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 Sky
PesosMiles. 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.
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.
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.
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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