Destinations The Basics Travel Guide

Visit Multiple Countries on a Single AA Award – Easily!

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Written by Charlie

Find out how you can turn your next award ticket into a free way to visit multiple countries along the way! It is not only free but also easy as the airlines will often give you those options automatically!

Using airline miles for planned stopovers is not what it used to be as they have severely cut that down. Still, it is possible to visit multiple countries on a single award – in fact, AA will even do the planning for you!

Visit Multiple Countries on a Single Award – American Airlines’ Style

One of my favorite countries that I have visited was Iceland. It was just a beautiful, quiet place that I had thoroughly enjoyed. I had made plans a couple of times to go back there but they never worked out. Recently, I was checking out my AA options to go back there and take my family with me so they could enjoy the country as well. Instead of a quick trip, AA’s award engine wanted to let me visit multiple countries on a single award.

AA awards will do this a lot – suggest award itineraries that will have you going quite out of the way and it can often throw interesting cities into the mix. This can be a real help if you would rather not have to think of where to stop or try to find award availability between the various cities.

My Example Flights

So, I searched for a simple Thessaloniki – Reykjavik award ticket. Instead of getting it for just 1 or 2 flights, the options offered to me included the following itinerary.

If you look at it, you will see it gave me some nice layovers:

  • 17 hours in London
  • 23 hours in Paris
  • 23 hours in Berlin

All of that and getting me to my destination for only 12,500 miles and $94!

visit multiple countries

That is a lot of ground for only 12,500 miles!

By letting AA pick for you, you can visit multiple countries on a single award and see as much as possible in a single day – for one award price! Some people like to spend time on their visits while others are more stop-n-go. Rapid Travel Chai (Stefan), one of my favorite blogs, has that travel philosophy and probably does/sees more in a single fast stop than most people who spend longer times in the country! I mean, he did all 7 Emirates in 24 hours! That travel style is more of mine as well (but on a lesser degree) as most of my trips are for a single day and I want to see/do everything I can in a short time.

Why Visit Multiple Countries on a Single Award – Blitz Style?

So, why should you consider visit multiple countries on a single award in such quick fashion?

  • It gives a great chance to see the highlights of a city/country – even if it is not your destination.
  • It allows you to get a quick feel for a place to see if it is someplace that you might want to visit for a longer time at another time.
  • It stretches out the experiences you will be able to have.
  • It lets you see more than just a single place on a trip.
  • It doesn’t cost anymore in miles or money than just going to your destination!

How To Find Such an Itinerary

How do you find such an itinerary?

  • Most award engines are going to give the sorting order for display by either duration or availability.
  • If you go in the reverse and looking for trips offering the longest duration, that can be a big help to giving you a sense of what places might be possible.
  • Consider leaving from a smaller airport as your starting point since it will take more airports/layovers/airlines to help you get to your final destination (plus, you get to visit your starting city!).
  • Search during off-peak seasons as the flights do not operate at the same frequency as during peak travel

Of course, you could always build your own itinerary and feed the flights in but it can be rather exciting to see where the award engine will take you all on its own! Imagine a simple trip turning into something much more!

If you start to plan some trips in this fashion, your travel angst with certain award availabilities will instead turn to excitement since many of the awards that are often left are the ones that have the long layovers or strange itineraries. Just don’t forget to check for the visas you need along the way (though some countries may offer transit visas).

Imagine – you are taking a vacation to some city and you get free and easy layovers of 10-23 hours in cities like Frankfurt, London, Istanbul, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Male (Maldives), Dubai, Abu Dhabi and more! This is a great way to turn a once-dreaded itinerary into a layover adventure!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.