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Maximizing Stopovers, Transfers and Open Jaw Ticketing on American Airlines Awards

by on June 30, 2011 · 93 comments

in American, Beginners Series, Oneworld, Points Guy Pointers

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This is the fourth installment in the series. See also DeltaBritish Airways and US Airways. To come: Continental, United and Air Canada.

American Airlines was the first US legacy carrier to institute one-way awards and when that happened, they greatly scaled back the flexibility of awards when it came to stopovers. As the saying goes, as one hand giveth the other hand taketh away, which is often what happens when airlines and hotels “enhance” their programs. However, you can still build some pretty valuable awards using your hard-earned AA miles, but you need to understand the rules first.

The basics :
AA has three types of awards (AA award homepage)
1) All AA awards (Chart) Eligible for travel only on American Airlines flights (including AmericanEagle and American Connection partners)

2) All partner awards (Chart) which can be used for travel on a combination of America, Oneworld and Other Airline partners.
One world partners: British Airways (including affiliates like Cityflyer), Cathay Pacific (including DragonAir), FinnAir, Iberia, LAN (Incl. Peru, Ecuador and Argentina affiliates), Qantas (including JetConnect and QantasLink), Japan Airlines, Malev, Royal Jordanian, Mexicana (which currently has operations suspended) and S7.
Other Partners: Air Pacific, Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, Etihad, EL AL, GOL, Gulf Air, Hawaiian Airlines, Jet Airways and Cape Air

3) Oneworld awards (Chart). Must include at least two of the following airlines:  British Airways (including affiliates like Cityflyer), Cathay Pacific (including DragonAir), FinnAir, Iberia, LAN (Incl. Peru, Ecuador and Argentina affiliates), Qantas (including JetConnect and QantasLink), Japan Airlines, Malev, Royal Jordanian, Mexicana (which currently has operations suspended) and S7.

Note: Only AA awards can be booked online. All other awards must be booked over the phone, which will incur a $25 phone ticketing fee. To check Oneworld award availability, you can use a mix of BritishAirways.com (which has been very buggy lately), Qantas.com.au, Award Nexus, KVS Tool and ExpertFlyer.

AA Award Rules:
Transfers: A transfer is less than 4 hours in a city for domestic awards and 24 hours international. If you take the last flight into a city and then next available connection isn’t until the following morning, then it will not count as a stopover as long as the total connection time is less than 24 hours.
Stopovers:
Domestic awards: None
International awards:  A stopover is allowed at the North American gateway. For example, if you fly Atlanta-Miami-Lima you can stop in Miami for a week (or however long you want).

All Partner Award Rules:
Transfers: A transfer is less than 4 hours in a city for domestic awards and 24 hours international. If you take the last flight into a city and then next available connection isn’t until the following morning, then it will not count as a stopover as long as the total connection time is less than 24 hours.
Stopovers allowed:
Domestic awards: None
International awards:  A stopover is allowed at the North American gateway (the city you fly in/out of). For example, if you fly Tokyo-Los Angeles-Chicago , you can stop in Los Angeles.

While most people don’t want to stop in a US city on an international trip, what this allows is the ability to build in free trips to Hawaii or the Caribbean. Per the AA award chart Hawaii and the Caribbean are a separate region when you originate in North America and travel to those locations, however, when traveling to and from Europe, Hawaii/Caribbean are lumped into North America. Per the AA award chart, when traveling internationally North America is defined as the “U.S. (including Hawaii and Alaska), Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, The Bahamas, and the Caribbean.”  For example, lets say you want to fly JFK-London-JFK. That award on AA will cost you 60,000 miles in coach roundtrip (40,000 off-peak). However,  Honolulu to London also costs 60,000 miles and you can “stop” in JFK. So instead of JFK-LHR-JFK, you could book:
HNL-DFW-JFK (Stop), JFK-LHR
LHR-JFK (Stop)- DFW-HNL

Even if you don’t want to include a Hawaii trip, you can include transcontinental trips. So if you are traveling from Los Angeles to Tokyo roundtrip, why not add on JFK-LAX and LAX-JFK legs before and after your trip since you can use Los Angeles as your stopover city since it is the US gateway city?

