The multi-city cheaper flight trick still works (Update: Maybe Not).


UPDATE 9/22/15 11:42 am: While I’ve successfully booked these multi-city discounted fares in the past, it no longer seems to be possible to book them.  For example, the discounted fares show up on, but when you click through to book, the system generates an error.

In April, I published “Cheaper flights through multi-city search.”  In that post I showed how changing a flight search from a simple one-way or round-trip search to a multi-city search can sometimes save you money.  While this has been known to happen with United and Delta, it seems most prevalent with American Airlines.  I ran across the same thing yesterday…

I recently decided to attend and present at TravelCon II in Vegas on November 7th (details here).  So, I took a look at flight prices.  Once I subtracted out Spirit Airlines, I found that prices were higher than usual.  $461 on Delta, and $426 on Southwest.

cheaper flight DTW-LAS

cheaper flight SWA_DTW-LAS

American Airlines was looking especially expensive: $539.

cheaper flight DTW-LAS

The AA flight had a layover in Phoenix.  What if I changed from a round-trip search to a multi-city search and explicitly added Phoenix as an intermediate destination?  Much better!  Only $366 round trip!

cheaper flight DTW-PHX-LAS-PHX-DTW

I tried out a few different intermediate cities and found that I could drop the price a tiny bit by swapping in Los Angeles for Phoenix on the outbound part of the trip:

cheaper flight DTW-LAX-LAS-PHX-DTW

This option would involve more flying and an additional stop on the outbound part of the trip.  Most sane people would prefer the single stop option through Phoenix, but those working towards elite status may find value in adding additional elite qualifying miles for free with the LAX routing.

Booking the flight

It’s easy to find these multi-city prices within Google Flights and then to click through to American Airlines to book them.  In my previous post (Cheaper flights through multi-city search) I mentioned that I was also able to replicate the multi-city prices within Orbitz.  Unfortunately, I’ve still had no luck replicating this trick with the Citi ThankYou flight search engine.  Nor could I get it to work with the US Bank FlexPerks flight search engine.

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As noted on FT, DL is smart enough to prevent “circumvention of married segment logic.” See CoC for more details.

Obviously IT isn’t UA’s strong suit :0

Looks like AA has finally joined the party 🙁

[…] found something else interesting that I wanted to explore more.  In the meantime, I published: “The multi-city cheaper flight trick still works.”  That was a mistake!  It turned out that even though the prices could be found on, […]


Why did you bother to write this article if you never bothered to go through the trouble of actually booking married segments? I know that this trick doesn’t work on AA and Delta from booking actual paid tickets. Do you actually fly anymore?

It really sounds like you have run out of material to blog about.


same here. even doing a multi-city search on the AA website, keeps repricing in an endless circle. i actually CALLED them and asked them to book it… both tech support and a ticketing agent were having similar issues. they said they can see the flights, and select them, but when they go to book, it craps out.

not sure if its a bug or the inventory/pricing is moving too fast for it to keep up


This worked for me today on United. I saved around $100. If I had picked a more expensive day to fly, it would have been more. Thanks!


I’ve found lately that AA won’t price almost anything correctly unless you find it via search on their website. Almost none of the crazy routings I found on ITA ever price correctly.


Did this trick only work when trying to book the whole thing at once? Splitting the multi-city into two separate bookings could be an option to still get the better prices and be bookable.


Well, I look forward to learning how this ends up working for you. For me, I luck out as there is a ULCC that flies right from my hometown to Las Vegas. 148 bucks round trip. (NO luggage or extras selected, just me and my fat ass in a seat) I can tolerate almost anything for a couple hours to save a couple hundred bucks!

Now to find the cheapest lodging I can within walking distance of the Monte Carlo!


Like some others here, I just tried doing this for AA and can’t get it to price at all. I get to the screen to enter information and can’t get past that point – it keeps getting repriced so it never continues.


Same experience here. Found great pricing on Google Flights & Kayak. Google won’t click thru to DL. Kayak will, but at the very final stage it re-prices. Orbitz will price the itinerary, but it bombs out every time during final processing. I really wish this worked, as the pricing is fantastic.

[…] Frequent Miler reminds us how to get a cheaper flight from the same airport by including nearby cities. […]


AA is doing some weird things with their pricing. I am finding quite a few cases where buying two one ways is much cheaper than buying the same flights on one return ticket.


Don’t get too excited about this. I found these are sometimes phantom options. Especially with AA, you can see those very low price on google flights but if you click through, AA will get you into a loop and reprice the thing back and forth. Those prices are often not found through other online search system.


While this appears to work on Delta, no matter how many times I’ve tried, it always ends up repricing on the last page.


Bery Bery interdasting