Last week I wrote a post abut flying to South America for only 15,000 AAdvantage miles more than a MileSAAver economy reward flight costs. That is possible because of the power of American Airlines flex one-way stopover rule aka the North American Gateway City rule.
This rule is widely known across the reward travel community as the rule of North American Gateway City. It is often used as a way to crank up the value on your AAdvantage miles reward flights for international trips.
The exact rule is as follows:
Q: Do one-way awards include any stopovers?
A: Awards between North America and Europe, India, Asia, and Central / South America allow a stopover at the North American gateway. However, other one-way awards do not allow stopovers.
You only get a free stopover on international itineraries and the free flight has to be to/from the airport you leave North America from on said international trip. When you fly from New York to Lima with a connecting flight from Miami to Lima then Miami is your North American gateway city that you have to route to/from on your free flight.
Think of it as the gatekeeper for international travel, your first point of entry in North America becomes the gateway city. Your last point of exit from North America to one of the international destinations listed above becomes the gateway city.
(Side note: The sole exception to the above stated rules applies when a flight continues to a second North American airport without changing the flight number.)