Using Open Jaws And Stopovers – How I Saved A Friend Over 1,000 Euros In 20 Minutes

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In this post I’ll illustrate how using a stopover and open jaw can save you miles on an award ticket. Today, my friend who is going on his honeymoon later this year was so excited to let me know he finally booked his award ticket on Delta to Italy and that he even built in a 2 day stay in Paris. The best part is he was able to find low award availability using Delta SkyPesosMiles. I was excited for him. But when I asked his award ticket routing, I knew instantly he left money on the table with his award.

My friend’s original routing was from Atlanta to Paris with an open jaw return trip from Rome to Atlanta. He redeemed 150,000 for two coach awards on Delta and Air France. He started three months ago with only 40,000 Delta SkyMiles, but by taking advantage of various Delta credit card offers or credit upgrades and Delta transfer bonuses, he earned enough miles for the award. The problem was he wanted to start their Italy trip in Florence to head down the Almalfi coast but his award ticket would only get them as far as Paris.

By not using a stopover he was required to buy another ticket at over 500 Euros per person to get to Florence and start their Italy trip portion. My personal best redemption using an open jaw and stopover was a 120,000 SkyMiles redemption to the Seychelles, Mauritius and France back in 2009. Having experienced this before, and discovering his predicament, I got on the phone with Delta to try and fix his problem and save him over 1,000 Euros and not use another mile.

Flight Routing

What Is An Open Jaw

An open jaw is when you fly into one city and fly out of another. In this example my friend originally wanted to fly into Paris and fly home from Rome.

What Is A Stopover

A stopover is when you arrive in a city but continue your journey beyond a 24 hour period.

If you are interested in learning more about Open Jaws or Stopovers on Delta, consider heading over to DeltaPoints where he has a good “essentials” post about the use of these mile instruments and a specific example on how to get 3 awards for the price of 2.

Original Routing

His original routing was ATL>CDG||Open Jaw||FCO>ATL in coach class. He said he was going to investigate how to get to Rome (mistake number 1) and book an award ticket or pay cash for a ticket later (mistake number 2). He should have investigated the cost before booking a ticket and then instead book a stopover in Paris before continuing on Air France to Florence, Italy.

When I investigated flight costs from Paris to Florence on his desired days, the coach flight was pricing out at over 500 Euros per person. Spending over 1,000 Euros on a one way ticket could have broken his honeymoon budget, so this was an important problem to fix.

New Routing

I quickly searched Air France availability using the Air France U.S. website and found low level award availability on his desired day. The next part would be tricky.

At this point it was a good 20 minutes since he had first booked his award online at Delta’s website. I knew there was a high probability Delta would ask him to pay an award reissue fee to change his already booked award ticket. But if you never ask, you’ll never get, so it was worth a shot.

I called up Delta’s international award redemption desk and explained the situation.

Me: “My friend just booked an award ticket online and forgot to add a stopover segment on his journey, can you manually add the segment based on availability?”

Agent: “Let me check the flight, can you give me his confirmation number?”

Me: I provided the confirmation number and the desired Air France flight from Paris to Florence

Agent: “I see the availability, but I’ll need to see if we can get approval to manually reissue the ticket”

Me: “Thank you, I’ll hold”

The agent returned after about 20 minutes and gave the good news.

Total Savings By Using Open Jaw And Stop Over

The Delta agent was able to reissue the ticket with the added CDG>FLR segment at the low award level. So his new routing would be ATL>CDG||Stopover||CDG>FLR||Open Jaw||FCO>ATL. This meant my friend would get the extra segment at no additional miles and only an additional ~$34 per ticket. My friend now has an extra 1,000 Euros to spend on making his time in Italy memorable.

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*Points, Miles and Martinis will earn a referral fee for successful Delta credit card applications through the associated link in this post. Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. Nice tip, and it’s always great to save money.

    However, you overstated the cost of the flight from Paris to Rome. Yes, if he purchased a one way on Air France or Alitalia it would be 500 EUR per ticket, but you could get a round trip everyday in June for just 150 EUR. Or, he can do what the locals do and fly easyJet — one way fares from Paris to Rome was available for less than 50 EUR every day in June.

    EasyJet also flies to Pisa and several other Italian cities.

  2. Hi Voice of Reason – First off, did you get your name from PeeWee’s big adventure? Francis: “Pee-wee listen to reason. Pee-Wee!” Pee-Wee: “Sh! I’m listening to reason” 🙂

    Regarding the flight, it was to Florence, not Rome. There is only 1 carrier that flies this route non-stop flight on his day from ORY or CDG (according itasoftware) and it is pricing out over 500 Euros. There is a 1 stop flight through London City or CPH at 150 Euros, but that would be a bit of a back track. The other options to Florence are pricing out in the 250 Euros range.

    He could always fly into Rome and then take the train up, but that would take him almost half a day between getting to the airport early, flying, heading to train station, timing a train and taking the train. Instead he has a non-stop flight directly to Florence.

    My main point here is he didn’t even know what he was getting himself into.

    Hi Mark – I was just happy to help him out.

  3. Awesome post! Next vacay might just be your mythical Seychelles/Mauritius/France trip.

    A bit of advice though. I bought the recent TravelZoo voucher to the JW Marriott in Phuket. I’m in LA and have tons of AA and United miles. I’d like to fly business class and stop over somewhere such as Bangkok or Hong Kong. Any advice/things to keep in mind?


  4. Does United offer one-way awards on partners (Thai or Singapore)? Then I could do Thai on their non-stop to BKK. I think AA does not allow stop-overs outside US, right?

  5. Hi Greg – thank you for the tips.

    For award bookings how do you check the MPM for a route? I am using Aeroplan miles to go from HNL to NRT. Can I go: HNL-LAX-NRT or must I find availability for a direct flight from HNL to NRT? Thanks!

  6. Hi Weekly Flyer. Thanks for posting this. By coincidence I am in the midst of booking a similar 3 city route including Rome. You may have just saved me a few miles.

  7. great post! I am about to start looking into my very own *A trip using miles, thanks for the excellent info!

  8. This is a timely post! I am in the process of trying to get 2 sky miles tickets to Florence Italy from Helena Montana spending a few days in NYC on both ends and then on to Florence and back in October. When i try to search online it gives me 150,000 points each! Would i do better by calling a Delta rep? I was ready to just pay the $465 for tickets from Helena to LGA to reduce the # of miles.

  9. Hi Leiv – Glad it could help. Always happy to hear that sharing knowledge through the blog is helpful to other travelers.

    Hi flyer708 – Welcome, go for it! Would be great if you reported back anything you learned to share info here.

    Hi Montana Flyer – You would do better by searching one way awards, looking for Air France availability, and calling Delta. Helena is tough. You should try multiple connections at low mileage if available, and then hope for a schedule change and request them to get you on the direct route. Email me if you need help booking.

  10. It’s worth noting, however, that if you can’t get a stop over in Europe, it’s much cheaper to buy a round trip ticket to connect the open jaws locations, and throw away the return. Just don’t use your frequent flyer number on the in Europe ticket, as the airlines frown on this otherwise legal procedure.

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