Maximize Your Miles: Stopovers and Open Jaws on American Airlines

Posted By Trav

[bluebox]The Maximize Your Miles series will teach you how to squeeze the most possible value out of your frequent flyer miles and allow you to take trips of a lifetime for even less!

Other posts in the series include:


American Airlines is a great program to stockpile frequent flyer miles in because:

In order to get the absolute best value out of your AA miles, you should be taking advantage of both stopovers and open jaws.

If you aren’t sure what those are, read the first part of the Maximize Your Miles series, Understanding Stopovers and Open Jaws.


The rules below are for AA’s “regular” zone-based award chart.  If you’d like to have stopovers in multiple cities on either an international or domestic trip, you may want to consider using their “secret” Explorer Award chart. [/bluebox]

Open Jaws

Let’s start with the easy stuff first.

Since American Airlines allows you to book one-way tickets, understanding open jaw rules on American Airlines is easy:  it’s always allowed.

For example, you could book one ticket from New York to Paris and then a return ticket from Rome to New York.

Since you are booking the flights separetely anyway, American Airlines does not care if your return ticket is from Paris or Rome, so open-jawing is easy.


Unfortunately, stopovers on American Airlines is not as easy to understand.

Let’s break down the rules first, and then see how we can use them to our advantage to get the most out of our miles.

1.  Stopovers are not allowed when you are flying within North America.

North America is defined as the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska), Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean.

This means that you would NOT be able to fly from Vancouver, stop over in Chicago, and then continue on to New York because all of your travel occurred solely in the North America region.

If you wanted to take this trip, you would have to book two seperate tickets:  one from Vancouver to Chicago and one from Chicago to New York.

When traveling within North America, you can only stop for up to 4 hours in any city before having to move along to your final destination (called a connection).

Basically, you can’t spend any real time in a city because 4 hours isn’t enough time to get in and out of the airport anyway.

The only exception is if you arrive late at night and the next flight isn’t until the next morning.

Then, you’ll be allowed to stay the night in that city, even if it is over 4 hours, and not have to book two flights.

2.  Stopovers are allowed on international flights but only at North American “gateway” cities.

Ok, here is where it gets tricky.

AA defines a “gateway” city as the place that you either enter or leave the North American region.  

Basically, is the last place that you stop before leaving North America or the first place that you land when you enter North America.

Let’s use the example of flying from Los Angeles to Paris.

There are many routes that AA and its partners fly to get you from LA-Paris, but you are not allowed stopovers on all of them.

Route #1

Los Angeles- New York- Paris

You are allowed a stopover in New York City because it is the final place before you leave the North America region and therefore is a North American gateway city.

Route #2

Los Angeles- London- Paris.

You are NOT allowed a stopover in London because it is not a North American gateway city because is not located in North America.

If you want to have a stopover, it is going to have to be somewhere in the North American region.

Before you begin to scoff at that (“who would want to stopover somewhere in North America, how boring!”), take a look below:

Hmmm….not so bad, is it?


Changing your mind a little bit?

Yep, you could be either of those two places, and you can get there FOR FREE using the “gateway city” stopover rule.

Adding Extra Legs to the Beginning and End of Your Ticket

(or How to Get to Hawaii and Alaska for free!)


A free trip?


Let me explain.  It’s probably best to use an example.

Let’s say that you are planning a trip to Paris for May, 2013.

Your home airport is New York (JFK).  You decide to fly from New York to Paris direct.

Instead of simply booking your return ticket from Paris to New York, why not add on a trip to Hawaii, with New York being your stopover city?

Remember, you can stay in your stopover city for up to a year before continuing on to your final destination.

Use Honolulu as your final destination, and New York as your gateway stopover city.

This means you have a whole year before you have to use the flight from New York to Honolulu.

Even if you don’t have exact dates planned of when you want to go to Hawaii, pick a random date and add that extra leg to your ticket.

