We are starting a new Saturday series from travel writers in other specialized travel niches. We’ve got plenty of general bloggers but there are those that specialize in specific areas of interest. Here are several examples:
We are looking for blogs in other specialized areas of travel, not just travel hacking. For example: cruises, trains, gay and lesbian, foodie travel, specific locations, camping, RV; you name it. We are looking for original content, not rehashes of existing posts.
If you have a favorite blogger in a specialized area of travel you would like to recommend or are a blogger in a specific area, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s topic is from Drew at travelisfree.com . His favorite topic is stopovers and open jaw tickets. Take it away Drew …
The ability to book stopovers is one of my favorite perks of using frequent flyer miles. Most airlines allow you to create a stopover when booking an awards ticket. For me, this simply means getting to see more places with the same amount of frequent flyer miles. Instead of booking one trip to see London and another to see Rome, you can simply book them with one ticket at no extra cost.
United allows one stopover and one open-jaw on awards ticket and a stopover is just as it sounds, it is a layover more than 24 hours long. In fact, stopovers can be as long as you want, although tickets can only be booked so far in advance. As long as a destination is en-route (relatively speaking) it can be turned into a stopover. For example, if someone from DC wanted to see both London and Rome it would be simple to create a stopover in London on the way to Rome. The route could look like IAD – LHR (stop for a week), LHR – FCO (stop for a week), and then FCO – IAD. London would be the one stopover allowed and Rome would be the final destination. The great thing about this is that you get to visit two destinations but it does not raise the cost of the ticket.
The above example is a stopover in London on the way to Rome but of course you can make a stopover with all kinds of routes. Many create stopovers in Europe on their way to Asia, the Middle East and Africa for example. Many have also created stopovers in Singapore or Bangkok on their way to Bali. It is simply a way to see one more place on your vacation.
If you want, you can get really creative with stopovers. One simple way to see where you could create a stopover is to see where you may get routed through on your way to a destination. In the Rome example, Star Alliance has hubs in Brussels, Frankfurt, and Zurich to name a few. United, as a Star Alliance member, will naturally route you through these cities and therefore creating a stopover is extremely easy as it doesn’t even change the route.
With many airlines, booking a stopover requires a phone call. If you’re going to call you should probably know the stopover rules for the airline and know where you want to create your stopover ahead of time. However, another perk of United is that you can book your stopover on United.com by clicking “Multiple Destinations” and selecting “Award Travel”.
As mentioned above, United allows you an open-jaw as well. An open-jaw means that you fly out of a different airport than you landed in originally. For example, if you wanted to take a cruise, road trip or a train from London to Rome you could create an open-jaw. This means that there is a gap in your ticket and United is not responsible for getting you from London to Rome. The route could look like IAD – LHR, and after two weeks you would return to DC from Rome, FCO – IAD. However, an open-jaw can be added to your stopover, destination or you could even return home to a different airport. Again, to put it simply; an open-jaw is when you return to a different airport.
Most airlines, like US Airways for example, allow either a stopover or an open-jaw on awards tickets, however United allows both. In most cases people find a stopover most useful. A stopover is simply adding a stop on a route (and doesn’t require finding transportation between airports like an open-jaw). Although I’ve been able to find some tricks using stopovers to save miles and see even more than one extra place, the simple and awesome benefit is seeing more of the world on one ticket. Seeing more with less is what the miles game is all about.