During last weekend’s Masterclass, I took participants through how they could use stopovers to maximize their miles across two vacations, or explore more places on a single vacation. I wanted to write a summary article for the two scenarios plus throw in a third that someone reminded me about after the session.
A stopover is a break in the journey of more than 24 hours. Before we begin, let’s quickly recap the stopover allowances on award tickets:
Remember that you can have a maximum of 3 stopovers on any award ticket. A stopover can be a maximum of 1 year, but if you can only book it online if you’re booking a return saver or advantage award, or a one-way advantage award, and even then only for a maximum duration of 30 days.
If you want to book a longer stopover than that, or add a stopover to a one-way saver award, you’ll need to call up Krisflyer membership services.
What can you use a stopover for?
2 cities on 2 vacations
This is the classic example we covered previously in the $100 stopover trick, so I won’t go into too much detail again here.
The idea is simple: instead of booking two separate saver awards for two separate vacations, you plan in advance where you’d like to head after your current vacation. Then, when you fly back to Singapore, book a saver award from CURRENT VACATION CITY to NEXT VACATION CITY with Singapore as a stopover.
In this example, your first vacation is in Tokyo, your second vacation is in Sydney. When it’s time to come home to Singapore from Tokyo, you book a HND-SIN-SYD saver award with a stopover in Singapore. You fly home to Singapore, carry out your normal life, go to work, read The Milelion, get fired for reading The Milelion at work, then you fly over to Sydney for your second vacation later in the year.
These awards, if bought individually, would cost 145,000 miles + S$100 of taxes (65,000 miles + S$33 from HND-SIN, 80,000 miles + S$67 from SIN-SYD, First Class Saver assumed). If bought as one award, it costs 105,000 miles + S$100 of taxes + US$100 stopover fee. You’re saving 40,000 miles for US$100 additional.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t locked in the date of your second vacation just yet- when booking your ticket you can put SIN-SYD up to 1 year from the date you fly from HND-SIN. Subsequently, you can move that SIN-SYD date with no penalty (after 1 May it will cost US$25 per date change).
In other words:
- On 1 Jan 2018, I book HND-SIN-SYD with HND-SIN on 1 March 2018. The latest I can put SIN-SYD at this point in time is 1 Jan 2019
- I fly HND-SIN on 1 March 2018 and am now back in Singapore. Now, I can change my SIN-SYD route up to a maximum of 1 March 2019
HND-SIN-SYD is just one example, of course, and there are many different permutations out there. I’ve given a few more useful ideas in my other post. How do you know what routes you can book? You can start by taking a look at the award chart. If you see a blank figure between two zones, it means that combination isn’t possible. For example, Zone 3 to Zone 5 is blank, which means I can’t do BKK-SIN (stopover)- PVG. Similarly, Zone 6 to Zone 4 is blank, so I can’t do BOM-SIN (stopover)-HKG
This method helps you conserve your precious miles, assuming you’re ok with locking in the destination of your second vacation in advance.
One other important thing to note. If you’ve flown the first leg of your journey (eg HND-SIN in our example), your ticket now counts as a partially consumed ticket and cannot be refunded or rerouted (i.e I can’t change my mind and do SIN-MEL instead).
2 cities on 1 vacation
I’ve not written about this on the site before, but even if you want to take your vacations one at a time, a stopover can help you enjoy a bonus city en route to your final destination.
The map below shows the destinations served by Singapore Airlines out of Singapore that involve a stopover en route. The stopover cities are in the black boxes.
If you’re flying:
- Hong Kong, en route to San Francisco
- Seoul, en route to Los Angeles
- Frankfurt, en route to New York
- Narita, en route to Los Angeles
- Manchester, en route to Houston
- Canberra, en route to Wellington (until 30 April)
- Melbourne, en route to Wellington (from 3 May)
- Moscow, en route to Stockholm
You can arrange for a stopover en route to your final destination. Here are the permutations:
- If I’ve booked a one way saver award from SIN-HKG-SFO/SFO-HKG-SIN, I can book a stopover in Hong Kong going to/from SFO for US$100 (0 free stopovers)
- If I’ve booked a one way advantage award from SIN-HKG-SFO/SFO-HKG-SIN, I can book a stopover in Hong Kong going to/from SFO for free (1 free stopover)
- If I’ve booked a round trip saver award from SIN-HKG-SFO-HKG-SIN, I can book a free stopover in Hong Kong either going to SFO or from SFO at no additional cost. Or I could pay US$100 to get two HKG stopovers in total to and from SFO if I were so inclined (1 free stopover)
- If I’ve booked a round trip advantage award from SIN-HKG-SFO-HKG-SIN, I can book a free stopover in Hong Kong going to SFO or from SFO at no additional cost (2 free stopovers)
Although Singapore Airlines flies to Cape Town via Johannesburg, you won’t be able to do a stopover in JNB because Singapore Airlines does not have fifth freedom rights to transport passengers between CPT and JNB. You couldn’t do a stopover in Milan en route to Barcelona for the same reason.
3 cities on 2 vacations
There is a third possibility. There is nothing stopping me from visiting 3 cities on 2 vacations, where I cover 1 city on the first vacation and 2 cities on my second.
In the example below, my first vacation is to Sydney, and my second vacation is to Hong Kong and San Francisco. On the way back from Sydney, I book a one-way saver award from SYD-SIN-HKG-SFO, with a stopover in Singapore and a stopover in HKG. This will cost US$200 in total (2x US$100 stopovers).
Remember that a Krisflyer award has a maximum allowance of 3 stopovers, but it’s difficult to see how you’d fully utilize all 3 given that the most stopovers any SQ has on any route is 1.
Edit: As Ken points out on the comments, you could do 3 stopovers if you flew WLG-MEL-SIN-HKG-SFO
With some careful planning, stopovers can be one of the best features of the Krisflyer program. It’s a little confusing at first but hopefully this post helps you mentally get your bearings.