I promised today I’d post stopovers that were less practical. This is just looking at United stopover examples, rather than focusing on the rules.
If you want to see the rules, please check out New United Stopover Rules, and check out United Stopover Tricks.
However, late last night a lot of the loopholes that allowed you to not return to your region of origin, and change the order of events… suddenly died.
Although I wasn’t going to be explicit about anything, some of the rule changes affect some of my examples. The good news is that everything in my previous posts are still valid.
1) Start/end with intra-Hawaii
Intra Hawaii flights are 6,000 United miles.
Fly the first segment, and now you’re eligible for a free flight anywhere in the world.
Tack on an intra-Africa flight for free, which would normally be 17.5k.
Or tack on a free intra-Middle East for 20k.
Basically you pay 12k, but you get a free flight elsewhere.
Start in Hawaii to US
You could do Hawaii – USA / free flight somewhere / HNL – OGG.
Intra Hawaii is just the cheapest flight to tack on to something.
* Note that you could do a similar thing with starting in Japan. Intra Japan flights are 8k.
2) Start in Hawaii to Japan or Oceania
One of the best deals, especially for premium cabin, is Hawaii to Japan or Oceania (like GUM, YAP (aka Yap), ROR).
- On UA partners: Hawaii – Japan / Oceania = 25k/50k/80k
- On UA flights: Hawaii – Japan / Oceania = 25k/40k/62.5k
So if you fly United from HNL (Hawaii) to YAP (Yap), your free flight could be MNL-DPS… and then you tack on OGG-HNL.
The entire thing in Business Class (with HNL-OGG in economy), would be 45,000 United miles. Which I think is pretty good in business.
Again, this would have been the same if it was HNL to Japan, or Guam.
BTW! Why not include the YAP-MNL flight on the ticket?
The problem is that you’ll have to go back and book the YAP-MNL? Or Japan-MNL? There’s still that gap.
Or you could have chosen to use your free segment in a cheaper region to get to, like North Asia.
But then why not just book the segments all together at once, instead of going back and booking a different flight to connect the open-jaws?
Well, there are two reasons.
1) The free segment is allowed to be in the class of the previous segment.
So if it was worth it to pay 40k to fly business across the Pacific, then you might as well make your free flight your next flight. Make sense?
Because now your intra-South Asia flight can be free in business.
If you were to fly all economy, it wouldn’t matter.
2) If it’s cheaper not to use United miles.
If there was a route where you could get a super cheap flight, or use Avios, or something, why use United?
While you can book all of it together and it will just price out each segment, those are the two reasons I see to leave a gap in the ticket and to make these big open-jaws.
3) Polynesia (Oceania) – North Asia – Micronesia (Oceania)
One of the most interesting routes is going from Polynesia to Micronesia. I say this having done it in early 2012. It still tempts me.
But this is different than what we did (barely), because the stopover is in Asia instead of New Zealand.
The reason I love this ticket is because, it’s just stupid cheap. It’s a ton of flying, it’s some of the hardest places to get to, and it’s the cheapest price. Crazy odd, but good, combination.
Here is the price to go all the way from Rarotonga to Mongolia.
I personally would be more interested in Fiji (I liked Fiji more than Rarotonga (although the snorkeling is great – we saw a huge moray eel!)), and I’m not sure Rarotonga to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is the easiest combination…
But it’s an example, and still a great one.
So tack on the free intra North Asia segment:
It would have been 30k in business.
Here’s what it looks like (RAR-ULN-TPE-GUM):
The entire thing in economy would be 30k, and in business 60k.
Although the real trick is to do everything from RAR to Hong Kong in Business, and then do HKG to GUM in economy. That would come out to 45k.
4) The African Hopper
This example was in my previous post (7 Practical United Stopovers), but I’m going to try to make it a little less practical. And, it’s just so good I thought I’d mention it twice.
This is: North Africa – Central/Southern Africa – Central/Southern Africa – North Africa.
It comes out to 35k for economy, and 70k for business.
But look at the route:
So maybe it’s worth the business class… at least for the first half.
What I searched was LPA – CPT – SEZ – LPA.
In fact, there could have been many many variations. I picked a pretty crazy route, because I think Cape Town is incredible, and I imagine Seychelles would be amazing. And why not? The flight between the two is free!
But what makes this route all the more reasonable and feasible, is the definition of North Africa.
For United’s award chart, North Asia includes:
As I mentioned Monday, the follow airline mileage programs consider these as Europe:
- AA considers Canary Islands as Europe
- FlyingBlue considers Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Canary Islands as Europe
- Singapore considers Canary Islands as Europe
4b) Make stopovers with Africa even crazier
Remember, we get unlimited open-jaws. Let’s use them.
But first let’s know of the most reasonable ways to fly within Africa.
Here is the OneWorld route map for flights within Africa, out of JNB:
Availability can be limited on some routes, but it gives some great options.
American AAdvantage Miles
For AA miles, flights within Africa are 10k/17.5k.
That is a great price… because the options are limited to the relatively short flights in the picture above.
British Airways Avios
Check out the Avios Map (via wandr.me)
As you can see you can get around on direct flights for super cheap. Some flights that require connection might be cheaper with AA miles.
Since it’s actually considered a British Airways flight, the good news is that I was able to get off-peak price for JNB to MRU. Bad news is that it came with $147 in fees! But for that flight, I’d say it’s still a good deal.
Putting it all together
Of course, you can do land transit… just not for Mauritius or Seychelles. Or you can find cheap flights for short popular flights like CPT to JNB.
Here’s a new version of the route with open-jaws:
- Start in Casablanca, Morocco (CMN)
- Fly to Cape Town (CPT) – for 17.5k UA miles
- 10k AA miles to get to Mauritius (MRU)
- MRU – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADD) – free segment with UA
- Open-jaw, so the ticket continues from Nairobi, Kenya (NBO)
- Return to Tunis, Tunisia (TUN) – for 17.5k UA miles
Just the United part of this flight would look like this:
In United miles, the entire thing would come out to 35,000 miles.
5) Latin Hopper with open-jaws
Again, this is a variation of a route I’ve long talked about, and we did something similar in 2013… I think.
The observation is that flights within Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, and Northern South America, are all 10,000 miles.
This “roundtrip” should come out to 20,000 miles.
I’ll roll through this since I’ve talked about it so much. Previously I showed an example of this with the Galapagos, but to do it with more open-jaws, I’ll keep it mainland.
- Start in Belize City (BZE)
- Fly into Bogota (BOG)
- Fly out of Cartagena (CTG)
- Fly into Cusco (CUZ)
- Fly out of Arequipa (AQP)
- End by flying into San Jose (SJO)
Total = 20k UA miles
And you actually get to visit, I think, the most number of cities possible for 20,000 miles.
Remember, you can always do variations of these starting from your home. And you can always do oneway versions by tacking on a flight for later, for 10,000 miles (or 12.5k).
Again, see United Stopover Tricks.
Beyond that, this list of routes could go on forever and ever.
Maybe, I’ll do some more of a different type, if people aren’t tired of this.
Either way, I hope something here was actually usable.