Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 4 – One-way, Openjaws, Stopovers, & North American Gateway Cities

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 Book American Airlines Awards Like a Pro:

One-way Awards

American Airlines lets you book one-way award tickets.

This is great because it gives you a lot of options.  For example, you can book a one-way ticket to Rome using American Airlines miles, but book a return one-way ticket using United or Continental miles.

Openjaws

This is a silly geeky way of saying that you fly from your origin (City A) to your destination (City B) , but then fly back from another city (City C) to your origin (City A).

For example, I fly from Chicago (City A) to London (City B), but I fly back from Paris (City C) back to my origin in Chicago (City A).

Here’s a more detailed explanation of an Openjaw.

Since American Airlines lets you book one-way awards, you can have open-jaw itineraries very easily.

For example, I’d book Chicago to London on 1 award.  And I’d book Paris back to Chicago as my 2nd award.

Stopovers

A stopover is when you intentionally take a break in your journey while traveling from your origin to your destination.

For example, say I am traveling from Chicago (origin) to Barcelona (destination) and decide to break my journey in London (stopover) for 3 days.  In this case, I have made a “stopover” in London and my flights would be like this: Chicago (origin) – London (stop) – Barcelona (destination).

Or I am traveling from Kansas City (origin) to London (destination), but decide to break my journey in New York (stop over) for 5 days.  In this case, I have made a “stopover” in New York and flights would be like this: Kansas City (origin) – New York (stop) – London (destination).

Here’s where it gets confusing:  Airlines often have different rules for stopovers when you are flying on a paid (revenue) ticket and when you are flying on an award ticket.

American Airlines also has different rules for stopovers when using their Oneworld awards.  But this post focuses only on the stopover rules for the more common American Airlines & All Airline Award chart.

American Airlines Stopover Rules

North America refers to the US (including Hawaii and Alaska), Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

1.   Awards within North America.

American Airlines doesn’t allow stopovers on award tickets in North America.

This means that if you are flying from Detroit to Tampa, you can’t stop for a few days in Chicago (stopover) on 1 award ticket.  You’d have to book Detroit to Chicago as 1 award and another award from Chicago to Tampa if you wanted to stopover in Chicago.

Moreover, you only have 4 hours or less to make your connection for awards within North America.  A layover longer than 4 hours is automatically priced as 2 separate awards.

There is an exception if the only flight to your destination (Tampa) is more than 4 hours away (say you arrived in Chicago late at night and the next flight to Tampa is the next day), you can take that flight, the next day, and still be charged for only 1 award.

However, if that next flight is more than 24 hours away, your award will be priced as 2 separate one-way awards.

2.  Awards between North America & Europe, Asia, India, or Central/South America.

You can have a stopover, but it has to be in the North American gateway city.  Note that most other airlines don’t require your stopover to be in the North American gateway city.

The North American gateway city is the city from which you either arrive or depart from North America on a non-stop international flight to an international destination outside North America.

For example, I’m traveling from San Fransisco (origin) to Barcelona (destination) & my flight route is: San Fransisco – New York – London – Barcelona.

I CAN have a stopover in New York because New York is the North American Gateway city.

I CAN’T have a stopover in London, because London is NOT a North American Gateway city. Technically, you can have a layover in London of not more than 24 hours. Anything longer than 24 hours will be priced as 2 separate awards.

But I Want a Stopover Outside North America!

1.  Book 3 one-way awards.  Say you want to go from San Fransisco to London, stop for a few days in London and then fly back to San Fransisco from Berlin.  You’ll have to book 3 separate one-way awards:

  •  1 award from your origin to your stopover city (San Fransisco to London)
  • Another from your stopover city to your destination (London to Berlin)
  • And the the 3rd from your destination city back to your origin, assuming you want to return to your origin (Berlin to San Fransisco)

2.   Buy a one-way ticket.  You can always book an award ticket from your origin to your stopover city and then buy a cheap plane or train ticket from your stopover city to your destination.

Say you want to go from Dallas to London, stop for a few days in London and then fly back to Dallas  from Barcelona.

You would book a 1-way award ticket from the Dallas to London.  Next you would buy a cheap plane or train ticket from London to Barcelona.  And finally you would book a one-way award ticket from Barcelona back to the Dallas.

3.  Consider a Oneworld award.  Oneworld awards are distance based, but allow you to have up to 16 segments and have many stopovers.  But check to make sure that you’re not paying more miles (especially if you only have 1 or 2 stopovers planned).