Even if you don’t know when you’d use a future segment like LAX-JFK, American allows changes in dates on awards as long as the origin and destination points do not change. So you can book a dummy last leg and in a worst case scenario, you never use it. AA charges a $25 phone booking fee, but that’s absolutely worth it (in my mind) to add free flights in the future.

Oneworld awards

Oneworld awards are most useful for people planning Round the World itineraries. There is an incredibly useful thread on the topic on Flyertalk, which I recommend for anyone interested in one of these awards.

Stopovers/Transfers: Per AA, “Stopover is defined as more than 4 hours for domestic flights, and 6 hours for international flights. If there are no scheduled flights within this timeframe, regardless of availability, you must take the next scheduled flight but may not exceed 24 hours. If the connection exceeds 24 hours, it will be considered a stopover.”

In general, you can build in up to 16 segments. Generally each flight is one segment, so JFK-London-Amman-Tokyo-LAX-JFK would be 5 segments. However, if you fly into a city and then out of another like JFK-London, Paris-Amman-Tokyo-LAX-JFK would be 6 segments.

Open Jaw: One allowed, plus one at the origin/destination. For example, you can fly into one city and out of another during the trip (into London, out of Paris for example) and then also end at a different city than you started. For example, starting the trip in New York and ending in Los Angeles.

To calculate the total mileage of your trip, you do not count your connection cities. So if you were traveling from Pittsburgh to Paris, but had a connection in New York, you’d only count PIT-Paris miles- not PIT-JFK-Paris. This is nice because certain connections can add a lot of miles to your trip and if you plan your trip carefully, you can come in just under a certain mileage threshold. To find out the amount of miles between cities, you can use the Great Circle Mapper distance tool, though the ticketing agent will have the final say on the amount of miles for the trip.

If you need AA miles, as of today (June 30, 2011) the 75,000 AA mile Citi cards are still active, even though it doesn’t state it on the online application. This is a relatively 150,000 AA miles (if you get the Visa and Amex) so for more information check out this post.

Starwood points also transfer at a 1:1 ratio to AA and there’s the standard 5,000 mile bonus per each block of 20,000 Starwood points you transfer. You can get a Starwood Amex with a 25,000 point sign-up bonus (after 15k in spend within the first 6 months) and fee waived for the first year.

Currently, all points earned via credit cards, including sign-up bonuses, count towards Million Mile status, but it’s rumored that will change soon. Get in while the getting is good!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Scott

    Could you add Alaska Airlines to the list of airlines to profile?

    Also, you mention that British Airways is coming up. Didn’t you profile them already in a multi-part series??

    Thanks,
    Scott

  • dracs

    Pointsguy,

    In your jfk-lhr-jfk example, how is someone reaching HNL?? On return trip??? Person based in JFK cannot start from HNL? Person based in JFK can only see HNL on return and but cannot start from there.

  • Scott

    @dracs, I was wondering the same thing. TPG: could you maybe provide a clearer scenario for this and possibly start it from a non-gateway city?

  • Marc

    similar question…

    in your example… “For example, lets say you want to fly JFK-London-JFK. That award on AA will cost you 60,000 miles in coach roundtrip (40,000 off-peak). However, Honolulu to London also costs 60,000 miles and you can “stop” in JFK. So instead of JFK-LHR-JFK, you could book:
    HNL-DFW-JFK (Stop), JFK-LHR
    LHR-JFK (Stop)- DFW-HNL”, how exactly does this work?

    I live in NYC and want to go to London round trip? I understand that I can add the Hawaii legs to the front and end of my trip for no additional miles. But if I don’t show for the first leg (Hawaii-JFK), won’t they cancel the rest of my trip? Are you saying that before departure, I can change the dates of only my Hawaii-JFK and JFK-Hawaii legs to say 6 months from now and have a free Hawaii trip 6 months from now in addition to the JFK-London-JFK trip for a total of 60,000 miles?

