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Million Mile Secrets reader Bob commented:
I am trying to book my 1st 1-way flight using different segments. I want to book with American Airlines miles and go from Boston to Bangkok by going:
Boston -> New York (JFK) -> Hong Kong -> Bangkok
I used the American Airlines website to find award seats from Boston to New York (JFK) and used the British Airways website to find Cathay Pacific award seats from New York (JFK) to Hong Kong and Hong Kong to Bangkok.
When I call American Airlines to book, will they try to charge me for the Boston to New York (JFK) segment, in addition to the miles to Asia?
Why You Should Book Long Distance Trips in Smaller Segments
You should always search for award flights segment-by-segment because it is easier to find award flights that way.
For example, Bob may not find any flights from Boston to Bangkok, if he enters Boston as his departure city and Bangkok as his destination online.
But, if he breaks up his searches into:
- Boston to New York (or other US city which has international flights to Hong Kong)
- New York (or other US city which has international flights to Hong Kong)
- Hong Kong to Bangkok
he will be more likely to find award seats! So don’t give up if your first search online from your origin to your destination isn’t successful!
Will American Airlines Charge For Each Segment?
As long as Bob follows American Airlines booking rules for
stopovers, American Airlines will charge him based on the price from his origin, Boston, to his final destination, Bangkok. Currently that costs:
- 35,000 American Airlines miles in coach
- 55,000 American Airlines miles in business class
- 67,500 American Airlines miles in first class
American Airlines recently made big changes to
its award program. One major change is that American Airlines no longer allows North American stopovers.
Bob is traveling internationally, so he can stop in New York for no longer than 24 hours or he will have to book a 2nd ticket to complete his trip.
Let’s say Bob just wants to connect in New York because there are more flight options from New York to Hong Kong. In this case, he will NOT be charged for 2 separate award flights (as long as his layover in New York is not more than 24 hours).
Because he is flying Cathay Pacific for part of his trip, this is a oneworld alliance award. According to the American Airlines oneworld award chart , a 1-way award in coach from the US to Asia Zone 2 costs 35,000 American Airlines miles in coach.
However, if Bob wants to stop in New York for more than 24 hours, he will have to pay 12,500 extra American Airlines miles for his flight from Boston to New York.
Then he will have to pay another 35,000 miles to fly from New York to Hong Kong to Bangkok.
You increase the chances of finding award flights by booking long-distance award flights segment-by-segment. And you don’t have to pay more miles for each segment if you’re just connecting in New York (or in another US city for less than 24 hours).
But if you want to stop in North America for more than 24 hours, you will now pay for 2 separate award flights.
If you need more tips for using American Airline miles, check out my series on Booking American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro.