Icelandair Awards Now Bookable Using Alaska Miles

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Earlier this fall Alaska announced a restoration of their partnership with Icelandair, with a codeshare and frequent flyer partnership agreement.

Alaska Mileage Plan members have been able to earn miles for travel on Icelandair as of October 1. 2015, though award redemptions weren’t immediately available.

While award charts haven’t been officially published yet, Icelandair awards are now bookable on the Alaska website!

Redeeming Alaska Mileage Plan miles for travel on Icelandair

Icelandair serves over a dozen cities in the US along with about two dozen in Europe from their hub in Reykjavik.

Icelandair-route-map

They operate a fleet of Boeing 757s, with a 2-2 configuration in business class. The pitch is a bit more generous than domestic first in North America. It’s not necessarily luxurious, but given that most Icelandair flights are six hours or less it’s certainly a solid option. Icelandair is also in the process of rolling out fleet-wide WiFi, which is a nice feature if you can’t sleep ;).

Icelandair-Business-Class-6

In terms of mileage rates, Alaska has what might be seasonal pricing for Icelandair (which makes some sense), and one-way prices at the low rates seem to be as follows:

North America to Iceland:

  • 22,500 for Economy
  • 50,000 for Business

The taxes and fees are ~$130, regardless of cabin.

North America to Europe (with an optional stopover in Iceland):

  • 27,500 for Economy
  • 55,000 for Business

Update: The official award chart has now been published, and is as follows:

Icelandair-award-chart

Business class is the obvious winner in high season, as that’s a marginal premium over the high season economy rates. However, it’s unclear as to whether these tiers will be based on season or some other formula.

The taxes and fees here will vary based on your destination city, but aren’t too much higher:

Icelandair-Alaska-Awards-10

Icelandair-Alaska-Awards-11

E-Tickets are issued instantly, and you can even select seats on the Icelandair website.

Mystery award rates

While the above rates seem fairly reasonable and thus are probably accurate, there are some mystery prices you’ll want to avoid.

For example, on certain dates Washington Dulles > Reykjavik prices at the (I assume) correct rate of 22,500 for Economy:

Icelandair-Alaska-Awards-06

While on the next day the same route prices at 30,000:

Icelandair-Alaska-Awards-05

The same thing happens with routes to Europe, where you’ll occasionally see 45,000 prices:

Icelandair-Alaska-Awards-02

Looking at the chart these should just be the Medium/High rates, but there are random days interspersed within what I would typically consider “Low” season.

So perhaps the functionality isn’t there — either something was miscoded, or there’s possibly a system-glitch of some kind, because random flights shown at these higher rates are not bookable. So stick to the lower-priced flights for now, or look for a week with consistent rates (in which case the higher rates are bookable).

Award availability

This will likely change as the partnership develops, but for now space is pretty much wide-open.

  • Most North America > Iceland routes have two business seats, and four economy
  • Most Iceland > Europe routes have four seats in each cabin

I don’t see any flights with more than two business class seats, so that’s something to consider if you’re traveling as a family.

And keep in mind that many Icelandair routes are seasonal, and only operate in summer.

Using Alaska Mileage Plan miles

Alaska miles are both difficult and easy to earn. On the one hand, their only transfer partner is Starwood Preferred Guest, and their co-branded credit card isn’t that lucrative.

On the other, Alaska frequently sells miles at very good rates. If you were to take advantage of a 40% bonus on buying Alaska miles, the miles needed for a round-trip to Europe in business would cost ~$2400, and you could have a stopover in both directions.

You can also use Alaska miles for a different partner for the return flight, or use separate miles entirely, as all awards are priced as one-ways.

When redeeming Alaska miles:

  • One stopover of more than 24 hours (in addition to the destination) is allowed, even on one-way awards
  • You can’t mix partners on an award ticket, but you can add in Alaska Airlines flights to connect from the gateway city in North America
  • Mileage Plan has generous change & cancellation policies (up until 60 days before departure you can change and redeposit your award for free, and within that timeframe the cost is $125 per person)

The stopover option is particularly compelling to me. Iceland looks beautiful, but isn’t particularly easy to get to using miles. Spending a few days there en route to elsewhere in Europe would be a great option for me.

Bottom line

This is a great partnership, and as Icelandair serves so many smaller markets in North America this greatly expands award options to Europe.

I wouldn’t redeem miles for economy, personally, given that Icelandair frequently offers cheap fares, but business class redemptions could make sense.

While the product might not be as glamorous as many of the other airlines flying to Europe, the flights are relatively short and the fees are comparatively low, so this will be a compelling choice for many.

