There a few occasions where your desired destination might be cheaper if you turn your destination into a stopover on a longer route. It’s well known that you can sometimes make your Asia vacation route through Europe, but similar tricks might actually save you miles.
Here are some ideas of destinations that may already interest you, and can be booked as a stopover on the way to a cheaper zone. Look at the award chart to see if you can map out a route that includes a layover in your desired location on the way to a cheaper destination. A strategy for those who have more time than miles, perhaps.
- US to Middle East/Central Asia via South East Asia.
- North America, Central American, South Asia, North Asia, Japan and Oceania to Australia & New Zealand via Oceania.
- US – “South & Central Asia” via “South Pacific”, US Airways business/first. Saves 10,000 miles.
- North Asia to the Middle East via Europe. Could save 20k/60k/80k miles.
AA is a bit more strict about stopovers but if you do find the option to route through a cheaper place, you can simply get out at a convenient layover.
AA’s award chart is tighter but here might be a few ideas for breaking it.
- US to “South America Zone 1” via “South America Zone 2”. On a few occasions you can route to Peru (for example) via Santiago. If you want to go to Santiago, try to find the days that AA or Lan doesn’t have a flight to a place like Lima and get routed through Santiago. You can’t create a layover, but you can simply get out (like I said above).
- US to the “Indian Subcontinental Middle East” zone is cheaper as two tickets during Europe off season. AA to “Indian Subcontinental Middle East” is 45,000 miles. In off season (Oct 15 – May 15) US to Europe is 20,000 and Europe to the Middle East is 20,000. A 10,000 discount isn’t a ton but it is essentially a way to create a stopover for a cheaper price.
The same concept can be applied to many routes. This is more a practice and an example of stretching your understanding of what your miles can do for you. If you have any more ideas (or Delta options) please send them along!