How To Book Stopovers

There is no maximum length for a stopover at the North American gateway, but all travel on an award ticket must be completed within one year from the date when the award ticket was issued.

American Airlines flights: If ALL your flights are on an American Airlines operated flight,  you can book the stopover award at AA.com by using the multi-city option.  We’ll cover this in a future post.

But, if you want to use a oneworld partner or other airline partner (which open up lots more options) for one or more segments on your award, you will have to call American Airlines and tell them that you want to book an award from your origin to destination with a North American gateway stopover.

Ideally you would have done your research and will feed the specific flight segments to the agent (which we’ll cover in a later post).

North American Gateway Cities for American Airlines Awards

I compiled a list of North American gateway cities at the end of the post for American Airlines & their Oneworld and other partners.  I also included the partner airlines flights so that you see just how many more options you have when you consider partner airlines when trying to book award tickets.

I expect there to be errors in the list below so please comment and let me know of changes.  And please let me know if this information existed elsewhere so that I can bang my head on the desk for all the hours I spent squinting at route maps!

Just because a city is a North American gateway city doesn’t mean that you can have a stopover. Your route has to make sense.

For example, you can’t fly from Seattle to Mexico City, have a stopover in Mexico City and then fly to London.  But you could fly from Seattle to almost any other continental US or Canadian city, say Washington, DC, have a stopover there, and then fly to London.

We’ll cover how to check the maximum permitted mileage (MPM) which American lets you exceed by 25%, routing rules, and how to add a free stopover to your flight if you’re lucky to live in a gateway city in a future post.

How to use the North American Gateway Cities List Below:

1) Plan Stopovers.  If you want to stopover in Denver en route to say Europe, you can use the list to see that you would have to fly on British Airways from Denver to London.  British Airways charges fuel surcharges (~$350 per segment) so this doesn’t make sense in coach.

2) Plan Awards.  Use the list below to see how many options you have for award travel besides traveling on American Airlines flights.

For example, if you want to go to Europe, you’ll see that, besides American Airlines flights,  you can fly on partner airlines from many different US airports to:

  • Spain (on Iberia)
  • Germany (on Air Berlin)
  • The UK (on British Airways)
  • Belgium (on Jet Airways)
  • France (on Air Tahiti Nui)
  • Finland (on Finnair).

And once you find award seats to Spain, Germany, the UK, Belgium, France, or Finland you can then look for connections to your final destination.

Booking award tickets is like a puzzle, but the most important pieces are the international flight segments (sometimes referred to as over water segments).  The list below gives you a good idea of your options when departing from the US.

Atlanta (ATL)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)

Baltimore (BWI)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)

Boston (BOS)

  • American Airlines to London (LHR) & Paris (CDG)
  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Iberia to Madrid (MAD) & Barcelona (BCN)
  • Japan Airlines to Tokyo (NRT)

Chicago (ORD)

  • American Airlines to various destinations
  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Iberia to Madrid & Barcelona (BCN)
  • Etihad to Abu Dhabi (AUH)
  • Japan Airlines to Tokyo (NRT)
  • Royal Jordanian to Amman (AMM)

Denver (DEN)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)

Detroit (DTW)

  • Royal Jordanian to Amman (AMM)

Dallas Fort Worth (DFW)

  • American Airlines to various destinations
  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Qantas to Sydney (SYD)

Fort Myers (RSW)

  • Air Berlin to Dusseldorf (DUS)

Houston (IAH)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)

Honolulu (HNL)

  • Air Pacific to Apia (APW), Kiritimati (CXI), Nadi (NAN)
  • Hawaiian Airlines to Manila (MNL), Pago Pago (PPG), Papeete (PPT), Sydney (SYD), Tokyo (HND), & Seoul (ICN)
  • Japan Airlines to Nagoya (NGO), Osaka (KIX), Tokyo, Narita (NRT) & Tokyo, Haneda (HND)
  • Qantas to Sydney (SYD)

Las Vegas (LAS)

  • British Airways to London (LHR & LGW)
  • Air Berlin to Berlin (BER)

Los Angeles (LAX)

