If you read my site much you know that I am a former Continental gal – now a new United gal by default. Most of this is because I live in Houston, and well, what other airline would make sense for me? Also, on the whole I really liked Continental, and want to really like United. So, because of my location and because of the very high value of UA miles, when given the chance, they are my focus. As you also probably know if you read this site, most of my travel these days is pretty “simple”. I go from Point A to Point B and back to Point A. More often than not, those points are all within the US. However, we are now starting to plan trips for when our daughter is a bit older, and I have been playing around with stopovers and open jaws on some European itineraries using United miles.
However, the light bulb in my head had not gone off in terms of tacking on a “free” stopover on the front of or end of the trip (a la American Airlines award tickets style – only better) to essentially get 1.5 trips out of one, I was concentrating on just using them on the overseas portion of the trip. On international round trip tickets, United allows two open jaws (in or out of different cities on one round trip ticket) and a stopover (intentional stop in a city on a continuing ticket). Though silly me thought it was one open jaw and one stopover. So, if we are using the Point A to Point B description, that could be A to B (stopover) to C then D to E (or other similar iterations of those points), as described in this FT thread. To put that in city terms, I could go Houston – London then Frankfurt to Houston (stop for months until I am ready for my next trip) to Anchorage for the same price in miles as Houston – London – Houston. I would have to get myself from London to Frankfurt on a different ticket and would need to get a one-way ticket back from Anchorage for that trip, but that would cost me just 12.5 K miles instead of 25K if I needed a whole round trip ticket. If I just wanted to go to London while in Europe I could to Houston – London – Houston (stop) – Anchorage for the same number of miles as well. In case you are curious, all of those are 60,000 miles for a coach ticket plus some modest taxes and fees.
I got an email today from MileValue who directed me to a very helpful post on this exact topic that he just launched today. So, instead of re-hashing what he already says in his post – just go check it out. I can say that I got the same results that he did when playing around with this more today.
Am I the only “special” one who didn’t realize it was two open jaws and a stopover on UA international awards? I know there are plenty of folks out there who are masters of open jaws and stopovers (and I am certainly not yet one of them, but I am learning), but I also know there are lots of folks out there that have probably not even heard the word stopover or (especially) open jaw, so hopefully this will open some eyes to new possibilities for those folks! Thanks to MilesValue for the helpful post and the email.