Icelandair’s (potentially?) awesome mileage purchase promo

Online Travel Reviews points out that Icelandair is offering a 20% bonus on the purchase of Saga Club miles through September 28, 2012. You can purchase up to 100,000 Saga Club miles per year, and you need to be a member of Saga Club before being able to access the promotion.

Through this promotion 30,000 Saga Club miles (25,000 base miles plus the 5,000 mile bonus) can be purchased for 39,500 Icelandic Krona, which is the equivalent of ~$328USD.

This is interesting in that you can redeem 20,000 Saga Club miles for an Alaska Airlines coach ticket and 30,000 Saga Club miles for an Alaska Airlines first class ticket.

Now, the above specifically states that these redemption rates apply for tickets within the Continental US and Canada, though Online Travel Review insists those are the redemption costs for any destination, including Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii. The above also doesn’t explicitly state that those costs are roundtrip, though Online Travel Review has apparently priced several itineraries and has confirmed that those are the roundtrip costs.

So in theory this would mean you can pay roughly $328USD for a roundtrip ticket in first class between the east coast and Hawaii or Alaska.

The award space that Icelandair has access to should match the saver award space that Alaska Airlines offers their own Mileage Plan members. Award availability is great on some routes (like California to Hawaii, west coast hops, and some flights to Alaska), while it’s awful on other routes (like Seattle to Hawaii and virtually all transcons).

You can search award availability either on this page of the Alaska Airlines website, or through ExpertFlyer.

First class award space every day between Los Angeles and Anchorage

It’s an intriguing promotion, and it will be interesting to see whether Icelandair decides to pull their mileage bonus promotion (though even without it this can still be a great deal). I’m somewhat concerned by the verbiage about award costs being for flights within the Continental US and Canada, as I fear Icelandair could actually enforce that if too many people take advantage of this. But if you take advantage of this now and plan on making a booking first thing in the morning I’d say you’re probably safe.

I was hoping this promotion would be useful for travel on Icelandair as I’m dying to visit Iceland, though unfortunately the numbers just don’t work out on those flights.

Filed Under: Advice, Awards


  1. I also see it coming it up as one way. The icelandic site has not processed my application into the Saga club because of a “technical issue”.

  2. Hi – I wrote the post over at Online Travel Review — figured I’d answer questions here.

    @Mike: You have to call them to redeem on Alaska. They only allow roundtrip redemptions on Icelandair, so I can’t imagine why they would permit one-way redemptions on Alaska. Plus I’ve now spoken with them a few times and priced out itineraries — I’ve been told repeatedly it’s 20k round trip. It’s not a crazy deal — most Alaska Airlines routes are short-or-mid haul, so 20k isn’t nuts. And Avios charges 25k roundtrip for flights to Hawaii from the West Coast.

    It’s the devaluation of the Icelandic Krona that makes this a great deal, since you can buy the points so cheaply (in Dollar terms, it’s worth about half what it used to be).

    @Pablo: When I spoke with Icelandair it seemed like i was the first person who had ever called about Alaska redemptions. I’m not sure how wacky they’ll let you get with routings. Good luck, tho!

  3. I played with it yesterday evening, and transcon availability in F at their Saver level is almost non existent, particularly if you’re looking for more than 1 seat. So a crazy valuable east coast to hawaii itinerary looks very, very difficult to pull off

  4. Does Icelandair have access to all the same Alaska award availability listed on Alaska’s website?

  5. how are you all finding saver avalability without doing a tedious date by date search. Is there a broader way to search on the Alaska site? I don’t have KVS. If anyone does have KVS can they see if there is any FC saver space from ATL to HNL any time in the next 6-8 months?

  6. @Scott: if you check “Award Calendar” when doing your search on the Alaska site it brings up a calendar that looks like the one in Lucky’s post above. The dates with saver availability will show 37.5K if you’re looking for Hawaii. (The problem I’m running into is that most of the “saver” itineraries they give you mix First and Coach.)

  7. Looks like you’ll need to have your account open for at least 10 days before booking an award reservation, that’s what I was told this morning when trying to redeem award reservation.

  8. @ Pablo — I suspect it has to be the most direct routing.

    @ Angelina — Well Alaska only has one flight a day to New York, and unfortunately award availability on it is abysmal. In theory if you can find award space you could then connect to Hawaii or Alaska.

  9. @ Jennifer — Yes, or from anywhere to anywhere Alaska flies roundtrip (doesn’t have to be to Alaska). The taxes and fees might be a bit higher, though.

  10. I’m mad confused because I’m looking from ORD and BOS but I see first class for 37.5K and I’m not sure if thats’ super saver or not….On the alaska award chart i dont even see 37.5K under any category

  11. @James I wonder if it is possible then to find mixed class saver space then book FC even though 1 leg is economy. Even doing that makes this a great deal from ATL to HNL.

