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Rules for Open Jaw & Stopover Award Flights (Consolidated)

Rules for Open Jaw & Stopover Award Flights (Consolidated)

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Old Jan 4, 15, 10:06 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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Presented as Q&A format (Originally posted by Alex_B)

Q: What is a stopover?
A: A stopover on an international itinerary is any break in your air travel for more than 24 hours except at the destination.

Q: What is an open-jaw?
A: An open-jaw is where you travel by your own means (either land, sea or a separate air ticket) between two points in a journey.

Q: How many stopovers am I allowed on a roundtrip award?
A: One stopover, in addition to the destination, is permitted (an unlimited number of stops less than 24hours is allowable).

Q: How many open-jaws are allowed on a roundtrip award?
A: Two open-jaws are permitted. These must be at the stopover, destination or origin.

Q: Can I have a stopover or open-jaw on a one-way award?
A: No

Q: Can I have a open-jaw at both the stopover and destination?
A: Yes, plenty of posters have reported success in booking this

Q: Can I transit my destination multiple times (e.g. fly to JNB, fly to CPT and then return home via JNB)?
A: Yes, plenty of posters have reported success in booking this. You can only stop in your destination for > 24 hours once though.

Q: Can I cross both oceans?
A: Yes. The rule that prohibited crossing both oceans appears to have been removed from both MP and *A award rules. There are many many successful examples of people booking these itineraries.

Q: Is EWR-PVG transatlantic or transpacific?
A: US-East Asia/South East Asia is always transpacific no matter what geography might suggest.

Q: Do I pay more for a stopover or open-jaw?
A: Typically no additional mileage is required but additional taxes or fees are often payable (especially in UK with high Air Passenger Duty). Extra mileage will often be required if an open-jaw or stopover adds a higher cost region into the itinerary. Also awards wholly within CONUS, Canada and Alaska (formerly known as Series 0 awards) require additional mileage (10K miles) for a stopover of >4 hrs.

Q: What's this about a free one-way I can get on awards?
A: The concept of free one-ways is a misnomer and often confuses people, it is better to consider it a stopover in the city of origin. If you have a simple roundtrip award without a stopover, you can often create a stopover and open-jaw at your origin on the return leg to add an addition flight. E.g. I wish to book EWR-LHR (destination)-EWR which is a roundtrip US-Europe award. I could also book this as EWR-LHR (destination)-EWR (stopover)-SFO for the same mileage (and a few dollars of extra tax). The EWR segment would need to be within 330 days of booking and would be subject to the usual change fees.

Other notes:
  • The open-jaw portion must be smaller (in miles) than any other leg. -While technically true for revenue fare construction this is not strictly enforced on awards.
  • For awards between CONUS/Canada/Alaska and South Asia award regions the maximum number of segments is 5 segments each way on a round-trip and 4 segments on a one-way. (Note that many FTers report recently being read a memo that imposes an eight segment maximum on a roundtrip (4 each way). It is unclear whether this eight-segment maximum is limited to South Asia routings through Europe or North Asia, or has broader application.)
  • Stopovers and open-jaws are NOT additive. You do not get extra stops included in your itinerary simply by making an open-jaw out of it.

Seeing your fare construction on an already booked award ticket:
In order to see your award fare construction to see where your stopovers and destination are, follow these steps.

Go to http://www.saudiairlines.com/

Then hit "Manage My Bookings" and select "E-Ticket"
Enter your UA ticket number (hint: 016 will go in the first box, and then everything else in the second box). Then your last name and hit "Retrieve My Booking". On the next page you'll see a line like this under "Fare Calculation":

CHI LH X/FRA LH ROM0.00CSM/YB52 /- FLR LH X/FRA LH X/DUS LH CHI UA SEA

This example is:
ORD-FRA-FCO
Open Jaw at Destination
FLR-FRA-DUS-ORD
Stopover at origin
ORD-SEA
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Old May 10, 12, 5:56 pm
  #91  
 
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Originally Posted by cheltzel View Post
Connecting through European airports adds fees. I was reading that a LHR transit can add well over $100 to an award ticket. From my read of the OP, it appeared they wanted to do it for the least amount of money.