American Airlines allows you to change the dates later, and you’ll have a whole year to use that free flight to Hawaii.

It’s important to remember that you can add an “extra leg” on to both end of your trips since AA allows you to stopover at a gateway city for each ticket, and you are booking two one-way tickets.

Let’s again use the example of going New York to Paris.  Here is what booking “extra legs” on both tickets would look like:

Anchorage-New York (stopover)- Paris

Paris-New York (stopover)- Honolulu

Even though my home airport is in New York, I’ve built in a return flight from Anchorage and a flight out to Honolulu for free.  

The ticket from Anchorage to Paris with a stopover in New York will cost 30k and the ticket from Paris to Honolulu with a stopover in New York will cost 30k, the exact same prices as if I flew from New York to Paris (30k) and Paris to New York (30k) direct.

Of course, I’d be responsible for getting to Anchorage in the first place and then home to New York from Honolulu.

New York to Anchorage runs 12,500 miles and Honolulu to New York will cost 22,500.

For 3 vacations (Alaska, Paris, and Hawaii) you’d only pay 95k miles!

If you didn’t use the “extra legs” trick and simply booked them all as regular tickets, you’d pay 130k miles.

Even if you aren’t sure whether you’ll be able to travel to Hawaii within a year, there is no harm in booking that extra leg on to the end of your trip.

The worst that happens is that you simply never use that ticket.  You haven’t paid anything extra, so what do you have to lose?

Adding an Extra Leg in the Middle of Your Trip

(or How to get to Disneyworld for free!)

Ok, time to get really nerdy on you.  If you’ve followed along so far, good.  Now it’s time to step it up a notch.

What is MPM and Why Is It Important

Each route has a certain number of miles that you are allowed to fly attached to it, called a maximum permitted mileage (MPM).

Unfortunately, to find out the MPM for a route you either have to have access to a paid program, like Expert Flyer ($10/month) or call the airline and ask.

What’s the value of knowing the MPM?  Once you know the MPM, you can figure out what places you can use as a gateway city.

American Airlines is very generous and allows you to exceed the MPM by 25%.

Let’s revisit our New York to Paris example again.

The MPM for New York to Paris is 4362 miles (I used Expert Flyer to find this out).

Because AA allows you to exceed the MPM by 25%, I can actually fly 5452 miles.

This allows you to add a stopover you want in between leaving your home (New York) and getting to your destination (Paris).

When we talked above about going to Hawaii or Alaska, we were looking at how to add on extra legs before or after you got back home (New York).

This allows you to add on legs “in between”.

Ok, so now I know my number.  As long as I come in under that number, I can fly from New York to somewhere else before heading off to Paris.

So, I want to visit Disneyworld before going to Paris.  By using milecalc.com, I can calculate the total miles from JFK-MCO (Orlando)-CDG (Paris).

The total mileage?  5451!

Well, isn’t that funny?  1 mile to spare!  Without even knowing it, I picked a route that illustrated how to use the MPM + 25% rule to perfection!

Because 5451 is less than 5452 (the MPM + 25%), I would be able to fly from New York to Orlando, stopover in Orlando for however long I wanted (up to 1 year) and then continue on to Paris.

Pretty sweet! 

Because AA allows you to exceed the MPM by 25%, this opens up a ton of possibilities.

It’s an awesome way to visit somewhere neat (or visit friends and family) across the North America region before heading off to your international destination.

Gotta love two vacations for the price of one!

How to Book These Extra Legs

By now you’re convinced that adding an extra leg on to your international flight, whether it is before, in between, or after, is an awesome idea (duh, it’s a free one-way ticket to anywhere in North America)!

You need to know how to book it.  Luckily, it’s not that hard.

If all your flights are on American Airlines

If all your flights are on American Airlines itself, than you can book this directly on the AA.com website.  Below, I’ve created a short 3 minute video to show you exactly how to do that.  Have a look:

If your flights are on partner airlines

You’ll have to call up the AA AAdvantage Center to book your tickets (1-800-882-8880 in the US and Canada).

