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UPDATE: Icelandair/Alaska Redemption Deal Ends Tonight (8/31) at 8pm Eastern

Hello all.

I just received an email from Icelandair telling me that the Icelandair deal as we know it will end at 8pm Eastern Time tonight, August 31st. I don’t know much more, but here’s what I do know:

– They are going to pull Alaska Airline redemptions tonight. They will come back at some point, but it will be at different redemption levels.

– They are still working through the taxes issue people have had – if you have emailed them, they will get back to you.

– The points are good for 4 years.

– If you are stuck with points that you purchased, you are basically stuck with points that you purchased. You can certainly wait until Alaska redemptions come back. You can redeem for a Radisson Hotel (34,000 points for a top level Radisson Blu, down to 18,000 points for a Park Inn (22,000 for a “Level B” hotel). See hotels here.

– If you feel you can’t let the points sit in Icelandair (which is what I would do – let them sit there), the best exchange is with US Airways, which will get you 593 Dividend Miles for every 1,000 Icelandair Saga points.

– Redeeming on Icelandair isn’t a bad deal at all (at least not in coach), especially during the summer. The chart is here, but it’s 50,000 points to Iceland from the Eastern US and 60,000 to most of Europe (that works out to about $575 for a flight to Europe – not too bad).

– If you do wish to top up your account so you have enough points for a Europe trip, remember that the 20% mileage purchase bonus goes through September 28th.

– Thanks to the literally hundreds of people who have written me and posted comments here helping others through this deal. And thanks to Icelandair, which has been incredibly helpful as they’ve dealt with more calls than they’ve ever received before.

– And those of you who tend to post on blogs about how bloggers “kill the deal” please save your comments for elsewhere.

I’m on vacation, but I will try to answer whatever additional questions people have today. Unfortunately, this is all I know at this point.

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  1. While I know a lot of folks want Hawaii, there was still fair availability earlier this week from AS’s Texas locations (AUS, DFW, IAH, SAT) for next summer to Alaska (ANC, FAI, JNU). Using the one allowed stopover at SEA opens up a number of cities in the PAC NW too since AS award flights from Texas seem to be the afternoon ones, meaning it’s hard to connect in SEA (late evening) without using the stopover. As long as you can get back straight through on the return (early morning at destination>>SEA>>Texas late afternoon), these should still be bookable.

    In addition, for those with BA Avios, AS is a partner, and the distance/leg based system makes 4500 Avios one-way redemptions a great way to get around Alaska (once you get to ANC/FAI/JNU with Saga miles). We did a day trip for 9K/person FAI>>BRW>>FAI on the summer solstice back in June. As another example, one could fly into FAI, then take the Alaska Railroad and stopover at Denali NP. Then onto ANC, tour around ANC, then 4500 Avios on AS ANC>>FAI to connect back to the Lower 48 (the Return portion of the Saga Miles R/T).

  2. I have been a long-time fan/follower of yours, and hope your blog gets the recognition it deserves (as a result of this deal). Keep up the good work!

    • I made sure and link to it from my story on this deal… great job!

    • Yes, great job on finding this deal. I was able to get in on it and me and the wife are going to Hawaii first class. This will be like a second honeymoon for us we just got married 1 a little over a year ago in Feb and we are going in March so this will be for our second anniversary.

      I know know some people say deals get killed by bloggers but deals are going to end sometime anyways so why not let as many people get in on it that can while it lasts. Thanks again.

  3. If you bought points right now, would they post prior to the deadline?

    • @Harold: Personally, I wouldn’t risk that. Unless, of course, you were OK with having the points in the Icelandair account after today. As they used to say on Wheel of Fortune, “once you buy a prize it’s yours to keep.” Or whatever. I guess I mean if you buy today and they show up tomorrow, you’re stuck with the points :)

      • I did a $20 test purchase, and the points do not post immediately. Also, the purchase site now says “MESSAGE REGARDING ALASKA AIRLINES REDEMPTIONS:
        From the 1st of september 2012 Alaska Airlines Redemptions will be temporary unavailable.
        We can not guarantee that members that buy Saga Points today can redeem them for an Award Flight with Alaska Airlines.”

