Mega Stopover & Open-Jaw Tricks /w United Miles

Yesterday I went over all the United stopover tricks I’ve ever written about, but there’s one more discovery I’ve yet to share. And since the United stopover devaluation __ is coming soon, might as well reveal it all.

If you haven’t read my last post, All The United Stopover Tricks To Date, you should! That post will catch you up on all the tricks that predate this.

However, the big concept you need to know is that United currently allows 1 stopover and 2 open-jaws on a roundtrip.

This means you fly to Europe and stop in two cities. And adding an open-jaw on the return means that you could fly to Europe stopover in two cities, and instead of flying back home, you could fly to the Caribbean… or Hawaii…

Or perhaps… anywhere?

The Big Reveal

A stopover requires a roundtrip. However…


Key 1: The only thing that makes a ticket a “roundtrip” is if you change regions.


The only thing that makes a ticket a roundtrip is if you change regions from your destination.

A stopover can’t be added on a ticket that visits one region. And you have to come back from your destination region anyways…

And we already know you don’t have to come back to the same region you started in.

For example, you know you can start in the US and return to the Caribbean. And I just said you can return to Hawaii instead of the US, and how to price it…


But why not try “returning” to other less obvious regions?


Key 2: From any destination you can open-jaw to any region.

Literally any region.

Any two regions can be combined on a oneway, they just might not allow you to route through other regions. But once you have a stopover, and once you have a destination, where you go from there is calculated totally anew.


A – B, B – [X].

“X” = anywhere.


“A – B” includes a stopover.

US to Tokyo, with a stopover in Europe. That “A – B” would price out at 35k, but it has to be a roundtrip to get the stopover in Europe for free.

To be a roundtrip you have to leave “B”, this case Japan, but it doesn’t have to return to the US. You could go to Guam. X would be Oceania.

US to Japan (with a stopover in Europe) is 35,000 miles… and now from Japan, instead of returning to the US, you “return” / end in Guam. Japan to Guam would be another 12,500 miles.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 10.35.58 PM

The red part is 35,000 miles, and the blue part 12,500 miles.

One week in Vienna, one week in Japan, and then to Guam… the entire trip would price out at 47,500 miles in economy.

If you wanted to do the red part – US to Vienna, to Tokyo – in Business Class, that would be 65,000 miles. Then you could still do the blue part – Tokyo to Guam – in economy, for 12,500 miles. That would be 77,500 miles.


The concept once you understand it is simple. You can go from your destination to anywhere, and it just prices to the destination as one ticket, and from the destination as another ticket.

Yes, it helps if you understand how things are going to price, routing rules, and which is the destination (the entire point of the first post)… but a lot more will work than you might expect. It just helps to know why.


And again, we already know we could return to the Caribbean or another region other than our starting region of the US. So why didn’t we assume it applies to more than the Caribbean?


Another example. A – B, B – X.

US to Oceania (stopover in Australia) – 35,000 miles. Then Oceania to North Asia – 15,000 miles. Total = 50,000 miles.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 10.51.00 PM

Truthfully, you couldn’t book the ticket as easily as shown above. I’m not sure how you’d route even if it would let you. But the point here is to teach the concept.


The concept is that you don’t have to go back to the starting region!

You’ve just got to know that it prices two oneways. [Starting point] to the [destination], and then [destination] to [end point]. Together it makes a roundtrip. Everything else I say will be variations of that.


I mean any region

Here’s a great example of a route that should not work.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 10.11.42 PM

The reason this normally isn’t bookable is because Australia and Europe are two regions that can’t be combined on a route.


However, what I’ve yet to explain regarding the region restrictions above, is that it’s per direction.

Back to the A – B, C – A.

You can’t stopover in Europe on the way to Sydney. The “A – B”.

But let’s say you open-jaw so instead of returning from Sydney, you continue your flight from China. China to the US can have a stopover in Europe. The “C – A”.

Again, because you can open-jaw on the destination, you can often essentially have two tickets.____________


The Longest way to Sydney.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 11.12.33 PM

US to Kenya, to Japan = 35,000 miles. Japan to Sydney = 22,500 miles. Total 57,500 miles.

However long you want in Kenya, Japan, and Sydney for 57.5k. A oneway to Sydney is 40k. And for basically 17.5k more, you can visit the entire world.


The Goal

The end result when you know what to look for, is combining cheap regions and getting multiple stops on a single ticket. The ticket above stops in Europe, it stops in Asia, and then it ends in Sydney. That alone is pretty cool.

