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Iceland has seen a tourism boom over the past few years, and it’s easy to see why. It’s packed with incredible natural beauty, the people are wonderful, and it’s easier than ever to get to Iceland with miles and points earned from the best travel credit cards.
There’s only one airport in Iceland with international flights: Keflavík International Airport (KEF), about 31 miles southwest of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital.
You’ve got a few ways to travel to Iceland with miles and points. I’ll show you your best bets.
How to Get to Iceland With Miles and Points
Besides being a beautiful place to visit, Iceland has also become a popular connecting point for low-cost flights between North America and Europe. There are 2 major airlines based in Iceland – Icelandair and WOW Air – but because WOW is an ultra-low-cost carrier, you can’t book award flights with miles.
Update March 2019: WOW Air has ceased operations.
This means that Icelandair is by far the most flexible airline for booking award flights to Iceland. Icelandair has flights year-round from the following cities in North America:
- Chicago (O’Hare)
- New York (JFK)
- San Francisco
- Washington, DC (Dulles)
As well as summer seasonal flights from these cities:
- Kansas City
However, Icelandair isn’t a part of any airline alliance, and you can’t transfer points to its mileage program from any major bank or hotel rewards program. But they do partner with Alaska Airlines, so this makes Alaska Airlines miles one of the best ways to get to Iceland.
Use Alaska Airlines Miles to Fly to Iceland
Alaska Airlines miles are some of the most valuable you can earn – they have great airline partners and pretty flexible routing rules. Here’s their award chart for flights on Icelandair (this is the US chart, but flights from Canada are the same price):
You can also use Alaska Airlines miles to fly American Airlines to Iceland during the summer – they have non-stop flights from Dallas-Fort Worth, and if you live elsewhere, you can add a flight from your home city on American or Alaska for the same number of miles.
For both airlines, mileage prices in coach vary depending on the season, so you’ll need to check your specific travel dates to see how many miles you’ll need. You’ll need to pay taxes and fees, which are significant: Icelandair will tack on around $250 round-trip, while American is around $75.
So I recommend comparing the total cost against how much you would need to pay for a cash ticket to make sure you’re getting a good value for your miles.
Where things get really fun is with Alaska Airlines’ flexible routing rules. You can book one-way or round-trip flights, and you can also have a stopover in your airline’s hub – Dallas for American and Keflavík for Icelandair. That means you could actually make a stop in Iceland on your way to visiting another European destination (and even a second stop on your way home if you really wanted!).
Do note that if you continue elsewhere in Europe, you’ll have to pay 5,000 more miles each way – and probably some additional taxes. You can have one stopover on a one-way flight or 2 on a round-trip ticket.
Also on each award ticket, you can fly Alaska Airlines in addition to one partner. So on a single award ticket, you could fly on Alaska Airlines to, say, Seattle, and then fly Icelandair from Seattle to Keflavík.
If you don’t have Alaska Airlines miles, you can transfer points from Marriott or apply for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card or the Alaska Airlines Visa Business credit card from Bank of America.
Use Delta Miles to Fly to Iceland
Delta has non-stop flights to Iceland year-round from New York (JFK) and during the summer from Minneapolis. The thing with Delta is that they don’t publish a standard award chart, so there’s no way to know how much a flight will cost without searching for your specific dates. Although this is inconvenient, there are sometimes incredible deals to be found.
Here’s an example search for a 6-day trip from New York in June:
As you can see, prices are all over the map, and many are completely outrageous. But check out June 14 and June 15. These are round-trip prices – 33,000 Delta miles plus $50 in fees is around what you would pay to fly one-way on Icelandair, American Airlines, or United Airlines.
Looked at another way, you can take someone with you for the same price that you would have to pay another airline for just one ticket!
When searching on Delta’s website, be sure to use the 5-week calendar view to find the lowest prices, and be sure to check both one way and round trip tickets – in this case, Delta would charge more miles for a one-way flight on June 14th than it would for a round-trip flight from June 14 to 20.
You can earn Delta miles directly from credit cards, including the increased limited-time offers (through April 3, 2019) with:
|Card Name||Welcome Bonus|
|Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express||60,000 Delta miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase with the card in the first 3 months from account opening
|Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express||75,000 Delta miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$100 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase with the card in the first 3 months from account opening
|Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express||75,000 Delta miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
You can also transfer points to Delta from American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott.
Use United Airlines Miles to Fly to Iceland in the Summer
United has non-stop flights to Iceland from Newark during the summer, and its partner Air Canada has summer non-stops from Montreal and Toronto.
Here’s United’s award chart for flights to Europe:
If you don’t live near Newark, Montreal, or Toronto, no worries – these prices include connecting flights from anywhere in the continental US and Canada. You can also fly United or one of its partners to another European city like Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Vienna, or Zürich, and connect onward to Iceland from there. United’s website makes it easy to search for all available options on United and its partners.
United Airlines is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, so you can move Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines when you have one of these cards:
If you’re looking to use miles and points to book flights to Iceland, booking flights on Icelandair with Alaska Airlines is going to offer you the most opportunities, especially if you have the time to make Iceland a stopover on a greater European trip for just a few thousand more miles.
However, Alaska Airlines miles are hard to come by, and Icelandair flights come with hefty fees. So you’ll want to look at prices for other airlines like Delta and United Airlines, especially if you already have miles in those programs or points that you can easily transfer.
Also make sure you check the price of cash tickets – Icelandair occasionally runs good sales.
Have you used miles and points to get to Iceland? Share your experiences in the comments!