Category Archives: Alaska Airlines - Page 2

NOW DEAD: An Icelandair/Alaska FAQ…And How to Bring The Price Down Below $300 Via Miles Sharing…and 10 Day Wait Period Lifted


OTR reader Steve has passed along what should be an improvement to the Icelandair/Alaska deal:

Through September 28th, Icelandair is giving a 20% bonus when you transfer miles to someone else. Incredibly, they only charge 3,000 ISK ($25) to transfer miles to someone.

So, if you buy 50,000 miles it will cost you $525. If you then go and transfer those miles to someone, they will have 60,000 miles (because of the 20% bonus). Those 60,000 miles, then, will cost you a total of $550. That means you are either getting 2 first class flights on Alaska for $275 each roundtrip, or 3 coach flights for $183 each roundtrip. Just a thought.

An FAQ on the whole Icelandair/Alaska thing:

Q: Is it 20,000/30,000 (coach/first class) one-way or round trip?
A: Round trip. I promise. Round trip. They only allow roundtrip redemptions on their own flights, they are not going to allow one-ways on partner flights.

Q: This sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
A: Perhaps. But the main reason this works is because the devaluation of the Icelandic Krona has cut the value of their currency relative to the dollar in half. And it’s not THAT crazy — Avios only charges 25,000 points for a coach roundtrip from the West Coast to Hawaii.

Q: What’s up with the 10 day waiting period people are mentioning?
A: I don’t know. Some people who have called have been told they need to wait 10 days before booking because they are a new account holder. That sounds like nonsense, and because I’m guessing they have 2 people working in their call center, calling them back likely won’t help.

The fine team at Icelandair has now waived the 10 day waiting period to help everyone out.

A piece of advice I’ve never shared here (but now that I think of it, I should have) is to sign up for all of the frequent flyer programs out there. They’re free. Just get yourself a number. I have FF accounts with all sorts of random airlines precisely for this reason – who knows why you might need it down the road? It’s free, and my kids get a kick out of the mail some of these airlines send (Kingfisher luggage tags)?

Q: Why can’t I find availability?
A: Availability is pretty good to Hawaii from San Jose and Portland, especially. Check on Alaska Airlines’ website before calling (and waiting on hold with) Icelandair. When I called yesterday it appeared that availability matched what was available on Alaska Airlines’ site, but others are hearing differently. I fear you may be traveling down a rabbit hole if you ask Icelandair to search for availability. UPDATE: Fares book into W class for coach and A class for First. Expertflyer has a free 5-day trial that can help you with this.

Also I’m not hearing much success from the East Coast because availability is quite poor.

Q: Are stopovers permitted?
A: Yes they are. You’re allowed 1. That does not mean there will be availability, but you can stopover. A stopover is any connection longer than 4 hours. This is the reason you can’t book connections to Hawaii from the East Coast – you’ll end up with 4-hour+ connections in both directions.

Q: What is the change fee?
A: It’s 10,000 ISK or roughly $80

Q: Why are people being told that they need to book 2 separate awards when they have a connecting flight?
A: I’m not 100% sure. However, as this post from Million Mile Secrets notes American Airlines will make you book two separate awards for any flight that involves a connection longer than 4 hours. Given that most East Coast to Hawaii flights have 8 hour (or overnight) connections, I think that is what is causing this problem (inasmuch as having to pay $600 for a first class ticket to Hawaii constitutes a “problem”.)

A couple of other random points:

– Even after the 20 percent bonus goes away September 28 this is still a great way to get to Hawaii cheap in first class going forward.

– Obviously do not purchase points until you know that there is availability with Icelandair.

– The people I’ve spoken with in their call center were wonderful, but I’m guessing they’re not used to this kind of call volume (at least not since the $61 fare to Reykjavik from years back). Please be nice to them.

– Please post any success stories, though it sounds like we may not have any for a while because of this odd 10 day thing.

– This deal has brought lots of new people to Online Travel Review. Welcome! If you care: I’ve been writing this thing for almost 9 years. I don’t think business class is as great as most other bloggers seem to think it is (see here). I’m not a trip report guy, so if you’d like 32 photos of someone’s soda on their flight, you’ll have to visit elsewhere. I think it’s amazing that by opening a credit card you can go nearly anywhere in the world you want for free. That’s insanely awesome. I have a chart-making program that I like so I’ve created some charts I think are useful that you can find in the right hand column (ie, differences between Business Credit Cards; how to get to Hawaii using miles; a chart of how many miles it takes to go anywhere on all US airlines). And this little piece about flying with my then-3-year-olds is probably my favorite thing I’ve written here. Well, that one and this one about fathers.