But it also is cool because it allows us to combine multiple regions that can not be combined otherwise.

And when we know the stopover tricks to lower the price, the next thing we need to know is the cheapest set of regions you can tack on.

I’ll return to that thought in a minute.


Latin Hopper & Mega Open-Jaw

We’ve been to many islands over the years – Bora Bora, Tahiti and Moorea, Guam, Fiji, Rarotonga, Sri Lanka, Bali, Koh Samui, Langkawi, Aruba, etc…

But! I’ve been dying to go to the Galapagos. And United availability is looking pretty good. I nearly booked this ticket earlier this year, but couldn’t schedule it.


See, as I’ve written about in the Latin Hopper, it’s 10,000 miles to go from any of the following regions to another: Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, Northern South America.

These are all different regions. Hint hint.

Here’s what I was looking to do…


First, get a oneway ticket to Peru or Ecuador. I’ve seen them out of Austin for $200 to Quito, but you could use AA miles. (Go to, and search oneways to “everywhere”). Then the fun begins.

Starting in Peru, we stopover in the Galapagos.

Then we destination in Roatan, Honduras. (Or Belize – I haven’t been to either so I looked at both).

Then we need to leave that region, and you have a few options.

From Roatan, Honduras:

  • Back to Northern South America = 10,000 miles
  • Mega open-jaw and “return” to Mexico or the Caribbean = 10,000 miles
  • Mega open-jaw and “return” to the US = 17,500 miles.

For this example I picked the Caribbean – Puerto Rico.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 11.32.44 PM

That’s Peru, to the Galapagos, to Roatan, to Puerto Rico for 20,000 miles. Spending as much time as you want in each.

Of course you have to get to Peru, and get back from Puerto Rico, but it’s a heck of a lot of travel for 20,000 miles.

And what this doesn’t show is the long layovers you can book. Rapid Travel style.


When I priced this out I got options for long layovers (over 12 hours) in Bogota, Guayaquil, Panama City, San Salvador, and a few others.

The above picture only shows the route with stopovers listed. If you’d include layovers, it would at least look like this:

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 11.42.32 PM

I still think it’s the best 20,000 miles you’d ever spend.


But if you did want to spend the whopping 27,500 miles, you could just return home. Like this:

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 11.44.15 PM

Peru to Galapagos to Roatan = 10,000 miles. And Roatan to the US = 17,500 miles. Total = 27,500 miles.

Of course you need to get to Lima, or wherever you would want to start.

(Note that under the new rules, you’ll still be able to start and end in Central America, but you won’t be able to return to a different region than you started… So I’m putting my Galapagos trip on hold, and will still do it with United miles).


A – B, C – D

So far we’ve only used our open-jaw that allows us to return to a different city other than the one we started in. We still have the option to open-jaw on our destination as well.


Lets go back to the example of [Europe], Japan, and Australia.

Japan to Australia is 22,500 miles. But there are cheaper region combinations, for example South Asia to Australia is 17,5000 miles.

Let’s go to Japan as our destination (which means we get a free stopover on the way. Europe, Middle East, Africa – it’s all 35k). But then instead of continuing our trip to Sydney, let’s continue from Bangkok.

The red part is 35,000 miles – US to Japan. And the blue part is 17,500 miles, South Asia to Australia. Total = 52,500 miles.

Now we’re getting cheaper and adding more destinations.

Still, you have to get from Japan to Bangkok, but that’s just an example. You could pick places closer together you can do land transit, or to find a cheap AirAsia flight, or use miles to connect the open-jaw. Again, it’s just an example.

The point is that we’re adding a heck of a lot of travel, and still lowering the price.


Infinite Possibilities

As you can imagine, this could go on forever.

Any destination that you would normally have a stopover on for a roundtrip, you can go from that destination to anywhere.

Consider that you could stopover in Europe on the way to your destination being:

  • Somewhere else in Europe = 30k
  • Northern Africa = 40k
  • Southern Africa = 40k
  • Middle East = 42.5k
  • Central Asia = 42.5k
  • South Asia = 40k
  • North Asia = 35k
  • Japan = 35k

That is just North America to Europe as a stopover, and looking for a destination, and thats already 8 opens. Then consider that you could be starting somewhere other than North America.

Then consider that from any one of these destinations you can go anywhere else. From there you would just tack on the price on the award chart that is from the destination to your end point.

