A Clarification on Stopovers and Connections for People Booking the Icelandair/Alaska Airlines Deal

I’ve gotten A TON of questions from readers who are trying to take advantage of the Icelandair/Alaska Airlines deal and book flights from Newark/Boston/DC/Chicago/Atlanta/Texas and are having difficulties. I (think) I now know why:

Icelandair has been kind enough to clarify the rules around stopovers and connections. You are permitted one stopover or one open-jaw on a ticket. As I guessed earlier, a stopover is any flight that has a 4-hour or greater layover. Virtually ALL flights from the East/Midwest/South have a 4-hour+ layover in BOTH DIRECTIONS when heading to Hawaii. That’s considered TWO stopovers, and the rules do not permit it.

The Icelandair team assured me that booking a connection UNDER 4 hours is not a problem, and booking ONE stopover (or what you might consider a long connection) is not a problem. But two 4-hour+ connections is not allowed.

I’m happy to answer questions – either post in comments or email me at jared (at) onlinetravelreview.com.


  1. I purchased saga miles yesterday, but still waiting for it to be posted on my account. They said it takes up to 24 hours. Is it true? Has anyone else experienced this?

    • I tried a purchase yesterday, it showed as ‘Pending’ on my CC.

      This morning I get an email from Iceland:

      Your purchase of Saga Club Award Points could not be completed as we were unable to process your transaction. The transaction was cancelled and your credit card was not been charged. Please try your transaction again or call 1-800-757-7242 for assistance.

      Um.. Ok.. They don’t say if payment was refused, it just sounds like “we couldn’t do it”. I sent a secure message to my CC company to see why it might have been refused, or even IF it was. I also went and tried another purchase. BOTH purchases show as ‘Pending’ on my CC right now.

      • Citi will decline Iceland Air charges.

        • This was actually Chase. :/

          • Ok, Chase got back and said the charge wasn’t declined. I suspect Iceland didn’t manage to get it processed in a timely manner, so they’re giving up and asking me to try again.

      • Did you get an email confirmation after buying the points? I did not receive anything after the purchase.

        • No confirmation, points have not posted to either account I tried to buy from, and both charges still show as “Pending” on my CC bill.

          Seems like IcelandAir must be really behind. :/

          • I tried purchasing points this morning and got the same “purchase of Saga Club Award Points could not be completed” message after a couple of hours (despite seeing an authorization on my credit card).

            I called the phone number and the agent that I spoke with told me that the 10 day waiting period (which was previously waived) is back on. Does that square with what anyone else is hearing?

            (If so, irritating, because all my attempts to create an account last week failed, so the account that I currently have is just a couple of days old.)

          • @palefire: I just reached out to Icelandair, and they said that it’s a glitch in their system (basically, their computers started putting a hold on new accounts again). They’re fixing and should be ready to go asap.

          • Thanks for reaching out Jared. I’ve already been denied twice today on two of my friends’ accounts with the “failed transaction” e-mail. I successfully purchased miles a couple of days ago on my own account, but haven’t been able to since. I’m now trying to purchase miles again on my own account for my friends–so hopefully this time it will finally go through! Iceland Air agents on the phone tried to blame our miles issues on Bank of America!

  2. Jared can you help?

    I’m trying to book tickets for next Summer (July) to Anchorage from NY. When I call Icelandair the reps seem to have no clue what the rules are. They claim either there is never any availability from NY to ANC at any time of the year, or that I have to pay for the NY -> SEA flight or that their awards are only available from or to SEA.

    I’m pretty frustrated given that I got assurances from the airline before buying 60,000 points.

    Do you have any suggestions for me?


    • Hi Jeff,

      I emailed you directly, but so others can see: Alaska (like most airlines) only loads schedules 330 days out. I’m guessing they simply haven’t loaded the schedule yet for late July (as of today – Aug 21) the schedule only goes thru July 18.

      • I understand that.. But I tried every date from May through July 16 and the reps could not find anything.

        They each tell me different reasons why there isn’t availability and they mostly sound like they just want to get off the phone.

