If you can’t decide between two locations or simply want to maximize your airline mile redemption value consider the use of a stopover or open jaw. Today I’d like to highlight two tricks we use often to maximum value when booking an airline ticket. You can use them separately or in combination to maximize the number of destinations you choose to visit and reduce the points or dollars required to get there.
Booking a stopover allows you to fly to your destination and stay for a few days on either the outbound or return segments. This is a very effective dollar/mile maximizing strategy if you want to visit multiple countries or cities on a trip. For instance you could fly from New York to Rome through Paris, and on the way to Rome stay for 5 nights in Paris. Then after 5 nights you catch your continuing flight to you final destination of Rome. When your ready for your return trip home you will simply depart from Rome back to New York. Airlines generally limit stopovers to a maximum of 5 nights. Also keep in mind that its generally not considered a stopover if the layover is less than 24 hours.
An openjaw is when you leave New York for Paris and return from Rome with no connecting flight between Paris and Rome. The trip from from Paris to Rome is not part of the ticket and it is up to you to arrange transportation between the locations. Getting between the locations is often accomplished on separate award tickets, lowcost carriers, trains, or rental cars. Alternatively an open jaw is when you leave from New York for Paris but return to Chicago. Generally airlines require the open jaw segment distance to be a shorter distance than the shortest leg on your journey.
Combining the use of a stopover can be a very effective way to save airline miles. In my next post I’ll demonstrate a recent example of how it can be used effectively.