion awards — you possibly can have one stopover on a roundtrip. Nevertheless, 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 permit stopovers when redeeming for journey on TAP, although this system does permit stopovers when redeeming on companion airways. Particularly, you possibly can 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 now not permits stopovers, besides on “SkyTeam Around the World” awards. You possibly can journey in enterprise class around the globe 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 laborious it may be to search out SkyTeam companion award house for therefore many segments.
There are two different packages which are value mentioning — British Airways Government Membership and United MileagePlus. Whereas they don’t permit “free” stopovers within the conventional sense, they could be helpful for these making an attempt to go to a number of locations on one journey.
British Airways Government Membership
British Airways Government Membership is a novel program in that the worth of your award is calculated by the gap and cabin of service for every section. You possibly can guide 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 instances the associated fee for brief segments is low, so you possibly can go to a number of locations at an affordable 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 should use this award chart and pay fewer Avios than if you happen to had been to guide every section individually.
You possibly can guide as much as eight flight segments this fashion, and have a stopover in every metropolis if you happen to’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 provide a implausible worth for redeeming Avios.
Many brokers don’t even know this chart exists, so it usually requires calling just a few instances to search out somebody who is aware of how one can guide multi provider awards or being insistent and having the agent double examine the coverage for reserving multi provider awards.
Whereas United MileagePlus doesn’t explicitly allow you to guide stopovers on awards, this system has what’s known as an “Excursionist Perk.” That allows you to add a free one-way section to a roundtrip award, if you happen to meet sure situations.
These are the principles to guide 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 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 necessary to focus on. If you happen to’re reserving a combined cabin award and the primary section 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 once you’re flying United domestically to attach with a world award, because the provider releases comparatively few premium cabin award seats as of late.
It’s necessary to notice you possibly can solely get one free one-way on a reservation, so if you happen to construct in two Excursionist Perks that meet the entire guidelines, solely the primary one will probably be free.
Stopovers will 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 essentially the most worth from the Alaska Mileage Plan and Air Canada Aeroplan stopover insurance policies. Past that, I fairly recognize the coverage of Air France-KLM Flying Blue and Emirates Skywards, because it’s a approach to get a visit a hub when touring between two different factors.
There are a number of different packages that also provide stopovers, although they’ve of various levels of usefulness.
What has your expertise been with airline award ticket stopovers?