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Positioning Flights: What You Need to Know

Positioning Flights: What You Need to Know

Positioning flights are a tool used by savvy Miles & Points enthusiasts to access an award or cash flight that departs away from your home airport.

When used strategically, positioning flights can save you miles, points, or cash, and they should definitely be a part of your overall strategy to unlock more award redemption possibilities.

In this guide, we’ll do a deep dive into what positioning flights are, how to use them strategically, and how to navigate the many complexities associated with them..

What Are Positioning Flights?

Positioning flights are meant to bring you to a destination away from your home airport, so you’re able to access your primary onward flights. You may need them at the beginning, middle, or end of your main flight itinerary, depending on the booking.

You may also need to use positioning flights to connect to other modes of transport, such as cruises; however, for this guide, we’ll focus on positioning flights for connecting to other flights.

When booking award flights, you might need a positioning flight if you’re not able to find award availability from your home airport. Canadians are often faced with this conundrum, as there’s generally more award availability and flights in general to and from airports in the US.

There’s generally more award availability in the US than Canada, necessitating positioning flights

Meanwhile, if you’re flying on a cash ticket, positioning flights are useful for when you find a cheaper flight originating from an airport other than your home airport.

After all, flights are generally cheaper from major hubs, where several competitors vie for passenger traffic. If you’re not living near one of these key airports, you’ll likely need to use positioning flights regularly.

Most importantly, positioning flights are necessary due to most airlines’ adherence to the “must fly in sequence” principle. This means that you must show up for the flights on your tickets in sequence as stated in your itinerary. Otherwise, you run the risk of invalidating the unused portions of your trip.

For example, let’s say you want to fly from Toronto to Paris, and you find that a non-stop Toronto–Paris ticket costs more in points than a New York–Toronto–Paris ticket, based on dynamic pricing.

Looking at the second option, you might think that you could save some miles or points by booking this route, skipping the New…

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