.

Correct as that was my initial intention but as I also stated, will be willing to pay something (cheaper the better or course) if no other way around it. I also heard that travel thru Europe (espec. London ) was more costly with their imposed airport fees. But never travel thru Europe (yet) on award travels with UA so unsure of that. Just for the record, I had used BA miles with their award travels to Europe last year and travel thru Europe (espec. London) added a few hundred $ to the fees/ticket for the misses and myself (fees cost almost as much as a discounted RT on economy).
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Old May 10, 12, 6:18 pm
  #92  
 
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Through FRA (good for LH and TG) the fees are minimal.
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Old May 10, 12, 6:31 pm
  #93  
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Originally Posted by cheltzel View Post
Connecting through European airports adds fees. I was reading that a LHR transit can add well over $100 to an award ticket. From my read of the OP, it appeared they wanted to do it for the least amount of money.
A layover at a UK airport can add significant cost from Air Passenger Duty, particularly for long-haul, premium cabin awards.

A simple transit of a UK airport on a single ticket may add nothing but a ~$28 Passenger Service Charge.

The generalization that routing through European airports adds fees and thus should be avoided is not useful.
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Old May 10, 12, 11:58 pm
  #94  
 
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Legal stopover on my proposed award itinerary?

OK, I'm almost embarrassed to ask, but I think I'm ok here, just wanted a quick vet before I call my pals @ the 1K desk.

Currently booked on an award DEN-FRA-IST(4 days)-ATH(4 days)-FRA-DEN on a mix of LH and TK this fall.

We've decided to change from Greece to Croatia. New itinerary would be

DEN-FRA-IST(4days)-ZAG-DBV(4days)-ZAG-FRA(16 hrs)-DEN. Mix of LH, TK, OU.

Seems to me this is fine. Essentially, it's DEN-DBV-DEN with a stopover in IST. The morning flights from DBV don't get us to FRA in time for the DEN flight (only an 85 min connxn), so an overnight is logical (and well under 24 hours). But for some reason I'm expecting flak. Is it legal?
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Old May 11, 12, 12:18 am
  #95  
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Looks good to me.

Some agents give flack from time to time, but most are fine, and I wouldn't expect this to be a problem.
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Old May 11, 12, 4:15 am
  #96  
 
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Tacking Free Oneways onto United Awards

I searched, but I haven't seen this topic discussed anywhere:

In much the same way that you can tack a free oneway onto an award with AA miles, you can do the same onto a United award.

Basically you need your stopover and one open jaw to tack on a free oneway. So you can't tack a free oneway onto a oneway award (since no stopovers are allowed). But you can tack a free oneway onto any international roundtrip award. The free oneway can basically go anywhere in the US 49 (not Hawaii) or Canada.

Or you can add a oneway to/from Hawaii for only 2,500 miles more on a US-Europe roundtrip, and adding a oneway to/from the Caribbean before/after a US-Europe roundtrip actually decreases the award price by 2,500 miles!

I even found that this routing priced at 40k:

SBA-LAX-EWR-LIM
LIM-IAH-LAX-SBA
SBA-PHX-EWR

This return goes from Houston all the way to a regional airport on the west coast all the way back to Newark, but it's a free oneway!

You can even bend back on your own routing and go to the same city twice in one direction. This award priced at 60k:

DEN-IAD-LHR
LHR-PHL-DEN
DEN-PHL

Yes that return is London to Philly to Denver to Philly.

Tacking on oneways can save substantial miles if you plan properly. For instance, US-Europe roundtrip in coach is 60k miles. US to Brazil oneway is 30k more. But if you book

EWR-LHR
LHR-EWR
EWR-GRU

United only charges 1/2 US-Europe r/t + 1/2 Southern South America-Europe r/t, which is 77,500 miles or 12,500 miles less than booking the legs separately.