  • Adam K

    My understanding of building in the HNL-JFK leg is you do indeed have to begin your trip in Hawaii. So basically use a one way award to get to Hawaii, take a vacation for a while, then go on your trip to LHR. On the way back, you have a JFK-HNL “in reserve” for future use.

    Since you can change dates for free, keep it around in case it becomes useful. i.e. if a super cheap HNL-BKK mileage run opens up, you have a free ticket to Hawaii.

  • The Points Guy

    @Adam K is correct.
    I should have been clearer- sequentially you can not add on a random roundtrip to Hawaii. You can, however, include the home leg (HNL-JFK for ex.) onto a future JFK-LHR award and then the outbound leg of a future Hawaii trip to the return of LHR-JFK. Does that make sense?

  • The Points Guy

    @Scott- you are right, I did do BA already, though I was going to do a refresher. However, in the meantime I guess it makes sense to link to that post! Thanks

  • GoBLue34

    TPG

    Similar question to above. Is there anyway to take advantage of this living in the middle of the US? From Kansas City there aren’t any direct flights to say London so don’t see how I could build in any extra for free flights.

    Thoughts?

  • The Points Guy

    @Goblue- You can only stopover in gateway cities, so it doesn’t work for people not based in one. I will update the post to clarify

  • purplnurpl

    To make sure I understand this correctly, I could book on one itin for 100k biz saaver per person:

    IAD -> JFK -> OGG (stopover) -> NRT (stopover) -> OGG (stopover) -> JFK -> IAD

    No?

  • lovetofly

    It would be awesome if you could update the post with what those gateway cities are for those of us that are new to this stuff. great post.

  • purplnurpl

    I think the US gateway cities are really whatever US city AA will go international with.

  • The Points Guy

    @Purpl- you cannot have a stopver in OGG because American does not fly outside the US from there. You can ONLY stop in the gateway city, which means where AA flies to another country from (JFK/ORD/DFW/LAX/MIA primarily)

  • purplnurpl

    AA flies HNL -> NRT, so given the previous example, I could replace OGG with HNL (and take a quick hop via Hawaiian to get to OGG and back to HNL) with that itin?

  • Jay

    @TPG: I wish this was posted 3 weeks ago when I booked my Sep trip to LAX-Tokyo-LAX. Now I wanted to add a free trip to LAX-JFK:-). The question is what is the most efficient way to rebook this? I believe I can pay $100 to cancel the trip and re-book, but I am worried that I might not have the same availability. Any other options?

    Thanks!

  • dracs

    Hmm…

    If I am understanding correctly, Basically to get 1 free Hawaii trip , you are kinda forced to take 2 trips to Hawaii. One to originate and Other to finish future trip.
    So basically, you pay or burn miles to make one trip on own.
    HNL-JFK-LHR -> Pay to reach HNL
    LHR-JFK-HNL -> Pay to reach JFK.

    So nut shell , is somebody has plans to go twice then probably will work out. Buy 1 , Get 1 Free.
    If somebody wants 1 trip, Then nutshell no GAIN.

    Did I understand correct? Looks like kind of hidden conditions :P

  • Dave

    ExpertFlyer.com has been mentioned in several blogs, and I know you have recommended this website in the before for use in maximizing points/mileage. How about if I am just trying to find the lowest fare from point A to B (PHL – LAX for instance)? Will ExpertFlyer show cheaper tickets than Expedia, Travelocity, etc?

  • skippy pea

    Hi PointsGuy,

    I could use help with this one! I have about 250k Amex miles that I want to use for a flight between Chicago/ny or even LAX with one week stopver Tokyo/Shanghai/hongkong or bangkok and then finally to Mumbai. The return can be direct to chicago.

    How do I get the best bang for my points? Would transferring to BA and using Cathay to book tkts work or is there a better configuration out there?

    I would appreciate all your insight!

  • dracs

    I think , Both star alliance and One world can work for you. Continental 120k(saver) for business by transfering 120K points or BA 160k(By transfering 107 k points).