  • US – Europe (stopover) – Northern Africa (destination) = 40k miles
  • Northern Africa – Southern Africa = 17.5k miles

And you’d have unlimited amount of time at each stop.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.14.25 PM

The entire trip could be 57,500 United miles.

There are tons and tons of options… and that’s just with Europe as the “stopover”.

You could take my list above and price out Europe to ____ = xx,xxx. You’ll start to see tons of options.


Cheap Region Changes

The way I think about it is in two parts.

First get a good deal to a destination. I feel like US to Middle East or Africa, and then to Japan as the destination, is a great deal for 35,000 miles.

Then, what’s the cheapest region from Japan. You can look at the United award chart for that.


But combining the two – a cheap destination from the US, and a cheap end point from the destination, is the best option.

Here are some examples for the second half.

  • Northern Africa – Southern Africa = 17.5k
  • North Asia – Japan = 15k
  • Oceania – Japan = 12.5k
  • North Asia – Oceania = 15k
  • South Asia – Australia = 17.5k
  • Latin America = 10k


Different Starting Points

The rules change a bit when you start from somewhere else. The most powerful zones are different, and the region combinations not allowed are different. All the rules I’ve given are very tailored to starting in the US.

But you could just as easily start from somewhere else. Now find the cheapest destinations from your new starting point.


Starting in Hawaii

One example that stands out to me is starting in Hawaii.

I’m surprised just how cheap First Class is to the following four destinations when starting in Hawaii.

  • Oceania & Japan = 25k/40k/62.5k
  • South Asia & Australia = 35k/50k/60k

The interesting thing is that Hawaii to South Asia and Australia are cheaper than closer options like Japan and Oceania. I don’t quite get this, but it seems like a great deal for anyone looking for premium. 40k for Hawaii to Oceania in Biz.

Then combine it with the cheap regions I mentioned above.

Hawaii to Oceania in Biz for 40k, and then tack on an economy ticket to Japan for 12.5k. Now you’re ending in Japan but you have a destination in Oceania, and you have a stopover to spare somewhere!

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.53.48 PM


Compatible Regions

You’re picking two regions that can be combined – a stopover on the way to a compatible destination. And then you’re open-jawing, so instead of returning back to the US you can return to anywhere.

And since the computer sees two times you’ve changed regions, A-B and B-C, it thinks it’s a roundtrip and therefore will allow a stopover.

Now I think people get confused because I’ve previously explained what regions can and can not be combined. For example, when starting in the US, you can’t stopover in Europe on the way to Oceania, or vice versa. just won’t allow it.

But the region rules are per oneway.

Europe can’t be combined with Oceania as the “A-B” part. But you could then very well add Oceania as your “C” in “B-C”.

Europe and Oceania aren’t allowed to be combined when also combining the US.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.34.12 PM

But now we could have US to Europe to Japan (A-B), and then Japan to Oceania (B-C). It prices out each part, and checks each part separately for the rules.

And it prices out as 47.5k miles (35k + 12.5k). You could spend one week in Vienna, one week in Tokyo, one week in Palau… and then you’d need another ticket home. But what we have so far is only 47.5k miles in economy.

To do the red part (ORD-VIE-NRT) in Business Class would cost you 65,000 miles, and then you could tack on the Oceania part in economy for 12,500 miles. That would be 77,500 miles.



The “Destination” Open-Jaw

We’ve gone this far without ever mentioning the open-jaw on the destination.

Basically where I draw the maps and the color changes from Red to Blue, that’s where you can have an open-jaw.

Maybe you did a stopover somewhere in the world on the way to Japan, for 35k. Instead of continuing from Japan, you could continue your trip from North Asia and continue to Guam.

This is an open-jaw, so United isn’t responsible for getting you from Tokyo to Shanghai (for example). Then you can still use your second open-jaw to not return to the US.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.51.55 PM


Mega open-jaws on the Mega open-jaws

You can do this for everything. Pick the cheapest destination, and then pick the cheapest region combination to tack on, regardless of whether or not it’s connected to your destination.

This could be as big as you want.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.55.25 PM

There are basically no rules to prevent anything.



On a random note, its often cheaper to tack on a region change than it is to book two oneways where you thought you couldn’t have a stopover.

I had a friend who booked a ticket from Bangkok to Europe to travel there. Then used United miles to book a ticket to Europe to the US.

South Asia to Europe was 55,000 miles! Then Europe to the US was 30,000 miles. That’s 85,000 miles for South Asia to Europe to the US.

