US Airways Award Stopover Rules And OneWorld Hubs

With US Airways having transitioned from the Star Alliance to OneWorld yesterday, I figured I would quickly recap their stopover rules, given that American AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles have very different award ticket policies.

American AAdvantage only allows a stopover at the North American transoceanic gateway.

This means if you’re flying New York > Los Angeles > Hong Kong you can only have a stopover in Los Angeles.

The benefit of this is that you can get a stopover even on a one-way, though unfortunately you can’t stopover outside of North America.

US Airways Dividend Miles allows one stopover OR open jaw on a roundtrip award.

The stopover has to be at a OneWorld hub or US Airways transatlantic gateway city, though.

The OneWorld hubs are as follows:

Airline:Hub:
Air BerlinBerlin, Dusseldorf
American AirlinesChicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
British AirwaysLondon
Cathay PacificHong Kong
FinnairHelsinki
IberiaMadrid, Barcelona
Japan AirlinesTokyo
LANBuenos Aires, Lima, Santiago
TAMRio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo
Malaysia AirlinesKuala Lumpur
QantasMelbourne, Sydney
Qatar AirwaysDoha
Royal JordanianAmman
S7 AirlinesMoscow
US AirwaysCharlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Washington

OneWorld Hub Cities
OneWorld Hub Airports

Meanwhile US Airways’ transatlantic gateway cities are as follows:

AmsterdamEdinburghMadridShannon
AthensFrankfurtManchesterTel Aviv
BarcelonaGlasgowMunichVenice
BrusselsLisbonParisZurich
DublinLondonRome

US Airways Gateway Cities
US Airways European Destinations

There are a couple of things to note regarding this:

  • You don’t have to be flying the OneWorld airline to their hub in order to have a stopover there.
    • In other words, in order to have a stopover in Sao Paulo you don’t have to be flying TAM there, since it’s their hub. You could be flying American there, or any other OneWorld carrier, for that matter.
    • If you get an agent that says otherwise, simply hang up and call again.
  • Stopover cities are somewhat flexible.
    • So this might sound silly, but stopover cities are somewhat flexible, because in many cases airlines don’t clearly define their hubs.
    • I mean, what’s really the difference between a hub and focus city? For Qantas, is Brisbane a hub, given that they have longhaul operations out of there? What about Brasilia for TAM, or Palma de Mallorca for Air Berlin?
  • Getting a stopover is all about the confidence with which you approach it.
    • It’s not totally impossible to get a stopover at a city that isn’t necessarily a hub.
    • Qantas flies from Los Angeles to Brisbane, so if I wanted a stopover there I would call and say “and then I’d like to fly from Los Angeles to Brisbane, and then do a stopover there, since it’s a OneWorld hub.”
    • Agents will rarely reference their hub “list,” if they even have one for OneWorld yet, unless they have any doubts. Of course you’ll have a harder time arguing that Auckland is a hub for Qantas as opposed to Brisbane, for example.

That’s just a quick rundown, though if anyone has any questions please let me know!

Comments

  1. I remembered that stopover is not allowed for award within a same region. Have you seen any exception of this rule?

  2. I am sure you can convince them that Auckland ca is a major hub for quantas on their way to brisbane … at least it could make it for an entertaining call

  3. Ben quick ques on open jaw. If I fly into HKG from NYC and fly back from Doha back to NYC in Buss class then how much mileage are they supposed to charge me?

  4. @ AH — Depends on the agent you get. In theory they would charge 110,000 miles, which is the Middle East price. But some agents might only charge the North Asia price.

  5. @ Alan — Nope, that is indeed the rule. Some agents may accidentally allow it, but it will likely take a lot of phone calls to find an agent willing to do that.

  6. Lucky – i am a bit slow. you wrote “The benefit of this is that you can get a stopover even on a one-way, though unfortunately you can’t stopover outside of North America.” but i clicked the link and don’t see any reference on stopover in north america on a one way award ticket. I just tried MIA-NYC-TOK and it priced out as 2 separate awards.

  7. oh, i was just using the AA search engine, LGA-LGA is AA and LGA-NRT (connecting in ORD) is AA. prices out as 2 separate awards

  8. ah i think i got it, its exceeded the maximum mileage allowed. when changing the routing from MIA-ORD, then stopover in ORD, then ORD-TYO, it prices out as a free 1 way. thanks!

  9. Lucky–still no luck booking Cathay using dividend miles. Agent states flights aren’t loaded yet. Any ideas regarding timeframe to book flights?

    More related to your post, I understand about stopover at hub cities. Are there restrictions on open jaw cities? e.g. LAX-HKG-BKK then HKG-LAX.

    Thanks for your informative blog.

  10. @ Al — It’s not a function of MPM, it’s that the stopover has to be at your international gateway city. If you’re flying MIA-LGA/LGA-ORD-NRT then LGA isn’t your international gateway — ORD is.

  11. @ Jim — As long as it’s within the same region you shouldn’t have any issues with open jaws. I’ve had no issue booking Cathay Pacific flights, so maybe you got a clueless agent? I would recommend hanging up and calling again.

  12. Question Ben : Does AA allow a stopover on an award between the US and Caribbean? In other words, on a single award, could I fly LAX to MIA, spending a few nights, and then MIA to St Martin? Thanks.

  13. Shouldn’t LAN Ecuador and LAN Colombia’s hubs of Quito and Bogota be on the oneworld hub list?

  14. Lucky: Do you know if booking a DM award with USAir’s ‘partner’ airlines (non-OW)includes USAir as well. E.G. PHX-MIA-LIS-IST, i.e. USAir-TAP-TK? While it says on USAir’s site that you can book a combination of partner airlines, nowhere can I find the use of USAir to get you go the US gateway.

  15. So I’ve rarely had agents try to enforce this rule, but it does come up occasionally.

    I do want to push back on one restriction you mention thought.

    You write that the stopover must be “at a OneWorld hub or US Airways transatlantic gateway city”

    Here’s an articulation of the restriction from the US Airways membership guide.
    https://www.usairways.com/en-US/dividendmiles/programdetails/memberguide.html

    “You’re allowed one stopover per US Airways itinerary at a US Airways gateway or international destination, or in a partner hub city if you’re traveling on an award partner. US Airways hub/international gateway cities include Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix. Call Reservations for additional US Airways international gateways and partner hub cities.”

    * The gateway is the US Airways hub city that you depart the US from. (This is written from a very US-centric perspective, but does refer to US Airways travel.)

    * You are allowed a stopover at any US Airways international destination, not just transatlantic ones.

    * The language is poorly written but PROBABLY is intended to say that the US Airways international destination or hub/gateway stopover is permitted on a US Airways award, while partner hub city is permitted on a partner award.

    * This has sometimes been mistakenly interpreted to mean you have to fly into a hub on the carrier operating that hub in order to have a stopover there, but that’s false.

    * In practice, if you run into this restriction at all you should just hang up call back.

    But I do want to flag that you can stopover in a US Airways destination, say, in the Caribbean if it’s also served by another partner onward from there on a South America award for instance. At least if you read the rules to say that US Airways international destinations are valid stopover points on any US Airways award (or at least on awards where you fly US Airways to the US Airways international destination).

  16. Do you have to stay at your destination for a greater number of days than you spend at the stopover? I would like only spend 2-3 days at my North Asia destination, and 1-2 weeks at my European stopover.

  17. Ben, could I swing a week long trip originating in BNA to Hong Kong, Paris, and London for 90K miles in business? I suppose the chunnel could help out here. I’m trying to visualize how to set it up. Or do I need to forget Hong Kong and focus on Europe?

  18. @ baxterboy12 — Well you can do a stopover OR an open jaw, so you’d have to choose London or Paris for the stopover. You’d then have to arrange roundtrip transport between the two on your own. Otherwise should be perfectly doable.

  19. Lucky, i’m new to the whole miles and points award redemption. This post was exactly what I needed for my next trip. Would it be feasible to have a stopover in Tokyo on the return trip. SFO-HKG(Destination); HKG-NRT(Stopover)-SFO. If not what would be the best way to maximize this redemption?

  20. Oneworld member airlines overview states that ‘The airline’s hubs are Berlin, Dusseldorf, Palma de Mallorca and Vienna’ for AB. Also, for JL, it states that ‘The airline has major hubs at Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya’.

  21. @ Jay — Ultimately airline hubs aren’t totally “black and white,” so even with US Airways an argument could likely be made that those are hubs.

  22. Lucky,

    Since USAirways is still partnered w/SAA, could I book JNB-CPT (stopover)-MQP (Destination)// MQP-JNB?

  23. @ Ben — You’re not allowed a stopover on an award ticket exclusively within one region, unfortunately. Otherwise should be possible.

