Did You Know? There’s a Cheaper Way to Book Multi-City Itineraries!

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Until recently, folks didn’t have to worry about comparing the cost of a multi-city flight itinerary to multiple one-way tickets.

Because the airlines’ reservation computers would automatically find the cheapest seats for each leg of the trip, and add them up for the total cost of the ticket.

But United Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines have changed the way they price multi-city itineraries!

Did You Know Theres A Cheaper Way To Book Multi Trip Itineraries

You’ll Have to Compare the Cost of Multiple One-Way Tickets to Multi-City Itineraries Now.  Because United Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines Have Changed the Way They Price Trips!

I’ll explain what this means for you.

Certain Airlines Changed Their Ticketing Rules

United Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines changed their ticketing rules so that folks can no longer string together the cheapest fares for each leg of their trip.  So now you’ll have to compare the cost of a multi-city itinerary with separate one-way tickets!

I compared a couple of itineraries to see how this new rule affects ticket prices.

Buying 2 One-Way Tickets Can (Sometimes) Save You Money

For example, say you’re finishing up a work trip in New York, and you’re going to Florida to visit family in Fort Myers and Orlando, before heading home to San Francisco.

If you book this multi-city trip on one ticket with Delta, you’d pay ~$732.

Did You Know Theres A Cheaper Way To Book Multi Trip Itineraries

A Multi-City Itinerary on Delta From New York (LaGuardia) to Fort Myers and Then From Orlando to San Francisco Costs ~$732

But if you booked multiple one-way tickets, you’d save money!

Did You Know Theres A Cheaper Way To Book Multi Trip Itineraries

A One-Way Ticket From New York (LaGuardia) to Fort Myers Costs ~$267

Did You Know Theres A Cheaper Way To Book Multi Trip Itineraries

A One-Way Ticket Between Orlando and San Francisco Costs ~$392

Breaking this trip into 2 one-way tickets would cost ~$659 (~$267 + ~$392).  Saving you ~$73 (~$732 – ~$659).

It might not seem like much, but if you fly a lot it can add up!  And this method could save you even more on other itineraries.

But do your research!  Because I found other multi-city itineraries that were NOT cheaper when split into multiple one-way tickets.  And some were even more expensive!

Sometimes Buying Multiple One-Way Tickets Doesn’t Make Sense!

Like this ticket on United Airlines, similar to the example above, from New York (LaGuardia) to Fort Myers.  Then from Orlando to San Francisco.

Booking this trip on one multi-city ticket would cost ~$561.

Did You Know Theres A Cheaper Way To Book Multi Trip Itineraries

This Multi-City Ticket on United Airlines Costs ~$561

And if you split it into 2 one-way tickets, the first leg would cost ~$236.

Did You Know Theres A Cheaper Way To Book Multi Trip Itineraries

The First Leg of This Trip on United Airlines Would Cost ~$236

And the second leg of the trip would cost ~$330.

Did You Know Theres A Cheaper Way To Book Multi Trip Itineraries

The Second Leg of the Trip on United Airlines Costs ~$330

For a total of ~$566 (~$236 + ~$330).  So you’d pay slightly more by purchasing separate one-way tickets.

Just remember, if you have to change your trip and you’ve booked multiple one-way tickets, you’ll ALSO have to pay a change fee for each ticket.  This would be very expensive!

And if one of your flights is delayed and you miss the next leg of your trip, it can be a hassle to re-book your flight.  Especially if it’s with a different airline.

If you’re interested in travel insurance, check out my post about the cards that offer the best coverage for trip delays and cancellations.

Bottom Line

American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines changed the way they price multi-city tickets.  So you can no longer string together the lowest priced seats on one itinerary.

I experimented and found that SOMETIMES it was cheaper to purchase multiple one-way tickets instead of a single multi-city itinerary.  But in some cases the prices were almost identical.  Or even more expensive.

With these changes, you’ll have to compare the cost of purchasing each leg of your itinerary separately with the price for a single ticket with multiple stops.  Because you want to make sure you’re getting the best price! 

Just remember, if your plans change and you’ve booked multiple one-way tickets, you’ll be stuck with a lot of change fees.  So consider the pros and cons when deciding how to book your trip!

Have you recently booked a trip with multiple one-way tickets to save money?  Let me know in the comments!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 20,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 responses to “Did You Know? There’s a Cheaper Way to Book Multi-City Itineraries!

  1. I just did this last night through United. Buying one-way tickets ended up being much less expensive than multi-city with a stopover. (ORD to BKK with a stopover in SIN).

  2. I’ve been flying Multi-City flights for business for almost 5 years now. When the systems changed my 5-6 hundred dollar flights were up to $1200+++. Switching to 3 one ways brought the fare back to the original levels. What I don’t understand is what I is it they are trying to prevent by doing this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *