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United *Enhancing* Award Booking Fees And Rules; 14 Examples Of United Stopover Awards You’ll No Longer Be Able To Book In 2 Months

Update, 10/5: Today is the final day to book a free one-way or stopover award with United miles.


Originally posted on 8/5:

Effective 10/6 you will no longer be able to book stopovers on United awards as has been allowed in the past.

Most insultingly, the email they sent out says that the changes are for “More flexible award booking and streamlined fees” and that “Starting in the fall, we are enhancing the way you book MileagePlus award travel on united.com”

Nothing good has ever come out of an airline enhancement. I’d rather be told how it is than have their marketing team try to work their spin. #UnitedUnfriendly is rearing its ugly head once again.

United writes that “Many members found the stopover policy to be confusing. Our goal is to keep the benefit while making the process of booking your multi-city trip easier, so we are introducing the Excursionist Perk, which is a free one-way award within select multi-city itineraries.”

I have no idea how Excursionist Perk is any less confusing than stopover, but I’ll try to explain what the difference is in this post. But in short, stopovers are awesome, and the “Excursionist Perk” removes all of the awesome from stopovers.

The new stopover rules are downright awful, as is the new Excursionist Perk name for the stopover. But quite frankly, the only surprise is that they are still offering some sort of stopover option at all. American and Delta no longer offer any stopovers, though many foreign carriers still do.

Stopovers allow you to add a free segment to your itinerary and the techniques of them is something that I spent a lot of time at DansDeals Seminars discussing (though it was also when I noticed the eyes glazing over on most novices as they started to get confused). For example if you book a round-trip from NYC to London in August you can “stopover” after your London trip for 6 months and then get a free one-way to Miami in February. You can then use miles or find a cheap one-way ticket back home after that, or you can book a trip from Miami to Paris the following summer with the Miami-NYC leg in February and NYC-Paris and back the following August.

You can book a stopover award here, just click multi-city. I generally search for 3 one-way awards and when I find saver award space for those 3 legs I’ll then use the multi-city option to book it. If you initially search via multi-city it often gives errors and shows fewer options that when you search for one-way awards.

United is also eliminating round-the-world awards. Those awards were a good deal before the 2014 devaluation at 180K coach, 260K business, and 350K first. With that devaluation those rates shot up to 200K coach, 350K business, and 450K first. The last day to book a round-the-world award is 10/5.

United is also updating their award fees. Here is the new award fee structure and here is the current fee structure. Currently non-elites pay $75 for changes more than 21 days in advance of a flight, $100 for changes within 21 days of the flight, or $200 to cancel an award. As of 10/6 non-elites will pay $75 for any changes or cancellations more than 60 days in advance of the flight and $125 within 60 days of the flight, so that’s actually a nice improvement for when you need to cancel an award. However Platinum elites are very unhappy as they go from not paying any award change or cancel fees to paying $50 for any changes made within 60 days.

You can still book traditional stopover awards until 10/5 for travel through the end of schedule. If you keep the first flight of your award ticket then you’ll be able to change the rest of a traditional stopover ticket, but if you change the first flight of your award ticket you will lose your traditional stopover.

Stopover rules after 10/5:
1. Free stopovers will no longer be allowed to occur in the region of origin.
2. Free stopovers will no longer be allowed to include a flight that spans 2 regions.
3. Free stopovers will no longer be allowed if the origin and destination of the trip are in different regions.
4. Stopovers will no longer be allowed on a wholly domestic ticket for an additional 10K miles.

You can view a list of regions here.

Here are examples of what all this means in the real world:

1. Intra-Hawaii coach with stopover: Currently 12K, will be 18K:
A. Honolulu-Kauai in coach on 1/15.
B. Kauai-Maui in coach on 1/22.
C. Maui-Honolulu in coach on 1/29.
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg B occurs within the region of origin.

ua3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
View more examples after the jump:

2. Hawaii business with domestic stopover: Currently 80K, will be 105K:
A. Washington DC-Honolulu in lie-flat business class on 8/9.
B. Honolulu-Washington DC in lie-flat business class on 8/16.
C. Washington DC-Los Angeles in first class on 2/19.
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg C occurs within the region of origin.

