When Alaska Airlines and Icelandair announced their decision to renew an expired partnership agreement, it was surprising for two reasons. First, it was odd to see them come back to the table after the circumstances of their breakup: Icelandair had been offering extremely good deals on award travel to Hawaii, including first class, and selling the necessary miles for just a few hundred dollars. Second, it was the first time Alaska had announced additional elite benefits with an international partner.
I’m particularly glad that Icelandair is back as a partner because it’s one of those unique carriers that serves a destination you can’t normally access with other loyalty programs. Sure, there are flights to Iceland on lots of airlines, but who wants to backtrack through Frankfurt or Heathrow?
Award charts for each airline are now published so you can see how many miles it will take to fly on Icelandair, or if you happen to have extra Saga Club miles lying around, redeem them for travel on Alaska Airlines. There are no fuel surcharges to worry about for either carrier.
Redeem Alaska’s Miles on Icelandair
You can find Alaska’s award chart for Icelandair under the “Europe” heading, and you can search for and book these awards online. If you recall from my guide to Alaska’s award routing rules:
- You must book one of the awards as it is described. For example, you can’t fly between Iceland and Europe without going to/from the United States, because that option isn’t listed.
- You are allowed on stopover in each direction, including on one-way awards.
- You may not mix and match partners. All travel must be on Icelandair or Alaska.
It’s unusual to see seasonal awards on Alaska’s award chart, but that isn’t surprising given the destination. 😉 Taxes range from $130 to $160 in each direction (and may be higher if you include connecting legs). This suggests that Alaska is passing on Icelandair’s fuel surcharge to award travelers. Cheap flights to Iceland are plentiful, so if you’re going to have to pay $250+ on an award ticket you may as well hold out for business class.
Redeem Icelandair’s Miles on Alaska
You can also redeem Icelandair points for travel on Alaska Airlines. I think it’s unlikely anyone will do this because (1) the award chart is not nearly as good as we remember it and (2) how many of my readers have a stash of Saga Club miles burning a hole in their pocket? Alaska’s miles are far more valuable.
As I recall, round-trip awards to Hawaii were once just 25,000 points in coach or 30,000 points in first class. Not anymore.
Icelandair doesn’t allow you to book awards for Alaska online, so you’ll need to call the service center and pay a fee of 3,000 ISK (~$23). You’ll also need to pay any of Alaska’s taxes and fees, but these should be minimal since Alaska has no fuel surcharges on any of its flights.