But it’s only 40,000 miles for South Asia to US with a stopover in Europe, if you change regions. You could tack on US to Puerto Rico for 17,500 miles. Now we’re up to 57,500 miles, and the savings could get you the ticket back.

But if you were just interested in the first part, the cheapest region change would be Central America to Mexico, Caribbean, or the Northern South America. It’s only 10,000 miles to do Panama City (PTY) to Aruba, Bogota, or Cancun. South Asia to Europe to US = 40k, then PTY – BOG = 10k. That’s 50k instead of 85k.

And again, the different oneways can be in different classes, and they are priced separately.


Stopovers the other direction

One last thing, and this is really the advanced stuff. If you’re confused right now, don’t read this section.

I’ve spent some time trying to figure out the rules here but there’s too many possibilities, and oddly enough it seems incredibly inconsistent.

So far we’ve talked US to stopover to destination. Then we tack on a region change. That is the formula.


However, there’s a less consistent version that places the stopover on the “B – C” segment. I.e. US to destination. Then destination to stopover, to end point.

For example US to Japan, with no stopover. Then Japan to Singapore with a stopover on the way in Beijing. It’s the exact same concept A – B, and B – C… but this time the stopover is on the second side.

Since I don’t have thorough rules around this aspect, and this post is already long, I’ll end there.



This post is pretty much the culmination of years of playing with United. I’m glad to share it without worry about it dying… since it already has a death date (Oct 6).

The point here is that a roundtrip, according to United, is when you change regions from the destination.

Starting point to stopover to destination, and then tack on destination to another region.

Again, the ticket combinations knowing these tricks are nearly unlimited.


If you read this far (and if you read both posts!) I’d love to hear your feedback! Are people still into these tricks and stopovers?

Hopefully my Miles to the Pacific series will include some similar tricks, if you’re into them.

But did people understand this? Did people read it? Did people enjoy it?

If yes to any of them, thanks! I’m glad to share my work around the subject.

Book before Oct 6!

Related Posts:


  1. Thanks Drew for this post! I enjoyed all the united tricks on your blog ; )

    • Thanks for reading!

    • Great article! I’m trying to book a rt from ORD to NBO. Once I saw your article, I thought why not leave nbo and head to Japan, and then return to ORD. I thought it would price at the ORD to Japan price of 75K (business). Tried using the multi destination, but it would never include the return of Japan to ORD. Do I have to book as 2 separate one-ways?

  2. This is such an awesome post! Thanks for sharing this so we can still book prior to Oct 6!

    • De nada! Hope you find a use.

    • So I didn’t hear anything about this option going away October 6th. So the option to stopover is completely going away?? I didn’t receive an email or anything.

  3. These are the tricks I all knew, for a long time, nothing new, and I know some of my friends knew them as well. One interesting point standing out is: how come you publish these tricks right now, because UA will crack down all these loopholes, and you are desperate to attract website traffic at this very last second? Nice move!

    • They are basically dead in 60 days. So what is your issue ?

    • Post them early, you’re killing the deal; post them when the deal’s dead, it’s useless bragging; post them with a death date, and get… uh… whatever this complaint is. Nice move.

    • Someone not even aware of the changes obviously already knew about these many rules and tricks. Obviously already knew all of it. 😀

  4. Great stuff! After reading some of your previous posts I booked the following for my parents for 80k: SFO-HKG-SIN-DPS, SIN-ADD-SEZ-ADD-IST-SFO. Bali was the destination, then open jaw from Singapore to the Seychelles (stopover) and then back to the US. It doesn’t use all the tricks here, but they were still very happy with the result. Interesting thing was that Ethiopian Airlines updated their schedule after booking and I believe dropped SIN from their route network (or maybe delayed start of service). United then booked them SIN-DXB-SEZ on Emirates. So the final return itinerary ended up being SIN-DXB-SEZ-ADD-IST-SFO.

    • That sounds awesome. I bet they were super impressed, Seychelles, Bali and Singapore on one trip. You probably won son of the year.

      But now next time you book a trip to Hong Kong, they’re gonna say, why can’t we book a trip to Hong Kong, Zanzibar, AND Santorini?

  5. Drew, you are a true genius!

    • 😀 Well, thanks, but it’s more a representation of how much time I’ve spent on multi-city. :-p

  6. Drew —

    Can i take my current one way and turn it into a roundtrip?

    Currently I have WLG-SIN-BKK-NRT-ORD, would it be possible to add the following SEZ-ADD-LHR (stopover) – NYC-MCO?

