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.