3 best ways to get to Iceland with miles and points
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 kind, and it’s easier than ever to get to Iceland with miles and points earned from the best credit cards for travel.
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 destination for low-cost flights. Both Icelandair, the country’s national airline, and Norwegian fly to Reykjavik for extremely cheap. Icelandair is by far the most flexible airline for booking award flights to Iceland — it’s got flights year-round from the following cities in North America:
- Chicago (O’Hare)
- New York (JFK)
- San Francisco
- Washington, DC (IAD)
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 U.S. 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. 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 Airlines 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 two 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 Marriott points to the airline or apply for the following cards:
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card – Special limited time offer: $100 statement credit, 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles, plus Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare, plus taxes and fees from $22) after making $2,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening account
- Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card – 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account
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 out there.
Here’s an example search for a six-day trip from New York in August/September:
As you can see, prices are all over the map. But there are plenty of dates available for 44,000 miles round-trip, plus $50 in fees.
When searching on Delta’s website, be sure to use the five-week calendar view to find the lowest prices, and be sure to check both one way and round trip tickets.
You can earn Delta miles directly from credit cards, including the increased limited-time offers (through April 1, 2020) with:
|Card||Intro bonus||Best perk||Annual fee|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Here’s how: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. Offer Expires 4/1/2020. Terms apply.||Free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation. Terms Apply.||$99, waived for the first year. See (rates and fees)|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card||Earn up to 70,000 miles: Earn 60,000 miles after spending $2,000 on your card in the first three months and earn an additional 10,000 miles after your first account anniversary. Terms apply.||Free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation. Terms Apply.||$99, waived for the first year. See (rates and fees)|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card||Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles. Here’s how: Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. Offer Expires 4/1/2020. Terms apply.||Priority boarding and a free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation. Terms apply.||$250 See (rates and fees)|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card||Up to 100,000 miles: Earn 80,000 miles after spending $3,000 on your card in the first three months and earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first account anniversary. Terms apply.||Priority boarding and a free checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation. Terms Apply.||$250 See (rates and fees)|
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
|Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs). Here’s how: Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. Offer Expires 4/1/2020. Terms apply.||Complimentary Centurion Lounge and Delta SkyClub access||$550 See (rates and fees)|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card||Up to 100,000 miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs): Earn 80,000 miles and 20,000 MQMs after spending $5,000 on your card in the first three months and earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first account anniversary. Terms apply.||Earn an annual companion certificate each year when you renew your card. Terms apply.||$550 See (rates and fees)|
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. Similar to Delta, United doesn’t have an award chart for its own flights, so you’ll have to price out your route and date specifically. However, if you’re flying one of their Star Alliance partners (like Air Canada), you can check out United’s Star Alliance award chart here.
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 U.S. 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.
Or you can earn United Airlines miles directly with cards like:
- United℠ Explorer Card (60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open)
- United℠ Business Card (limited-time 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening)
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. 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 and Norwegian occasionally publish amazing sales.
Have you used miles and points to get to Iceland? Share your experiences in the comments! And subscribe to our newsletter for more tips to visiting bucket list destinations.