Iceland-2

Who is planning on redeeming Alaska miles for Icelandair?

(Tip of the hat to Alex)

Comments

  1. @ LwoodY2K — Thanks! That hadn’t been published when I drafted the post. Very interesting approach they’re taking here.

  2. And as my first post for tomorrow a.m. points out, they add YQ to these awards — something Alaska only otherwise does for BA awards.

    Rather than high/low season pricing, or different prices for different US zones, these appear to be 3 different inventory buckets of Icelandair awards which is truly unique for a partner airline.

  3. @ worldtraveller73 — Yes, though keep in mind on BA you’d have a lie-flat seat, and potentially more than two award seats, so there are tradeoffs.

    The best option will still be on American (though they have so little premium cabin space to Europe nowadays), or Air France/KLM if booking in advance. Delta can also be a good option if you can find space in both directions.

    This is most compelling for those who are interested in a stopover in Iceland — if you’re just hoping to redeem miles to Europe there are some better alternatives if you dig.

  4. how do you book a stopover?

    Can you do it online?

    Do you do multicity search?

    How do the miles get calculated?

  5. @ asdfas — Yes, stopovers with Alaska can generally be booked online using the multi-city search, and don’t require any additional miles.

  6. Still waiting for Hainan Airlines… Since Cathay isn’t releasing much space right now, 787 dreamliner non-stop service to Beijing is the way to go!!!!

  7. That’s good news! I’m thinking about using Alaska miles to fly to Iceland but waiting for direct flights from Chicago to start. If I was on the East Coast I would probably just book one of the Wow Air fares.

  8. Ugh, $260 YQ on a round trip flight? You can routinely get a revenue ticket in Y for ~$600 or less. FI also doesn’t charge extra for exit row seating which makes paying the extra out of pocket for a revenue JFK-KEF-JFK J ticket not worth it in my opinion. I had exit row seats on my last trip and was comfortable as could be. Plus, in flight food and drink prices are very reasonable.

    I was super excited when I heard this partnership was starting back up. I absolutely love Iceland and can’t wait to go back (and back and back). But when the YQ fee is almost half as much as a revenue ticket I’d rather just pay cash, book early to secure exit row seats for no additional cost and credit the 5200 JFK-KEF-JFK miles to my Mileage Plan account.

  9. @ Mike — Right, the value isn’t there for economy, for sure. From cities other than New York and Boston (especially the West Coast/Alaska/Hawaii) business class is potentially interesting, as even buying the miles outright can be a significant savings over revenue J.

  10. Excellent report, Tiffany (as usual). I’m really excited about this “new” partnership. (Re-partnership?)

  11. @Tiffany you are right, in J from the west coast it does look at lot better. Though if my ultimate destination on the trip is Europe, I’d transfer an extra 10k miles to Aeroplan and get a J award with a much better hard product and do Iceland on a different trip.

    I shouldn’t shit on this too much though. It’s great just have the option there for those that want it.

  12. Icelandair is actually a decent option. I needed to see an old classmate in Reykjavik at the end of a Euro trip, and it just so happened that the cheapest fare from Paris to Atlanta was with Icelandair, and I was able to book a stopover at no extra fee. Of course, after Reykjavik, it required a connection in Toronto to get to ATL, but, the value added by the stopover option was a huge score for me. And actually, the economy seats and IFE are no worse than any of the other economy seats I have purchased on other airlines. In fact, the legroom was really good. The only thing is that there is no in-flight meal service unless you pay. But, in economy, that really is not missing much, as each flight was around 5 hours.I would recommend using them when travelling to Europe, because it is a cool way to see one more place you might not otherwise see, with no extra cost.

  13. This is a great addition at a good time. I am in the planning stages of a trip to Munich, and I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland, but not as a destination. From Seattle, doing a 1 hop to Munich with the Iceland free 7 day layover is a great way to make my vacation work.

  14. Hi Tiffany,

    I’m curious that one “can add in Alaska Airlines flights to connect from the gateway city in North America”. How exactly does it work?

    Can I fly Icelandair from HEL to KEF (with a stopover) to PDX then connect to SAN with Alaska?

    Thanks!

  15. @ Anqi — That should absolutely be possible. You may be able to book that online using the multi-city tool, or you can always call Alaska to book. As long as you stick to the lowest level of award space you won’t pay additional miles for the flight to San Diego.

  16. If I fly on Icelandair to London from NYC will those miles be credited to Alaska air for later use ?

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