        Looks like its over. :cry:

  4. Thanks for the great work Jared. I was not familiar with your blog until now. You are definately top of my favorites now. Good reading, and thoughtful, helpful posts.

  5. I guess there is a cap to the “retail” price of Alaska’s tickets, due to the limited nature of their route map, but I am still surprised this deal lasted as long as it did once it got out of the bag. Glad I got in on it and thanks for the heads up. I wonder what v2 will look like?

  6. I just tried buying some points about 10 minutes ago and they still haven’t showed up, so what I’ve heard some people saying about points posting instantly clearly isn’t correct across the board. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to book my award today, but when the points didn’t post instantly, I think my chances went way down. :(

  7. I’m going to make the completely baseless guess that the award chart will be adjusted going forward, perhaps based on zones or mileage, so separate transcons and Hawaii trips from trips along the West Coast.

    • I’m guessing that they charge more saga points for AS flights to Hawaii, but leave everything else alone. Would love to go to Hawaii next summer :)

  8. It sounds like I’m out of luck buying points and booking a flight today. What are people’s experience with how quickly points transfer?

  9. It took me almost 24 hours for my points to transfer. I don’t think I’d risk it unless you are comfortable with having a bunch of Iceland Air points if it doesn’t work out.

  10. Unfortunately Icelandair never did come through with opening an account for me, so I’m out of luck on this one. Thanks for posting it Jared, anyway, as lots of folks were able to benefit.

    Icelandair is actually a decent airline, and their package trips to Iceland are a fantastic deal – I recommend that folks who took advantage of the deal check them out.

    • I imagine they got swamped and given the choice between responding to existing members (including new existing members) and creating new members, they chose the first. In other words, would you rather be ignored as a member or a prospect? :) I feel for them – bet they were wholly unprepared for this onslaught (which I agree they handled WELL).

    • Janine, I’m in the same boat. I have been trying for over 2 weeks just to get an account and I never got one :cry: I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next deal of the year… Bummed about this one.

  11. And …. when you call to book and select reservations you get disconnected. :mad:

  12. Can anyone share?

  13. businessmachine


    I am very worried. After being disconnected several times, I finally got through and booked a trip for next summer from SAN-OGG that I will probably change anyways. Problem is after hanging up, I received no confirmation, no email, my points are all still in account. Is there any way to confirm that I will be getting my tickets issued.

    • My email(s) took several hours to get sent.

    • It takes a few hours for emails to arrive and you will get several emails and then you can find your reservation on alaska’s site within a few days.

      • I booked my award last Friday, and I still haven’t gotten an email. I am able to look up the flight on with the confirmation # that IcelandAir gave me over the phone. On checkmytrip I can get the Alaska confirmation # and then look it up on AlaskaAir and change my seats, etc.

        • @Matt – I booked my award in August on a Sunday. Since they were swamped, took several days to get the actual e-ticket via e-mail (reservation on one day, actual e-ticket processing takes 2-3 business days. I did forget to get the Booking Reservation Number when I made the initial reservations (so I could track progress), so I called back on Monday, they would not give it to me over the phone, but did see my reservation record and e-mailed a copy of the reserved itinerary to the e-mail address on the reservation. This reservation itinerary had the booking reservation number at the top – and then to cool thing- at the bottom it had the Alaska Air (AS) reservation number. At least with the Booking Reservation Number is could track progress (‘pending’) until e-ticket was issued and then I could see the paid reservations in the Icelandair system and Alaska Air system. Good Luck!

    • No guarantee that you can change the award, particularly not without it being adjusted.

  14. Jared, was the email you received a mass email or from one of the individual Icelandair managers with whom you have been in active correspondence?

  15. for the people that have gotten through, what was your hold time? i am at 30 minutes now

  16. To make a Saga Club redemption by phone, am I supposed to do prompt #2 (reservations) or prompt #3 (Saga Club)? I’m on hold now for #3 (25 minutes), and I don’t want to get through only to find out that I’ve been waiting in the wrong line. Have people had success booking via both?

  17. 46 minutes

  18. once through, entire process to book 2 separate itineraries only took 8 minutes though. I have expertflyer though so I had flight numbers and availability done ahead of time. My mom and friend go to Maui non stop from portland and my wife and I go to Anchorage non stop. Thanks Jared

  19. Thanks for all of the hard work that went into posting and updating about this deal.

  20. was 46 minutes on hold on #2 to talk to someone. Tried #3 first and got disconnected at 15 min in.