  24. Planning an award and wondering if this was possible:

    ICN-HKG-JFK/EWR (CX)

    JFK/EWR-HKG-ICN (CX)

    Would I be able to get a stopover in ICN at the end of my trip and continue on to another destination several months later?
    If so, would I be restricted to North Asia destinations?

  25. @ Jason — Potentially yes, though Seoul isn’t technically a valid stopover destination, so it will depend on the agent you get.

  26. hey lucky, there are program changes starting Aug 1 in terms of mileage redemptions going up.

    I wanna try and attempt this itinerary, is it possible and are there any complications?

    its can be reversed for vice versa, basically my goal is to try both CX 1st and AA A321T FlagShip 1st.

    CX: IAH-PHX-YVR-JFK-YYZ

    AA: YVZ-JFK-LAX-IAH

    this can be flipped depending on the routings I find on my travel dates, however can I book this for the 50k needed for travel between US/Canada in Biz/1st (which is the same for US Air currently?) … any issues with my extended routes (in terms of MPM) or entry and quick rentry back into CAN just to try out CX? … no stopovers on this trip, destination in YVZ which I’ll be spending a week in.

    is there a free oneway I can squeeze in there somewhere (perhaps save it for a later date?) and I heard US Air doesnt allow 1-ways or rather charges the same # of miles, but would this kinda complicated routing still count as a RT?

    thanks bud!

  27. @ Adam — You’re not going to be able to transit both Vancouver and New York on the way to Toronto due to cabotage, unfortunately. If you have an open-jaw you wouldn’t be able to add a stopover as well.

  28. @lucky – but wait how is that cabotage? IAH to YVR will be on AA/US… YVR to JFK on CX, JFK to YVZ on AA etc… its a Oneworld itinerary.

    maybe I’m mistaken, I dont see an open jaw here either. origin is IAH. destination is YVZ. I’m just trying to max my award and go a roudabout way of getting there and back. assuming MPM and max # of segments isnt an issue for US Air, and entering CAN twice isnt an issue for border security of both countries lol it seems doable to me.

  29. @ Adam — In this case it may not be, but it’s definitely not a legal, published routing. While US Airways will let you get away with some complex routings for longhaul journeys, I highly doubt you’d get away with this.

  30. Hi – love your blog and all your advice! I am new to points and trying to figure out if I can use US Air dividend miles to do this trip:

    outbound:
    CLT – JFK (USAir or AA)
    JFK – YVR (CX)

    inbound:
    YVR -JFK (CX)
    JFK – CLT (USAir or AA)

    Is this possible with 50k miles per person (business class?) or is this considered same region so no stop over over JFK allowed on same mileage?

    Thank you!

  31. @ happyhuman — The routing is allowed, though you can’t have a stopover in New York. But if you’re just connecting that’s allowed.

  32. Quick Q about stopover/open jaw issues within the same region (US/Can) — is Vancouver-JFK (stop for a week) and JFK-LAX a week later a valid booking?

    Would there be any issues with that, if so, why?

    Thanks!

  33. I am trying to fly from Miami to Auckland and back using US Air miles and would like a stopover somewhere interesting. Is it possible to do a stopover in Hong Kong? Or is that too out of the way to be considered a stopover?

  34. @ Pam Thomas — Routing via Asia should be fine, as should a stopover in Hong Kong. It may take a few calls before you find an agent willing to book it, though.

  35. So I booked flights from Miami to Auckland and back with a stopover in Hong Kong, via US Air. When I went to ticket this morning, the agent said the mileage to NZ with a stopover in Hong Kong exceeds the maximum mileage. She said they were just receiving training on this THIS WEEK. Ugh! Any thoughts?

  36. Tried several agents. They’re willing to do it, but each gets an error message when they try to book it. When they look into it, the system is flagging maximum mileage violations. Perhaps this is a new system development. We have Delta (and American) miles too. Does each airline have its own mileage maximum including stopovers? I’m 4,000 over, tho less if I left from the west coast instead of east (doing that I’m still over tho).

  37. Help Lucky! have had 3 us airways agents tell me that i cannot fly from S Africa to USA via Asia (stopover)

    this is the routing i have reserved, but can’t get the rate desk to ticket:

    JNB-HKG (STOPOVER) HKG-LAX-PHX-BOI, RETURN IS BOI-PHX-ORD-HKG-JNB

  38. @ kevin in capetown — It’s tricky with US Airways, and at this point chances are that your record has been notated. So if you want a chance at it your best bet may be to start over and ticket right away if they’ll price it.