  • Air Berlin to Berlin (BER) Dusseldorf (seasonal)
  • Air Pacific to Nadi (NAN)
  • Air Tahiti Nui to Papeete, French Polynesia (PPT) & Paris (CDG)
  • American Airlines to various destinations
  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong (HKG)
  • El Al to Tel Aviv (TLV)
  • Iberia to Madrid (MAD)
  • Japan Airlines to Tokyo (NRT)
  • LAN to Lima (LIM) & Santiag0 (SCL)
  • Qantas to Auckland (AKL) cancelled after May, Brisbane (BNE), Melbourne (MEL), & Sydney (SYD)

Mexico City (MEX)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Iberia to Madrid (MAD)
  • LAN to Lima (LIM)

Miami (MIA)

  • Air Berlin to Berlin (BER) & Dusseldorf (DUS)
  • American Airlines to various destinations
  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Iberia to Madrid (MAD) & Barcelona (BCN)
  • LAN to Lima (LIM) & Santiag0 (SCL)

Montreal (YUL)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Qatar Airlines to Doha (DOH)
  • Royal Jordanian to Amman (AMM)

New York (JFK)

  • American Airlines to various destinations
  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong (HKG)
  • El Al to Tel Aviv (TLV)
  • Etihad to Abu Dhabi (AUH)
  • Finnair to Helsinki (HEL)
  • Iberia to Madrid (MAD) & Barcelona (BCN)
  • Japan Airlines to Tokyo (NRT)
  • LAN to Lima (LIM) & Santiag0 (SCL)
  • Royal Jordanian to Amman (AMM)
  • Qantas to Sydney (SYD)

Newark (EWR)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • El Al to Tel Aviv (TLV)
  • Jet Airways to Brussels (BRU)

Orland0 (MCO)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)

Philadelphia (PHL)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)

Phoenix (PHX)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)

San Diego (SAN)

San Fransisco (SFO)

  • Air Berlin to Dusseldorf (Seasonal)
  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Japan Airlines to Tokyo, Haneda (HND)
  • LAN to Lima (LIM)

San Juan (SJU)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Iberia to Madrid (MAD)

Seattle (SEA)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)

Raleigh (RDU)

  • American Airlines to London (LHR)

Tampa (TPA)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)

Toronto (YYZ)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong (HKG)
  • El Al to Tel Aviv (TLV)
  • Etihad to Abu Dhabi (AUH)
  • Finnair to Helsinki (HEL)
  • Jet Airways to Brussels (BRU)

Vancouver (YVR)

  • Air Berlin to Dusseldorf (DUS)
  • British Airways to London (LHR)
  • Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong (HKG)

Washington, Dulles (IAD)

  • British Airways to London (LHR)

Here’s another list of gateway cities from Mile Value.

I’m relying on readers to let me know of changes to this post, because the list and routes are going to change.

And please leave a comment if anything doesn’t make sense!

Next in the series will be: booking domestic and international awards.

These responses 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.

165 Responses to Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 4 – One-way, Openjaws, Stopovers, & North American Gateway Cities

  1. I have booked a roundtrip award ticket from FRA to CLT for the holidays. I am now aware that I can have a “free” one way ticket segment with this. Could I modify this reservation and do FRA to LHR or LHR to FRA to use at a later date?

  2. @Krys- With American Airlines miles, you can only stop over at the North American Gateway city, so you couldn’t stop over in London. I suspect you’re using United or US miles for the trip above. If so, you can have a stopover in London. You’d have to call to change the reservation. Also see MileValue for more information.

  3. Hi Darius, just found this great post on aa award travel booking. I was playing around with the aa award booking service online and found that some gateway cities don’t seen to count as stopovers for some reason and i need to book 2 1 way tickets. I was trying EWR to SFO to TYO stopping at SFO for a few days. The only option for this seem to be 2 1 way tickets. One from ewr to sfo and another from sfo to tyo. However when i tried EWR to LAX to TYO, it counted lax as a stopover. Do you happen to know if there is a reason why?

  4. Is it safe to assume that since Aer Lingus is no longer part of One World that the only way to get from North America to Dublin or Shannon via an award ticket would be by using American Airlines to London and then British Airways for the last leg to complete the award ticket?

  5. Caitlin Sydow

    Thanks for making this post. Discovered your website through another blog very informative and enjoyable.

  6. @Pat – BA partners with Aer Lingus, so you can redeem Avios points on the Aer Lingus flights to Ireland.

    @Caitlin Sydow
    – Welcome and thanks for reading!