If you don’t trust the AA rep to figure out the best flights for you or simply want to find the flights out for yourself first, use Qantas’s website to search for all OneWorld partner availability.

If you’ve never done this before, check out my step by step instructions and video tutorial on how to use Qantas’s site to search for OneWorld availability.

Still Confused? Have Questions?

If you’ve read through and are thinking:

Stopovers and open jaws are awesome, I want to use them…but I’m still confused as heck about how to actually do it!

Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

In fact, I created Frequent Flyer Bootcamp EXACTLY for you.

I’ll walk you through, step by step, every single thing you need to do to learn about and book stopovers, open-jaws, and free one-ways.

Video tutorials.

Private Facebook group.

Live Q&A’s with me, one on one.

I’ve spent hundred of hours creating the #1 place for people who want to become EXPERTS at booking awards and maximizing their miles and want to do it fast!

4 weeks, and you’ll be an EXPERT, guaranteed!  And you’ll be saving yourself $1,000’s of dollars!

Interested?  Check out the Frequent Flyer Bootcamp page for more information.

I look forward to whipping your butt in class!

Final Word(s)

I highly recommend everyone begin considering using stopovers and open jaws when booking award tickets.

With AA, they both giveth (25% extra over MPM is super generous) and taketh away (only allowing stopovers in gateway cities and not any international cities).

But even though you can “only” stop in North American cities, there are still some awesome opportunities available.

How often can you get an extra trip to somewhere cool like Hawaii or Alaska put on to your ticket for free?

Take advantage of it every chance you can get!

If you have any questions or comments regarding stopovers and open jaws on American Airlines, please let me know in the comments.  This is a difficult topic, and the only question that is a stupid one is the one that goes unasked.

[bluebox]If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the other awesome Maximize Your Miles posts:


(Big thanks to Lucky at One Mile at a Time for breaking down the MPM rules and regulations with American Airlines in this awesome post, which I used as a guide).


  1. Ken says:

    The extra leg at the beginning/end only work if you live close to an AA international gateway city though. I’m in Denver, so it doesn’t apply to me :(

    1. Trav says:

      @Ken- You are right that it is a lot easier if you live close to an AA gateway city, but you could still make it work for anywhere, even Denver, it would just require a little bit more work. For example, you could fly to LAX or any other gateway city and then book a cheap ticket on Southwest between LAX an Denver. You’d most likely still be getting pretty good value, as the ticket between LAX and Denver is probably cheaper than the ticket out to Hawaii. Of course, you’d have to figure out whether the time added makes it worth it. So yeah, living close to a gateway city like New York is helpful, but I wouldn’t write it off totally. Just figure out the costs (both monetarily and time) and see if it is worth it!

      I’d still recommend trying to work in an extra leg “in-between” though, as that wouldn’t matter where you are leaving from, being it Denver, New York, etc.

  2. @ken you think Denver is tough…I fly out of SGF. Where you say….exactly! :-)

    1. Trav says:

      @W Brian Duncan- Not going to lie, had to look that one up! Even after looking it up, I’m still having a hard time figuring out where you’d be able to fly in and out of!

  3. Marshall says:

    I already booked an award flight on AA thru MIA to BCN. Is it too late to add a trip on the end to Hawaii? How would I do that. I had a hard time getting the trip on AA to avoid the BA fuel charges. Got a RT for 40,000 miles.

    1. Trav says:

      @Marshall- The only way to add the leg on to Hawaii at the end would be to change the final destination. Usually date changes are ok, but when you change the departing city or destination city, you’ll get charged $150 or so. If this is worth it, I’d call AA and ask about changing it. They may actually have even more fees to change, but I wouldn’t expect it to be less than $150.

  4. rick says:

    JFK – MCO stop – CDG will almost certainly not work because I don’t think there are any AA or Oneworld partner flights that leave MCO directly to Europe, so MCO won’t be your gateway.