    • Oddly enough, yes that works.

      I just priced out something like SYD-ORD, SEZ-LHR-NYC at 80k. Totally bookable. Of course, you have to find availability for WLG around the world, and the change process could be difficult. Like no agent is going to book that IME.

      I have noticed some issues when including the destination also as a start point/end point, but I haven’t discovered the rule behind my issues.

  7. Great insights, Drew—read the whole post and comprehended most of it—thanks, as always, for sharing! It’d be great to see/read other tricks you have, especially those related to United and their current chart, rules and regions.

    As for other tricks, one that caught my attention while traveling between Asia and Australia was the potential for flying between those regions (and/or Oceania) for a low amount of miles, while getting the option for a stopover and two open-jaws. This would allow someone to book deep into New Zealand, Tasmania, or Oceania, or go as short as the northern tip of Oceania from South Asia. For those want to see two or more of those regions and/or experience Business/First on a number of the premier Star Alliance Asian carriers, this area is worth exploring/researching.

    • Great to know, thanks Drew! You two do great things here (thanks again!)—it’d be great to meet up next time you’re in San Francisco. Let me know if you all want to grab coffee or a meal with my wife and I next time you’re in SF.

  8. Great post! A couple years ago I had considered writing an ebook discussing all these options. It truly is amazing what’s possible. My wife and I were traveling for a couple years and took advantage of these tricks regularly, often chaining multiple trips to take advantage of regional quirks. It’s been a fun run and I imagine this is one of the reasons for the October changes.

    • Yeah, my first thought with returning to the region you started in was this trick. These things come and go, but can’t say we didn’t make the most of United miles.

  9. Drew, thanks for sharing this. Based on some playing around, I knew about your Big Reveal but your Most Powerful Region post is still one of the best I have seen. Thank you for updating your United posts even though this blog is no longer your full time baby.

    My dilemma is that I want to fly from southern Africa to South Asia one way at yearend and am happy to tack on North America, Oceania, Hawaii or even Europe for the return segment if it can reduce costs and increase stopovers, but Africa seems like a lousy starting point for a “return ticket”. Otherwise, it is pretty cheap to just fly from southern Africa to Asia on a one-way ticket with Emirates or Ethiopian that it makes no sense to use a one-way award.

    • Thanks John! I’m glad you enjoy that post, it’s one I’m proud of. :-)

      So… South Africa – SE Asia = 50k.

      BUT, South Africa – SE Asia (stopover) – US = 40k. You just need to tack on something. Then you get your ticket home for a discount.
      So you could tack on US – Caribbean = 17.5k. 40k + 17.5k = 57.5k. (Which beats 50k to Asia + 40K to get home).

      One equally good option is instead of tacking on the Caribbean go to Northern Africa as your destination.
      South Africa – North Africa (destination), then North Africa – Asia (stopover) – US = 57.5k.

      The problem might be that the computer might try to do South Africa to Asia, then Asia to the US. But if you put an open-jaw in Northern Africa, in Morocco out Fez (or Cairo/ Luxor) or whatever, then it may force it to be a destination. But you’d have to play around with it.

      Best of luck.

    • Great idea! Exactly the lead I needed. Maybe it’s time to take the kids to Hawaii or Alaska. The only thing I hate about United awards is that it costs a fortune to make changes.

  10. I have stumbled upon this “trick” a couple times when piecing together and pricing multi-city awards but never felt the need to get into the weeds because, like 99.9% of travels, the itinerary is pointless unless I end up in my home city at the end of the trip. If I use 57.5k points and end up in Sydney or Johannesburg I still need to drop 40k to get home. So it boils down to this question…is a 2nd stopover worth an extra 17.5k points. Personally, one stopover in a region other than your destination and maybe a long layover along the way is a pretty intense trip for most of us. My vacations are capped at 2 weeks in duration so I can’t spread myself too thin. Regardless, you did a nice job explaining the almost limitless possibilities of United’s old award routing rules.

    • Thanks.
      Except sometimes it’s not even a second stopover for 17.5k, it’s the first. Because a oneway from Sydney to the US can’t have a stopover, but one to Hawaii, and then the US can have one. So it’s a nice trade if you need one at all. Plus you can always stopover in your city and tack on a trip to the caribbean to meet that need… so then it wouldn’t be two stops in one vaca, but one, and then another trip.

