One thing about airline stopover rules is that terms are sometimes undefined. US Airways does a decent job but some of it is still trial and error.
Basically US Airways allows a stopover OR an open jaw. Here are the relevent rules:
- “Stopovers are not permitted when travel is within one award region…”
- “Open jaw travel is defined as flying to a city and returning from a different city on a valid routing having one common city. The distance between the two open jaw cities cannot exceed the distance of the outbound or return trip. This may include certain itinerary restrictions. Check with the booking agent when making reservations.”
- Note that any stop that’s more than 24 hours is a stopover. But “for travel within the continental U.S., Canada and Alaska, a stopover is defined as a stay of more than 4 hours between connections…”
- “For travel outside the continental U.S., Canada and Alaska, you’re allowed one stopover per US Airways itinerary at a US Airways gateway or international destination (or in a partner hub city if you’re traveling on an award partner).”
This last one is a little confusing. I’ve had no problem creating stopovers on international itinerary A while ago, before I knew the rules, I tried to book a cross country trip with a stopover and… obviously it didn’t work. Although it does seem that stopovers are possible with flights to Hawaii as it’s a different zone – but flights to Alaska and Canada are in one zone.
How to book
First you need to search for the ticket. I normally just go to United.com’s award search engine (as they’re both Star Alliance partners). However, there are typically two problems with using United.com to find your US Airways award ticket.
- United might not share all their own seats with their partners for awards – including US Airways.
- United might have better/different codesharing or relationships and might have access to more seats with partners.
I don’t think it’s a big problem but a few times I’ve looked on United real quick and then called US Airways and they just couldn’t see/book the seat.
Once you’ve found your seats, you have to call. The US Airways award search engine sucks and you’ll just have to book on the phone.
Why the vague terms?
I don’t know why they don’t clearly define things. For example, your allowed to say “One en route stopover per itinerary is permitted for select international travel awards.” if you tell us what select means!
“Stopovers are allowed only for the most direct route of travel.” Believe it or not, I think “the most direct route” needs defining. They all say that, but here I am booking a flight to Easter Island on the way to New York from Santiago!?
Any examples of people booking stopovers with US Airways that included non-hubs or flights that aren’t direct? Any failed attempts or other data points to add please comment or let me know!