    1. Trav says:

      @rick- According to the OneWorld Interactive Map there are tons of Oneworld partner flights that leave from MCO and go to Europe. I just checked London and Rome this time, and both have flights that go MCO-LHR or MCO-FCO directly.

      1. rick says:

        Also, can’t find any MCO – FCO direct flights, they all go through London. Where are you finding this?

      2. rick says:

        Half of my other reply won’t post…so here it is again. Can’t find any MCO – CDG flights that don’t go through London on BA which means high fuel surcharges.

        1. rick says:

          ..and btw, another side effect of having to route through LGW to CDG is you’ll exceed the MPM+25% by a few dozen miles. If you can get it to price successfully though let me know.

          1. Trav says:

            @Rick- You’re right that a lot of the flights routes are on BA (which means high fuel surcharges), however I was able to find a few flights when I first wrote the post that weren’t on BA. What website are you using to search for flights?

  5. great post! However, I’m trying to book a return award from HND-SFO, stopover, and SFO-LAX 3 months later, but it won’t let me stop over for free and wants me to spend an extra 12.5k miles. Does SFO-LAX go over the MPM?

    1. Trav says:

      @Effortless Travel- SF0-LAX does not go over the MPM. The problem, as far as I can tell, is that there are no direct flights from HND-SFO. When I searched on AA, it looks like they all stopover in HNL (Honolulu). Because of this, Honolulu is your gateway city because it is the first place you stopped in North America. That means you could have your stopover in Honolulu before going to San Fran, but you can’t stopover in San Fran because it isn’t the first place you stopped when coming in to North America.

      If you could find a direct flight to San Fran from any of the Japanese airports (I’m not sure there are any, but I could be wrong), then you could stopover in San Fran and continue on to LA with no extra charge.

  6. Jeremy F says:

    hi: I want to use AA to travel one-way from BNE/PTY. I also want an open-jaw in between. Is that possible. I think it cost 40k, which I have. I’d like BNE/DEN, then later CVG/PTY. Is that possible on 40K. thanks, your site is very good!

    1. Trav says:

      @Jeremy F- I’m almost positive that you are not allowed to open-jaw on a one-way ticket. Instead, you would have to book two one-way tickets; 1 from BNE-DEN and one from CVG-PTY. You’d pay 32.5 from BEN-DEN and then either 15k from CVG-PTY if it is off-peak or 17.5 if it is peak.

      The only other option would be to use a stopover, but you’d be limited to gateway cities and you wouldn’t be able to open-jaw at all. But that way, you could combine the two trips in to one and you’d pay 40k. You’d have to make your own way from the gateway city to Denver and then to Cincinnati and then make your own way back to the gateway city before heading on to Panama, but you’d be paying 10k less.

  7. John says:

    Wow, thanks for the huge 411. Because of this page, you had me read 10 hours of material on web regarding stopovers and a possible change to an itinerary that I had in mind. I was originally looking to do a regular one way, LAX-NRT(connection)-ICN via
    Jal for both.
    I think this new itinerary is okay, but just wanted to get an input nonetheless so I can stand firm against any clueless AA res agents which seem to be a commonplace according to FT.

    I’d like to do JFK-LAX(stopover)-NRT(connection)-ICN, and save the JFK-LAX leg for a rainy day months later.
    Am I still on for 62.5k on First class for the entire itinerary?

    Thanks so much!

  8. RLBE says:

    Hi! First thank you so much for this post! Super informative… Right now, I’m looking to book South Florida (MIA,FLL, or PBI) to LIH. But I’d love to stop at LAX for a week or so. Can I use LAX as a Stop Over or do I have to be traveling internationally for a “Stop Over”? Also if I’m understanding this correctly I’m thinking I can get my return ticket booked to somewhere in the Caribbean with my stop being in MIA (home) and basically have a free one way to the Caribbean some time for the next year?