  11. Thanks!
    I will try to take off a day if work to understand it:)

    • 😀 Hopefully my explaining wasn’t that poor. :-p

  12. Open jaws…”There are basically no rules to prevent anything.” Can you open jaw back to your destination region?

    • Misspoke….*back to your originating region

    • I might be confused, isn’t that just a roundtrip? So US to Europe, now we return to the US?

  13. Does the United change impact tickets booked for travel after October 6th? Or if I book the ticket now for travel in December, they will still use the current chart?

    I am trying to book BOS/VIE/NRT (similar to above) and it prices out to 75k miles. Is that correct?

    • As long as you book before Oct 6 you’re fine. They don’t go changing previous prices.

      If you just do BOS – VIE, VIE – NRT, that’s two oneways and will price as such. If you did BOS-VIE-NRT, NRT-GUM, that would be an example I give above.

  14. I accidentally discovered this trick while booking an itinerary. I was able to book the following itinerary as a round-trip: Orlando –> Vancouver –> Rio, Open jaw Sao Paulo –> Johannesburg. All in business class for 100,000 miles. However, I did not know all of the applications for the trick. I just wish I had known about it earlier so I could have taken advantage of it more.

    • Sounds like you got a pretty good ticket out of it already! And perhaps you’ll get in another if you have the UA miles and can book before Oct 6!

  15. Can the 20% off United Award Sale, which was announced today, be included with this?

    • It might, we’ll find out tomorrow, as I won’t be able to check til tomorrow. But looks like tickets to South/North Asia will be 22% – 25% off.

    • so can this be combined with the promo?

    • Actually I am trying now, this does not seem to work with the promo. Please tell me I am wrong and there is a way.

  16. Can DXB-ORD one way route can be manipulated to avail 20% off sale, also any good stopovers in Caribbean possible on a one way,

    • You mean can the qualify for the North/South Asia 25% off sale? I suppose if you do the first part to get to North Asia, then you could.

      And you could stopover in the Caribbean on the way back to the US, or stopover in the US on the way to the Caribbean.
      Does that answer your question?

  17. Terrific post and very timely since we have almost 2 months to make use of it. Too busy right now at the Olympics to absorb it all, but will read carefully and undoubtedly find some things to book.

    • Thanks! Sounds like a good reason to be busy. :-p Enjoy!

  18. Not a lot of new stuff here. I think this was already out there in pieces. Your ideas of combining the different regions what makes this a useful post.

    • Not sure where this is out in, but I’m curious if you have link!?

  19. Newbie here, is there somewhere I can find directions on how to book these type flights through United’s site? Is there a way to determine the cheapest european city onroute to tokyo, etc? Was VIE used as an example because it’s cheaper than PAR? I’d like to go from US to PAR or Rome and on to Tokyo. Then return to the carribean through thailand or Australia. Is that possible? Thank you for your patience w/a newbie!

    ahn PAR

    • Hmm, I definitely should have at least mentioned how to book.

      Essentially go to –> check the “Search for award travel” box –> then click “Multi-city”.

      You can stopover anywhere in Europe. All pricing is region based, so anywhere in Europe is a valid example.

      You might not be able to route Tokyo to the Caribbean via Thailand, and definitely not through Australia… especially if you’ve already used your stopover and this is a oneway. So you don’t get extra stops.

      You could do US to Rome to Tokyo, and then Tokyo to a number of place: Tokyo to Australia and end the trip there and have to book another ticket home. Or Tokyo back to the US. Or Tokyo to the Caribbean… but you’d be out of “stopovers”.

      Hope that makes sense!

  20. Book by Oct 6 fly by… when?

    • It’s just that the price change when booking On of after Oct 6. So you can fly whenever as long as you book before Oct 6.

  21. This is a fantastic post. I am glad that I may do one more crazy flight with my UA miles.

    If I book round trip for two people and somehow need to change or cancel it next year, will I pay fee per booking or per person? Also, the new fee or old fee will apply if I book before Oct 6?

  22. Please help me, my brain is going bonkers trying these routes out and then the United flight search comes up empty. What’s the best bang for my miles (in business)? I want to start in SE Asia and go to the States and back to Bali. Ideally, I would like to go from Bali (or KUL/SIN/CGK/BKK) to DEN, through Dubai or Rome if possible, DEN-NYC, NYC-LAX, LAX-OGG, OGG-DPS (or nearby). I’m pretty flexible, just want to visit family. Maui can be removed and other routes can be suggested. Just having trouble trying to put into the search successfully on United.
    Bare minimum, I want a stop in Los Angeles, to stop in Denver, week in New York, at least a long layover in LAX before heading back to Bali.

