American Introduces One-Way Awards and the End of Most Stopovers

As discussed at Traveling Better, One Mile at a Time, and Flyertalk, American has introduced a significant change to their award redemption rules.

American AAdvantage now offers one-way awards for half the price of a roundtrip. So far, so good.

But they no longer allow stopovers on awards, except international awards originating in North America and only then at the international gateway city. In other words, if you were flying DC – New York – Tokyo you could have a stopover in New York only. (No word yet whether stopovers will be allowed at, say, the international gateway city on itineraries originating in Europe.)

This means that you cannot book New York – Tokyo (stopover) – Hong Kong (destination) – New York as a single award. Instead, you’d have to book three one-ways.

This change does not affect distance-based onworld awards (which require combining two non-American Airlines carriers) and which can often be more expensive in miles than the comparable American/partner award.

Many folks are negative on the change, and part of me certainly is as well — awards I’ve booked in the past become more expensive. One the other hand, the addition of one-way awards is incredibly useful to me. I can book a Star Alliance award that’s an open jaw now for instance, using my United miles, and fill in the open segment using a one-way AAdvantage award. And of course one-way awards mean it’s possible to book a “double open jaw” as well. So upside and downside here.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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