  7. Great tips. Is there any drawback to making award reservations one segment at a time in order to have a better chance of getting the flights I want on AA? (The 331 days ahead of flight) For example, book ORD-HKG separately from HKG-SYD etc.. I know it would be different record locators but other than that? I fear if I booked all at once, the early flight First Class availability would be gone.

  8. @Bob I. – I usually do that for long distance flights to lock in availability. The only drawback is that you’d pay an extra change fee, but AA lets you cancel a 2nd or more bookings for only $25 after paying the 1st $150 change fee.

  9. Darius,

    Quick question. Whats the best way to search for partner availability. For instances I’m interested in finding a jet airways flight from toronto to Brussels, but it doesn’t show up on aa’s search engine. Should I use expert flyer or another online search or call AA directly?

    Thanks,

  10. @jason h – Unfortunately, you have to call AA to check Jet Airways award availability since there isn’t any way to check it online.

  11. Hi, I live in LA and was hoping to do a trip to both Hawaii and Europe next year, although as separate trips, while taking advantage of a “stopover”. I’ve managed to find availability on HNL-LAX-BCN-LAX-HNL on AA in coach for only 40k miles, but was wondering if I can now change the dates of the first and last legs so that I end up with a LAX-BCN-LAX flight and then a LAX-HNL-LAX. Will AA let me change the dates and the orders of the flight after booking them? Thanks for the help!

  12. @nick – If your origin and destination remain the same, there will be no change fee.

  13. I am a first time reader and I could spend day’s here wandering around. I noticed some discussion about a

  14. First time reader/ Great information. I could spend days reading….and will.
    I noticed a discussion about getting a lot of AA miles using a trick you have.
    Is it available and if so please direct me to where you where you wrote about it.
    Thank you

  15. @stu simon - Welcome! You used to be able to get 2 Citi American Airlines cards for 50K miles each, but now you can only get 1 of them. But you may be able to get another 30K American Airlines miles with the GOLD MasterCard.

  16. Emily Garrigan

    Can you transfer Alaska miles to one of their partners – like American – without having to book a ticket?

  17. @Emily Garrigan – You can’t transfer miles, but you can use Alaska miles to book flights on American Airlines.

  18. Cathy Whitaker

    Hi, Any advice on getting a free stopover in Asia somewhere, when buying a ticket to Hong Kong on any airline or using FF miles on American to get there?

  19. @Cathy Whitaker – You can get a free stopover on a paid ticket, so choose a destination you want to visit. You won’t be able to have a stopover in Asia on a regular American Airlines award.

  20. i would like to fly to phoenix ariz then to fort smith ark and then back home to pbi
    can this be done

    thank you
    Richard Hartwig

  21. I’m looking to book a flight to Japan next March. I was hoping to do LAX-NRT-LAX-HNL with a free one-way to Hawaii later in Summer 2014. I can book the Tokyo flight now, but since HNL will be later in summer and is more than 11 months out, what options do I have? Thanks!

  22. @Richard Hartwig – You can’t book flights with stopovers within the US using AA miles. But you can book 3 1-way flights to get to those cities.

    @nick – The only option is to either book the ticket later or have your free one-way earlier.

  23. Feel like a kid in a candy shop reading this web site — can’t read the information fast enough!!!
    What is the cheapest way for a wife to acquire 12,000 miles about to expire from her husband’s card. He doesn’t use his card anymore.

  24. @Sharon Fry – If you’re looking for American Airlines miles, you can get 40,000 miles with the American Airlines credit card. If you’re looking to keep the miles from expiring, see this post.

  25. I’m interested in booking a long stopover at JFK on a SJU-JFK-LHR flight. I can get the miles amount I want. But I noticed I can’t mix fare classes. As in, I can’t book Business from SJU-JFK, and economy from JFK-LHR without the flight turning to two independent segments.

    Is this always the case? I find my options are more limited in this scenario.

    Thanks!

  26. @Tom – You could pay the business class rate and take a downgrade on the JFK-LHR segment, though that seems like a waste of miles!

  27. I am a bit hazey on how this works. I am planning to go from Dallas to London and then from Paris to Dallas in March. Is there a way to work in Hawaii before or after the Europe trip? And if so, would it be worth it to do Business or First Class since it would be like getting 2 trips for the price of 1?

