Current State of Free Oneways

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This blog became famous because I was the first to articulate how to book free oneways on United and US Airways awards.

A free oneway is a one way trip to or from your home airport that is tacked onto another award for no extra miles. Free oneways cut your flight bill in half for a second trip without adding to the price of the first trip!

American Airlines killed free oneways on its awards last week by nixing all free stopovers because free oneways always rely on a free stopover at your home airport.

What’s the current state of free oneways with major frequent flyer programs?

If you get confused during this post, please read my Introduction to Free Oneways.

American Airlines

Free oneways are impossible on awards booked with American Airlines miles. Free oneways always rely on a free stopover at your home airport, and American has eliminated the chance to take any free stopovers on awards.

British Airways

Free oneways are impossible on awards booked with Avios. Every flight on an Avios award has a mileage cost (determined exclusively by its distance and the cabin you book.) If every flight has a cost, there’s no way to get one for free as a free oneway.

Delta Airlines

Free oneways are possible on both domestic and international Delta awards.

You can have one free oneway either BEFORE your main roundtrip award TO your home airport or AFTER your main roundtrip award FROM your home airport.

Delta’s routing rules on domestic awards basically only allow you to fly routings that would be valid on paid tickets. On international awards, you can fly any routing that is under the maximum permitted mileage for city pair.

For explanations of the technical terms in the last paragraph and for full details on Delta free oneways, see Master Thread: Free Oneways on Delta Awards.

United Airlines

Free oneways are possible on both international United awards and awards between the mainland and Hawaii. Free oneways are not possible on awards wholly within the mainland United States and Canada.

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 9.24.10 PM

Roundtrip award from Los Angeles to Honolulu with a later free oneway to Newark

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 9.24.16 PM

You can either have a free oneway BEFORE your main roundtrip award TO your home airport or AFTER your main roundtrip award FROM your home airport.

United’s routing rules are pretty lenient for free oneways. You can do some amazing backtracking. You can also do “cheap oneways” where you fly the extra leg to a distant land and pay far fewer miles than you “should.”

For full details, see Master Thread: Free Oneways on United Awards.

US Airways

Free oneways are possible only on international US Airways awards.

US Airways only allows one stopover OR one open jaw on awards, and you ordinarily need both on a free oneway. Because of this limitation, free oneways are only possible on US Airways awards:

  • before your main roundtrip award
  • to your home airport
  • with a corresponding dummy leg(s) to where the free oneway began
  • after the main award
  • within 24 hours of landing at your home airport

That might sound a little more complicated than it is. Check out Master Thread: Free Oneways on US Airways Awards for an easy explanation.

While American killed its free oneways last week, and free oneways have never been possible with Avios, free oneways are still possible on awards booked with Delta, United, and US Airways miles.

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16 Responses to Current State of Free Oneways

  1. Are tickets that have been previously booked before the no stopover rule was implemented still valid to have stopovers over 24 hours?

  2. Aren’t free oneways available on united when flying from continental us to Alaska also?

    • I don’t think so. Can you give an example of one that you got to price as a free oneway? Please include dates and segments.

  3. Thanks for the update, nice to have a handy little resource I can refer to.

  4. Was AA’s move an attempt to give
    competitors permission to do same…?
    If competitors don’t respond by also
    eliminating free-one-ways will AA revert?

    • I do wonder what the rule will be with the new combined AA and US program. I hope they adopt one stopover per roundtrip at a minimum.

  5. FYI…A stop at a gateway city is still possible when using AS miles to fly AA.

    • Yes, this post only deals with awards BOOKED with the five types of miles in this post, not awards flown on those five airlines. That is a good tip though.

  6. Could you use USAirways DM to book a stop over in Nadi, Fiji usuing Fiji Airways?

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  9. With Delta, any chance you can book your main award, say a round trip flight from JFK to Quito, Ecuador (UIO), and just wait until it gets closer and then change your return trip to include a free oneway? Basically, on May 1st, 2014 I book my award which would be Feb 7th 2015, JFK to UIO and Feb 21st 2015, UIO to JFK. Then on October 1st 2014, I want to change my award to include a JFK to Phoenix (PHX) flight on September 26th, 2015. Hopefully that’s possible. I’m thinking if I find a low level award from JFK to UIO on May 1st, I won’t be able to book a free oneway far enough away from the Ecuador trip. Does that make sense? Any suggestions?

    • I think I found the answer to my own question. From Delta’s FAQ:

      CAN AWARD TICKETS BE CHANGED?
      Yes. Members can make changes to an Award Ticket up to 72 hours prior to the original departure time (outbound or return). All taxes and fees associated with that ticket will apply. The fee for reissues is $150 USD. The fee is waived for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members, provided the member makes changes at least 72 hours prior to the original flight departure time. Miles for Award Travel are nonrefundable for flights canceled or changed within 72 hours of the original flight departure time. See Award Travel Fees for full terms and conditions.

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