    One last thing- just going to throw it out there- we’re based in S.FL and would like to book award travel to Australia in Sept. If I’m understanding correctly, we could buy tix to Bali- and the Open Jaw thing to book return tix back to the USA… We have family in USVI (STT), is that considered North America? Could we potentially book our return to STT with a Stop in MIA? Do you have any crazy suggestions that I may have missed in any of that?

    I hope that all made sense! Thanks again!!

    1. Trav says:

      @RLBE- The only airline that you can have a stopover on with domestic tickets is with Delta. So if you are traveling on AA domestically, you can’t have a stopover.

      Yes, you can add a free one-way to the Caribbean if you are on a route where you can have a stopover, meaning an international ticket. So, if you have an international ticket booked, you should be able to add a free one-way to the Caribbean. But not on a domestic ticket, since you can’t have a stopover.

      As far as going to STT with a stopover in MIA, yes, that probably should work. I believe that STT is considered the Caribbean, but what will most likely happen is that you’ll have to fly through North America anyway. Then, you can stopover in MIA.

      Of course, you’ll have to find the flights that work for it, but yes, it should be allowed by the AA reps.

      Let me know how it works out, or if I can help.

  9. Coreen says:

    So, does this work if your miles are on a partner, and you are booking on American? We have enough Alaska Miles for Asia (and enough on United for my husband, not not enough anywhere for 2 on the same airline)

    1. Trav says:

      @Coreen- Are you asking if you can have stopover and open jaws on American if using Alaskan Airlines miles? If so, the rules you follow are the rules of the airline whose miles you are using. Since you are using Alaska Miles, you’ll need to check with Alaska Airline to see if you are allowed stopovers and open jaws.

      1. Coreen says:

        Thanks, it looks like Alaska allows a stopover in a a partners’ hub cities, but I don’t see that American has international hubs listed.

        1. Trav says:

          @Coreen- Yeah, AA will not allow a stopover in international cities, only North American “gateway” cities. If you want to have a stopover internationally with AA, you might consider checking out the AA Explorer Award, which allows you multiple stops in multiple cities and is detailed here.

  10. Mike says:

    Thanks for the tip. Any idea why when I follow these steps to create an itinerary for 1 adult there is availability, but when I try for two adults there is no availability? There are plenty of seats available on all flights. I want to book for my wife and myself on the same flights using my AAwards. Should I call and have the agent input the information?

    1. Trav says:

      @Mike- That is strange. Yeah, maybe a computer glitch? If there is availability when you search segment by segment, but not when you try to do a multi-city thing, then I would just call the agent and see if they can book it for you. If they can, ask them to waive the phone booking fee by simply saying that it wouldn’t let you book online even though you followed the correct steps. You might get lucky and get your $25 back!

  11. David says:

    Great Article.Thank you so much.Here is my iti:
    sfo-hkg-pek. and return pek-icn-sfo(stopover)-Las.Is it possible that I change passenger’s name after I stopover in SFO or once it is ticketed.only the person
    on the ticket has to fly the whole thing?

    1. Trav says:

      @David- You can’t change a person’s name on a ticket after it has been booked. So the person on the ticket will have to fly all the legs, or else the ticket will be voided if you miss a leg.

  12. Eric says:

    Thanks for the very informative post! I’ve always sort of gone about open jaw trips in a half-baked way through aggregator sites, which I am not sure always capture the best prices. In fact, I recently booked a LAX-LHR flight on Kayak, because open jaw LAX-LHR / CDG-LAX were more expensive online. Then I called AA (I have status w/ them) and they found me a cheaper LAX-LHR (exact same outbound), CDG-ORD-LAX return (which almost washed the cost of the $275 ticket change fee I would otherwise have had to eat). (As a bonus, I got to change the credit card I used – I’d absent-mindedly used my Cap1 card, which only gets me 1x miles, whereas my AMEX Gold Rewards gives me 3x miles when purchasing airfare.)