    For CX/One world, you need to make sure, its all on CX or 1 partner. For star alliance , you are flexible and can take any airline.

    Fuel surcharge will be pretty steep on CX as compared to star alliance redemption.

    I think star alliance would be very good option

    Folks, what do you feel?

  • Rob

    I believe you could do IAD – JFK – HNL (stopover for a nice week vacation) – NRT – HNL (stopover and go surfing for 2 days) – JFK – IAD. That would be 60k a ticket on AA.

    Someone can confirm or deny

  • Michael

    This thread shows why thepointsguy.com is the best travel blog on the net.

    My question is like many others. Is a 100K RT BIZ AWARD LAX-JFK-(STOPOVER for three days) BCN-(pay my own way to Paris), then CDG-JFK (stopover for three days)-LAX doable?

  • Carberrie

    I believe to calculate the total mileage of your trip, you DO count your connection cities. Hence, Pittsburgh to Paris, with a connection in New York, would be PIT-JFK-Paris. At least this was the case last year when I did a OneWorld ticket.
    However, with AA’s website updates, I can no longer find the rules online… Could AA be hiding this information intentionally?

  • Ken_dell

    @ The Points Guy ” I should have been clearer- sequentially you can not add on a random roundtrip to Hawaii. You can, however, include the home leg (HNL-JFK for ex.) onto a future JFK-LHR award and then the outbound leg of a future Hawaii trip to the return of LHR-JFK. Does that make sense?” NO
    I would appreciate it if you would please simply give us the exact routing with stops – for whatever reason you seem unwilling or incapable of doing that?

  • dracs

    “This thread shows why thepointsguy.com is the best travel blog on the net”

    Yeah but where is he? :P By the way puss looks cool with watermelon.

    @Michael,

    I think you are making it one ways and stopover won’t be allowed. LAX-JFK-BCN 1 WAY
    CDG-JFK-LAX 1 WAY.

    Other’s Chime in.

  • The Points Guy

    @sloppy- Amex points cannot be transferred to American airlines. Ba is your best bet but you have to stick to one airline total

    @dracs-calm yourself- I’m in Spain enjoying myself. You should too :-)

    @Ken- sorry you are confused
    Hnl-dfw-JFK(stop)-LHR
    LHR-JFK(stop)-dfw-hnl
    Understand?

  • dracs

    @pointsguy

    MY bad.. :P Enjoy your vacation . :)

  • Eric

    I can not understand stopovers either. Maybe I am over thinking it but I just can’t understand how it saves you anything.

  • Ken_dell

    @The points Guy- ” sorry you are confused
    Hnl-dfw-JFK(stop)-LHR
    LHR-JFK(stop)-dfw-hnl
    Understand ? ” – YES – many thanks

  • Michael

    When you have time, Brian, perhaps you can do a dummy booking on AA showing the HNL-LAX-LHR-LAX-HNL type booking where you get off at LAX but have that free biz class booking from LAX-HNL 11 months later. Perhaps you could provide screen shots as well (like you did previously) and that would answer a lot of the questions above.

  • Julie

    Pointsguy, I love your blog; thank you so much for the information. I’m still confused about the HNL/JFK stopover scenario. Can you confirm whether the following summation is correct please?
    1. Book the itinerary as you stated above.
    2. Call and change the dates of the HNL-DFW-JFK to an earlier date, and change the JFK-DFW-HNL leg to a later date.
    3. Book a one-way award from JFK to HNL to complete the first Hawaii trip. Can an unlimited amount of time pass between the return from Hawaii and the departure to London?
    4. Book a one-way award from HNL to JFK to complete a 2nd Hawaii trip to take place sometime after the London trip.
    Right or wrong? Thanks!

  • The Points Guy

    @Eric- the domestic gateway stopover can give you free flights. Free flights are good.

    @Michael- sure, I have 150k shiny new AA miles from my Citi cards and I want to go to Hawaii anyway, so maybe I’ll do one of these itineraries to show people how its done. Good call!

