Alaska Airlines miles can now book Icelandair flights. This is something I have hoped for since September when the partnership was announced. Here is the award chart for Icelandair flights with Alaska Airlines miles.
The good news:
- You can book Icelandair flights with Alaska miles between North America and Iceland, North America and Europe, or the opposite direction.
- You can book one way awards.
- You can get one free stopover per one way award. You can get two per roundtrip.
- You can book Medium and High economy award space, and they really aren’t that expensive. I have never seen a partners’ miles be able to book anything other than Low (Saver) space.
The bad news:
- There are fuel surcharges on the award of about $100 per one way.
- You cannot book just Iceland to Europe or vice versa. The award must touch North America.
Icelandair Route Map
Icealandair serves 10 American destinations, 5 Canadian destinations, and 25 European destinations from Reykjavik.
Since I’ll be talking about booking a free stopover in Iceland between the United States and Europe a little later, I should note that this adds very little travel time to your trip. Iceland is only a few hundred miles (30 minutes flying) out of the way on most routes between the United States and Europe. It is only two miles out of the way between Seattle and London.
How to Search Icelandair Award Space
Scroll down on your search results because a connecting flight may be cheaper. In particular, I see great award space out of Edmonton, Canada at the 22,500 mile price in economy.
To see a month of award prices at once, run a regular search. Then on the search box on top of the search results, tick the box to see the Award Calendar and re-run the search.
Rules to Follow on Awards
Remember the basic Alaska Air award rules because you always follow the rules of the miles you’re using:
- You can only fly one partner per direction. You can combine that partner with Alaska Airlines flights if you’d like, but you can’t use separate partners. (Alaska + Icelandair one way is OK; American + Icelandair one way is not.)
- You can book one way awards for half the price of roundtrips.
- You can get a free stopover anywhere en route on each one way.
Add a Stopover
To book an award with a stopover, select Multi-city above your search results.
My search results show a flight from Trondheim, Norway to Reykjavik and a week later on to Denver for 27,500 Alaska miles + $218. That’s the same price you would pay even if you just laid over in Iceland, so the stopover in Iceland is free.
Nothing requires a stopover in Iceland. You could stopover in Seattle or Edmonton or pretty much any other Icelandair gateway to which Alaska Airlines flies if you’d prefer.
Previously Alaska Airlines only collected fuel surcharges on awards that flew British Airways planes. Unfortunately it also collects fuel surcharges on Icelandair flights. One way awards are all over $100 out of pocket.
Of the $289:
- $25 is a fee for using Alaska miles to book a partner
- $76 is taxes
- $188 is fuel surcharges
It’s a bummer that Alaska Airlines has decided to make this cash grab, but it may still be worth using Alaska miles to book Icelandair flights if your other options to Iceland or Europe are not very good.
If you do book Icelandair flights with Alaska miles, pay the taxes and fees with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. The card comes with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days, which you can use for a $400 travel credit. That travel credit can offset the taxes and fees on award tickets, meaning $0 out of pocket for this award.
Other Options to Iceland
You only other options from the United States directly to Iceland are WOW Air and Delta.
WOW Air is a low cost carrier with flights from Baltimore and Boston to Iceland with connections to Europe. Next Summer, it adds flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco. If you live in one of those cities, WOW Air is your best option because fares are often as low as $230 roundtrip, which is cheaper than just the taxes and fuel surcharges on these awards.
Delta flies from New York to Iceland, and seasonally from Minneapolis to Iceland. Award space, as you might expect when we discuss Delta, is very limited.
You can also buy Icelandair flights with cash, but they usually aren’t that cheap.
When I go to Iceland, I will combine it with Europe. I will look at all three of these options plus booking Icelandair flights with Alaska miles and using a free stopover. It is impossible to say which will be the best option without first seeing the award space and the ticket prices.
In all cases, you should pay for the ticket or the taxes and fees with a Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® and then redeem Arrival miles for a statement credit to offset the charge.
Getting Alaska Miles
If you decide to book Icelandair flights with Alaska miles, there are three main ways to get Alaska miles:
- Credit card: the Alaska Airlines personal and business cards offer 25,000 bonus miles on first purchase and payment of a $75 annual fee
- SPG transfers: 20,000 Starpoints transfer to 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles
- Buy miles: Alaska miles are frequently on sale for two cents each
Alaska Airlines miles can now be used to book Icelandair flights. Two things that surprise me are that the awards have fuel surcharges and you can book economy award space at the medium and high levels.
Before booking, check your other options on WOW Air and Delta to Iceland.
When booking, make sure to include your free stopover and to pay with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® in order to redeem Arrival miles for a statement credit to offset the charge.
It is always good news when an airline adds a partner. Hopefully this means that Alaska Airlines will allow us to redeem on Hainan Airlines soon.