The last post tackled the basic rules that allow us to create our dream trip using United miles. To sum it up; when using United miles to redeem a flight, you are allowed one stopover and two open-jaws on a roundtrip ticket. This allows us to book some sweet tickets that allow anyone to see multiple places on one trip, one booking and few miles! Booking can be as simple as calling or using the multiple destinations tool but can be as difficult as peicing together a complicated itenery with little availability. This next section is a little more advanced and if it’s too much trouble, an agent may be able to piece together the trip for you as long as you have an outline of what you want.
The following in italics is the more complicated part. If you get through it or skip ahead I talk about “booking” itself – the more important part.
Before you attempt to book, I suggest piecing together the flight yourself (or let me do it for you) online. The last post shows examples of a flight starting from Little Rock, AR getting routed through Brazil and South Africa on the way to Mauritius. I did the search just to show an example of where you could create your stopovers based on where the system naturally routes you. Going forward with a stopover in GRU, Brazil, I would search oneway awards on United.com for the date I wanted to start my trip. Then I would look for a ticket from GRU to JNB, South Africa on the date I wanted to leave GRU. Remember, stopovers can be as long as you want (though tickets tend to only sell 300-330 days in advance).
This is actually a great example of a possible trip that is pretty complex. A lot of things have to happen to make this trip work to see every country. For starters the stopover in Brazil is pretty easy but to add an open-jaw and see both South Africa and Mauritius would be a little more complicated but it is possible. You would need some additional miles to get from JNB to MRU or visa versa (British Airways would be ideal) and there would have to be availability that works with your schedule. That being said, I see the route like this: LIT-ORD-MRU (use the stopover) – JNB (as the destination) / MRU (continue as open-jaw, requiring a separate ticket to get there) – HOME. The open-jaw only really works on the stopover or destination (including returning destination). This means that you would have to book the flight with no ticket to MRU but a ticket out of MRU to return home.
Luckily tickets are typically held for 3 days or slightly longer. This means that you could try to book your JNB – MRU ticket without the pressure of cancelation fees but your tickets are held for you. If tickets are being held it means they aren’t paid for yet.
Once you have an outline for your trip you can either call and have an agent do it for you or piece it together using the “Multiple Destinations” tool (found on home page). Put in your desired dates and make sure you select “Award Travel”. I prefer to play around on the routes using the One Way tool, but it works the same really. Within minutes I was able to find the following ticket with a stopover in Brazil and an open-jaw between South Africa and Mauritius. Though I must be honest, the dates were very limited but if you search from your home to your final destination on the One Way tool, it should show you other options for routing. But here it is.
There it is, a trip with everything: The latin culture of Brazil; the safari’s of South Africa and the beautiful island of Mauritius. You may notice that it’s still missing the flight to MRU but that can hopefully be found with 10,000 British Airways miles. A total of 80,000 United miles though.
A few things worthy of mention:
- If the price doesn’t match the price on the award chart for your final destination, you didn’t do it right. If it changes class or award type (standard vs saver awards) for even one segment, it changes the cost of that half of the flight. But you could also be violating one of the rules.
- You can do half of the trip in a different class. I.E. Half business and the other half first. It would get priced as a oneway business and oneway first.
- It doesn’t matter if the zone where the stopover is made is a higher priced award, the pricing is based off of the final destination.
- As mentioned already, open-jaws can not really be used to create a stop or break itself but can be used on any stops: your destination, your return or your stopover.
Part 1 and my post, Breaking Award Charts, might help you brainstorm a good trip but use your imagination and the search tool and you’ll get some ideas. Europe is on the way to both Asia and Africa and here was an example of South America on the way to Africa. Also, as I discussed in the post mentioned above, a stopover in Dubai on the way to Singapore can easily be found using the Multi-Destination tool at no extra cost- an example of a stopover being priced higher than it’s destination.
I hope this post helps someone stretch their miles an extra country or two.