    @Julie- You don’t even need to call and do step 2. You can just book the first HNL-DFW-JFK leg whenever you want it and build in the long “stopover” in JFK.

    As far as unlimited amount of time, I believe AA only allows 331 days when booking awards, but you can always call and extend the trip into the future.
    But overall, you have it correct!

  • johndeere19

    Guys, here’s another example of the stopover rule. Say you live in JFK and need to go to LHR. You then book something like:
    9/1/11 JFK-LHR
    On the return you can book:
    9/10/11 LHR-JFK(STOP)
    12/2/11 LGA-ORD-HNL
    for the same miles as LHR-JFK

    Then, if you know that you need to go to say Paris in Jan, you could book your return as
    12/9/11 HNL-ORD-LGA(STOP)
    1/15/12 JFK-CDG
    for the same miles as JFK-CDG

    Rinse and repeat for trips around the US/Hawaii/Caribbean

  • Michael

    @Johndeer19 — that entire itenary, in business, would be how many miles, if the no-God’s were smiling on you?

  • The Points Guy

    @Michael 100k for the roundtrip

  • Michael

    including this portion?

    Then, if you know that you need to go to say Paris in Jan, you could book your return as
    12/9/11 HNL-ORD-LGA(STOP)
    1/15/12 JFK-CDG
    for the same miles as JFK-CDG

  • amy

    AA does one way tickets right? So coudn’t your starting location be different than your end? So perhaps you could end up with one way fares to hnl and cun or the Caribbean?

  • John

    Do you know the maximum time limit for a stopover on AA (and are the other airlines similar)? Could I make my stopover 6 months? Thanks!

  • stripes-pa

    @The Points Guy

    Thanks for the very informative article. I am a bit confused though (since travel on AA will be new as I usually use Delta.)

    When maximizing stop overs, would it be possible to use one set of miles for an international itinerary in coach such as:

    11/2/11 PIT-JFK-LHR (stop over)
    11/9/11 LHR – DUS

    return
    11/16/11 FRA-JFK-PIT

    Thanks again.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XOJWU2QLV45H56PGPRCJPKYW3U Steven

    Thanks TPG. Just started getting in awards redemption now and learning the ropes.
    Home based in SFO, so looking at Partner lines to Asia (Cathay–CX).

    Would this work?
    Find out need trip to HKG so book this trip outbound this year
    1. SFO-HGK (CX) 10/1/2011

    Return trip book
    2. HGK-SFO (CX) (STOP) 11/1/2011 / SFO-HNL (HA) 6/1/2012 leaving the Stopover ‘long term and booking (SFO- HNL) some distant future date, say 6/1/2012

    Future trip arises for asia in 2013. Book a trip to hawaii in between….Only works if you have another outbound to another international destination.
    3. Update #2 booking SFo/HNL to complete your stopover your chosen “free hawaii trip” date…say 9/1/2012
    4. Book return of Hawaii trip AND your now known (or potentially future known city pair–which CANNOT be changed). HNL-SFO (STOP) (HA) 9/8/2012 / SFO-SYD (QF) 12/1/2012
    5. Book return xxx trip (say sydney) with next ‘free hawaii trip or CONUS trip’

    -?: what is the time limit for the stop over? Is there one at all? What if you ‘forget’ that you booked 6/1/2012 and it’s 7/2012…can you recover that expired stopover from #2?

    -?: can probably ‘bailout’ with quick mexico/canada trip if some time limit comes due

  • Anonymous

    Seems like you have the hang out of- it requires some planning with future trips. The only thing I’d worry about is Maximum Permitted Mileage from Honolulu to Hong Kong, though I bet they allow routing through San Fran, so you should be fine. Same with HNL-SYD.
    I do not know how AA handles no-show awards, but I’d recommend not forgetting about them, especially since they allow date changes for free. I don’t believe there is a limit of stopovers, but generally awards are only bookable 331 days in advance.

  • Anonymous

    LHR stopovers are not allowed. Its only US AA gateways, so JFK in your case.

  • Anonymous

    6 months should be fine. The only limit is that AA only allows awards to be booked 331 days in advance.