In any case, welcome. Hope you stick around for a while. You can email me anytime at jared (at) Oh, and if you want any help figuring out the whole credit card thing, I’ve worked with lots of people who have used my free credit card planning service. It’s free, and we’ll get you enough miles for that trip you’ve dreamed about.

UPDATE: Someone who said they were from Icelandair (I have no reason not to believe them, especially since the IP address they posted from was in Iceland) posted this mini-FAQ in the comments of the main post. I thought I’d post here, but with the caveat that when I called them yesterday they had availability from Portland (PDX) to Honolulu.

Hello everyone,

Thank you for your interest in our Program but due to heavy load on our Call Center we just wanted to clear a few things:

1) Availability on Alaska Airlines is limited and seats for Hawaii for the coming months are not available is limited in our systems (agent checked just over a minute ago).

2) Availability is controlled only by Alaska Airlines and not by Icelandair.

3) Registration in the Saga Club is under Construction and can therefore take a longer time again also due to heavy load on our Call Center.

4) Miles expire in the end of the fourth year from they were earned.

We hope that answers some of your questions,

With best regards,

The Icelandair Saga Club


NOW DEAD: It’s Good from All Cities – Buy Icelandair Miles to Fly on Alaska Airlines to Hawaii in First Class for $328 Round Trip….Really


Icelandair is running a promotion through September 28th where you’ll earn a 20% bonus when you buy their Saga Club miles (you need to first create an account on their website to be able to get to this page)…

Why do I mention this seemingly useless piece of information? Because it’s not useless. Icelandair sells their miles quite cheap…How cheap?

You can buy 25,000 miles + a 5,000 mile bonus for 39,500 Icelandic Krona. I’ll save you the Googling and tell you that that is $328.

Why do you want 30,000 Saga Club miles? Because as you see here, it will only cost you 30,000 Saga Club miles to get yourself a FIRST CLASS roundtrip ticket on Alaska Airlines to all of their destinations in the US (Alaska and Hawaii included), Canada and Mexico to or from Seattle (see the full list here). Yes, I know it says “Continental U.S. and Canada” but I spoke with Icelandair and they said that the list of cities I linked to is actually the correct list of cities, and they include Hawaii, Mexico and Alaska. Coach tickets are 20,000 miles roundtrip ($228). There is a fuel surcharge, but it’s generally $40 or so.

Yes, you read that correctly: a roundtrip first class ticket to Hawaii will cost you $328.

You can purchase 100,000 miles per account per year.

Using those points on Icelandair isn’t bad either (chart here): JFK/WAS/MCO/MSP to Iceland is 50,000 points in coach ($541 to purchase those points), while a roundtrip ticket to most of Western Europe and Scandanavia is 60,000 points ($658). Not a crazy good deal, but if the seats are available during the summer season, that’s about half what you’d pay to actually buy a ticket.

But again – this would definitely be worth it for anyone in Seattle. Assuming seats are available, anywhere they fly from Seattle is just $328 for first class.

UPDATE 1: This may actually be good for anywhere Alaska flies (not just to/from Seattle). I have a call in to Icelandair. I’ll keep everyone posted.

UPDATE 2: I confirmed with Icelandair that you can fly anywhere for 20,000 miles in coach and 30,000 in first class ($228/$328 when you buy the miles). That’s a bargain.

UPDATE 3: Thought it would be helpful to link to my chart of which airlines fly from what cities to Hawaii.

UPDATE 4: The fine folks at Icelandair have contacted me with some additional information (they have been incredibly helpful) about airline tickets. They have lifted the 10 day restriction. Seriously, they’re good people, right? Also, for those of you with ExpertFlyer (or the like), their Alaska Airlines availability books into A for first class and W for economy. That should help you determine availability BEFORE you call them. They’re getting hammered with calls, so please be patient. I’ll add this to the FAQ.

UPDATE 5: Stopovers ARE permitted. Same rules as those found on Alaska Airlines. I’m also keeping a running FAQ here. In that post you’ll also see about how to get the price below $300.


Alaska Airlines 40,000 Mile Offer Is Back (Now Requires $7500 Minimum Spend)

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card once again has a 40,000 mile offer available, though they now require a not-unreasonable $7,500 in spend in 6 months. With this offer you’ll get 25,000 Mileage Plan miles after first purchase, then an additional 15,000 miles after you hit that spend minimum.

This card comes with a $110 coach companion ticket (yes, that used to be first class and coach, but now it’s just coach….get over it). Annual fee is $75, and it’s not waived, though this is still a good deal for $75.