  28. Is there a max time for stop over? Ie one month or 90 days for booking award travel with AA?

  29. @SarahT – Sure! You can add Hawaii on the way to Europe or when you return, or both.

    @Mr Wan – You can stop for as long as you like as long as your last flight is within 365 days of when you make the booking.

  30. We will be using AA miles to fly ORD-HKG-MNL. It requires 50K AA miles total: 35k ORD-HKG AND 15k HKG-MNL. We will be staying in HKG for 3 days. My question is on the HKG-MNL leg: instead of using 15k AA miles, am I better off using 7500 Avios points plus $43.28? Please advise.

    Thanks.

  31. @teresadc – I’d use Avios points and save the more valuable American Airlines miles, but it really depends on whether you want to save cash or miles!

  32. Hey, Darius! I had a quick question. My family is heading to Athens in Nov., for a cruise. I’m trying to get the most out of our miles! One thought I had was for our return flight, purchase a ticket that looked like this ATH to AUS (homebase) first week of Dec. and then AUS to HNL in January 2014. When I do a multi-city award search, I get no availability (but I do get that awesome statement that we can use AUS as a free stopover!). When I search separately (ATH to AUS) and then (AUS to HNL), there is availability. Should I just call AA and have them put it together for me?

    Also, still trying to figure out our outbound. Any cool suggestions? Business class, stopovers, which partner airlines to fly? Need to get three tickets and have about 100k on AA and 55k on US Air and 12.5k on Alaskan. Would love your help!!!

  33. Anjum – You can only do the free stopover in the international gateway city with American Airlines i.e. the 1st place you leave or enter North America. You could call and ask, though. 30K AA miles for a 1-way in coach seems to be the best way to get 3 folks to Europe, since you need 150K AA miles for 3 business class 1-way awards to Europe.

  34. Hi Darius – I am new to this and trying to tae advantage of my AA miles to book award travel JFK-HK-HND-JFK. I looked on the BA site for award availability and then called an AA agent to try to book and she said that the availability that they had for seats on BA does not necessarily apply to AA mileage users. Is that true? Also, the BA site is kinda flaky. When I tried to do a search for flights earlier it worked and not it seems like those same routes are not even coming up as searchable…For my route, I am hoping to fly JFK – HK direct on Cathay and then HK – HND on Cathay as well. with my HND – JFK flight on AA. Would that be better using the explorer awards or something else? Thanks!

  35. @Sylvia – Don’t tell her that you found them on the BA site! They should have the same availability. Explorer awards are good for stopovers, but if you plan on just flying to HND, you can use a regular award.

  36. When you add a free one away calling AA, do you need to pay anything? What if a part of your award is not available right now? should I wait or book the main segment right away and then add free one ways later? Or if I book them now and want to change the flights later what are the fees? or cancel it?

  37. @Elena – If you add the free one-way later, you will pay the change fee. But if you book it now (even with a date which doesn’t work), but change just the date of the segment there shouldn’t be a change fee.

  38. Hey, Darius!

    So I’m getting ready to book my family on a cruise out of Athens. For the return, I’ve figured out that I can go from ATH to DFW (with a 6 month stopover – we live in Austin :) and then to HNL six months later all for 20k.

    I’m wanting to maximize our outbound, too. The AUS – ATH flight routes us through ORD and LHR for 20k. We would only be permitted a stopover in ORD, right? Is there any fun way to maximize the outbound? I’d love to route Montreal into the outbound flight with a free stopover, but I’m not sure that’s permitted?

    Also, does AA provide any amenities with a layover is longer than a certain time frame?

    Thanks, D!
    A

  39. Daraius–what are the stopover/open jaw rules in other areas? For example, if I was trying to book a trip entirely in South America Zone 1. Would a stopover or open jaw be permissible? Thanks.

  40. @Anjum – You are allowed 1 stopover in the North American gateway city, so you should be able to have a stopover in Montreal instead of Chicago. AA won’t provide amenities during your layover.

    @Gaurav – You are ONLY allowed a stopover in the North American gateway city, so can’t have it in South America. But you certainly can book open jaws, especially since AA allows you to book 1-way awards.

  41. Love your blogs !!
    I want to go to the Caribbean in Feb and Ireland in May leaving from NYC.
    I’m still not sure how to book this and using AA mile . Please help : )

  42. @Maureen – How many American Airlines miles do you have? You can book it online at AA.com. For Ireland, you could also use British Airways miles and fly on Aer Lingus to Ireland.