        • You need to signup for ExpertFlyer’s free 5-day trial to find A class availability for First or W availability for Coach. Then tell them the dates and the fare classes it needs to book into, keeping in mind connections over 4 hours are considered a stopover. There is availability in there, but you need to search for it yourself and tell them the dates.

          I just did a quick glance and there doesn’t appear to be much (if any) availability on either leg of that trip. Alaska hasn’t released any inventory.

  3. Hi Jared. Thanks for doing so much legwork for all of us. I have been patiently waiting to see if they would start booking awards with stopovers so this is good news! My question is…Do you think they will let me book my flight there with a stopover to one island and then my flight back from a different island with no stopover? I really want to incorporate at least 2 islands on my trip.

    Also my friends live in Mexico and want to take part in this deal and meet up with us. Alaska flies from Guadalajara to Hawaii with availability on the correct award tickets. Do you have any idea if they would be able to book that kind of flight? Thanks so much for your help!

    • @Jasmine….You are allowed 1 stopover or 1 openjaw, you can’t do both. If you mean can you fly Seattle – Honolulu, then return Maui- Seattle, then yes. That’s an openjaw.

      • Yeah, I just called and tried to do EWR-SEA (stopover) -SJC-HNL, then back HNL-SAN, and then pay for a one way ticket from SAN back to EWR, but they won’t allow that, saying that I have to return to the same city I started from. I guess that would be considered an openjaw?

      • @ Jared, Okay…thanks. Do you have any idea if a Mexico to Hawaii trip can be booked?

        • @Jasmine: hi. I haven’t heard of anyone trying Hawaii-Mexico. Let us know if you try and have success.

  4. Hi Jared,
    I tried to register for Saga Club twice, both got errors. Sent my personal info and request manual register, still no dice :sad: Any way to get around with this? Thanks!

    • Use Firefox, and input your phone number even though it’s optional. I ran into this issue last week. If you have gmail, use an alternate email address like instead of . It will automatically get forwarded to . If it gives you the “Customer already exists” error, change your name a bit (like put your middle name in the first name box in addition to your first name). After successful registration, everything can be changed (name, email address, etc.) by editing your profile.

  5. pointsandtravel

    @ Jerry I was in Saga Club limbo land for 4 days (registered on Friday using 3 different browsers, 4 family members, received Account # on Monday AM) I called and resent the confirmation emails, they are just swamped right now, so you most likely will have to sit and wait.

    I had the same problem with calling for 3 or 4 different dates with NO availability in April and May, I think I will try Expert Flyer’s free trial next, thanks for the tip and thanks for all the work you are doing on this deal of the year, as Gary put it: This remains arguably the travel deal of the year so far (and Jared of ONLINE TRAVEL REVIEW found it!)

  6. Be patient. I applied to the Saga Club on Friday and got my membership number today!

  7. Hi Jared,
    I live in the Western NC but would be willing to fly out of Atlanta. With the long stop over restrictions, Is this possible to Hawaii?

  8. Hi Jared, I’m using ExpertFlyer to search for award availability from DCA to HNL, but I’m a little confused by the search results. I can find 2 A tickets on June 11, 2013, DCA-LAX. But below that leg on the screen, the connecting LAX-HNL availability for A and W is blank. It’s not that it’s showing zeros for A and W for that leg, it’s just blank. What does this mean?

    I haven’t found a single itinerary that shows award availability on both legs (either connecting through LAX or SEA) that would get me from DCA to HNL.

    A big thank you for spreading the word about this great deal, and for helping us East Coasters take advantage of it!

    • @Brian. Hi. The problem is that the LAX-Hawaii leg is on American (it’s a code share with Alaska). Unfortunately that won’t work for this deal.

      From the East Coast because of stopover restrictions, you would have to book two separate tickets (DCA-SEA or PDX) and then a separate ticket to Hawaii.

  9. Hey Jared. Thanks for all your help on this. I’m finally about to jump in, found my tickets on ExpertFlyer, and then purchased the miles. They haven’t show up yet and it’s been almost two hours. Do you think there’s a chance something went wrong since others have had their miles post immediately? I’m afraid by the time this gets figured out the flights I want will be gone.

  10. Jared thank you for the update!

    I understand that you get one stopover (aka 4+ hour connection), but did they mention anything about a limit on the number of under 4 hour connections?