ua

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Hawaii coach with domestic stopover: Currently 45K, will be 57.5K:
A. Newark-Honolulu in coach on 8/16.
B. Honolulu-Newark in coach on 8/21.
C. Newark-San Francisco in coach on 4/11.
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg C occurs within the region of origin.

ua1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Mexico (Or Caribbean) coach with domestic stopover: Currently 35K, will be 47.5K:
A. Newark-Cancun in coach on 1/15
B. Cancun-Newark in coach on 1/22.
C. Newark-Fort Lauderdale in coach on 4/5.
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg C occurs within the region of origin.

ua2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Europe coach open jaw with domestic stopover: Currently 60K, will be 72.5K:
A. Newark-London in coach on 8/21
B. Paris-Newark in coach on 8/28.
C. Newark-Los Angeles in coach on 1/29
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg C occurs within the region of origin.

ua13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Europe coach with Hawaii stopover: Currently 65K, will be 82.5K:
A. Newark-Venice in coach on 8/21
B. Venice-Newark in coach on 8/29.
C. Newark-Honolulu in coach on 1/29
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg C spans 2 regions.

ua14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Europe Global First with domestic stopover: Currently 160K, will be 185K:
A. Newark-Rome in lie-flat Global First on 8/16
B. Rome-Newark in lie-flat Global First on 8/23.
C. Newark-Los Angeles in lie-flat business on 10/31.
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg C occurs within the region of origin.

ua10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Tel Aviv coach with Alaska stopover: Currently 85K, will be 102.5K:
A. Newark-Tel Aviv in coach on 11/13.
B. Tel Aviv-Newark in coach on 11/28.
C. Newark-Anchorage in coach on 5/7
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg C occurs within the region of origin.

ua9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Tel Aviv coach with Hawaii stopover: Currently 87.5K, will be 107.5K:
A. Newark-Tel Aviv in coach on 11/13.
B. Tel Aviv-Newark in coach on 11/28.
C. Newark-Honolulu in coach on 1/23
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg C spans 2 regions.

ua4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Tel Aviv coach with domestic stopover before travel: Currently 85K, will be 97.5K:
A. Fort Lauderdale-Newark in coach on 12/18.
B. Newark-Tel Aviv in coach on 2/5
C. Tel Aviv-Newark in coach on 3/14
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg A occurs in the region of origin.

 

ua15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Tel Aviv, Bangkok, and Sydney business class open jaw: Currently 110K, will be 160K:
A. San Francisco-Tel Aviv in lie-flat business on 8/7.
B. Tel Aviv-Bangkok in lie-flat business on 8/21.
C. Bangkok-Sydney in lie-flat business on 8/29.
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg spans 2 regions.

ua11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Tel Aviv to NYC coach with Japan stopover: Currently 77.5K, will be 120K
(Of course this is where stopovers really shine, when they can bring the price of the award lower than a plain round-trip even if you don’t take the final flight. A regular Tel Aviv-NYC round-trip is 85K, adding the 3rd leg to Tokyo drops the price to 77.5K):
A. Tel Aviv-Newark in coach on 11/14.
B. Newark-Tel Aviv in coach on 11/28.
C. Tel Aviv-Tokyo in coach on 3/13
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg C spans 2 regions.

 

ua5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. NYC to Los Angeles coach with Chicago stopover: Currently 35K, will be 37.5K:

A. Newark-Chicago in coach on 8/15
B. Chicago-Los Angeles in coach on 8/22
C. Los Angeles-Newark in coach on 9/1
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the domestic stopover option has been eliminated.

ua8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. NYC to Bangkok in business with Zurich stopover: Currently 160K, will be 235K:
A. JFK-Zurich in lie-flat business on 8/21.
B. Zurich-Bangkok in lie-flat business on 8/24.
C. Bangkok-JFK in lie-flat business on 9/6.
This will no longer be a valid stopover award as the stopover leg B spans 2 regions.

ua6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what will you still be able to do?

