Book Awards Like a Pro: Routing Ideas

Last week, I was working on a client's award from Portland to Seville, Spain with United miles. He had a tight availability range at the end of this summer, so preliminary searches of united.com proved fruitless: united.com was showing no availability from Portland to Seville in business class on his dates. Luckily I'm smarter than united.com, and you are too.

United.com is the best search award search engine of any of the US carriers, but it still has some flaws. It can find obvious routings through its hubs and its partners' hubs.

Three Vacations on Two Awards

Introduction to Free One Ways (this post)
Master Thread: Free Oneways on American Airlines Awards (dead as of April 2014)
Master Thread: Free One Ways on United Awards
Master Thread: Free One Ways on Delta Awards
Master Thread: Free One Ways on US Airways Awards
Three Vacations on Two Awards

Did the title grab your attention? I'm actually underselling and overdelivering, since I'm going to show you how to get 3.5 vacations on two awards!

These free oneways that I've been writing about on United, Delta, and American are incredibly powerful.

Clarifications to Free Oneways on Delta Awards

Today's post on tacking free oneways onto your roundtrip Delta awards generated a lot of interest, but I need to clarify a few things that spawned some confusion. If you haven't read that post, though, do so first. It's right below this post.

1. The distance between the open jaw cities needs to be less than than the distance of a oneway between your home airport and the roundtrip award's destination. Let me explain with examples.

The open jaw cities when you're adding a free oneway are the very first city in your itinerary and the very last.

Free Oneways on Delta Awards

After my popular posts about booking free oneways on United and American, this installment will focus on tacking free oneways onto Delta awards. This article presumes a knowledge of how to book free stopovers on Delta.com, which I covered here.

If you'll recall from those posts, we need two things to book any free oneway: a stopover and an open jaw. Luckily on its awards, Delta offers both a stopover and an open jaw.

How to Book Free Stopovers Online: Delta Airlines

A few days ago, I talked about how to book free stopovers online on United and American awards. This post is about booking free stopovers on Delta. Just as the other posts were preludes to booking free oneways online, tomorrow I will describe how to book free oneways on Delta awards. It will involve booking free stopovers online, so read this post carefully.

Delta is the only airline that allows free stopovers on domestic flights, so I'll show an example of that.

Free Oneways are Available on United Awards to Hawaii

Thanks to reader Mulbry, who found some roundtrips to Hawaii incorporating stopovers. I hope everyone is thinking what I thought. Where there are stopovers and open jaws, free oneways can be constructed.

I immediately set about about to find free oneways the same I described on Friday.

And I confirmed my hunch.

Free Oneways on United Awards

Yesterday, I wrote about how to book free stopovers online on your United awards. While researching for that post, I made a typo that caused me to discover a loophole that allows us to get free oneway flights on United awards in much the same way we can get free oneways on American Airlines awards! This discovery completely changes the way I'll be booking United awards from now on.

Getting these free oneways requires taking advantage of United's booking rules that allow one stopover and two open jaws for international awards from the US.

How to Book Free Stopovers Online: United Airlines

Yesterday, I talked about how to book a stopover on an American Airlines award online. Booking an award with a stopover online saves time and money, so today I want to explain how to book a stopover on a United award online.

The main limitation when trying to book an award with a stopover online is that you can only book awards online when the airline whose miles you're using loads the availability of the partner whose planes you want to fly.