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11 Best Stopovers with Alaska Miles

Yesterday I not only talked about how Alaska allows stopovers on oneways, but then shared some weird routings to get two tickets out of 1 award.

Today, in this post, I want to go over the best 11 stopovers that you can do with Alaska miles. Really, it will go over most of the main hubs that you can book a stopover in anyways. These are just the best routes, in my opinion.

And for the last one, we’ll combine a little bit of what we learned yesterday to make some cool routes.

Also, you can still earn a lot of miles via the BoA Alaska miles credit cards (personal and business) if you don’t currently have an account open.

All prices are oneways and shown in econ/biz/first (although some don’t have first). I’ll also show specific examples.

 

1) US – Iceland – Europe = 27.5k/55k

On Icelandair, you can start in Denver, stopover in Iceland for a week, and continue on to Zurich.

And for only 27,500 Alaska Miles!

Check Icelandair routemap (here) to see where you can start from, and were you can destination.

Unfortunately they don’t cover most of eastern Europe, but they cover most destinations that most people want to go.

And while they don’t have a great number of destinations in the US, you can fly Alaska to set up to an Icelandair destination.

 

2) US – Hong Kong – Africa = 50k/62.5k/70k

Take a Cathay flight from Chicago to Hong Kong for 4 days, and then continue to South Africa. And all that flying in Cathay first would only be 70,000 Alaska Miles!

There’s actually only one destination in Africa that this works with (JNB), but it’s a good enough deal that it gets its own mention.

Cathay doesn’t show up online, so you do have to call for this one.

 

3) US – Hong Kong – anywhere in Asia

On Cathay you can stopover in Hong Kong to literally any of their destinations in Asia:

  • US – Asia = 30k/60k/70k
  • US – Middle East / India = 50k/62.5k/70k

So Chicago to Hong Kong for a few days, and then on to Bali, Indonesia would be 30,000 miles in economy!

Notice that in economy it’s a much better deal to stay in east Asia (aka “Asia”, according to Alaska), than it is to travel to the Middle East on Cathay.

However, first class is always 70,000 miles. A fantastic deal, and a fastistic trip.

So Chicago to Hong Kong, then to Delhi would be 70,000 Miles in First Class.

 

Korean

This also applies to Korean with a stopover in Seoul. Unfortunately, when using Alaska miles for Korean flights, oneways are the same price as the more expensive roundtrip.

But if you want a stopover in Seoul (ICN), it could be worth it!

 

4) US – Dubai – Middle East / India = 42.5k/82.5k/150k

Emirates First Class is the one with the shower. So if the pinnacle of luxury to you is being in a tiny tube with a 5 minute shower limit, you should blow all your miles here.

So New York to Dubai, then to Colombo, Sri Lanka for = 42.5k/82.5k/150k.

Yes, it’s a little more expensive than Cathay but you can try Emirates First, and stopover in Dubai instead.
Again, my take is that you’re paying double for the tiny tube shower, and “getting” to stopover in Dubai… which is great if you just love shopping malls.

You can see my bias, and why I’ve never done it… but it’s very popular! And I added Sri Lanka to add something redeeming about the trip.

 

Also, note that you can take Emirates to many places (all starting in the US):

  • Middle East / India = 42.5k/82.5k/150k
  • Africa = 47.5k/120k/200k
  • Asia = 52.5k/105k/180k
  • Europe = 47.5k/120k/180k

 

4b) Can start/end in Hawaii or Mexico

I just thought of a way to redeem this trip! You don’t have to use your stopover in Dubai!

You can start in Mexico, and use your stopover in the US, and then do your trip to Sri Lanka (just layover in Dubai).

I priced out the following for the same price: Cabo, Mexico to New York with a stopover that lasts a few months, then continue onto Sri Lanka (with a layover in Dubai).

You can do this trip in either direction too.

 

5) US – Paris or Amsterdam – Africa = 40k/70k

Stopover in Paris when flying Air France, or stopover in Amsterdam when flying KLM. Fortunately, the two have a decent coverage of Africa.

Example: New York to Amsterdam for a stopover (as long as you want), then onto Nairobi = 40k/70k miles.

Here are African destinations for KLM (stopover in AMS):

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 5.21.57 PM

Here are African destinations for Air France (stopover in CDG):

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 5.22.41 PM

(Sorry it’s a little hard to read).