1. NYC to Zurich in business with Venice stopover: Remains 140K on partners (or 115K on United)
A. JFK-Zurich in lie-flat business on 8/21.
B. Zurich-Venice in business on 8/25.
C. Venice-JFK via Frnakfurt in lie-flat business on 8/29
This will remain a valid stopover award as the the stopover leg B is within a region, does not occur in the origin region, and the origin and destination are within the same region.

ua7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. San Francisco to Auckland in business with Sydney stopover and LA return with all 3 legs on a Dreamliner: Remains 140K
A. San Francisco-Auckland in lie-flat business on 8/17.
B. Auckland-Sydney in lie-flat business on 8/24.
C. Sydney-Los Angeles in lie-flat business on 8/29
This will remain a valid stopover award as the the stopover leg B is within a region, does not occur in the origin region, and the origin and destination are within the same region.

ua12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. NYC to Hong Kong in coach with Chiang Mai stopover: Remains 80K
A. Newark-Hong Kong in coach on 8/24
B. Hong Kong-Chiang Mai in coach on 8/31.
C. Chiang Mai-JFK in coach on 9/7
This will remain a valid stopover award as the the stopover leg B is within a region, does not occur in the origin region, and the origin and destination are within the same region.

ua16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Tel Aviv to NYC with LA stopover: Remains 85K
A. Tel AvivNewark in coach on 9/11
B. Newark-Los Angeles in coach on 10/13
C. Los Angeles-Tel Aviv in coach on 10/31
This will remain a valid stopover award as the the stopover leg B is within a region, does not occur in the origin region, and the origin and destination are within the same region.

ua17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course there are endless more examples. What are your favorite stopover itineraries?

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45 Responses to “United *Enhancing* Award Booking Fees And Rules; 14 Examples Of United Stopover Awards You’ll No Longer Be Able To Book In 2 Months”

  1. Daniel Says:
    1

    Can you book the now prohibited stopovers if you use singapore miles (or other star alliance airlines) to fly on united?

    ReplyReply
  2. Dan Says:
    2

    @Daniel:
    Of course. Award rules go by the ticketing airline.
    So you can still book stopovers with Air Canada, Singapore, etc.

    ReplyReply
  3. Moshe Says:
    3

    This is the only topic when you start writing about, i lose you completely!!! everything else i can handle …
    As many times i tried to follow it, i get lost quarter way through!

    ReplyReply
  4. Dan Says:
    4

    @Moshe:
    I’m happy to help. Did you try plugging in some of the scenarios from this post into United.com?

    ReplyReply
  5. mia flyer Says:
    5

    has anyone noticed the lack of flights from Mia/FLL-ORD ?? they are now mostly with American . united is down to 1 non stop a day ,delta stopped – i would think this is a hot competitive market

    ReplyReply
  6. 1223 Says:
    6

    You should bring up the topic to the Presidential Race!!
    we need more competition!!!

    ReplyReply
  7. Moshe Says:
    7

    @Dan: Do you have an article that explains the Alef Beis ( ABC’s) of this topic?

    ReplyReply
  8. Dan Says:
    8

    @mia flyer:
    I’m seeing 2 ORD-MIA and 3 ORD-FLL daily flights this winter.

    @Moshe:
    This is probably the best there is. I find it easier to explain in person, hence the seminars.

    But now that AA and Delta have removed them and United is limiting them to same region only, there’s not much left to talk about without going into foreign programs.

    Where in this article do you get lost? Did you try making a multi-city award on United.com using an example from this post?

    ReplyReply
  9. Ken Says:
    9

    When I read United’s email I knew it wasnt great news. I then eagerly awaited your post to disect the bad. Thank you.

    ReplyReply
  10. Bklynite Says:
    10

    Just to clarify, there is no way for a stopover to now bring down the price of a ticket as the stopover and destination have to be in the same destination? So no Asia1 pulling down the price of a stopover to the ME? I.e. NYC-Tlv(stop)-Hkg-nyc

    ReplyReply
  11. Dan Says:
    11

    @Ken:
    My pleasure.

    @Bklynite:
    Correct, that won’t be allowed anymore as the stopover can’t span 2 regions.

    ReplyReply
  12. Moshe Says:
    12

    @Dan: I Tried NYC-London-NYC-MIA and it worked for a total of 60k. I guess i understand the concept now. Why would they just give away a free ride months after? On side note, i never knew united flies from LGA i sew some options while playing around.??

    ReplyReply
  13. Dan Says:
    13

    @Moshe:
    Because it’s a free stopover and now you can stopover anywhere, even at your origin city.