One thing to note: people have churned Alaska Airlines cards over the years, but the T&Cs on this offer say: “This one-time promotion is limited to new customers opening an account in response to this offer…” Sounds like if you’ve had this card before, YMMV…

40,000 Mile Alaska Airlines Visa Application

(Yes, I learned about this buried in a thread on Flyertalk…I apologize to everyone on FT personally if that bothers them).


Alaska Airlines Will Charge Some Upgraded Passengers Baggage Fees

Alaska Airlines is changing its paid baggage policy, and some people flying in first class will now have to pay baggage fees.

Beginning July 10th, anyone who has purchased a coach ticket and upgraded to first class either using miles or by purchasing day-of-departure upgrades will now be subject to a checked bag fee ($20 for a first and second bag). Elite members of Mileage Plan will not be subject to the new fee, nor will AA and Delta elite members (except for Delta Silver Medallion, who get one bag free).

As far as I know, Alaska is the only US airline to charge anyone sitting in first a fee to check bags.


Alaska Airlines Credit Card – This One Also Comes with Lounge Passes (Oops – Only for Canadians)

Card churners are quite familiar with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card because of its churnability and its $99 companion airfare certificate that can be used even on first class fares. The current best bonus on the card is for 25,000 miles after first purchase (though last year it was up to 40k, and even last month was at 35k.)

I haven’t heard anyone speak of the Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard (application here – not an affiliate link.) It’s also Bank of America, and has the same terms as the Visa Signature, but in addition to the 25,000 mile signup bonus and $99 companion ticket, you also get 2 FREE BOARD ROOM LOUNGE PASSES, a perk not available with the Visa Signature version of the card. Both cards do come with a $75 annual fee, though. I believe the 25k bonus is ONLY through the link I found above. (SORRY ABOUT THIS – IT’S ONLY FOR CANADIANS. MY BAD…CARRY ON)

In addition, I know people have been excited about new Chip & Pin cards – this one also has Chip & Pin, which provides an added level of security (and allows you to buy train tickets at kiosks in Amsterdam, from what I can tell.)

And since I’m talking about Alaska Airlines cards, I also never hear anyone mention the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card (application here). 20,000 miles on first purchase ($75 fee), but it also comes with the $99 companion certificate, which could be very, very useful if you’re a family of 4 and need 2 companion certificates to get wherever it is you were planning on going. (THIS IS NOT JUST FOR CANADIANS…)


Apparently It’s Avios Week, So Here Are 2 Great Ways to Use Those Points on Alaska Airlines

Avios Theme Week ™ amongst us travel bloggers is apparently continuing this week, so I thought I’d throw out some great redemption ideas. Or pretty good redemption ideas (I don’t want to oversell this).

I’ll add to this discussion of using Avios points by noting the great values available when you use them to redeem on some Alaska Airlines routes. Avios doesn’t impose fuel surcharges on Alaska Airlines flights. For example:

Nonstop flights from the West Coast to Hawaii on Alaska are only 25,000 miles round trip in coach and 50,000 in first class. That sure beats spending 40k/75k Alaska Mileage Plan miles or 45k/75k AAdvantage Miles for those flights. Alaska has extensive service to 4 islands from up and down the West Coast.

Flights from California to their strong Mexico network are just 20k/40k round trip (coach/first). Flights from Seattle are just a bit more at 25k/50k, all surcharge-free. Alaska charges 35k/65k using their own miles.

And I believe that will conclude my Avios Theme Week contribution.

Contributions from others include:

For those who didn’t see, One Mile at a Time wrote about how you can use Avios points on Aer Lingus to fly Boston-Dublin for 25k miles round trip in coach (or 50k in business class). The comments section is worth reading, as they commenters are roughly as excited as audience members in the Oprah “You Get a Car You Get a Car You Get a Car” episode.

And a callout to Million Mile Secrets for showing how you can exploit the lack of fuel surcharges on flights out of Brazil to redeem Avios points for fuel surcharge-free tickets from North America to Europe – if you fly from New York to Brazil to London you can avoid the fuel surcharges. It’s a great strategy for those who want the free stopover in Brazil and then continue on to Europe. Or for people who want to fly for 23 hours to go from NY to London.


I Found a Link for the Alaska Airlines Credit Card with a 35,000 Mile Bonus (DEAL EXPIRED)

Among all the credit card bonus craziness this week, several people have re-posted a link from Flyertalk for a 30,000 miles bonus on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. This was exciting because the bonus had been at 25,000 miles for quite some time. This was less exciting because the bonus had been 40,000 miles last year.

