Getting an Extra Free One-Way Ticket Each Time You Book an Award: The Programs That Still Let You Do It

Peter asked about “free one-way tickets on awards.”

If you can summarize which airlines allow for free one-ways on international award tickets, that would be helpful. I know there’s been some changes in the past few months.

The idea of the “free one-way” is that when you redeem a roundtrip award ticket, with an airline that allows stopovers, you can ‘throw in’ an extra flight at the end of your award without spending an additional miles.

For instance, if you need to fly Newark – London – Newark, why not fly Newark – London (destination), and then fly back London – Newark (your allowable stopover) – Los Angeles (destination). You fly Newark – Los Angeles at some later date, basically you get a free cross country flight to use later.

And changing dates on award tickets, where you don’t change the airline or routing, has often been free (no change fee).

Basically, if you need a roundtrip award you could often get a free ticket to use later … within a year of date of issue of your original ticket. Neat, huh?

But this practice relies on your mileage program allowing stopvoers as part of award tickets and several airline mileage programs have taken away the allowable stopover — in the process eliminating the “free one-way.”

United still allows stopovers on roundtrip awards. So you can still have a free one-way on a roundtrip United award.

Alaska Airlines allows stopovers on one-way international awards. That means you can do a free one-way in both directions, although for most people it will be more useful on the return. (Throwing in an ‘extra’ Hong Kong – Bangkok segment to use later is going to have limited usefulness for most.)

If the miles you’re using are in a program that permits stopovers, and you aren’t otherwise going to use the stopover in your itinerary, consider adding on an extra flight segment to the end of your itinerary for use alter on.

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. Since Alaska Airlines was mentioned, I got to wonder who does the routes planning. If I want to fly from St. Louis to Las Vegas, the first stop will be some airport on the west coast. However, other airlines fly direct and at a cheaper price.

    So does Alaske Airlines use a partner for flights over to Asia?

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