Alaska Airlines and Icelandair to discontinue partnership as of June 1, 2013

Alaska Airlines has just announced that they’ll be discontinuing their partnership with Icelandair as of June 1, 2013, The details are as follows:

Effective June 1, 2013, Icelandair will no longer be a Mileage Plan™ partner. Tickets purchased on or after June 1, 2013, will not earn Mileage Plan™ Miles. Tickets purchased on or before May 31, 2013, will continue to earn miles for travel through February 28, 2014.

Existing award travel, and award travel booked by May 31, 2013, will be honored for travel through February 28, 2014. Award travel on Icelandair cannot be booked or changed after May 31, 2013.

On the plus side this is about as gradual of a break up as I’ve seen. Tickets purchased through May 31, 2013 and for travel through February 28, 2014, are still eligible for mileage accrual. Similarly, you can continue to make award bookings through May 31 for travel through February of next year.

It’s pretty sad to see this partnership end, on both the earnings and redemption side. Alaska was one of Icelandair’s only “useful” partners for earning or redeeming miles, and I was hoping to make a trip to Iceland soon, and earning Alaska miles for it was the icing on the cake.

Similarly, while Icelandair doesn’t have a very good business class product (it’s more like domestic first class on a US airline), I’ve been tempted to book one of their 80,000 mile awards from the US to Europe via Iceland, with a stopover enroute.

I find it bizarre that this partnership is ending, given that Icelandair is actually launching Anchorage service in May. I assumed that would strengthen their relationship, given that Alaska could provide feeder traffic for them.

The only thing I can think of is that there was bad blood over the whole Icelandair/Alaska mileage redemption opportunity. Maybe Icelandair was miffed about how much they were having to pay Alaska for those seats, and didn’t see the value in having them as a partner anymore.

Now I’m finally tempted to put Iceland near the top of my travel list so I can still visit before May and earn (or burn) miles.

(Tip of the hat to Alex)

Comments

  1. If the reason really was how much Icelandair had to pay Alaska for award bookings, that seems very shortsighted. They probably should just consider their mileage selling promotions more carefully…

  2. KEF is perfect for a long weekend. The town isn’t huge but is beautiful in the summer. Use Radisson points as there are a few good ones.

  3. @ Matt — The only airline flying nonstop between the US and Iceland is Icelandair, and the only US airline they partner with is Alaska. So there aren’t many ways to get there on miles, though fortunately revenue fares are usually quite inexpensive.

  4. DL is flying JFK – KEF from June through August. Though how easy it is to get there on miles depends on what price you are willing to redeem your skypesos at!

  5. When I pulled up the award chart on the Iceland Air US website I see needing 210,000 miles to redeem in Saga class from Seattle or Denver to Iceland. Am I reading this wrong? I didn’t see the chart you posted.

  6. @ Kidi — The award chart I posted is on Alaska’s website, because it’s the cost when redeeming Alaska miles for travel on Icelandair. Icelandair charges members of their frequent flyer program a different number of miles for award seats.

  7. Ok, got it. Thank you for clarifying. Btw, what would you recommend with 70,000 Iceland Air miles? I got them last year when the Hawaii deal was going on, but they stopped it a couple days after. Can they be transferred to Alaska? Thanks.

  8. @ Kidi — You can’t transfer them to Alaska Mileage Plan, though you can redeem them for travel on Alaska, which is probably your best bet.

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