Full details with tons of screen shots are available on my blog, which has an uncreative URL if you look at my user name.

Also I mentioned AA free oneways because most people are familiar with them, but in my opinion UA free oneways have much better rules because among other things you don't have to have your "stopover" at the international gateway city and you don't have to worry about the overwater carrier having a published fare from your origin to your destination!
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Old May 11, 12, 8:11 am
  #97  
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
Looks good to me.

Some agents give flack from time to time, but most are fine, and I wouldn't expect this to be a problem.
Agreed. I also found out today that one of the entries in the GDS regarding award rules and open jaws is incorrect, which is part of why some agents push back on more complicated routings. But this one should be no problem.
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Old May 11, 12, 8:33 am
  #98  
 
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Although the contract of carriage says 24 hours, they made me spend another 65,000 miles per person to avoid an involuntary downgrade because I had a stop of about 15 hours. There are a large number of agents who claim a stop of more than 12 hours is an additional stopover.
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Old May 11, 12, 8:37 am
  #99  
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Originally Posted by BF263533 View Post
Although the contract of carriage says 24 hours, they made me spend another 65,000 miles per person to avoid an involuntary downgrade because I had a stop of about 15 hours. There are a large number of agents who claim a stop of more than 12 hours is an additional stopover.
Have you flown the ticket yet?

Either way I'd have no problem with having the agent store the fare if that's what they thought it should be and having someone else clean in up later. Or simply staying on the line with them while they learn reality.
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Old May 11, 12, 8:38 am
  #100  
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Originally Posted by BF263533 View Post
Although the contract of carriage says 24 hours, they made me spend another 65,000 miles per person to avoid an involuntary downgrade because I had a stop of about 15 hours. There are a large number of agents who claim a stop of more than 12 hours is an additional stopover.
That is just plain wrng. If you've not flown this yet you should have this fixed and get those extra miles back.
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Old May 11, 12, 8:39 am
  #101  
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
That is just plain wrng. If you've not flown this yet you should have this fixed and get those extra miles back.
While easier to fix in advance of the flight I have successfully had one fixed after, too. Takes a bit more work but I got it done.
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Old May 11, 12, 9:24 am
  #102  
 
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Thanks for the info, this is really good stuff. I'll keep playing around with this!
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Old May 11, 12, 12:24 pm
  #103  
 
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Agreed. I also found out today that one of the entries in the GDS regarding award rules and open jaws is incorrect, which is part of why some agents push back on more complicated routings. But this one should be no problem.
Thanks all. Since the itin won't even construct/price online, I didn't have the utmost confidence (even though we did a very similar itin last year - pre 3/3, of course), but seems we'll be OK. Calling them later.
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Old May 11, 12, 12:37 pm
  #104  
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Originally Posted by cedahm View Post
Thanks all. Since the itin won't even construct/price online, I didn't have the utmost confidence (even though we did a very similar itin last year - pre 3/3, of course), but seems we'll be OK. Calling them later.
The online site craps out on quite a bit of stuff that's legit. I wouldn't use that as an indicator.

You just need an agent to sell in what you want and then price it.
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Old May 11, 12, 12:54 pm
  #105  
 
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Originally Posted by BF263533 View Post
Although the contract of carriage says 24 hours, they made me spend another 65,000 miles per person to avoid an involuntary downgrade because I had a stop of about 15 hours. There are a large number of agents who claim a stop of more than 12 hours is an additional stopover.
That's outrageous. You shouldn't be penalized because the agents UA employs are largely idiots who don't know the rules. Get your miles back ASAP. The rule seems to be: When you get an incompetent or combative agent (often), call back until you get someone who will ticket the itinerary you want. With enough effort you almost always get what you want.
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