  43. Hi Darius,

    I have placed on hold 2 1st class seats on Cathay using AA miles.
    SIN-HKG (layover or connecting)-LAX and would like to add my free stopover. The agent I spoke with said I can only have my stopover on 48 contiguous US states, and not Mexico, Canada or Hawaii. Is this true or this agent just don’t know? BTW, is Carribean Islands included in the free stopover?

    I’ve checked AA website and found a direct flight from LAX to Guanajuato, Mexico (BJX or BJC)…can I go here for my free stopover? Do I just keep calling to get a different agent that knows the rule? The wait when I called was over 2 hrs, but I had an option to leave my phone number and they called me back. So it presents a problem for calling several times until I get to a more knowledgeable Rep. Any suggestions? One last question if my flight is ticketed Dec. 15, 2013, for Oct. 2014 flight, does this mean I have to complete or take my free stopover by Dec. 15, 2014. Thanks a lot. I do enjoy reading your blog.

  44. @Lena – You should be able to add on Hawaii. BUT Cathay Pacific has to publish a fare for travel on that route. If they don’t, you won’t be able to use your free one-way. If your flight was booked on December 15, 2013, you have 1 year to fly ALL segments. Thanks for reading!

  45. Hi Darius,

    I’m confused why did you say I have to find publish fare to Hawaii by Cathay? My miles is with AA, and used Cathay (thru Star Alliance)to fly back to US. I did find flights to Hawaii from LAX with AA, why will that not work? Furthermore, can you tell me how to find out if Cathay has any flights from LAX to North America? When I try to find flights from LAX, they are mostly to Asia, and Victoria, Canada. Does this mean I should forget about my free stopover?

  46. @Lena – Because American Airline requires a published fare if you redeem miles. Cathay doesn’t fly within the US, so no flights from LAX to North America.

  47. Daraius,

    I am trying to book a business class reward flight for WAS>LON>WAS>HNL with the WAS>HNL being the free AA oneway. When I look on the AA site I am only seeing BA flights for the LON>WAS leg with a ~$700 fee. If i just try booking WAS>LON>WAS then I get AA flights with only the ~$300 fee. Is there something else I should be doing?

  48. Hi

    I live in Alaska and would like to travel to south america, business class. Specifically I’d like to go to Santiago Chili, the Galapagos, and maybe Cusco for Machu Pichu. I have both Alaska and American miles. I was thinkin of using the oneworld partner desk and trying to fly LAN from LAX to either Lima, or Santiago. Do you have any suggestions for getting the most bang for the milage buck? Would it be a one way Anchorage LAX to Santiago. Then a return trip from Lima to LAX to ANC ( to capitalize on the most direct routing (duration) and the 767/787 with lie flat seats. Then find a set of one ways internally within s. america 1) Santiago to via Lima to Cusco AND 2) cusco to Lima 3) Lima to Guayacil to San Cristobal. or at this point would it be a better/same value to book an explorer award in and coming from Alaska that probably a level 7 or 8.

  49. @Jamie – That is very strange. You should be able to book the cheaper flights by calling American Airlines and feeding the agent the flight information.

    @ cathy – I personally don’t worry much about the type of plane or seat, as long as I can find seats around when I want to travel. I’d price out the ticket using the Explorer award and also using American Airlines or British Airways points (if you have some) for the internal South America segments. And then compare options to see which is better and saves you miles.

  50. I want to go to Asia, preferably DPS, but would be open to Thailand, Sri Lanka, or other options. Can I do ATL – HNL (stopover 2 wks) – DPS (or other destination)?

    I spoke with one reservations agent today to try to find out about doing this, but she tried a little and found her system to break up the award into two separate ones. She couldn’t tell why it was breaking up (she thought the route might have been too many MPMs). She was able to get me to Fukuoka, Japan with HNL as the gateway stopover, so you could add that destination to your list if you want. I’d rather get closer to Bali!

    Any thoughts?

  51. @Lisa – It could be because there is no published ticket for the route you’re trying to book as an award. And American Airlines requires all awards to have published fares as well.

  52. Hi Daraius,
    I recently booked an off-peak award flight from BOS-Fukuoka and Osaka-BOS via the aa website, the details are:
    BOS- NY on AA
    NY – HNL on hawaiian (stopover)
    HNL-FUK on Hawaiian

    KIX-HNL on Hawaiian
    HNL-NY on Hawaiian
    NY-BOS on AA

    I was wondering, (if there’s availability), could I change most of the flights to JAL over the phone? (with the same cities but different dates), will it cost me booking fee and change fee?