  39. I am new to the points game and have earned myself Ultimate reward points. I’m looking to use them on a return trip (one way) from SFO-BOS (stopover) and land some where in Germany (preferable Berlin, Munich or Stuttgart). Is BOS an allowed stopover city?

  40. @ Colleen — There’s not an airline flying in that market that partners with Ultimate Rewards which allows stopovers on one way awards, so unfortunately that wouldn’t be possible.

  41. So I have a US award on hold.

    AUS-DFW-HKG(destination)-DOH-FRA (Stopover)-CLT-AUS

    It took a while but it ultimately priced out at 65,000 miles a person (for economy, of course).

    The agent said that it would normally be 60,000, but because I was taking a stopover in Europe it would be 5,000 miles extra?

    Has anyone ever heard of this before?

    Should I just pay for the award ($399 total taxes and fees for both) and be alright about the extra 10k miles, because they allowed me to route through DOH?

  42. @ Austin — It all depends on the agent you get. Some charge you based on the highest region you transit, while others charge you based on the cost of your destination.

  43. I got that, but 65K is out of the blue, it isn’t either Europe (where the stopover is), North Asia (where the destination is) or even the Middle east (80k) where I am connecting through.

  44. Hi, bought some points to do business HKG > TOKYO. Was thinking if its possible to do Sapporo as a stopover. Tokyo is a hub city, is it possible to do HKG > TOKYO > SAPPORO > HKG with cathay and JAL?

    Thanks.

  45. Thanks lucky. just reading the guide, it seems you can do many route options will this work I live in MEL and go to Sydney to catch JAL to Tokyo?
    Could I do this
    MEL > SYD > NRT (stopover) > HND > HKG > MEL ?

  46. @ Stephen — The problem is that there’s no Star Alliance airline that flies MEL-SYD with pickup rights.

  47. Lucky, i want to do Auckland. Using Dividend miles, would it be allowed to do Mia-Athens with a stopover in Auckland? That way I am paying the 60,000 miles for Europe, and doing the destination I really want: Auckland?
    If it is too far, what might you recommend to keep it at 60,000?

  48. @ Dennis — In theory anything is possible with US Airways, but probably not something I’d bother trying myself.

  49. Hi…this post is very helpful. A couple questions tough, once Us merges with American what will the new stopover policy be? I want to do Jfk-Paris-tel aviv (Paris would be the stopover), would that be possible? Thanks!

  50. @ Debora L. — The AAdvantage program will survive, so stopovers won’t be allowed anymore with the new program.

  51. Hey Lucky. Would US Airways stopover award work for MIA- Vienna (stopover) -Toronto? Would this qualify for 25,000 Dividend Miles?

  52. Hi Ben,I have US 120,000, is this available to book on CX FC for international and US for domestic route before AA and US merge ? Thanks !

    ABQ>LAX>TPE(destination)>HKG>FRA(stopover)>LAX>ABQ

  53. @lucky … question .. i and my GF want to fly to SYD / or MEL via NYC … I have 100k united, 400k AA , and 100k US air .. what would be the move… nyc ->HNL-SYD? is that move possible you think? or not possible.. any advice would be welcome.. u the man!

  54. @ eric — You want a stopover? If so you’d have to book at as two awards. You could book using American miles for travel on Hawaiian, which would probably be your best bet.

  55. @ lucky thanks for the response… i mean id prefer no stopover… just no mile saver space avail on aa.. thanks to qantas not having any avail on AA … what do you think about the first product on HA?

  56. @ eric — Not good at all, it’s more like a domestic first class product than international business class, so I would avoid it if you can.

  57. Hi…I’ve been trying to book two business class tickets from YYZ to HKG for November and so far no luck. Will more tickets become available closer to the date or should I give up on Nov and find another month? Also, is it possible to book Toronto to Tokyo with stopover in Hong Kong? Thanks!

  58. @ KH — Very good chance something still opens up. It’s semantics, but you can book Vancouver to Hong Kong and do a stopover in Tokyo generally, yes.

  59. Hi Ben,

    I have tried to book an award flight from ZRH-DOH-KUL(stopover)-LGK. The agent said that Langkawi is considered as stopover city because it’s closer to ZRH and that LGK is not a One World hub. She did not allow we to plan a stopover in KUL. Have you heard about this policy??

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