Update 12/9: Free stopovers on Flying Blue award tickets are now live(ish). Currently, the only way to book them is via the Flying Blue call center (800-375-8723) and it’s only valid on tickets that are entirely on Air France/KLM metal. Eventually, the ability to incorporate partners and book online will be added, but there’s no firm dates as to when either is expected to happen. It’s also worth noting that it appears that not all Flying Blue phone agents are trained on the process for adding a stopover, so it may be necessary to ask for a supervisor and/or hang up and call again.
Free or low-cost stopovers are a rare, but very valuable, feature of award programs. A free stopover on a one-way award means that you can enjoy two destinations for the price of one.
Alaska Airlines is one of the best-known examples. For example, you can book an award ticket from New York to San Diego via Seattle and stop in Seattle for as long as you want without having to pay for an additional ticket. When booking partner awards, I’ve used this feature for extended stays in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Europe on the way to South Africa, The Maldives, etc.
Air Canada’s Aeroplan offers the abiity to build in a stopover on a one-way itinerary for only 5,000 additional miles and it’s one of the main reasons it’s among Nick’s favorite award programs.
Today, on a webinar, Air France-KLM Flying Blue announced that it plans to introduce free stopovers on award tickets as well. There weren’t many details provided, but it sounds as if free stopovers will be available on any available one-way award flight, regardless of pricing.
Flying Blue is one of the most “promiscuous” transfer partners out there as it participates in 1-1 transfers with all of the major transferable currencies (Amex, Capital One, Chase and Citi). As a result, it can be an incredibly useful program, especially for transatlantic travel.
Its hubs are in Paris (Air France) and Amsterdam (KLM), so free stopovers would open up both of those cities as destinations on the way to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and beyond. Also, because those cities are well-connected with cheap trains and flights to the rest of Europe, it would even be possible to cheaply and easily travel further afield on your “stopover” as well.
After watching the webinar, I’m not clear as to whether or not free stopovers will be allowed on partner awards, or just those that are on Air France and/or KLM metal. Usually an airline’s stopover policy covers awards on partners as well. If that’s the case, having access to free stopovers on the entire SkyTeam alliance could be marvelous indeed, opening up very intriguing possibilites with carriers like Korean Air, Garuda Indonesia and China Eastern.
I’m also not sure whether or not awards booked with the monthly Flying Blue Promo Awards will be eligible for free stopvers. These promo awards can offer excellent value between the US and Europe…having free stopovers included would be sweet indeed.
We’ll all be eagerly awaiting more news about this development, but at minimum, it looks incredibly positive. Stay tuned.
(h/t:One Mile at a Time)
If I booked award flights in fall 2022 (prior to this) for flights in Oct 2023, anyone know if KLM would be willing to change my 4 hour AMS layover into a 2 day layover on the way to IST? Thanks
Thanks for posting this. I called in and was able to get a stopover in Paris for a few nights on my JFK-CDG-VIE trip. It was 2k more points to add on the CDG-VIE leg, but no extra charge for the 3 days stopover.
Great! What was the process like on the phone to book the stopover? I haven’t done it yet.
Think you guys reversed the 7 and 3 digits on the FB number.
Thanks, got it fixed.
can i fly from nyc-bcn with a 10 day stopover in fco?
My assumption would be no, because of the routing (you would go NYC-CDG-FCO-CDG-BCN). That said, we haven’t received detailed rules on the stopovers yet, so you could call them and give it a shot.
It will open some cool options for sure. Nice & easy to earn the points.
Free stopover on a ticket costing 200k Miles and $200-$300 in yq.
Yeah, it will all depend on if the stopovers apply to savers and promo awards…we’ll see.
I’m sure they will apply to saver, just good luck finding saver. Lately it’s a lot of 100k-200k coach flight options, and large surcharges as cherry on top.
KL sales/marketing reps in Europe have been spreading this news earlier this fall during invitee events.
Given what I’ve been seeing for last-minute regular paid air fare purchases for AMS-CPH on KL, I’m not expecting the mileage ticket pricing to be all that great when they start allowing for “free” stopovers.
Interesting. I’ll be very interested to see the full details once they come out
AF often routes award flights to Tahiti through Paris. JFK-CDG-PPT was a route I almost booked for 37,000 flying blue miles but decided to go with with Air Tahiti Nui after award space opened up.
With a free stopover in Paris, I just might be willing to do that
I thought the same thing…that could be a pretty epic trip!
usa>French>French=Wow and cheap too.I had No idea was Tinking all went WEST from ORD..Tanks
If it IS applicable to partner award tickets, you can bet that Delta will find a way to kill it.
Delta already found a way to kill it. DL has really managed to kill off a lot of the mileage space it used to make available for AF-KL mileage tickets at then “standard” award ticket prices for DL flights using AF-KL miles. It’s never been the same since, when trying to use AF-KL miles for DL-operated flights.