I think this is one of the better options for a number of African destinations with limited partners. Unfortunately, I sometimes have trouble with availability.

 

 

6) US – Paris / Amsterdam – Europe = 32.5k/62.5k

Same as above, except with a destination in Europe.

And there’s one other caviat, which is that while Alaska only allows one partner on a oneway, you can fly both Air France and KLM… which is cool.

So you could open-jaw from one to the other.

Example: New York to Paris, open-jaw so your flight continues from Amsterdam, and then continues to Rome.

You can do the same thing to other places too, like continue from Amsterdam to Israel.

 

7) LA – Fiji – South Pacific or Australia =  40k/55k

Fiji is a great place for a stopover!

Start in LA and stopover in Fiji for a week, and then continue onto Sydney for 40k/55k Alaska miles.

 

The only airport Fiji Airways serves in the US is LAX. However, you can use Alaska airways to get to and connect to LAX. Well, you would have to fly Alaska to get to LAX since Alaska miles tickets only allows one partner.

However, here are all the destinations you could fly to:

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 5.39.11 PM

 

I actually, flying to two different destinations in Fiji (NAN being one) would be awesome. There are lots and lots of beautiful islands, and where the airport is in Nadi isn’t the best area.

In fact, if your plan is just to stop in NAN and go to the man made island of hotels near the airport, please skip! It’s a man made island, why fly all the way around the world when you could go to Cancun?

But if you wanted to take the ferry somewhere, or use your destination for one of the more remote islands… that would be amazing.

 

8) US – Sydney (or MEL/BNE) – Australia = 42.5k/55k/70k

Sydney is a great place to stopover, and I love eating there (check out my 7 best places for cheap food in Sydney), and lots of people like flying Qantas.

Example: Seattle to stopover in Sydney for a few days, before continuing to Perth = 42.5k/55k/70k.

 

9) Miami – Lima – Santiago = 25k/45k

Actually, LAN a few hubs, like Lima and Santiago, but unfortunately there isn’t online booking for LAN. So I haven’t played around with it much personally.

I did a similar route (many years ago) to Miami with a stopover in Lima, and then continuing onto Santiago, Chile. With Alaska miles that’s only 25,000 miles.

x

10a) Remember the many US hubs in North America

AA is the airline that shows up on the most Alaska award charts. You can use AA for trips to Europe, South America, and Asia.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 6.43.32 PM

And remember you can always stop in Alaska hubs (mostly SEA) and you can fly Delta for many routes and stopover in their hubs.

You can use a stopover in New York on your way back from Europe. You can do a stopover in New York on your way from Asia.

Or, you can try one of the weird routes…

 

10b) Caribbean – (US layover) Mexico – US = 17.5k/30k

This route is maybe an exception to the rule, but you can do some crazy stuff (sometimes) with Alaska miles.

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 5.48.38 PM

Above is a route I did that was Havana, Cuba, to Cabo, Mexico (via SEA & LAX), and then back to Austin. A crazy route for 17,500 Alaska miles!

 

11) Stopover in US, and then continue to Caribbean, Central America, or Hawaii

For most destinations that have AA as a destionation, you can certainly have your stopover in the US, but you can always continue onto the Caribbean, Central America (including Mexico), or Hawaii.

Example: Paris to New York (stopover), and then onto the Cancun.

 

You can also do this route in reverse. And one cool thing, as mentioned yesterday, is that the ticket chooses the first date for setting off-peak time.

So you could get a oneway ticket to Europe for 20,000 miles, but also have tacked on a oneway combing back from the Caribbean before.

 

That would be Cancun to New York in Feb, but then doing New York to Paris in June… yet, it will give the lower off-peak price of 20,000 Alaska miles.

Same with Hawaii.

Also, same with Asia.

 

11b) Combining 2 stopovers for 3 trips

First, let’s say you booked a normal ticket (starting in Dallas) to Puerto Rico, but with a stopover in a city like Miami. That’s 17,500.

Second, let’s do Puerto Rico to Dallas, where you stopover for 3 months until your next vacation. And then you continue onto Japan. That’s 25,000 miles.

(Or you could have continued to Europe for 20,000 miles).

Then you do your ticket back from Japan with a stopover in Dallas, on your way to Hawaii! That’s another 32,500 miles.

  • Dallas – MiamiPuerto Rico = 17.5k
  • Puerto Rico – Dallas – Japan = 25k
  • Japan – Dallas – Hawaii = 32.5k

The point here is, you can stopover in the US and make it the end of one trip by making it a giant stopover.

