This is a more advanced post but if you have the vacation time and the miles or the will to accrue the miles this could be a concept that might help make a dream trip possible.
Let me explain! Trust me this could be an awesome way to see a lot of places on one ticket.
I actually first had the idea with United but it is most applicable to US Airways because they only do round-trip tickets when redeeming miles for a flight. A round trip ticket on US and United might often cost the same amount of miles but United lets you take one-ways for half the cost and US doesn’t.
However, United does not allow stopovers or open-jaws on one-way tickets but they do on round-trips! They allow both on one ticket! And US airways allows a stopover or an open-jaw. (A stopover just allows you to make a layover as long as you want and an open-jaw allows you to continue your flight from a different location).
Okay, so just imagine you are spending a few months in the UK working and you are going to book a flight with miles from Europe to the US. After all, United does allow you to redeem one-ways and keep in mind it doesn’t matter where you’re flying from in Europe; the price is the same- 30,000 this time of year. But you have a month to travel around and if you’re like me, a bunch of US Airways miles you can’t use (because you never fly round-trip).
Okay so you get an open jaw or stopover with US Airways. So lets say you want to fly to the Middle East and you work in a stop over in Germany. Or you could open-jaw and take a train to Switzerland and continue your flight east. Lets say you go to Jordan (I’m not a star-alliance expert). Your ticket was London (LHR) to AMM (Amman) with a layover in Franfurt (FRA) and you continue your flight from Zurich (ZRH). Now you only get either an open-jaw or stopover with US but there is no reason that you can’t create a nice long layover in Istanbul, Turkey and never get back on your flight to the UK. After all, you could book your flight home to the US from Turkey for the same price in miles as the UK.
I’m not sure that this particular flight could be routed at all but try playing around with United.com (since US and UA are both Star Alliance and have the same partners) and see what works and what doesn’t and then call and explain that you would like an open-jaw or stopover.
In the example above, lets say you just wanted to fly round-trip to the middle east and back to the UK and then fly one-way home with United. It would cost 40,000 US Airways miles to fly from LHR – AMM -LHR, and then 30,000 United to fly home from LHR. But in my Example you go from LHR – FRA, ZRH – AMM – IST all for 40,000 US Airways miles. The same! and same cost to fly home from IST, 30,000 United. Instead of seeing 1 new place you could see 4 with no extra cost.
The trick is really to create a possible route with a convenient layover to simply get off at and not return with the last leg of the booked journey. In other words, we’re using the layover as our ending point. (A stopover on the way to our regular stop and then a layover used as an end point).
Now imagine how much fun I have with United possibilities because you get both a stopover and open-jaw. Currently there is some serious brainstorming with this and my desire to go to Tahiti and/or the Cook Islands. After all, there is a hub in Auckland and Guam and I contstanly get routed through Fiji in my test runs on United.com. However, an open jaw could be hard to use island hopping.
I think this is fun and I don’t know why it isn’t talked about more in the frequent flyer world. I guess people don’t have the amount of free time I do.