    However, speaking with the very nice, seemingly knowledgeable AA Rep on the phone, I could not make a stopover situation work. I tried tacking on a Hawaii trip at the tail end, using LAX (my home airport) as the stopover. However, she said this was not possible, as it would cost a lot more miles to get to HI from CDG. The only exception was during low season (around November), but that seemed to be an exception, not the rule. Basically, she said that flying from, say, Paris to Honolulu would always cost more in miles than Paris to LA…

    What gives? Was she misinformed? Should I have insisted or called another agent? Thanks for any advice you can give!

    1. Trav says:

      @Eric- The reason you couldn’t get a stopover to work with that itinerary is because you are first landing in ORD when you come back to the United States, and AA only allows you to have a stopover in a “gateway” city, meaning the first place you touch down when you arrive in the US.

      Therefore, you can’t stopover in LAX with your itinerary, you’d only be able to stopover in ORD. That would mean that, yes, in this case, going to Hawaii afterwards would be much more expensive because it would price out as a separate ticket.

      However, if you were able to find a flight from Europe that the first place it stops is LAX (for example, CDG-LAX direct), then it shouldn’t cost anymore miles to fly from Paris to Honolulu as opposed to Paris to LA. Both Honolulu and LA fall within in the “North America” zone, and therefore, should cost the same amount.

      The key is getting the place you want as a stopover as the first place you land in North America.

  13. dira says:


    First of all I wanna congratulate you ´cause the information you provide is unvaluable!!! So many thanks!!!

    We are a family of 4 (baby girl unborn), we´ll fly with AA. Our itinerary would be:
    BCN MIA (via NY)
    MIA-MVD (Montevideo, Uruguay)
    MVD-BCN (via MIA)

    If I understood correctly we could stoppover in NY city as it a GATEWAY and the first city we stop in America, is this correct?

    We would also like to stoppover in MIA on our flight back to BCN since it is the last city we stop in America.

    My husband would have to leave MVD before we do, what would you recommend? changing his ticket which could go up about 180 euros or book separate tickets for him and the rest of the family?

    About Orlando, could we do that with the extra leg or milage you mentioned?

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Dira :)

  14. rinfo123achel says:

    Hi, thank you for your posts on stopovers/open jaws, for the first time I am starting to understand them. I have been trying this out on American, though, and am having some problems. I tried LIM-LAX(stop)-HNL and also LIM-LAX(stop)-SFO with no luck, it bills them as two segments. Has the policy changed or something? thanks!

    1. Trav says:

      @rinfo123achel- Are you trying to do it online? Sometimes, the online system won’t work, and you’ll have to call up an agent and do it. That is most likely your problem.

      1. rinfo123achel says:

        Thanks! Also, i am so excited to finally understand what open jaws and stopovers are about. I was up till past 3am last night looking up itineraries online. This is ridiculous. I managed to get LAX-PEK-LAX(stop)-NYC work on United. The only thing is, I’m usually one to make last minute travel plans… the change fees on tickets now are a bummer for that last leg. Do you have any recommendations around that?

  15. JH says:


    Thank you for such valuable information!

    Using AA miles, I am trying to book a trip from SFO-HKG and wanted to make SFO my stopover. I haven’t decided where I want to fly into SFO from yet, but I have some questions. Must the flight into SFO be a direct, non-stop one? Am I required to fly only into SFO? Can I use the other Bay Area airports like OAK or SJC?

    I appreciate your help.

    1. Trav says:

      @JH- In order to make SFO your stopover, that has to be your “gateway” city. So that has to be the last city in the United States that you are in before going to Hong Kong. So, for example, if you fly from JFK-SFO, stopped in SFO, and then found a ticket that went SFO-HKG, yes, that would work. However, your ticket could not go SFO-LAX-HKG because then LAX would be the last place you were in the US before going international.