And that you can continue to do that. This example could continue onto Europe… or back to the Caribbean. Doesn’t matter.

 

Details

  • Caribbean to Japan/Korea on AA is 25k off-peak, and otherwise 32.5k/50k/62.5k
  • Caribbean to Europe on AA for 20k off-peak and 30k/50k/62.5k

Again, same applies to Central American and the caribbean.

Also, remember you’re allowed to open-jaw so you do: HNL-SEA / LAX -SYD.

 

Conclusion

Mostly you’re only allowed to stopover in hubs with Alaska miles. Although the Havana example showed that there definitely are exceptions.

But in the end, the non hub stopovers are extremely unpredictable. Even hub stopovers can be unpredictable.

 

Still, the ability to have a stopover on a oneway, combined with Alaska’s great prices, makes Alaska miles some of the most valuable miles to the thrifty traveler.

Honestly, they’re my favorite miles to use right now. I’d say United still has fun stuff, but I find Alaska has better prices, and I don’t get stung with close-in fees (since I’m not a planner).

 

Hopefully the stuff at the end didn’t add confusion. And for the most part it’s straight forward: stopover in the hubs.

Stopover in Hong Kong with Cathay, Sydney with Qantas, Dubai with Emirates, and Amsterdam/Paris with KLM/Air France flights.

Once you stopover in all those, you can try some other more creative routes.

 

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17 Comments

  1. Great list! FYI, CX stopped F cabin to JNB, they only have up to business (at least last time I checked)

    Reply
  2. Drew, I don’t think anybody’s blog compares to yours in terms of the value that you add and make available to readers. That’s why you’ll never leave my RSS feed, and why I keep coming back. Thank you for posting this, and as always great work!

    Reply
  3. Generally I find all your routings to be already possible but is there a reason you mentioned SEA-SYD. I don’t see any flights directly between the two although I did see seasonal flights between YVR and SYD.

    Reply
  4. So would LHR-HKG-DPS be ok for a one-way with a stopover in HKG for 42,500 miles?

    Reply
    • 42,500 miles referring to Cathay business

      Reply
  5. Thank you for your contribution, I ‘ll assign this to one of my valued team members for the next round of enhancements coming up!

    Reply
  6. Good blog and worth reading. However, you misidentified MLE (Male Maldives) as Columbo Sri Lanka in the first part of Example 4. MLE is much better place to visit (Conrad Maldives).

    Reply
  7. Drew, could you do a stopover in SYD on Qantas, then destination in Queenstown, NZ?

    Reply
    • Absolutely. I’m currently on a 220-day stopover in Australia. Will finish up my remaining sectors to New Zealand next year as part of the same redemption ticket.

      Reply
  8. FYI……Fiji airways also flies to SFO in addition to LAX…. I just booked one way from AKL-NAN-SFO with a stopover in NAN for 55k in business

    Reply
  9. Taking the long way home, but doing SYD-HKG-LAX with 4 day stopover in Hong Kong. Cathay business for 55k per person. One of the few airlines that still offers at least 4 business class seats so that kind of necessitated the routing anyway.

    Reply
  10. The Alaska website used to price out some funny routings like LHR-DXB-LHR-USA for the same price as LHR-USA. I think the first leg would be on BA. Any insight into this? Thanks

    Reply
  11. Ya know, I thought this blog was great for maximizing United miles… now you got the AS miles!!! Time to start putting more thought into earning AS. Best blog out there, Drew!

    Reply
  12. Great post! I’ve been trying to find a way to use the US-Paris/Ams-Africa route, but there aren’t any available flights from Paris/Ams to South Africa, and I have checked tons of dates. Am I missing something?

    Reply
  13. Didn’t American Airlines cancel the ability to use stopovers with them?

    Reply
    • Sure, but if you’re redeeming Alaska miles you go by Alaska’s rules, even if you’re actually flying AA. Of course the whole thing is kind of null and void anyway since AA have scarcely any award availability on their own metal. In particular long-haul to Europe or South America is absolutely non-existent.

      Reply
  14. just booked toronto to bali with a stop in hong kong for 30k points and 100 in fees ended up calling alaska, the rep walked me through it…$1000 min spend on a personal and a biz card got me 62k points..travel is free …thanx

    Reply

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