    Effective 10/6 they won’t allow that.

    United flies from LGA to CLE, DEN, IAD, IAH, and ORD. They even have a nice club in LGA near the AMEX lounge, I was just in both of those lounges yesterday.

    But I’m glad to hear you’re getting the hang of it. Keep trying the examples in the post and you’ll be an expert in no time!

    ReplyReply
  14. Al Says:
    14

    I agree about the patronizing email notice, but let’s be honest – of all the devaluations, IMHO this is the least egregious. You can still get a “real” stopover. So they tightened up the rules of free one ways. Fine. This is nothing compared to the destruction wrought by AA. UA is still the best of the 3.

    ReplyReply
  15. Dan Says:
    15

    @Al:
    Agreed, hence, “But quite frankly, the only surprise is that they are still offering some sort of stopover option at all. American and Delta no longer offer any stopovers, though many foreign carriers still do.”

    ReplyReply
  16. Moshe Says:
    16

    @Dan: Thank you so much for all the help. Im actually looking to book tickets for the winter to TLV and in the coming summer to CUN. But when trying to book the CUN ticket it wouldnt bring up any direct flights even though when searching one way it does show. any fix to this? Also, can the NYC-CUn ticket be changed for a later date, meaning even later then 6 months?

    ReplyReply
  17. Moshe Says:
    17

    @Dan: never mind i got it fixed by entering EWR instead of NYC in all fields. Another issue im running into now is, if trying to book NYC-TLV-NYC in premium it wont let me book NYC-CUN in economy. anyway to fix that?

    ReplyReply
  18. Dan Says:
    18

    You can call to book the EWR-CUN leg in coach as a stopover.

    You need to complete travel within a year of when it was booked.

    ReplyReply
  19. Avi Says:
    19

    I am currently able to fly to BKK via a stopover in MNL for a few days in coach for 80,000. Will this still be possible?
    Thank you for the terrific post!!!

    ReplyReply
  20. Dan Says:
    20

    @Avi:
    Yes, NYC-BKK-MNL-NYC will remain a valid stopover award after 10/5 as BKK and MNL are both within the South Asia region.

    ReplyReply
  21. David Says:
    21

    An im still soooooo confused what a stop over means.

    ReplyReply
  22. Dan Says:
    22

    @David:
    Read the post slowly and try searching for the examples in the post.

    ReplyReply
  23. MJ Says:
    23

    Japan and the rest of Asia are in different regions. This is terrible by these rules you can’t have a stopover in NRT on NH before going on to let’s say TPE, even though it’s only 3 hours away. I can see why they’re trying to eliminate our golden spots of doing something like LAX-IST-TPE with IST as a stopover, but eliminating stopovers on all cross regional itineraries is ridiculous

    Question: What does this mean for open-jaws? For example, is LAX-FRA-BRU, AMS-FRA-LAX allowed if FRA is designated as a stopover?

    ReplyReply
  24. andrew Says:
    24

    Seems like your last examples of what’s allowed contradicts new UAL rule #3.

    ReplyReply
  25. Dima Says:
    25

    In SFO-AKL-SYD-LAX example you specifically mention business class on Air NZ AKL-SYD – has something changed and they started to release biz availability on their flights now? I thought they never did and I can’t tell from your screenshot of that leg is in biz.

    ReplyReply
  26. Leo Says:
    26

    Will united club member still pay the close in fees ?

    ReplyReply
  27. High end hobo Says:
    27

    No comment on the new rule requiring star alliance flights to be booked 24 hours in advance?
    Also what are your thoughts on their promise to deliver a better website?
    Thanks

    ReplyReply
  28. Dan Says:
    28

    @MJ:
    Yup, it stinks.
    Open jaws should be fine, so that should work.

    @andrew:
    How so?

    @Dima:
    I even see NZ business class longhaul from IAH, LAX, and SFO, so it’s definitely there.

    @Leo:
    That’s not changing.

    @High end hobo:
    I think that *A rule has always been there but never enforced.
    And I’m skeptical of website improvements.

