You Can Still Book Free One-Way Awards When You Redeem Miles. These Mileage Programs Let You.

Reader fauxblogger asked,

Which foreign airline mileage programs permit tag flight to/from [North American] gateway city to [North American] home city on a single award when redeeming its own program’s miles?

I think I understand what fauxblogger is asking. This reader wants to know what mileage programs allow stopovers on award tickets.

The reason they asked the question the way they did is that American Airlines — up until April 8 last year — permitting stopovers on international award tickets, but only in the North American gateway city. In other words, the city you arrived or departed North America in/from. You could fly back to the gateway city, say you lived in Dallas and landed in Dallas from abroad. And ‘stopover’ there. Instead of ending your itinerary you would add another domestic flight, say to Los Angeles to Honolulu, for no extra miles.

But you can do this with any program that allows stopovers.

(Separately, a ‘tag flight’ is actually a 5th freedom route, usually a short flight, like flying United from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City. They’re not really asking about a tag flight, as much as an ‘extra’ flight beyond the city they really want to return to.)

  • Alaska Airlines allows stopovers even on one-way international awards.
  • United allows stopovers on roundtrip international awards
  • Aeroplan allows stopovers on roundtrip international awards

So while American and Delta no longer do, it’s still possible to use North American frequent flyer programs and leverage them in this way. ANA, Flying Blue and JAL Mileage Bank allow stopovers. Korean Air does as well.

Thus the “free one-way” is far from dead.

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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  1. Gary,

    I think what faux blogger is asking is which airlines let you mix operating carriers on a single award chart. This is something most US programs do, but many foreign carriers do not.

    For instance, I just redeemed SQ miles for an SQ suites award, but SQ will not let me add IAD-JFK at the cheapest award level.

  2. Thanks Gary for trying to decipher my real question. The programs permitting stopovers reminder is helpful, but what I really meant echoes Dan’s above comment. For those not living in the North American city to/from which the foreign alliance carrier offers service, additional miles/$ for flights to/from home city , on top of the YQ, on top of the higher #of miles , on top of the unreliable points transfer times combined with the inventory only becoming available 24-48 hrs in advance of flight make these programs fairly unattractive when compared to domestic US counterparts.

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