  • Anonymous

    Correct- AA allows One ways- even on partners, so creating open jaws is easy

  • Anonymous

    100k per roundtrip. That is two roundtrips (one to London and one to France) so 200k total

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CA2PUSKSGF2GREOYQ5IOYTWFUA dzt

    thanks for all your helpful info. i have 2 questions:

    1) i am based in dfw, let’s say i want to go to NRT, can i do DFW > LAX > NRT, with stopover in LAX even though there is a direct DFW > NRT flight available?

    2) when u say free flights, can i do LGA > DFW > NRT > DFW > LGA, with stopover in dallas, then call and cancel (change dates) the LGA > DFW and DFW > LGA legs. i can fly the DFW > NRT > DFW first, then maybe a couple months later fly only the DFW > LGA and LGA > DFW? it does not matter if i fly the legs to from LGA in a different order than originally booked?

    thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Schwartz/3213290 Daniel Schwartz

    I’m sorry, but can you explain the stopover in gateway cities the way you would to a child? I’m finding the very short answers confusing. As I understand it, I see 2 main uses: 1) Stopover in a gateway city on an international flight; or 2) To get a free one-way trip for future use and book a completely separate one-way trip in order to get back home.

    An example of 1) would be to take a mini-vacay in Hawaii on the way to Asia or wherever else AA or partners fly, right?

    An example of 2) would be to go from LAX to TKY to LAX to Hawaii and then book a completely separate flight from Hawaii to LAX, right?

  • apoivre

    re Oneworld awards

    “To calculate the total mileage of your trip, you do not count your connection cities. So if you were traveling from Pittsburgh to Paris, but had a connection in New York, you’d only count PIT-Paris miles- not PIT-JFK-Paris”

    Unfortunately, they changed a couple of years ago. Now every mile counts (i.e., it’s PIT-JFK-CDG, not just PIT-CDG in your example)

    Also it’s always been my undetsranding you’re only allowed one OJ (either somewhere along the route or at origin/destination as you state). I’d love to be wrong on this one, though

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  • ttnc

    Wondering the same thing

  • Adam Rubin

    Trying to figure this out is making my head hurt :) Your examples are a bit hard to follow (for me atleast) because the originating city is different:

    Original Routing: JFK-LHR-JFK. Assumes JFK is originating city and round trip ticket booked
    New Routing: HNL-DFW-JFK (Stop), JFK-LHR, LHR-JFK (Stop)- DFW-HNL. Assumes HNL originating city and appears to be a combination of one-way tickets

    Could you please confirm that is a correct interpretation for the above? I’m still confused on if it is better to book series of one-way tickets with stopovers or a single RT ticket.

    Also, to make sure I understand, could you just verify if this made-up example is a correct interpretation:
    Flight 1: DFW – Lima
    Flight 2: Lima – DFW (stopover for 2 months) – LAX
    Flight 3: LAX – DFW

    Would the above be booked with 3 oneway tickets? And the bonus is that it allows you 4 flights with the DFW – LAX extension on flight 2 essentially being “free”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scotti-Mac/100002677567421 Scotti Mac

    TPG, I haven’t seen a response to this question, but my confusion is along the same terms as DZT’s.

    Question 1 is essentially correct, but easy, seeing that it starts and ends from one’s home destination, one could stay in LA for as one as one wanted before continuing to to NRT.

    Question 2 though is where I also am confused. The way you put it in the post, it seemed as though you either need to change the order of the “free vacation to gateway city of your choice” like DZT proposes, or buy additional one way legs to and from the gateway city essentially getting 2 vacations there for the price of one.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Scott

  • Anonymous

    Instead of one ways you could do LAX-DFW (stop for however long), DFW-LIMA
    Return LIMA-DFW (Stop for however long), DFW-LAX

    So instead of just DFW-Lima you have 2 lax legs as well.

