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The conventional wisdom is that visiting more destinations will cost more Points /Miles. On the face of it that makes perfect sense, but the reality is you can sometimes save Miles with stopovers en route to your final destination by booking multiple awards.
There are some classic Avios examples of this, like LA to Sydney, which would normally require 50,000 Avios in Economy, but only 37,500 if you stopover for as long as you like in Hawaii. So, you get to check out Hawaii and save 12,500 Avios – nice!
I was reminded of this point recently when I was looking at Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Star Alliance award chart sweetspots. In that article I mentioned that you can fly Return between Europe and the Middle East/North Africa region for 35,000/50,000/70,000 KrisFlyer Miles in Economy/Business/First, respectively, on Singapore’s Star Alliance partners. What I didn’t mention was that stopping off in the Middle East can actually make getting to East Asia cheaper too!
As you can see on the Krisflyer Star Alliance award chart here, Europe to South East Asia 1 + 2 [1) Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore. 2) Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam] requires 90,000/160,00/215,000 Miles for a Return in Economy/Business/First.
You only need 70,000/100,000/140,000 Miles between the Middle East and South East Asia 1+2, and as I just mentioned, the Miles required between Europe and the Middle East are 35,000/50,000/70,000. Add those together and you get 105,000/150,000/210,000 Miles.
In Economy you would therefore be paying 15,000 more Miles to stop over (in each direction) in the Middle East region, but you would pay 10,000 fewer Miles in Business and 5,000 fewer Miles in First Class.
Remember that those prices are for Return trips too – you can book one-ways for half the Miles. I think that 75,000 Miles for Business Class to the Middle East (for as long as you like) and then onto Indonesia (for example) is a great price!
More advanced version
You can take the basic principle to another level by mixing up different types of Miles (or cheap cash fares) to link sweetspots together. This post is just meant to be a quick reminder to think flexibly when it comes to Points / Miles so I won’t go into too much detail, but here’s one great example:
Getting to places like South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles or Madagascar can be difficult and expensive, regardless of whether you use cash or Miles.
The good news is that many award charts have good value redemptions within Africa and getting to Morocco (for example) from the UK is cheap and easy – and when I say cheap, I mean like £50 Return cheap!
If we then take a look at the United Plus MileagePlus award chart, from the Northern Africa region (which includes the Canaries by the way, if you can’t find cheap flights to Morocco or just fancy visiting there instead) to the Central & South Africa region (which includes all the countries I mentioned above and many others), is just 17,500 Miles one-way in Economy or 35,000 Miles in Business Class.
You can get a free stopover on Return redemptions with MileagePlus too, so could potentially visit South Africa and Mauritius on the same trip, for example, on top of Morocco/Canaries/etc
Obviously, more flights means more airport taxes / fees (and possibly surcharges) and sometimes you just want the most direct route, so these sort of stopovers don’t always make sense.
Personally though, I love being able to see more places and if it saves me some Miles – even better!
Have you spotted any similar examples where you can save Miles by splitting your journey, or by starting a redemption in a different region?