Better news: I just found a link for 35,000 bonus miles with signup for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card. Same deal as always: $75 annual fee (not waived). Comes with $99 companion ticket good on all fares classes (including first class tickets). Lots of people report this card to be churnable.

And, if you’re new to Alaska Airlines, check out this post where I call Alaska’s Mileage Plan the most underrated frequent flyer program. Alaska miles can be redeemed on American, Delta, KLM, Air France and more.

Take a screenshot of the application page just to be safe…

(I do not get an affiliate referral for this card).


Alaska Airlines $99 Companion Ticket No Longer Good for First Class

(Yes, I first saw this on THIS MILEPOINT THREAD)

One of the reasons people LOVED (or at least really liked) the Alaska Airlines Visa card was that you received a certificate good for a $99 companion fare that could be used on any fare class. In other words, you could buy a first class ticket and get a second first class ticket for $99. This made for a fantastic deal on flights to Hawaii, for example.

Well, those days are now officially over. Alaska (or Bank of America, their credit card partner) has changed the rules (see here) and that companion certificate is now only good for coach fares.

Does that make it worthless? No, of course not. But it does cut down significantly on the value of that perk. Add to that the rather sad 25,000 mile signup bonus, and you’ll have a lot of disappointed Alaska Airlines cardholders out there (you get the certificate each year).

UPDATE: (NEVER MIND). It’s still good on first class – BofA put the wrong copy on their site. Carry on.


Double Miles on Select Alaska Airlines Routes

I’ve been talking about how great Alaska Airlines’ frequent flyer plan is so I thought I’d pass along this promo that offers double miles on select routes. Fly by November 15th between these cities:

Seattle & Long Beach or Edmonton
Los Angeles & Mazatlan, Mexico City, Guadalajara, or Vancouver
San Francisco & Palm Springs, Los Cabos, or Puerto Vallarta
San Jose & Los Cabos
Portland & Boise or Los Angeles


A Reminder About the Most Underrated Frequent Flyer Program: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

This isn’t new news, but I wanted to call out one of the most (if not the most) underrated frequent flyer programs out there — Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. If you’re not familiar with Alaska’s program (and if you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, you may not be), the biggest benefit of their program is that they have a wide range of partners across alliances.

In fact, their partner airlines are so vast that by crediting points to Mileage Plan you are essentially getting the best of SkyTeam (if there is such a thing) and the best of OneWorld in one program. Alaska partners with Delta, KLM, Air France and Korean from SkyTeam and with American, LAN, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas from OneWorld. They also have partnerships with independents Icelandair and Air Pacific.

How is this useful? I think most frequent flyers try to consolidate their travel within one alliance, but sometimes that’s simply not possible, either because of the destination or corporate travel-related restrictions. If you’re a Onepass person (like me) you may still find yourself on Delta or American once in a while (as I do). Crediting those miles to Alaska will allow you to build up points within one program faster than if you sometimes credit to Delta and sometimes credit to American.

Alaska will give you Elite status on Alaska even if you earn miles on partner airlines. Sure, they offer Elite status at 20,000 miles if you only fly on Alaska, but if you fly on partner airlines you’ll still be able to earn Elite status at 25,000 miles even if you earn the miles on partner airlines. Elite status (MVP – their lower level) gets you unlimited upgrades not only on Alaska, but also on Delta (upgrades at 48 hours out on cheap tickets on Alaska and day-of on Delta). MVP Gold (40k miles flown on Alaska and 50k miles on partner airlines) gets you instant upgrades on a wider range of fares and a 72-hour upgrade window on other fares.

So yes, you can get Delta upgrades by flying on American.

When redeeming on American Airlines, you can take advantage of American’s off-peak award tickets to Central & South America as well as Europe, which offer roundtrip coach tickets to Europe for just 40,000 miles.

That’s a lot of flexibility both on the earning side (where you can earn on their partners – though some, KLM for example, do have restrictions on earning on the cheapest fares) and on the redemption side. For those who have to fly non-Star Alliance airlines, it’s a great place to earn your miles.

The biggest knock is that you can only use one partner on redemptions. So you cannot create a reward trip using both Delta and KLM (though you can use Alaska and 1 partner). That does knock out some of the more complex itineraries, but still – it’s not a huge drawback for most people.

Alaska does have a credit card (see here), though right now they’re only offering 25,000 bonus miles. From time-to-time they offer 40,000 bonus miles and the card is reportedly churnable every 4 months or so, which is helpful.

See the latest Amex promo codes to earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points.

Credit miles easily and save big on your flights with an Alaska Airlines credit card.