Yesterday, I talked about how to book a stopover on an American Airlines award online. Booking an award with a stopover online saves time and money, so today I want to explain how to book a stopover on a United award online.
The main limitation when trying to book an award with a stopover online is that you can only book awards online when the airline whose miles you’re using loads the availability of the partner whose planes you want to fly. Here United is great, since united.com has most of United’s partners searchable and bookable for awards.
The first thing to do is go to united.com and click on the Multiple Destinations link at the top of the flight search box. I’ve highlighted it in this image.
Clicking Multiple Destinations will bring you to a lengthy form like this one:
Everything I’ll discuss on the form is highlighted with a red box. First make sure Multiple Destinations is selected. Now you’ll have to type in the destinations and stopover. United allows one stopover and two open jaws, but only on roundtrips. On oneways, you can’t have any stopovers.
When you have a stopover, there will be three city pairs to type in. Only two places for city pairs appear on the form, so click the Add Another Flight to Your Trip link.
Now if your stopover is on the outbound, type in Origin to Stopover, Stopover to Destination, Destination to Origin in the three city pair fields.
If the stopover is on the return, type in Origin to Destination, Destination to Stopover, Stopover to Origin in the three city pair fields.
Do not type in segment by segment. I’ll use an example that I just booked for a client. He wanted to fly Honolulu to Los Angeles and have a stopover for a few days. He wanted to continue Los Angeles to Quito. Then he wanted to return Lima to Honolulu. He used both his free stopover and an open jaw, and I typed in HNL-LAX, LAX-UIO, and LIM-HNL into the three city pair fields.
Put in the dates, the number of passengers, and finally near the bottom, select Award Travel. Next click Search. You will be brought to a screen like this one:
Our first city pair was HNL-LAX, so we’ve got a screen to select our Honolulu to Los Angeles itinerary. At the top are two calendars, showing the availability for two months along this route. To the left of the calendars is the key for the calendars. And below them is where we select itineraries.
Astute United award bookers will notice something is missing from the itineraries: their prices in miles and dollars. When choosing a multi-city itinerary, the prices don’t display until all legs are selected. But if you select Saver Award spaces for every segment, it will price correctly at the Saver Award level.
One thing to note is that on the day I have selected, there is no saver business space. The calendar shows I could choose a different date with saver business space, but if I really want to go this day, I can only choose save coach space.
That means I should also choose saver coach space on the next screen for Los Angeles to Quito. But on the way back from Lima to Honolulu, I can choose business, and United will price it correctly as one way in coach, one way in business. But for this post, I’ve selected an all coach itinerary
After selecting itineraries for all three portions of your itinerary, a confirmation screen comes up that look like this:
I’ve highlighted the dates to show that this Honolulu to South America award has a free stopover in Los Angeles for one week. This itinerary also includes an open jaw since we’re flying into Quito, but leaving from Lima. (Bonus tip: To get around within South America, we will definitely want to fly LAN, paying with BA Avios. Because Avios is a distance based chart, most of our flights will only be 4,500 or 7,500 Avios plus taxes and no surcharge.)
The price is 45,000 United miles and $58. United has a different award chart for to/from Hawaii and to/from continental US. If this itinerary had been just Los Angeles to South America with a free stopover in Houston, say, it would only have cost 30,000 miles roundtrip.
Now you should understand the steps necessary to book a free stopover online using United miles, avoiding the $25 phone fee and the hassles and delays of calling up. Where will you stopover?
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