  21. And I got confirmation emails from them immediately.

  22. I’m still holding at 37 minutes on #3 and I don’t know if I should hang up and call back on #2 or wait awhile longer. Anybody who has been able to book on #3, please reply.

    • Since the directions on their website specifically say “2”, I would hang up and try that. Just a suggestion…

    • #3 worked just fine after all. My hold and booking time was similar to nathaniel’s, or about 50 minutes to hold and about 10 to book. We’re booked for 2 in first from LAS->BLI->HNL in January. Thanks, Jared!

  23. I can’t find alaskan airlines availability on FlightStats at all right now

  24. I’ve been on hold on #2 for almost 2 hours now. I have another call on #3 that has been on hold for 30 min. Any thoughts of how to get through?

  25. What a bunch of BS. They don’t answer and then they turn off the phone system an hour early… LAME

    • This is seriously a joke…they announce a change in policy the day before they do it and then stop taking calls. I waited for over 2.5 hours to just suddenly get disconnected. Iceland Air really should have handled this differently and should honor the deal for people who really tried to get through. I now have 80,000 points I’m stuck with. Maybe they’ll realize their mistake and open it back up temporarily.

      • I completely agree. There has to be some mal intent on their part to offer miles KNOWING that they would pull out the ability to redeem with AS WITHOUT notice. Discovery in the court would likely point out to discussions between AS and Icelandic Air. There has to be something illegal here. Any thoughts?

  26. And their phone is already playing the “we close at 8” message … at 7:45. (Was at 7:30 too.)

  27. I booked a ticket yesterday morning, but I still have yet to receive a confirmation e-mail to let me know that the reservation has ticketed. Should I be worried or do you think it will ticket?

  28. IcelandAir – AlaskaAir Deal is OVER » Grabamile - pingback on August 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm
  29. Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write once more soon!


  30. Boooo Iclandair! How unprofessional. Run a promotion like this, don’t answer calls, don’t answer emails, then end it with no notice?

    This is the opposite of how an airline should be run.

  31. I am in agreement that the Icelandair’s customer service was terrible throughout this process. I was hung up on 2x, had 2 surly reps tell me there was no availability on the flights I could plainly see were available on and expert flyer, I was overcharged for “taxes” by over $500 and it took over a week to remedy, I was told that my Saga Club account didn’t exist (when I could see it and its mileage balance) and I had to attempt registration for a Saga Club account 4x before I finally found a workaround.

    Not coincidentally, the only pleasant interaction I had was with the agent who was able to make my booking (who later, apparently, overcharged me).

    I laud them for being in such close contact with Jared, but the customer service was otherwise downright terrible.

  32. I am booked to Alaska next summer but I want to change the dates. Do I need to contact Iceland or can I go directly through Alaska airlines?

  33. Just got an email about the taxes:
    “Good afternoon,

    Thank you for your email. Our legal department is now investigating which taxes are to be charged on Alaska Airlines award tickets issued Iceland for Saga Points. Once we have their result we will get back to you with appropriate response to your inquiry.

    Kær kveðja/Best regards”

  34. Not sure anyone is still following these comments but I just spoke with Iceland Air. As Jared quoted, they are no longer allowing redemptions with AS as they said their quota was filled.

    Ticket changes will have to be handled through them but as of now they are not doing any untill the issue gets straightened out. Also for a reference regarding taxes- I was charged $77 total for a booking for 2 people from SAN-OGG..hope this helps

  35. I am still following posts regarding this offer on many blogs. I am wondering if anyone has any ideas of how to get a refund for purchase of saga points or what we can do with these points (besides fly on Iceland) now that Alaska Air flights are no longer being awarded. Thanks.

  36. Great. I received a e-mail within 24 hours stating that they will refund my purchases and I checked my AMEX bill and it was credited. The only thing not credited yet, were foreign transaction fees and tax.

  37. @Matt:
    Where is this on checkmytrip?

    “On checkmytrip I can get the Alaska confirmation # and then look it up on AlaskaAir and change my seats, etc.”

    I only see the Iceland Air info.


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