More Flexibility & A Stopover With Avios
Over Labor Day weekend I was in Kansas City and the surrounding areas riding roller coasters. It was a great time with friends, but alas I had to leave at some point. My next stop after Kansas City was to be Miami, for a cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, The Getaway.
My goal for booking the flight from Kansas City to Miami was to use American Airlines miles. I have an abundance of them and since I was booking last minute, as a Platinum Aadvantage member I don’t have to pay a close-in booking fee.
Our coaster trip ended on Tuesday afternoon, so I was looking to fly out around 3 or 4pm. Unfortunately American doesn’t fly directly between the two cities, so my only options were to arrive around Midnight Tuesday or leave on Wednesday morning and get to Miami late in the afternoon.
Thankfully I found another way. I was effectively able to book a stopover with Avios. The shortest routing for my trip was from MCI-DFW and DFW-FLL. (I could have gone to Miami, however I am meeting a friend and FLL is closer to him.) What I did was book these flights separately with Avios since British Airways doesn’t charge a close-in fee for anyone.
Booking the Stopover With Avios
American Airlines charges 12,500 miles for a one-way coach ticket while British Airways charges per segment based on distance. MCI-DFW is 4,500 Avios and DFW-FLL is 7,500 Avios. Together that comes to 12,000 which still isn’t a bad deal and is 500 less than what AA charges.
By booking these two flights separately, I was able to fly to DFW on Tuesday night and stay in the Hyatt Regency at the airport. I then caught the first flight of the morning on Wednesday to FLL, arriving at 11am. Effectively I booked a stopover with Avios and could have stayed in Dallas as long as I wanted before moving on to Fort Lauderdale.
There is one down side to this strategy. I did have to pay the TSA $5.60 fee twice, but I felt it was worth it. I was able to spend the night in a hotel that I like and get to my destination at a convenient time.
Thinking outside of the box is sometimes required to solve problems when booking award travel. While I still could have booked with AA and arrived a midnight or late the next day, by splitting up my flights I found a solution that worked for me. In my situation this stopover with Avios was only for one night, however since the flights are booked in seperate segments, you can make it as long as you would like.
Have you ever used Avios or another program in a unique way to solve a problem? Let me know in the comments!