    If you wanted to add a final LAX-DFW leg, you’d have to use a new one way award

  • Adam Rubin

    Thanks a lot for the quick reply, I know that this is an older post and appreciate your patience in explaining. The one thing I’m missing is that in your example wouldn’t you also need to book a one-way award to get to LAX (assuming ‘home’ is DFW in my previous example) to start the trip and at the end to get home?

    Assuming DFW is home then you could essentially bake in 2 “free” trips to LAX in the below round trip as enroute stopovers?

    DFW (origination city) – LAX (stopover), LAX – LIMA (final destination)
    Return LIMA – LAX (stopover) – DFW (return city)

  • Adam Rubin

    Never mind, I understand now. Found a great thread on FlyerTalk that had lots of discussion and additional examples to assist (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american-aadvantage/952195-new-one-way-flex-award-awards-stopover-rule-booking-engine-may-9-2009-a-5.html)

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  • http://twitter.com/berma16 nicole

    I am one of the people who are still confused. Below “DZT” basically asked the same question that I have. Once you book the trip with the 2 extra legs:
    1 Do you call and change the dates which would change the order of the flights from what was originally booked
    2 Use one of the legs and then pay or use a separate reward for the remaining leg.

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  • Anonymous

    What about travel starting outside the US? I need a ticket from GRU-JFK/WAS and was now wondering if I could maximize this with the stop being in JFK?

    something like:

    GRU-JFK(Stop 6 months)
    JFK-IST or something like that
    IST- JFK/GRU?

    Thanks for the help!

  • Jeff

    Hi TPG,
    I read your instruction on maxmizing AA awards with great interest and followed-thru using the multi-city tool on AA website to book the following flights:
    BOS -> CDG (20k miles)
    LHG -> BOS (stopover for 6 months)
    BOS -> DFW
    DFW->HNL

    Has anyone had any success using Multi-city tool on AA to stitch together an international itinerary with multiple legs? It seems to price my trip incorrectly.

    It believes:
    BOS -> CDG (20k miles – this is right)
    LHG -> BOS (20k miles – this is right)
    BOS -> DFW (no miles charged – a msg that reads “This international award allows a stopover at Boston – BOS for no additional miles. Mileage required for both flights is displayed on the Award Legend for the international flight.”)
    DFW->HNL (17.5K – incorrect)

    Since DFW->HNL is part of the flight from BOS -> HNL, the tool doesn’t seem to be smart enough to know that DFW->HNL should be included in the LHG->BOS->HNL (20K miles) flight.

    Any ideas?

  • Anonymous

    Call to get it booked

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  • Bohemiana

    Is it possible to do a stop in LA on the way from Nashville to Hawaii without using up another domestic ticket? That’s a really long flight and it would be nice to break it up with a day or two in LA.

  • Bohemiana

    By the way, I’m talking about AA miles in the above example.

  • Kevin

    I’m thinkingt of booking a flight using AA miles from the west coast (LAX,PDX, SEA or SFO) to Quito, Ecuador (through Miami). How might you see me taking advantage of AA’s Int stop-over rule to maybe gain a “third” flight?

  • Bsmart68

    Hello Points Guy,

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, but this one has me a little stumped. Is it possible for you to do a screen shot with descriptions when booking this? Or could you provide step by step instructions? My airport is DFW.

  • Shane

    OK, so I just found this thread after searching about AA awards, I’m fairly new to the redeeming award travel but feel I have the basics. My problem is that I am trying to book a one-way award (LHR-SEA) utilizing the strategy listed, but the computer wants to add my additional domestic flight as a separate award. I am thinking LHR-SEA (home) but thought of adding a leg of SEA-JFK for later in the year (utilizing the free additional stopover) but it wants to count that leg as an additional 25,000 (Bus class award) where the LHR-SEA is 50,000.

    Can someone guess what I may be doing wrong? Thanks, Shane

  • TudorSue

    I need PointsGuy brilliance on this itinerary — and maximizing mileage and options — as I’ve twice now gotten unhelpful AAdvantage agents who only seem to want to push straight AA awards rather than OneWorld option. I’ll be traveling from NY to Vienna, open jaw (probably take the train from Vienna to Venice), return to NY from Venice.

