Adding Stopovers and Free Domestic Connections to Award Tickets

ScottB asks,

Questions about two different trips with different airlines’ miles, Gary:
1. If I use SQ Krisflyer miles to fly F from the U.S. to Singapore, (a) is a free stop permitted in Hong Kong?; and (b) is a flight(s) on UA to a SQ U.S. hub included in the award price, and, if so, in F or Y?

2. If I use AA AAdvantage miles to fly F on Etihad to India, (a) I don’t think American permits a free stop in the UAE — how many additional miles are required to stop there either outbound or inbound?; and (b) is a flight(s) on AA to an EY U.S. hub included in the award price, and, if so, in F or Y?
Thanks for your help with these questions.

Singapore Airlines has what in many ways is a great mileage program. You can get Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles transferred in from American Express, Chase, Starwood, and Citi ThankYou Rewards. So they’re easy points to get.

Singapore does add fuel surcharges onto award tickets when they apply to paid tickets, but their award chart for many destinations is quite reasonable.

Singapore Airlines First Class, Boeing 777-300ER

Booking Stopovers on Singapore Airlines Awards

Singapore Airlines allows one free stopover on a roundtrip award. They do not allow a free stopover on a one-way award.

However you can book a stopover on a one-way award for an extra $100 fee. You cannot do this on the Singapore Airlines website, you have to call. Since you’re calling, you do not automatically get the 15% online redemption discount in the number of miles your award costs, though you can ask for it.

Including Partner Airlines on a Singapore Airlines Award

If you’re booking an award that includes a United domestic flight to connect to the Singapore Airlines flight as part of your itinerary, then you can’t book online anyway and you do not get that 15% online redemption discount. Only Singapore Airlines flights can be booked online using the Singapore website.

Once you forego the online redemption discount, yes, you can include a United flight as part of the award in the same class of service booked (so United first class if it’s a Singapore Airlines business or first class award).

Booking Stopovers Using American Airlines Miles

American does not offer free stopovers on award tickets. All of their awards are priced one-way. So if you fly from the US to Middle East that’s 90,000 miles in first class.

Then after you stop in Abu Dhabi (I advise you to end the reservation, and make it your destination rather than a stopvoer, so that Etihad will give you complimentary car service on arrival to anywhere in the UAE) you have another one-way award to your final destination.

Etihad Car Service, Abu Dhabi

  • Business class is 25,000 one-way within the region (Middle East and India are part of the same region)
  • And it’s 35,000 miles one-way for first class

Domestic Connections on American Airlines Awards Are “Free” (Usually)

Booking a domestic connection to get to your Etihad international flight will generally be included in the price of your award, the only difference will be some extra airport taxes.

And they’ll be included in the class of service of your international award. So if you’re flying Etihad business or first class, your domestic American flight can be in business or first class if available.

For example, if you’re flying Austin – Chicago – Abu Dhabi with Chicago – Abu Dhabi in business class, Austin – Chicago can be booked in American’s domestic first class for no additional miles.

The only caveat here — read my “Ultimate Guide to Booking Award Tickets Using American Miles” — is that Etihad has to publish a fare between your origin and destination to get all of the flights included as a single award. Now, they do publish fares from most American destinations to most of their destinations these days. That wasn’t always the case – early on during their partnership most US cities didn’t have published Etihad routings to the Maldives, and so the US domestic flight would cost additional miles.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Hi,

    I have been reading this website for months and am enjoying reading your very useful articles.

    Can you write about the strategic use of free stopovers on BA Avios award?

  2. Great Post Gary.
    If i book OKC-MLE as a one way award for 90k miles in first (knowing i will have about a 15 hour layover in AUH, and i dont believe one is entitled to the car service on a layover), then MLE-AUH for 25k miles one way in bus class where i want to have a 3 day stopover, will i get car service when i arrive at AUH? or only when i depart continuing my journey from AUH-OKC for another 90k miles in First.

  3. Don’t forget any SQ award that includes a segment on a *A partner will mean you are redeeming from a different and almost certainly more pricey award chart, especially since you’ll lose the 15% discount.

  4. @Tup That’s correct, no car service in AUH on a layover. If you do a stopover and pay the additional 25k for the business class one way then my advice is to book separate reservations, it doesn’t cost you more miles, and that way Etihad won’t see it as a stopover but rather see you as ending your trip in Abu Dhabi and give you the car service on arrival and then give you the pickup in Abu Dhabi on the way to Male at the start of your new booking.

  5. If I’m on an EY F flight into AUH, but my hotel is in DBX, will they drive me north to Dubai and then pick me back up from Dubai for my EY F flight departing AUH? I think yes, but would like to confirm.

  6. Gary, if you book as two separate reservations and need to cancel, don’t you pay the fee for redwood it twice?

  7. Thanks very much, Gary, for sharing your expertise on these questions — immensely helpful.

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