Question: Can I Add a Stopover to My Award Flight?

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Question: Can I Add a Stopover to My Award Flight?

Question: Can I Add a Stopover to My Award Flight?

Our question this week looks at whether you can add a stopover to your award flight as a change to an existing reservation. Can you make this change for free? Are you allowed to add a stopover to an existing reservation for an award flight? Here’s a look.

The Question

Our question this week comes from Chris in our Facebook group:

Can we make changes (add stopover) to the existing award reservation:

I already made an award booking (coach) a few months back using UA miles: AUS-FRA-MAA-FRA-AUS for summer. FRA is a stopover for 1.5 hours both ways.

Is it possible to modify the reservation and spend 5-7 days in Frankfurt without canceling and rebooking (award miles is currently high for this redemption)?

Chris has a reservation from Austin, Texas (AUS) going to Chennai, India (MAA) with a layover in Frankfurt, Germany (FRA). He wants to know if he can add a stopover in Frankfurt on his existing award flight, in order to extend his time there.

Stopover vs Open Jaw vs Excursionist

Before we continue, let’s make sure we all understand the terms involved:

  • Stopover – when you stay more than 24 hours at a city that isn’t your final destination or home airport but somewhere in the middle, though it’s booked as part of a single ticket.
  • Open jaw – when you fly from home to airport A but you fly home from airport B, and there’s no flight A to B on your itinerary.
  • Excursionist – this is something specific to United Airlines, which we have covered here and here.

Chris’ Situation

Chris wants to modify his existing award flight by spending more time in Frankfurt, so can he add a stopover? Or can he use the Excursionist Perk, since this is a United booking?

As far as the Excursionist Perk, Chris won’t be able to use this benefit. His trip breaks this rule:

The origin and destination of the Excursionist Perk is within a single MileagePlus defined region.

Frankfurt is not within the same region as Austin or Chennai, so you can’t use the Excursionist Perk here.

While other airlines do allow stopovers, United MileagePlus doesn’t, so you can’t add this to an award flight — new or existing.

Final Thoughts

Chris has an existing award flight and wanted to know if he can add more time in Germany by adding a stopover. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to do this with his reservation. Using stopovers, open jaws, or the Excursionist Perk can add a ton of value to your bookings, so understanding the rules for these is important. Unfortunately for Chris, if he wants to spend more time in Germany, he would need to make a new booking.

Have a question? Ask in our Facebook group or email me at ryan[at]milestomemories.com

Ryan Smith
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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