American Airlines recently made huge changes to its award chart and award rules. In short, AAnytime Award prices are increasing, stopovers at North American gateway cities are no longer allowed, and Explorer Awards are no longer available. Luckily they did not increase the prices of MileSAAver awards, however the off-peak and peak awards are now called level 1 and level 2 awards.
Many folks found it to be a huge blow to not be able to book stopovers at North American gateway city. This was a huge mile saver, especially when it was booked at the off-peak award level. It was possible to fly to from the US to Europe and have a stopover for 40,0000 miles round trip.
While American Airlines got rid of its stopovers, the truth its still possible with this small trick and will benefit anyone racking up Alaska Airline miles. You can still book an Alaska Airlines partner award on American Airlines flights and get stopovers at North American gateway cities. These partner awards cost the same amount of miles as American Airlines’ award chart, and include off-peak pricing.
It’s always interesting when one airline updates it’s award chart or rules to see how the effects ripple across different programs. This time when American Airlines made these changes it actually made it potentially more valuable to redeem Alaska miles on AA flights than it would be to use AA miles. This is because Alaska Airlines prices out each partner award depending on the airline you are flying on, and they have some of the most generous stopover rules.
This means that you can still book a round trip economy award to Europe for 40,000 miles and get 2 stopovers at North American gateway cities using Alaska partner awards with American Airlines. It’s the same price in miles as using AA miles, the difference is that you are using Alaska Airlines miles instead of American Airlines miles and are still allowed stopovers.
Leverage American Airline’s Off-peak Price and Alaska’s Generous Stopover Rules
Using Alaska Airlines miles you can still book awards at American Airlines off-peak prices and get a stopover in each direction. On Alaska awards you can only fly on one partner airline in addition to Alaska, so this means only have to fly on American Airlines. But, you should be able to have a stopover at any connecting city that American Airlines flies through. Here are a few examples to better illustrate this.
20k + $17.50 for a one-way award to Europe with a stopover
I priced out a one way to Europe and it allowed me to have a stopover in a North American gateway city. The total award at the off-peak award price came to 20,000 miles and $17.50 in taxes and fees. This shows that there is still a way to add stopovers to AA’s lower off-peak award prices.
40k + $126.10 for a round trip award to europe with 2 stopovers in the US
The second award I priced out was a round trip to Europe with two stopovers at North American gateway cities. This was also a partner award on American Airlines priced out at the off-peak level.
The bottom line is that you can use Alaska Airlines miles to book partner awards on American Airlines at the same prices that American Airlines charges, but you can still have stopovers at North American gateway cities. The biggest benefit of this is that you can book Alaska Airlines awards at AA’s off-peak pricing and add a stopover on each one-way. This is obviously limited to using your Alaska miles to fly on American Airlines, but means that cheap off-peak award prices with stopovers on AA flights are alive and well over at Alaska Airlines.