Don't miss out! Join the thousands of people who subscribe to our once-daily email with all the best travel news
I’ve written before about the value of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles – although I don’t live particularly near anywhere Alaska Airlines actually serves, due to the the Alaska Airlines Mileage Partners, you can still get a lot of value of Alaska miles for flying on anything from domestic carriers like American Delta, to more aspirational partners such as Cathay Pacific or Emirates
Alaska Airlines adding a new redemption partner: Icelandair
Alaska and IcelandAir have an on-again, off-again relationship. They had been partners for awhile before discontinuing their partnership, and then they re-partnered back a few months ago. At that point, they said that “soon” you would be able to use Alaska miles to fly on Icelandair (and vice versa) and that time is now
Alaska has a strange partner “award chart” – it’s actually separate award charts for each of their partners, and you can only book partner awards if it’s explicitly listed on their award chart. Looking at the partner page for Europe, we now see:
A few interesting notes
- Unlike Alaska’s award chart for Air France, there is no intra-Europe award, even though Icelandair flies to several different European locations from Reykjavik. All Icelandair award redemptions must be from North America to Europe (or vice versa)
- Also, because of Alaska’s “one partner” rule, you’ll need to leave from a US city that has service on actual Alaska metal. For instance, I can’t book a flight from Cincinnati (CVG) to Reykjavik, because although Alaska partners with American and Delta, who fly to Cincinnati, I can’t fly on multiple partners on the same award.
- There is the concept of different levels of awards – Low, Medium and High. I first thought this was somehow related to different times of year, but it appears to be related to capacity / availability, as seen by this screenshot where different flights on the same day have different redemption levels
It’s 22,500 miles if you connect through Denver or Edmonton (YEG), but 30,000 if you connect through Washington (IAD) or take the nonstop, and 40,000 if you connect through New York (JFK)
- You can also see that Alaska is passing along fuel surcharges, to the tune of around $130 a ticket.
- Remember that Alaska is just about the only airline that allows you to have a stopover, even on a one-way award ticket, so if you flew to Europe, you could stopover in Iceland for as long as you wanted.
So it’s good to have options, but if you’re close to the east cost, one of the lowcost carriers such as Norwegian or Wowair might be a better option. If you’re going to pay $140 in surcharges on an award ticket, it seems like a better idea to pay a little more and save the miles!