    • Try seem to be limited to direct routings. You can do a bunch of random connections to reach your gateway city. Make sense?

  11. Hey Jared! (and anyone else) Will this work on Horizonair flights? For example YVR-SEA-PDX-OGG

  12. Jared,
    Would these fall under open jaws or not ?(all nonstop flights)
    a) Onward A->B and return of C->D
    b) Onward A->B and return of B->C
    Thanks !

  13. Anyone else having issues with miles not posting? I bought mine more than 24 hours ago and still have 0 in my account :(

    • Same boat here. It’s been 2 days. I may have to dispute the charge with my CC company, since they did not deliver as promised (24hrs), and seats for the dates I wanted are all gone!

      • Jac,

        I just got an email from Iceland Air stating that “Your purchase of Saga Club Award Points could not be completed as we were unable to process your transaction. The transaction was cancelled and your credit card was not been charged. Please try your transaction again or call 1-800-757-7242 for assistance.”.

        I went ahead and try purchasing today..so I’ll keep my fingers cross. The original purchase however is still showing pending on my credit card. I called Iceland Air to try and figure out why my payment wasn’t process and it was essentially worthless. They couldn’t give me any answers!

        • I tried calling Iceland air multiple times. Yesterday, they said it should be posted today, but nothing is showing on my account today. It’s really strange that I have not received a confirmation or cancellation email for the past 2 days.

          • They had also told me that it would be posted today…then I received the email about my transaction not being processed. I just wish we would get a straight answer!

  14. Seeing a new charge from Icelandair for $73.63 (after the original 543.83 points & 25.10 transfer charges). Is anyone else seeing this? Could this be a phone booking or ticketing fee?

    • Jared,

      Any thoughts on this charge? Did you see this as well? Thanks for any insight!

      • I’ve got this, too. It’s taxes, fees, and booking fees. When I was on the phone the CSR told me that I’d be billed an additional “I don’t know, 80-90 US dollars,” as though she were converting from ISK in her head.

  15. Hello Jared,
    I am little confused about the milage,
    I found this coach ticket

    DFW 2:10 pm Mon,Mar 11 SEA 4:30 pm Mon,Mar 11
    SEA 5:20 pm Mon,Mar 11 OGG 8:20 pm Mon,Mar 11

    OGG 12:15 pm Sat,Mar 16 SEA 8:50 pm Sat,Mar 16
    SEA 7:35 am Sun,Mar 17 DFW 1:20 pm Sun,Mar 17

    The above schedule on coach requires 65K miles per person now are we allowed to book coach for 65K?

    • You’re looking on the Alaska site? You need to check Expertflyer (5 day free trial) and look for A class availability for First and W class for Coach. Don’t look at Alaska’s site – it won’t match what Icelandair is able to book for you.

  16. Also, anyone had any luck booking a multi-leg award that satisfies the only 1 >4 hour stopover rule into account?

    PDX –> SEA –> OGG ?
    ORD –> SEA –> OGG?

  17. Hello Jared,
    Sorry to bother again, I did check it at expertflyer, the above flight are classed as W0, it comes down to again, if icelandair has any limit on how much miles can be used?


  18. Google has suddenly implemented the ISK to USD conversion widget. Hard to imagine that this deal didn’t have something to do with that, given that it wasn’t available 3 days ago.

  19. hi jared,

    how far in advance can i book using icelandic points? i want to book mid february 2013. is that possible? also, can this award flight be changed to a later date if i can’t go?


  20. sorry left out some details.

    i want to go from San Jose to Maui or Honolulu.

  21. Can you combine both coach and first class legs? (for the cost of first?)

    A-B (coach)
    B-C (first)

    and returning
    B-C (first)
    B-A (coach)

    I’m fine paying as if all of that was first to get the availability I need…

  22. Anybody seeing any progress on the posting of miles?

    • There’s been an issue with miles not posting. I’m in touch with Icelandair about it, and I’ll add another post as soon as I know more.

  23. Jared – just FYI, I have an overnight on the outbound but a 4 hr really means nothing where the “hours” part is bigger than 4 since mine booked just fine.