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 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 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.

Stopover

A stopover is often outlined as a keep of 24+ hours in a connecting metropolis between your origin and remaining vacation spot. That could possibly be an airline’s hub, or any metropolis enroute to your vacation spot.

You’ll be able to oftentimes get artistic with routings and stopover in locations you may not ordinarily assume to journey by way of. For instance, if touring from the USA to Asia it could be potential to route through Europe, and have a stopover there.

Connection

A connection is often a cease in a metropolis for lower than 24 hours, although relying on this system the utmost connection time might be as brief 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.

Open-jaw

An open-jaw is while you fly into one metropolis and out of one other. For instance, say you’re flying from the USA to Asia and wish to fly into Singapore and return out of Bangkok. That will be thought of an open-jaw, as illustrated under.

An open-jaw between Bangkok & Singapore

Stopovers on award tickets

With the above fundamentals out of the best way, let’s check out among the airline loyalty packages that proceed to permit stopovers on award tickets. I’ll checklist these roughly based mostly on how beneficiant the insurance policies are, beginning with probably the most beneficiant.

Alaska Mileage Plan

Alaska Mileage Plan is maybe probably the most beneficiant in the case 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 a wide range of airline companions, so for example, this implies you possibly can 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 possibly can doubtlessly have two stopovers on a roundtrip ticket. There are many great uses of Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

There’s no charge to e-book the stopover, and you’ll e-book these instantly by way of Alaska Airways’ web site by utilizing the multi-city function.

Reap the benefits of a free stopover on Japan Airways

Air Canada Aeroplan

Air Canada Aeroplan might be my single favorite frequent flyer program, because of the massive number of airline companions that Air Canada has. Aeroplan will let you add a stopover on a one-way award for simply 5,000 further factors. You’ll be able to embrace a stopover with every one-way award.

Stopovers should not accessible on awards for journey wholly inside North America. Understand that Air Canada Aeroplan is considerably a distance based mostly program. With that, the additional you fly the dearer your award might be. You will 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 value, so that you’ll need to name to e-book these awards (the performance will finally be accessible on-line).

Air Canada permits stopovers for five,000 factors

Emirates Skywards

Emirates Skywards is one of the best program by way of which to book Emirates first class awards. Emirates enables 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 usually e-book into this when reserving a one-way (whereas there could also be decrease pricing when reserving roundtrips).

This may be an effective way to cease in Dubai enroute to your remaining vacation spot — Dubai is in fact a straightforward and standard stopover metropolis.

Get a stopover in Dubai with Emirates Skywards

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 in case you’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) might be booked on-line, although the interface seems tremendous outdated. Concentrate on associate surcharges, which might be fairly excessive, although.

ANA Mileage Membership permits a stopover on a roundtrip

Asiana Membership

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 concept the stopover guidelines are much more beneficiant, however your mileage might differ while 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 may 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 laborious to accrue, as solely Marriott Bonvoy factors switch to Asiana Membership. In any other case you’ll need to earn them by way of good quaint flying.

Asiana Membership miles might be laborious to earn

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 associate airways. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles permits a stopover on a roundtrip award, although these sorts of tickets have to be booked by cellphone. Stopovers are allowed each when touring on Cathay Pacific, and when touring on associate airways.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles permits one stopover on a roundtrip

Etihad Visitor

Etihad Visitor permits stopovers in Abu Dhabi for award tickets, however you need to e-book the awards by cellphone. You will need to be aware 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 quite a lot of 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 principles are written, reserving associate awards with Etihad Visitor might be an journey, so I’d anticipate to need to work laborious to get a stopover on a associate airline.

Etihad Visitor permits stopovers in Abu Dhabi

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, that means the worth of your award is dependent upon 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 concept add to the whole journey value.

This system has totally different guidelines relying on the way you’re redeeming your miles. Primarily Mileage Financial institution supply three totally different award sorts:

  • JAL awards, for journey solely 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.

In the event you’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 complete segments. There are some limitations for particular companions, although:

  • In the event you’re touring on Korean Air, you’re solely allowed two segments, however you may embrace a stopover
  • In the event you’re touring on China Japanese, you’re solely allowed 4 complete segments and you can’t have a stopover in China
  • In the event you’re touring on Hawaiian Airways, Royal Air Maroc, or Vistara Airways, you’re solely allowed 4 complete segments

In the event you’re touring on a oneworld award, you’re allowed a whopping seven stopovers. You’ll be able to solely have eight segments in complete on an award, in order that does restrict the practicality of the stopovers. In the event you have been to maximise all seven stopovers, you’d need to 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 need to earn JAL miles by way of flying.

Japan Airways solely permits stopovers on associate awards

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 will likely be thought of two separate awards. Singapore Airways used to permit further stopovers for $100, however sadly that’s not potential.

Singapore KrisFlyer permits stopovers on many awards

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 need to e-book by cellphone, 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 at the least 60,000 miles for journey in economic system, 90,000 in enterprise, or 135,000 in first.

Turkish Miles&Smiles permits stopovers on roundtrips

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.

Get a stopover on Emirates with TAP Miles & Go

Korean Air Skypass

Korean Air SkyPass was once considered one of 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’ll be able to 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 associate award area for thus many segments.

Korean Air’s stopover coverage isn’t as beneficiant because it was once

Honorable mentions

There are two different packages which are price mentioning — British Airways Government Membership and United MileagePlus. Whereas they don’t enable “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 Executive Club is a unique program in that the worth of your award is calculated by the space and cabin of service for every section. You’ll be able to e-book as many segments as you’d like on a single ticket, however you’ll pay for every considered 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 affordable price.

British Airways Government Membership additionally has a “secret” multi-carrier award chart. In the event you’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 have been to e-book every section individually.

You’ll be able to e-book as much as eight flight segments this fashion, 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 implausible worth for redeeming Avios.

Many brokers don’t even know this chart exists, so it usually requires calling a couple of occasions to search out somebody who is aware of easy methods to e-book multi service awards or being insistent and having the agent double verify the coverage for reserving multi service awards.

British Airways’ multi-carrier award chart can turn out to be useful

United MileagePlus

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 section 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 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 essential to focus on. In the event you’re reserving a combined cabin award and the primary section of your itinerary is in economic system class, the free one-way can solely be in economic system class. In the event you attempt to choose enterprise class, you’ll pay the usual enterprise class award price. That creates issues while you’re flying United domestically to attach with a global award, because the service releases comparatively few premium cabin award seats nowadays.

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 the entire guidelines, solely the primary one might be free.

United’s “Excursionist Perk” can stretch your miles

Backside line

Stopovers might be an effective 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 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 solution 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?



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