This afternoon I had a conversation with an American Airlines agent, it was the second or third time that one of them commented that they ‘never see’ distance-based oneworld awards, that they do one or two a year at most.
So I thought it might be worth a post on the basics.
Most American Airlines awards are one-way awards, and they don’t permit stopovers except at the North American gateway city. That means if you fly from your home airport to Los Angeles, and then to Tokyo, you can stop over in Los Angeles. But not outside of North America.
That was the tradeoff when American went to one-way awards, they got rid of most stopovers.
But American also offers another award type that offers unlimited stopovers as long as you do not exceed 16 segments on the awards: oneworld awards.
The mileage cost of these awards is based on the total distance flown. And there are some special requirements and routing rules:
- Can only connect twice per city
- One stopover per city
- One open jaw is permitted in the award
- No changes to routing or airlines at all once ticketed. (But you can change date/time without fee.)
- Can only fly on oneworld carriers, not other partners
- Must fly on at least two airlines other than American
Today I reserved the following for two passengers:
Los Angeles – San Francisco, American Airlines First Class
San Francisco – Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Business Class
Hong Kong – Auckland, Cathay Pacific Business Class
Auckland – Sydney, Qantas Business Class
Sydney – Tokyo, Japan Airlines Business Class
Tokyo – Los Angeles, Japan Airlines Business Class
American’s standard one-way awards would have made this 215,000 miles per person.
But because it included three airlines besides American, we were eligible to use their distance-based award chart. And since the total flying was less than 25,000 miles (this clocked in at just over 24,500) the cost was 150,000 miles per person.
Not bad for trips to Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan on a single ticket, all in business class.
These aren’t always useful, or less expensive, but certainly can be and are worth keeping in your quiver of tricks.