Book a Stopover… Even When Your Frequent Flyer Program No Longer Gives You Free Stopovers

Just because your frequent flyer program no longer allows stopovers included free as part of an international award (American eliminated them entirely, Delta sheds them completely January 1), doesn’t mean you shouldn’t book a stopover.

The point of this post isn’t that it’s possible to still trick a program into giving you a stopover for free, although some programs with distance-based award charts can give you cheaper awards with a stopover than without one. (British Airways, which prices each segment separately, can be an example of this.)

Rather the point is that a stopover may cost you fewer miles than you think — certainly fewer miles than making an additional trip to another region of the world. So it may make sense to spend the miles to visit another city, even though it isn’t “free.”

Taking a look at American AAdvantage — which eliminating most stopovers when they went to one-way awards, and got rid of the last vestiges of the stopover on April 8 when the previously-allowed stopover in the North American gateway city ended…

  • North America – India is 90,000 miles one-way in first class.
  • Want a stopover in Europe enroute?
    • North America – Europe is 62,500 miles one-way in first class.
    • Europe – India is 40,000 miles one-way in first class.

  • The total award is 102,500 miles – or an extra 12,500 miles for the stopover.

Stopovers aren’t free, but they aren’t always cost-prohibitive, either.

Stopovers within the same zone? An extra destination in “Asia 1” will cost you 10,000 miles if you do the flight in coach, 20,000 in business class. A stopover in Europe will cost you that same 10,000 miles in coach, 20,000 in business class. A stopover in Africa costs you… 10,000 miles in coach, 17,500 in business class.

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, 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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