  53. @Sean C – There shouldn’t be a change fee if your origin and destination remain the same.

  54. Hi Darius,

    Not sure if you have tried Oneworld award from India to US on Qatar. I was trying to book COK-DOH-IAH-PHX-HNL with stopover in IAH. AA is pricing this award as two instead of one even though there exist a published fare by QR for this route. Any idea what is happening? Is there any other routes you could suggest from COK-HNL with stop over in either IAH or DFW.

  55. Hi Darius,

    I was hoping you could help give me some ideas. My wife and I are planning a trip to Cancun and were planning to use AAdvantage miles. However, after reading your post I was wondering if it was possible to make Cancun a stopover on our way to somewhere else so we can maximize our miles. I’m based out of LAX and was hoping to stay in Cancun for a week. The final destination is not so important, Europe? South America? Is it even possible to put together an itinerary from LAX with a stopover in Cancun? I’ve read that perhaps I could make a trip to Dusseldorf via Air Berlin? If possible, I’d prefer to avoid British Airways due to high taxes. Thanks!

  56. @Lee – You can make Cancun the stopover only if there is a nonstop flight from Cancun to your final destination in Europe or South American on American Airlines or their partner airlines.

  57. Darius,

    I think I understand this but was hoping you could clarify my planned route. My father and I want to fly ORD-LHR in April and I wanted to add a route at the beginning and free stopover at the end. Is it possible to make the route OGG-ORD-LHR-ORD(STOP), ORD-OGG (free one-way later), and then change the date of the beginning leg OGG-ORD to work with the free one-way at a later date?

  58. Hey Darius,

    So I am flying PIT-ORD-MEX on March 9th and then MEX-LIM-GYE-UIO on May 27/28th.

    Should not this trip be priced as PIT to UIO with a stopover in MEX? I keep going through the AA agents, but they are pricing as North America to Mexico and Mexico to South America rather than North America to South America. So 17.5k and 10k miles (total 27.5k miles) rather than just 17.5k miles.

    They agree that MEX is an North American gateway city and I even quoted this from their website:
    Q: Do one-way awards include any stopovers?
    A: Awards between North America and Europe, India, Asia and Central / South America allow a stopover at the North American gateway. However, other one-way awards do not allow stopovers.

    But they still say that it is not possible and try to send me to customer service on their website.

    Should not MEX count as stopover?

    Could MPM be an issue?

    Thanks!

  59. @Ricky – That should be possible, but you can book the outbound and return as 2 separate 1-way awards.

    @Abhinav G. – It could be the MPM or that AA doesn’t have a published fare for your itinerary.

  60. Great blog post! 2 questions-

    1) Can i combine this with the discounted mileage fares to AA Exec MC holders? i.e. i would call, pay the fee, get the 7,500 mile discount to book my ticket.

    2) Can you do more than 1 stopover? i.e. Seattle > DTW > NYC > London, and the same exact reverse trip? My goal is to go to all of those US cities on 1 award ticket at different dates, (but not in that order) most likely NYC > London (round trip), and then Seattle > DTW (round trip), and then DTW > NYC (round trip),

    Thanks again!

  61. @Ben – Only 1 stopover possible.

  62. I want to fly from Japan to London via a US stopover this July. Any ideas on the best AA miles redemption? If I can’t do that, I was thinking of flying to California from Japan. I was wondering what redemptions you recommended for that too. Thanks!

  63. Hi Darius, I am looking to validate this and request your help!
    kul-hkg-ord(stopover)-iah .
    Cathay has a published fare for this but the 2 AA agents i spoke were unable to book the ord-iah without incurring a 2nd award fee.
    Help and thoughts much appreciated!

  64. may I combine the open jaw and one stopover on my trip back to North Asian?

    Saying I am planing a trip from SFO-PVG, China, for my return flight I’d like to book PVG-SFO-JFK with a stopover in SF for 6 months.

    This should be considered as one open jaw and one stop over trip. Is it allowable if I book with AA miles?

  65. How do I book stopover in mex on my way from pdx to scl? when I search at aa.com from pdx to scl, mex is never a connection. Is it possible to get a stopover there and how? Thanks

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