      Does that make sense?

      1. JH says:

        Thanks for your reply. Would I be able to go from Mexico (SJD or PVR) to SFO to HKG?

        1. Trav says:

          @JH- Yes, you should be able to do that. It would cost you the the same as a trip from Mexico to HKG would be without the stopover.

  16. Phil N. says:

    Your assistance would greatly be appreciated. I booked a 62,500 mile first class award ticket from Miami to Washington Dulles, layover for 8 hours, then Dulles to London (LHR) on American Airlines in March 2014. Would it be possible to change the itinerary to go to Hawaii (HNL) in July 2014 using the free one way stopover rule?

    My guess is no as it appears I can only add on Hawaii before I leave North America (HNL-MIA-IAD-LHR), right?. I am returning to Miami on Virgin and not AA so I know I can only do stopover on the way out, right?


    1. Trav says:

      @Phil N.- You’re right, at this point, you can’t add Hawaii on as a free one-way on the way to London. The reason is, Dulles is the last place that you leave America, hence, it is your gateway city. So the only place you could stopover would be Dulles.

      You could do it on the way back IF you were flying AA, but since you are flying Virgin, that won’t work.

      1. Phil N. says:

        Thanks for the clarification.

        I go to LHR annually. If in the future, I book an award ticket on the way back to the US,on AA, from LHR to IAD, I could add Hawaii this way correct? The itinerary would be LHR-IAD-HNL, where I could go to Hawaii within 1 year of the award ticket issue date?

        1. Trav says:

          @Phil N- Yes, that is correct. As long as IAD is the first place you land when you come back to the US, that can be your stopover. And yes, you have 1 year from the beginning of the trip.

  17. ZM says:

    How do you know which airports are “gateway” airports for AA?

    1. Ken says:

      An international gateway airport is any airport in which the plane leaves the US. So if your routing looked like DEN-JFK-LHR your gateway is JFK.

      1. Trav says:

        @ZM- Exactly what @Ken said!

      2. Ken says:

        BTW, stopovers at American gateway cities is no longer permitted.

        1. ZM says:

          Thanks guys. Also, that sucks :( Has anyone written an article about what the stopovers & open jaw policies for AA & UA are now? I’ve never gotten to use those options yet w/ my miles :( Can’t wait to graduate next yr!

  18. Funkstop says:

    This is a great post! Does this still work? I just tried booking a flight and it didn’t seem to give me the free stopover. I tried booking LHR->SFO->HNL and it came up as 47500 points. I played around with the dates, but couldn’t seem to get it to give it to me for 30k.
    What I really want to do is LHR->YYZ (Toronto stopover for 1 week), then YYZ->SFO… I tried the first combo just to try getting it to work as I wasn’t sure if Toronto would qualify as a gateway.

    1. Trav says:

      @Funkstop- Unfortunately, no, it doesn’t still work because AA doesn’t allow stopovers anymore. I’m hoping that when the AA/USAirways merger happens, it’ll change and they’ll give us stopovers again, but I doubt it.

      1. Funkstop says:

        Aaa… that’s too bad! I’m currently looking into transferring points to ANA… they seem to have a pretty phenomenal program…

        1. Trav says:

          @Funkstop- They do have a phenomenal program except…you have to pay high fuel surcharges on most flights. Check out this post for more info:


  19. Jesse says:

    discovering your blog was priceless…i was actually booking NYC to Paris with AA. For the return I was able to do Par to NYC to HON! My question for the way there, lets say i wanted LAX to NYC to Paris. book that, can i then change the LAX to NYC for a later date, AFTER the NYC to Paris trip?

    1. Trav says:

      @Jesse- You were able to get a stopover in NYC? When did you book this? It was my understanding that AA didn’t allow free stopovers anymore.

      To answer your question though, even if they allow stopovers, you couldn’t make the LAX-NYC after the Paris part. It’d have to come before.