    ReplyReply
  29. Pedro Says:
    29

    EWR-SAO-BUE-EWR should work, but i always need to call an agent and haggle the fee for using an agent. Thank you

    ReplyReply
  30. Peter Says:
    30

    Hi Dan, thanks for dissecting this. If the stopover is in the same region, thus making it valid, does that affect open jaws at all? For example, EWR-LON, LON-FRA, FCO-EWR. Would that still be valid?

    ReplyReply
  31. Anonymous Says:
    31

    @Dan:
    I tried to read your post at least 20 times. Even more then i do with a tosfos… getting very confused when you explain the example of the london Miami stopover.

    ReplyReply
  32. jonathan nissanoff Says:
    32

    I have to give you a hakarat hatov. I booked my entire family of 7 and did the Japan and island Hopper with Palau using the united stop ever rules and was able to have an amazing 3 week vacation….for only $490k miles,….not to mention the park Hyatt Tokyo suite upgrades x 2

    ReplyReply
  33. Dan Says:
    33

    @Peter:
    Seems like that should work.

    @Anonymous: @Anonymous:
    Which example number are you asking about?

    @jonathan nissanoff:
    Fantastic!

    I’d love to see a quick trip report if you have the time. There’s a trip report board on DDF here:
    http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?board=25.0

    The fun thing about writing trip reports is reading them years later and being able to reminisce 🙂

    ReplyReply
  34. San Diego Flyer Says:
    34

    I’m trying to book a trip to Europe using award miles with the free stopover, but need guidance. It is charging me 30K per leg, or 57k business class per leg. I am choosing multi-city San Diego to Amsterdam (10/26) and then Berlin to San Diego (11/13). I figure I will make my way from Amsterdam to Berlin with a cheap one way once I get there. How do I incorporate the free stopover before the rules change, per your post? Should I do it differently?

    ReplyReply
  35. Dan Says:
    35

    @San Diego Flyer:
    Add another leg from SAN anytime afterward.

    ReplyReply
  36. dan1 Says:
    36

    I was considering using United 42.5k miles from EWR to Frankfurt ( go to kevarim ) then to ISRAEL.
    Does this mean it is no longer realistic?

    ReplyReply
  37. Dan Says:
    37

    @dan1:
    Still doable, but you would need to stay in FRA for less than 24 hours under the new rules.

    ReplyReply
  38. Sam Says:
    38

    Really cheap flights now to Hong Kong

    ReplyReply
  39. ali Says:
    39

    Will US-to CDG( stop )to TLV not be bookable after today?

    ReplyReply
  40. Menachem Says:
    40

    Just to confirm.

    Ewr- Johannesburg
    Johannesburg -TLV
    TLV- ewr

    Not allowed under the new rules?

    ReplyReply
  41. Dan Says:
    41

    @ali:
    You would need to depart CDG within 24 hours of arriving.

    @Menachem:
    Correct.

    ReplyReply
  42. UK Says:
    42

    last minute booking for next summer : JFK-FRA-PMI//PMI-VIE-FRA-ICN (open-jaw) ROR-YAP-GUM-TKK-PNI-KSA-KWA-MAJ-HNL-EWR.

    Yes, finally doing the hopper! Get 14 hours in each of GUM, PNI and HNL to do a quik spot of sight-seeing. ROR-EWR on plan B, JFK-ICN in Y. Total cost 100K + $140 +/-

    ReplyReply
  43. Dan Says:
    43

    @UK:
    Awesome!

    ReplyReply
  44. jonathan Nissanoff Says:
    44

    I did the island hopper with my family (total of 7) It was quite amazing. I actually took your itinerary and practically copied it, with just a few changes. The total cost was 70k points for each person. The ticket would have cost $5600 each ticket.
    I would like to do a similar type of ticket to a different location (anywhere you recommend is fine, i.e. south america, asia) but because I have 7 people, I would like to do it on the cheapp like I did with the island hopper. Please let me know if you can recommend an itinerary with the new rules or with any other airline that make sense. I have about 500k point in AMEX and 500K points in chase with 250k points in american and 700k points in BA to play with

    ReplyReply
  45. Dan Says:
    45

    @jonathan Nissanoff:
    1. Post a trip report on DDF 🙂
    http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?board=25.0

    2. Read up on more trip reports on this site and on DDF 🙂

    ReplyReply

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