  23. Drew! Love your articles! I just dont understand the last itinerary, why would you do SYD-HNL? I think that prices completely separately at 35k just that leg? so 20k+20k-35k?

  24. I have been trying for the last few days to do something like SLC -> AMS or FCO -> NRT -> SLC but I either don’t get results or I’ll get one for like 115k miles. Is that routing possible?

  25. Anyone have any idea about what will happen if I book BEFORE October 6, but try to make changes to the itinerary after that date?

  26. You never told us, how do we book this ticket? Can we do it online? Is it booked as multi-leg? Or do we make multiple one ways? Or to we book it as round trip? But as round trip it does not give us the open jaw option. Does it have to be done on the phone? You left so many questions that you could have covered just by telling us HOW to book it. Great info, but please advise.

  27. Thanks Drew! Excellent post. I’m trying to start or end my trip in Europe so that we could use one of the low cost carriers like Wow or Norwegian to go or come back to SFO/LAX. We could even return to HNL and take avois back to SF/LA. I was trying to start in Europe to Japan via Kenya and tack Japan to HNL and it won’t let me. Can you please suggest what would be the best routing for us? Thank you!!

  28. Mind effectively blown. It’s too bad this is dying!! These are the posts that got me to your blog 3-4 years ago, glad you’re doing this sort of stuff again!!

  29. (1) When I search from the carribean to central america, I get a saver award of 17.5K one way. Am I doing something wrong? I am trying to route from the carribean to PTY.

    What I was hoping to do (once United releases flights to Cuba) is route from Cuba–>PTY, MDE–>LIM, and LIM–>SCL (I know this is 20K, and not 10K). I was hoping to book that itinerary for 30K miles (saving 10K if they were booked separately).

    (2) How do you book 24 hour stopovers? Do you just do multicity?

  30. Great post! Thanks for researching and publishing. Any creative ideas for India stopovers? I’ve been playing around with US-India-NRT-GUM but doesnt seem to be pricing with star alliance partners well. Is it limited to UA flights?

  31. Am I missing something or is the only insight here that UA’s computers allow a roundtrip to be A-B and then C-D with a stopover either on the way from A to B or from C to D and neither A, B, C, D or the stop need to be in the same region?

    I mean, isn’t this is just a double open jaw between different regions with a stopover?

  32. Do you have any suggestions for getting to American Samoa? Trying to get that last national park and ticket prices are outrageous!

    • I’m actually in Am Samoa right now and about to go hike in that Nat Park :)

      Couple things:
      – I believe Hawaiian flies here to PPG twice a week so you should be able to use various miles to book that if there is availability (I believe you can search on ExpertFlyer, maybe United)
      – You can get here through Samoa. Get to APW either from Auckland using UA miles or via Fiji using AA miles. Then pay for 45 min Apia-Pago flight with Polynesian Airlines (as low as $155 round trip). Note that Polynesian doesn’t fly out APW but rather from FGI airport just to the east of Apia (APW is 40 minutes west of the city).

      Or you can combine both – get to PPG via Hawaii and fly out to Samoa and then via Fiji.

      I’m only here for a couple of days but if you specifically coming to Am Samoa, try to plan some time to visit Ofu and Tau – parts of the Nat Park are on those islands as well and Ofu supposedly has incredible beaches. Currently Polynesian flies on Thursdays to Ofu and a few times a week to Tau. If you don’t want to stay on Ofu for a week, your only option is to take a boat transfer to/from Tau for $150 one way (the lodge on Ofu can arrange that for you). Lastly, ignore the info on other airlines operating here – both Interisland and Samoa Air ceased operating earlier this year. Polynesian seems to be struggling a bit as well so do this soon! :)

  33. Absolutely brilliant post I`m a lifetime follower now! Although I still dont understand the half of it hahaha. To bad this ends soon…. so Im hard at work to get in under the wire. I live in Hawaii and want to do the Island hopper flt to Manila with stopovers etc etc then maybe New Zealand or Europe. Do you provide a booking service?

  34. Drew,

    Extremely valuable information. Thanks. If I want to do ATL-HNL-SYD-CNS-ATL, OR in reverse as ATL-SYD-CNS-HNL-ATL would this be a valid route? UA website errors out on me when I put it in.

  35. This is hard to figure out to me. I am trying to plan a trip from ORD to BKK in January and am looking to have a long stop (4-7 days)in another city/country, but I feel like I am limited to HKG or somewhere in China. What other options do I have?

