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A Recap of Rules for Stopovers on Award Tickets to Hawaii

The whole OTR family is heading off to Hawaii (Brady Bunch style?) in August, and I’ve booked the award on United with a 3-day stopover to visit some friends in Los Angeles on the way back to New York.

The rules about stopovers on award tickets to Hawaii vary pretty significantly for each airline, so I thought I’d recap it here:

ALASKA
Alaska Airlines allows TWO stopovers per roundtrip ticket, or ONE stopover for a one-way ticket (this is true for all of their destinations). This is quite generous, as you’ll see from the other airlines below.

AMERICAN
American treats Hawaii as part of the US, so they do not permit a stopover (even at a gateway city). You can’t even do a fake stopover (ie, less than 24 hours) because American only allows a 4-hour stop as part of a domestic ticket (international tickets allow a 24 hour stop without counting as an award ticket).

DELTA
Delta allows a stopover on an award ticket, though this is just kinda hilarious because good luck finding availability to Hawaii, especially in business class.

UNITED
The fine folks at United do not allow free stopovers on award tickets in the lower 48 and Alaska but, lo and behold, Hawaii is treated more like an international destination. You are permitted both one stopover AND a double open jaw (ie, you can book Newark-Honolulu-LAX-Philadelphia). I would call that “two one-ways,” but you are free to call it a double open jaw (it’s a double open jaw because you cannot book a stopover if you’re just going one way). In any case, this is ridiculously generous.

That said, there’s another way of looking at this: United charges 80,000 miles roundtrip for a business class award to Hawaii. Singapore only requires 60,000 miles (you can transfer in via Starwood or Membership Rewards). However, you cannot do a stopover using Singapore miles. In other words, the “free” stopover is costing you 20,000 miles on a ticket to Hawaii. Just saying.

One other thing to note: You can tack on a one-way trip to Hawaii to a roundtrip international award ticket for just 5,000 miles in coach or 7,500 in business. In other words, if you book a round trip business class ticket from New York to London. You can “stopover” in New York as long as you’d like (up to a year) and continue on to Hawaii for just 5,000 additional miles in coach (or 7500 in Biz).

US AIRWAYS
You are allowed a stopover at a US Airways gateway city for Hawaii Award tickets.

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  1. From the East Coast of the USA, I’ve noticed that Hawaii has become a very difficult award ticket to get, at least at low mileage levels. This is true even for very “sophisticated” frequent flyers.

    Surprisingly, the problem isn’t so much availability to Hawaii (availability isn’t great on those flights, but you can usually find something if you comb through the schedules). The bigger problem now is getting to the Hawaiian gateway city from the East Coast. It’s just very hard to match up available seats. On some airlines, this has been a problem for years (I once encountered 100s of unavailable routings on DL), but lately it’s become a “big problem” on the more generous airlines, like Alaska. In this regard, having an allowable “stopver” could help; even if you don’t want to stop over, it increases your chances of finding flights that will get you there.

  2. Can you get the Alaska Airline stopovers if you use AS miles for AA tickets?

    • Yes – generally the rules of the redeeming carrier apply (ie, you can redeem for a one-way on US Airways using United miles, even though US Airways does not allow one-way redemptions.

  3. This just came in very handy. THANKS!!!

  4. Where did you see the rules for AS? Could you please give me a link? Thanks!!!

  5. Is it possible to book such ticket with AS miles, say MIA-SEA on AA and continue to HNL by AS a few days later?

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