  12. Hi all…Couple of clarifications (I have a running FAQ on Online Travel Review for more detail):

    They’ve been kind enough to waive the 10-day waiting period.

    For those with EF or KVS, fares need to book into W for coach and A for First on Alaska. If that inventory is available, then Icelandair can book it.

    There seems to be some trouble with some of the routings from the East Coast and Midwest that require long layovers in SEA before going onward to Hawaii. This seems to be the primary area where people are having trouble. Unfortunately, Alaska doesn’t time those flights to connect well, and in many cases requires an overnight. I know that Alaska can book them, but Icelandair is having some trouble. They’ve been incredibly helpful (emailing me in response to reader questions), and they’re swamped (remember Lucky’s post about Avios and Aer Lingus?) – they’re a small contact center and they’re doing the best they can. Happy to answer any other questions…

  13. I get the gut feeling that this is going to end poorly. I know it’s not a mistake fare, or anything shady, but I just get that feeling at some point Iceland Air is going to come to their senses and lots of people get stuck with unusable saga points.

    I truly hope that it does not turn out that way!

  14. Ben – I’m with you actually – wish there was an affordable way to actually use these points on Icelandair. 210K points to fly RT Denver to Iceland in Saga Class?!?! Or 30K points to fly RT DEN-OGG in AS first? Hmmmmm….

  15. Are these the standard redemption levels for Saga redemption’s on Alaska or is this a special promotion? I’m wondering if you bought the points could you wait a year or more to book travel to Hawaii? Right now there’s not a lot available but if I wait to next year and plan ahead, they might be easier to use. I go to Hawaii twice a year and always fly AS.

  16. @ Deborah — Yes, these are the standard redemption rates. What’s special is the mileage bonus and week Icelandic currency. That being said, there’s no guarantee that they won’t increase the number of miles required in the future.

  17. Thanks Lucky. BTW…love your site! I’m thinking about buying the miles for future travel or even hotel redemption’s. I see they are partnered with Hilton and Raddison. Can’t see what you need for booking rooms until they process my Saga Club membership.

  18. First class ticket to Hawaii? Meh, I have never once failed to clear an upgrade to the islands!

    But flying to Barrow or Nome? Now that could start to get me excited if it was cheap enough.

  19. Very frustrating… I’m all over the calendar with KVS and find nothing at all from the east coast. Nothing.

  20. What about coupling this offer with an Iceland Air world mastercard? Would that make the option of getting to Iceland from the US any easier?

  21. @ Matthew — That card seems to offer a sign-up bonus worth 20,000 miles, which doesn’t seem worth the effort/inquiry given how cheap the miles can be purchased.

  22. I have my 2 First Class tickets and will be in Maui for 9 days but the car rental prices are out of sight ! Do you have some thoughts on getting cheap car rentals in Hawaii or at lease the lowest cost alternative. Thanks and I think you’re doing a great job with your blog.

  23. If when searching the Alaska award availability, I don’t see a rt @ 25k, does that mean the 30k Iceland Air miles wouldn’t be enough for the ticket? Thank you!!

  24. @ Matthew — Are you looking at first class? If it’s within the lower 48 then it should be 25,000 miles each way. That needs to be available in order to book this through Icelandair. It’s a bit more expensive on Alaska’s website for Hawaii and Mexico.

  25. Most people are reporting that the points posted right away after purchase (although the website does say to allow up to 24 hours). I’ve been waiting over a day for mine now — anyone else having this problem? Gah. Just want to make my booking! 😉

  26. I just bought points about an hour ago and they still haven’t show up in my account. I’m starting to get worried since it seems like most others had them land immediately.

  27. Be careful. I think the 10 day hold is still in effect (or at least for some people), because my purchase of points didn’t go through because my account is too new according to a rep.

    “Alright, here’s what we’ve found. The transaction didn’t go through because your account is too new. It has to be at least 10 days old before transactions can be done on it. As a result, the charge that you see is actually just an authorization hold on the credit card. No money has been charged to the card and the hold will automatically drop off.”

  28. I’m on the phone with icelandair and she is telling me I need to go through Alaska airlines, which of course makes no sense. After talking her into looking to see if she can book it she helped me for a bit, put me on hold, then disconected…
    Anyone had any luck as of late?

  29. The awards are definitely roundtrip. Their website using the term “return ticket” which is the phrase most intertanational carries use for roundtrip.

    Does anyone know what IcelandAir means by

    “These flights both have Icelandair and Alaska Airline flight numbers. Icelandair Saga Club members can only redeem their Saga Club Points for an Award Ticket on flight numbers of the operating carrier on these flights.”

    Does this mean that Saga points can only be used for award flights that are codeshared and not other Alaska flights? I live in Los Angeles and want to be able to fly Alaska to DCA using Saga points. Thanks in advance for input.

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