  36. Drew–thanks for the great content! Inspired by your post, I’m planning an Asia trip in Business, and hope to book before UA changes the rules. The UA engine keeps giving an error–is there a problem with the routing, or do I just need to call?

    Ticket 1
    Hawaii-PDX (stop)
    PDX-TYO (dest)
    TYO-PEK (return)

    Ticket 2
    PEK-SIN (Dest)
    PDX-Hawaii (return)

    • @Amber – I only discovered this post yesterday (and man, am I kicking myself over the lost opportunities) and started looking for possibilities on UA’s website and also ran into some errors. Sometimes using a different browser helped – clearing the cache on the one you’re using might help as well. Also, it seems to work better to search each segment as a one-way and find the flights/dates you want, then when you have them all, then do your multi-city search using dates that you know will work. I’m nervous about calling in; I’d be interested to know others’ experiences with agents helping them with these type of itineraries.

    • I have called United once before when I was flying from ORD to Quito. I wanted to stop in Bogota for a couple of days and the lady on the phone helped me a lot. That was a couple years ago and she told me it cost no extra miles and that she would waive the $75 fee to book through them. I ended up spending 4 days in bogota and then traveled on to quito. She also helped me with my return flight from Guayaquil. Overall I would give the lady that helped me by phone a 10/10 for customer service and I will not hesitate to call them again if I can’t find help online.

  37. A JFK-ROR TYO-PMI//PMI-JFK prices out at 70K in Y. That’s not bad for going around the world !

  38. Drew, I need to go from LIH-DFW on 1/13 or 1/14. what else might I build into this award to get a great use of my miles? I was going to use Flying Blue to book, but no availability. Then I thought Singapore and add a one way to Europe-Singapore said nope. So any extra United value would be great!

  39. Drew, thanks for the great articles!

    Sorry if this is a dumb question – I’m a newbie who LOVES to travel! Is there a way to route this to take advantage of United’s rules? SGF-KGL (via IST), stopover, then KGL-SEZ, stopover, SEZ-MLE, stopover, then Bodrum – IST – Athens – XNA, straight through, no stop. Is it possible to combine all this into some form of a round trip ticket? And is it better to book BEFORE Oct 6 or after?

    Second, the following itinerary IST-KGL, stopover, then KGL-SEZ, stopover, then MLE-Dalaman straight through. IF we booked that, is it cheaper with miles now, or after Oct 6 with the excursionist ticket?

    Or is all this cheaper to book as one way multi city? We know we can do SGF-KGL, stopover, KGL-SEZ.

    Many thanks for any help from anybody! (:

  40. Thanks for giving me the hope to take advantage of using the award ticket.

  41. Does United allow an open jaw stopover? I want to fly MEL -SIN , (stopover ) then BKK-CDG, My return with no stopover is : CDG-BKK, BKK-MEL.

    United have me on SQ TO SIN, then TG ex SIN to BKK then to CDG. Problem with this is I’m going to HKT and would prefer to fly direct from HKT to BKK to pick up the TG flight rather than having to fly back to SIN and then onto BKK.

    Any clues? Looked me to like a simple MEL -CDG return ticket w an open jaw stopover in SIN but United won’t let me book it.

    Many thanks!

  42. Hi There – thank you for all your info. I’ve been using yours and Lucky’s and Codextravel as a guide but recently came to a dead-end. I’m booked and ticketed JFK-ICN-BKK (less than 24hours)-KUL (stop for a few days)-BKK-HKG (destination) then ICN-JFK return. There might be an open-jaw there without me realizing it. What happened though is that I called United last week to see if I can change my return to be TPE-ICN (less than 24hr stop)-JFK and they said it was invalid. Racking my brain as to why. They initially said anything more than 14 hrs is considered a stopover to not being able to explain it all other than saying regions don’t allow it. I’m perplexed and wondering if this should be possible. What are your thoughts? Thanks.

  43. Hi!
    I’m trying to plan a Disney Around The World trip for my 2 children and want to visit Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong while stopping over in Europe. I have EWR-VIE (stopover)-NRT done for 75k in J but how would I arrange the rest of the trip (PVG and HKG on the way back to the USA) to maximize the miles? Thank you so much!

  44. As of Jan 18, 2017, does Mileageplus still allow 1 stop over on 1 way award ticket?

  45. After this post, in my next open jaw, I will open a very nice bottle of beer to salute you. Amazing!


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