      1. Jesse says:

        You are right, I am wrong, I thought by reserving it and then calling, via an agent I could still do this successfully, but no go!

  20. Sid says:

    I don’t mean to be rude, but why do you leave this page up since the information is incorrect. I went through the whole thing including the youtube video trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, only to find out in the comments (ie from your readers) that the info was outdated and incorrect. You should have more respect for your readers.

    1. Trav says:

      @Sid- My apologies. I’ve left it up HOPING that when AA and USAirways finally merge, that they will bring back stopovers, since USAirways had them. I’m still hoping that.

  21. Jan W says:

    I’m confused. I was reading this post because I’m planning a trip from US (East Coast) to Taiwan using AA miles. Are you saying that stopovers and/or open jaws are no longer available? Thanks.

    1. Trav says:

      @Jan W- As of right now, AA does not allow stopovers and open jaws. This MAY change sometime in the future, but hasn’t yet.

  22. Ron says:

    Hi Trav, thanks for the good info on stopovers/open jaws. Hope they come back. If I book an award ticket for a certain date with AA (say jan 5, 2016), can I then change it for any later date within that one year? Even in dates that flights may be overbooked?

    1. Trav says:

      @Ron- I hope they come back too, but not holding my breath. You can change dates, but:

      1) There must be availability. So if it’s sold out, you can’t change it to that day.
      2) You’ll have to pay a change fee, which varies between airlines but is typically $100-200 per ticket.

  23. cj says:

    Is this outdated?
    Are these stopovers with American Airlines still working?

    1. cj says:

      oops, I scrolled up not down, I see the post that this is over. It would be good to see the most recent posts at the top…

  24. Jeff says:

    Need some guidance for honeymoon planning using AA miles!

    We are trying to leave NYC to South Africa on a safari during the holidays of 2016. As flights stand now we would not be able to arrive in JNB until Wens. 12/28 on a Qatar JFK-DOH-JNB routing in biz.

    I found 2 biz class flights on Qatar from CDG to DOH on 12/25/16 and DOH to JNB on 12/26/16, but not sure if I can add in a JFK to CDG route as we will origin from New York. We could pay cash to get to Paris possibly but would prefer to use the award miles and not sure this routing would even be permissible (JFK-CDG-DOH-JNB).

    Any help would be so greatly appreciated!!

    1. Trav says:

      @Jeff – That routing is permissible yes, but yeah, it’s going to be hard to find that NYC to CDG part. And you can’t add it later, unfortunately. You have to book it all at once.

      My thought would be to try to fly from different airports (maybe not NYC, maybe Boston) or something like that and see if it works. It’s going to be really, really hard around Christmas time though.

  25. Kris says:

    Did they stop their stopover benefit for all pessenger/tickets ? Which means a normal paid ticket ?

    1. Trav says:

      @Kris – You can’t get stopovers and open jaws with award tickets (using your miles). As far as paid tickets, I think that depends on the route that you are on. But usually you can’t get stopovers and open jaws on paid tickets, especially not for free.

  26. I have a plan to do a trip from Brazil (RECIFE, são Paulo or Brazilia) to Montreal, get a car and go back from Vancouver to Brazil (São Paulo, Brasília or recife).
    How can I benefit for Open Jaws?

    I have AA miles, tam miles, aVianca miles, British airways miles.

    How much do you charge to plan this trip including finding availability for me?

  27. Derek says:

    Two questions – (trying to) fly on an AA award to Johannesburg/Victoria falls (on a one way award)

    1. Award is open BOS-DOH-JNB. I’m in PHL. There is no AA saver for PHL-BOS. Can I book PHL-LGA (open jaw for now) in hopes that PHL-BOS will be available later? Or even change to the PHL-DOH if that becomes available.

    2. Arrival in DOH-JNB is 10am, but the daily flight to LVI leaves at 11. Not enough time to clear customs, recheck bags, etc.. Will that be considered a stopover?

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