I will first walk you through the steps of booking a round trip award ticket in the United States. Then I will proceed to show you how to book travel overseas and explain how to include a free stopover or “open jaw” on your journey. An open jaw is when you leave from one airport and return to a different one.

Booking a domestic award ticket on United:

Begin by entering your travel origin and destination, followed by the dates you wish to travel. If you are flexible and would like to search an entire month for best availability, then click on “my dates are flexible.” Make sure you click “award travel” before searching for your flights. Also, it is advisable to sign in to your United account before searching, as United sometimes displays more award availability for those with the United card.

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Once you click on “search,” a calendar will show you dates highlighted in 4 potential colors. White means there is no saver award availability, yellow means there is economy saver award availability, green means there is saver award availability in economy, business, and first, while blue means there is saver availability in business and first.

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Find the date you would like to travel and select a flight that fits your schedule.

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I will select the 12,500 mile option for a direct flight at an economy award saver level.

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For the return I will also select a 12,500-mile option and the grand total of the trip will come out 25,000 points and $5. If you book your flight with miles within three weeks, then United will charge you $80 instead of $5 on top of the miles.

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Proceed to fill out your traveler information and book the flight for you, a family member, or a friend! You may cancel the ticket at any time within 24 hours of the booking. You may also change the date of your ticket, as long as it’s more than 3 weeks from your departure for free.

I will now show you how to book a multi-destination trip, to take advantage of a free stopover to Europe. You may do this for economy, business, or first class, but I will show you how to book it in economy.

First click on the multiple destinations link, next to the round trip and one-way options. Once you do that, you will come to a page that looks like this.

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Make sure to click on award travel at the bottom.

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You will then come to the same calendar option to book your flights. You will choose the award saver economy ticket for each leg of the journey.

From JFK-Frankfurt

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From Frankfurt-Athens

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From Athens-JFK

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Thus, you will reach your itinerary of 60,000 miles + $214.70. The taxes vary depending on what airports you are flying to in your journey. Some airports like London tend to charge more taxes while other charge less.

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For an open jaw ticket: Let’s say you would like to fly from Newark to Paris and fly back to Newark from Rome. You would click on “multiple destinations” again and fill out the form to look like this:

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Make sure to click on “award travel” at the bottom before proceeding with your search. You will then select your departure flight in saver award economy.

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And your return leg:

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Your full itinerary:

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Another option for “open jaw” itineraries is to leave from one airport and return to a different one. For example you could fly from Newark to Paris and then Paris to Los Angeles. Just use the same multiple destination method shown above.