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This spring we had the opportunity to redeem airline miles for a trip to the Seychelles, Mauritius, and Paris. A once in a lifetime opportunity. It was all possible by effective use of stopovers and open jaws.
Use of a Stopover and Open Jaw
Let me provide a detailed example how we used both the stopover and the open jaw with the SkyTeam alliance. It was difficult to decide where to celebrate the special ocassion, but we had narrowed it down to the Seychelles or Paris. Then we thought, why not go to both?
The flight to the Seychelles was going to be very long so we thought it would be great to explore an island near the Seychelles, then on the way home stop over in Paris. We settled on an itenerary that would take us through Paris to the Seychelles Islands, then by using an open jaw we’d go to Mauritius. On our return we would fly out of Mauritius to Paris and stay there for 5 nights. Then return back to Tampa by flying through Atlanta.
Once we settled on our destinations and routings we searched the SkyTeam network for available flights and came up with the following itenerary.
Tampa (TPA) > Atlanta (ATL)
Delta Airlines First Class, 2 Hour Layover in Atlanta
Atlanta (ATL) > Paris (CDG)
Delta Airlines Business Elite, 10 Hour Layover in Paris at the Airport Marriot Hotel
Paris (CDG) > Seychelles (SEZ)
Air Seychelles Pearl Class (Air France Code Share)
6 Nights at the Hilton Seychelles (Trip Report)
Seycheles (SEZ) > Mauritius (MRU)
This Flight was not included in the award ticket
Purchased 2 separate $220 Tickets on Air Seychelles in Pearl Class
Paris (CDG) > Atlanta (ATL)
Delta Airlines Business Elite, 2 Hour Layover
Atlanta (ATL) > Tampa (TPA)
Delta Airlines Business Elite
(Great Circle Mapper)
Maximizing the Award Value
A Delta award ticket to Europe in Business Elite would have been 100,000 Delta SkyMiles by itself, and a Business Elite ticket to Africa would have been 120,000 SkyMiles by itself. Since I acomplished visiting Paris through the use of a stop over, and visited Mauritius & Seychelles using an open jaw, the ticket only priced out at 120,000 skymiles per person. This was a fairly complex award ticket to book. I used NWA’s Japan award availability tool to find the SkyTeam availability on each flight separately. Then I called the Platinum award desk to work with the agent to find the availability and put the award together, well worth the $25 over the phone booking fee.
When we issued the award tickets each flight was selling for a little over $9,000. I achieved a point value $.075 cents per mile ($9,000/120,000 miles = .075). Pretty good value for 240,000 SkyMiles. The only drawback was that Air Seychelles doesn’t issue electronic tickets. Our entire itenerary was issued as paper tickets which made us a little uncomfortable carrying around over $18,000 worth of airline tickets throughout our trip.
Using the Stopover and/or OpenJaw can significantly increase the value of your award ticket and make your vacation more enjoyable by being able to visit multiple places in proximity to your destination. Each carrier has their own rules about these types of tickets so check into your carrier of choice prior to booking.
If you have any questions about your next booking email me and I’d be happy to try to help.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This post was accurate at the time of posting, offer may be unavailable on this site at a later time. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.