The Power of Stopovers, Open Jaws, and Free One-Ways
The terms stopover and open-jaw get thrown around a lot in the frequent flyer world and with good reason:
They are two of the most important concepts to understand when you are looking to get the most value out of your miles.
People who understand how to use them and book them take “once in a lifetime trips” much more often than once in a lifetime. Try “once in a year” or even “once every few months.”
You hear stories of people visiting London…
then Rome….all in one trip!
That doesn’t happen because those people are rich, or because they are better at EARNING frequent flyer miles.
It happens because they are better at REDEEMING their frequent flyer miles, and understand the concepts of stopovers and open-jaws.
If you’ve been using your frequent flyer miles to go to one destination for free, great!
You’ve taken the first step, and you are traveling for free!
But if you’d like to get the most out of your miles, and see even more places for the same price, it’s time to learn more about the “advanced” techniques, like stopovers and open-jaws.
To illustrate why understanding these concepts is so valuable, I’ll give you two examples.
An Asian Adventure
Before leaving Japan last summer, my wife and I wanted to go to India. For a roundtrip ticket from Japan to India in economy, it was going to cost 40k USAirway miles a person.
Cool, we had 80k saved up just for this.
But why go just to India?
Instead of flying to India direct, we first flew to Singapore to visit a friend. Since it was under 24 hours, it was considered a connection.
We got to hang out in an awesome city from 3 pm one day to 2 pm the next day, plenty of time to take in the sights.
Then, from Singapore we went to my wife’s favorite spot on Earth, Bali.
We spent 6 lovely days getting cheap massages, eating cheap food, wandering through the rice terraces, and swimming in the ocean.
Since USAirways allows 1 stopover, we were allowed to stay in Bali for up to a year, if we had wanted.
And although we certainly wanted to, we had to press on to India.
7 days after we first left Japan, we flew to India.
After spending 3 weeks in India, we then flew back to Japan.
The total cost to go to Singapore, Bali, and India?
40k USAirways miles per person.
The EXACT same price as if we had gone to India directly.
3 vacations for the price of 1? I’ll take that any day!
Turning 5 Vacations in to 3 Tickets and Saving TONS of Miles
While my example above is a pretty “normal” example of using stopovers and open jaws, you can get pretty crazy by tying together multiple trips and taking advantage of free one-ways.
Reader Rick just sent me a perfect itinerary of how to do just such a thing.
He wants to take his family of 3 on five separate vacations (talk about a nice dad!).
Vacation #1: October 2013 to Peru
Vacation #2: January 2014 to Hawaii
Vacation #3: January 2014 from Hawaii to Australia
Vacation #4: April 2014 to Boston
Vacation #5: April 2014 from Boston to Europe
That’s a ton of miles, right? Well…
If he did it without taking advantage of stopovers, open jaws, and free one-ways, it would be.
Not Using Stopovers, Open Jaws, and Free One-Ways
Rick would be buying a ticket for each vacation separately, which would mean purchasing 5 different itineraries.
To spare you the brain cramp, I did the math for you.
Without using stopovers and open jaws, Rick would be paying 235,000 United miles per person to do this trip.
Times that by 3 people, and his total cost would be 705,000 United miles.
Using Stopovers, Open Jaws, and Free One-Ways
However, if he takes advantage of United’s generous rules that allow 1 stopover and 2 open jaws on every roundtrip flight, he’d be doing something like this:
Ticket #1: San Francisco (his home)-Lima-SFO (stopover)-Honolulu for 45k per person.
Ticket #2: Honolulu-Sydney-SFO (stopover)-BOS for 70k per person.
Ticket #3: BOS-City #1 in Europe-City #2 in Europe-SFO for 60k per person
Using stopovers and open jaws, his total cost would be only 175k United miles per person AND he’d get to stop an extra place in Europe!
Times that by 3 people, and his total cost would be 525,000 United miles.
By using stopovers, open jaws, and free one-ways, Rick saved himself 180,000 United miles…
And he was able to stop an extra place in Europe!
And that, my friends, is the real value of stopovers, open jaws, and one-ways.
If you’re interested in truly maximizing your frequent flyer miles and want to be shown, step by step, how to book stopovers, open jaws, and free one-ways just like the examples above, I’m offering a very exclusive course called Frequent Flyer Bootcamp.
During FF Bootcamp, I’ll be asking you what specific trips YOU want to take and then walking you through how to maximize and put together that specific trip, just like Rick’s above.
If you do want in, make sure to sign up now because spots are limited to the first 30 people and registration closes on Thursday, August 1st at 10 pm.
Start getting 3 vacations for the price of 1 by understanding the “secret” weapons of frequent flyer experts: stopovers, open jaws, and free one-ways!
(photo courtesy of lifestyletea)