    Business Class (1 traveler))
    10 April: JFK-VIE
    23 April: VCE-JFK

    For business class, if I do this via OneWorld alliance with two international airlines (say BA and Iberian), the award is 80K miles; using AA award, it’s 100K, correct?

    It doesn’t look like I have the option of a non-stop flight between Vienna and Venice???

    All suggestions are appreciated. I’ve learned a lot from this post and your blog in a very short time.

  • Esweetfriend

    I am confused,
    I want to pay for coach, and upgrade with my american miles….I want to go chicago to london, stay 3 days, then london to krakow, stay a week, then krakow to chicago…
    the agent says I cant do this using multi destination ticket, is that true
    thanks

  • Bohemiana

    I used AA Vacations to book LAX to London and back to LA from Madrid. And, I got 2 nights in London included for the same price as the ticket alone on AA.com

  • ozzy

    Is this correct? This is the impression I got.

  • Anonymous

    Correct- its one free trip from Hawaii to your gateway city before your trip and one to Hawaii after. It’s not a free round trip whenever you want it- you gotta work it in to other trips

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  • Paul

    Wow, excellent information, I wish I had found it sooner. One quick question, using a planned trip from NYC to London as an example. Book LAX-JFK-LHR as a one way award ticket. Question is, can the LAX-JFK segment be changed to a date AFTER the JFK-LHR segment? Or must segments be flown in the order booked? Thanks very much and please do keep up the good work.

  • thepointsguy

    Segments must be flown in order, do you can’t fly the first after the second

  • Paul

    Understood. Thank you very much.

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  • Abchilla

    I was wondering to get a flight from Frankfurt to Los Angeles and having a stopover in Chicago for 2 weeks inbetween. Is something like this possible?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=28100555 Joseph Jay Williams

    This is an excellent and really informative post. I’ve realized it makes AA miles much more valuable than I thought.

    What other airlines allow this kind of stopover? Does United?

    And are there other airlines that structure their awards as one-ways rather than round trips, which is super useful? I have the impression United and US Airways don’t.

  • Rebroc2001

    I’m sooooo confused. Trying to book round the world on one world website in business class. LAX to MAA and return. It says I need a minimum of 2 stopovers on my return but I thought I did that. I won’t have time to stop anywhere else there and back as it’s already a long trip. I need to be there on 9/22 returning 10/6. Trying to avoid sleeping in airports as well. Anyone have any ideas? Please…….

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  • Xerxes2001

    I just noticed on my statement that in the “new” program, the (gold) elite preferred seating is “until December 2013.”
    I’m pretty sure that when I reached Gold Elite Million Miler status a year ago,
    it was just “preferred seating”—no expiry of that “benefit” (which, like most of the rest of it, used to be free to everyone).
    When I looked at old emails (March 2012) congratulating me on reaching million miler status and clicked on “benefits”, that seems to have been removed. The letter is there, but everything else is no longer available.
    Am I correct, and there’s now a deadline after which some of the preferred seating is no long available?
    Thanks!

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  • robogar

    Hello, I know this is an old post, but I was wondering if you could have stopovers while travelling in Asia. For example: HKG>SGN (stopover) >PEN?

  • Leslie

    with the ‘free’ US stopover, would it be a possibility to do CUN – JFK (stopover for 1 month) – HNL (destination), back to JFK? Or JFK – CUN (Destination) – JFK (stopover) – HNL?

  • Guest

    Love the blog, and I’m hoping to utilize it as much as possible for an upcoming trip in May. Looking at departing NYC or WAS for a trip to Shanghai with a stopover in Hawaii on the way back. Would Hawaii be considered a stopover?

  • Daniel Yang

    Love the blog, and I’m hoping to post a success story with a trip coming up in May. I’m looking to depart from either WAS or NYC, heading to Shanghai with a stopover in Hawaii on the way back. Would the stop in Hawaii be considered a stopover?

  • Guest

    I think this is out of date now. American has eliminated “free” stopovers longer than 24 hours.

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