Reader Question: Stopovers on US Airways Awards

Reader C.M. asks:

Are Genoa and Istanbul both considered part of the same region (Europe) for USAirways? I was trying to book a multi destination trip, with one stop Genoa… (Phoenix -Genoa / Genoa – Istanbul / Istanbul – Phoenix)

It was bookable on the United website, but the USAirways agent told me that Genoa and Istanbul are in the same region (Europe) and therefore not bookable as one ticket. She could see the availability, but checked with the help desk and said they could not book it.

The agent (and their help desk) misunderstood the airline’s award rules.

To answer your question, yes, both cities are in the same region (Europe).

But the rule is you cannot have a stopover when an award is WHOLLY within the same region (ie you start in Europe and end in Europe). In this case your award is between regions (North America-Europe) and so are permitted a stopover.

Here’s the Dividend Miles member guide. What you’re interested in is the section on stopovers. In particular,

Stopovers are not permitted when travel is within one award region or for multi-city travel.

Call again and you will probably find an agent that lets you ticket this the way you want.

That said, though, technically your award is not permitted by US Airways rules for a different reason — your stopover may only be in a Star ALliance hub city when traveling on Star Alliance partners. Genoa doesn’t qualify.

For travel outside the continental U.S., Canada and Alaska, 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).

This rule, however, is also rarely enforced.

In my experience US Airways agents generally don’t know their own rules, or geography for that matter, so the rule is very much “hang up, call back” and you can usually get what you’re after if it’s at all close to something that’s permissable.

Last year I wrote a guide to booking awards with US Airways Dividend 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. Excellent advice. I’ve had the “Star Alliance hub rule” pulled on me exactly once in over 30 transactions this year…

  2. have you or read any instances where they actually made a mistake in your favor? like giving a stopover on a same region award ticket?

  3. Could C.M. satisfy the “hub requirement” by going NA-IST-Genoa-NA, making IST the *A hub?

  4. @jfhscott – technically no, that would still be a Genoa stopover, just on the return instead of the outbound. Istanbul is the destination because it is ‘point of turnaround’.

  5. Gary, I have a question regarding open jaw when booking with US (for inter-regional travel by partners). If I go A to B then (open jaw) C to D (destination), then D to A, BCD are in the same region. Is this a valid route? US agents kept telling me that it is illegal though they allow one stopover or open jaw in addition to destination?

  6. Another possible routing: A to B (transfer) to C (stopover at partner hub), to B (destination) to A, is that allowable?

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