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How to get to Iceland on points and miles

July 18, 2022
14 min read
Reykjavik, Iceland
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As one of the first countries to reopen to international travel, Iceland has become a popular destination over the last few years, thanks to a big tourism push, incredible scenery and cheap fares to and from both the U.S. and the rest of Europe.

Well situated between the United States and Europe, Icelandair's low-fare model and generous stopover program have made it easy for those traveling between the two continents to make a stopover. But there's also lots to see in Iceland outside of the capital, Reykjavik.

In this guide, we'll show you how to get to Iceland on points and miles.

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Airfare booked with flexible rewards

There are many options for redeeming miles for a flight to Iceland. While using points and miles can sometimes be the best option to get to your destination at the lowest cost, Iceland is one of those destinations where fare sales pop up quite often, so you might actually find that this particular journey is more cost-effective when paying cash rather than booking a traditional award ticket.

Consult TPG’s valuations when comparing paid fares with mileage redemptions.

Your points and miles might help you get to Iceland to see the northern lights. (Photo by Friðþjófur M./Getty Images)

American Express Membership Rewards

The value of American Express Membership Rewards points redeemed for flights is 1 cent apiece if you have a card like the The Platinum Card® from American Express. However, if you have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you get a 35% rebate on Pay with Points redemptions for eligible first- or business-class fares booked through Amex Travel (up to 500,000 points back per calendar year), as well as on all flights booked on the same airline that you have designated for your $200 annual airline fee rebate.

Capital One Venture miles

Capital One miles like those earned with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card can be redeemed at a rate of 1 cent apiece for statement credits, including airfare purchases. Depending on how cheap fares to Iceland price out, Venture miles could be better than airline miles.

For example, Icelandair is offering round-trip economy fares between New York and Reykjavik as low as $408 in mid-September. Meanwhile, American Airlines requires 60,000 miles round-trip. Since TPG values American miles at 1.77 cents each, you’re giving up $1,062 worth of value. In this case, you’re better off saving your AAdvantage miles and redeeming 40,800 Capital One Venture miles instead.

Related: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review

Chase Ultimate Rewards

The value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points ranges from 1 to 1.5 cents apiece depending on the card you have. For instance, those earned on the Chase Freedom Flex only merit 1 cent apiece, while those earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents apiece.

Citi ThankYou Rewards

Citi ThankYou points earned on cards like the Citi Prestige® Card and the Citi Premier® Card are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for airfare.

The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Discover

If you have the Discover it Miles, you can redeem your points for statement credits at a rate of 1 cent apiece for travel and any other purchases, so this is something to consider if you want to use your points to save some cash on a simple basis.

Now let’s get to mileage redemptions on specific airlines.

The information for the Discover it Miles has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Airfare booked with airline miles

Redeeming miles for a flight to Iceland makes sense if paid fares are high or you don’t have access to the redemption options outlined above.

American Airlines

You'll find the new British Airways Club World suite on select transatlantic flights. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

You can redeem AAdvantage miles at 30,000 each way in economy or 57,500 in business. Most of these flights have a British Airways segment transiting through London. This won’t affect taxes too much if you also have an AA segment, but pure BA itineraries can carry taxes as high as $750 in business class one-way.

(Screenshot from aa.com)

Related: 3 ways to fly Icelandair using points and miles

Cheap Star Alliance awards

The easiest option for booking Star Alliance awards to Iceland is United MileagePlus. United now uses dynamic pricing, and when we ran our tests, we found flights starting at 52,300 miles round-trip. In business class, you'll spend at least 120,000 miles round-trip if you manage to find saver space.

(Screenshot from united.com)

You can stock up on MileagePlus miles with cobranded credit cards or by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.

But there’s a cheaper option and one that’s too often overlooked: ANA Mileage Plan. While United requires 60,000 miles round-trip for an economy-class award to Iceland, ANA requires just 55,000 miles. Business-class awards are also a bargain at just 88,000 miles round-trip.

You can also use Avianca LifeMiles to book the same United economy-class seat for 20,000 miles each way. You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points and Capital One miles to Avianca at a 1:1 ratio.

Cheap SkyTeam awards

When you think SkyTeam, you typically think of Delta. While Delta SkyMiles could be a good option for flights to Reykjavik, they’re not the cheapest — at all. Right now, one-way award space starts at 56,000 miles in economy class. Business class will set you back at least 210,000 miles one-way.

One-way economy class from JFK-KEF. (Screenshot from delta.com)

Flights out of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) price at a staggering 62,000 SkyMiles each way in economy class.

(Screenshot from delta.com)

SkyMiles are fairly easy to earn, thanks to welcome offers from cards like the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. You can also transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards.

For a cheaper SkyTeam award for the exact same seat, you’ll want to look at Flying Blue redemptions. These will set you back as little as 18,500 miles each way in economy from the East Coast.

(Screenshot from klm.nl)

Flying Blue miles happen to be some of the easiest miles to earn, thanks to transfer partnerships with American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles, Citi ThankYou, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.

Related: The ultimate guide to earning and redeeming with Air France-KLM Flying Blue

Alaska Mileage Plan

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

Although Alaska is a member of Oneworld, its award flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Reykjavik are operated by Icelandair. If you want to earn more Alaska miles, you could open the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. The card offers 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on the card in the first 90 days of having your card open, plus buy one get one for just taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fess from $22).

The information for the Alaska Airlines Visa card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Hotels you can book with points

Iceland isn’t a huge hotel market, but all the major hotel chains have established properties there because of its increased popularity. Most of these hotels are found in Reykjavik, which will be your base for an Iceland trip anyway. Here are some hotel options using points and miles:

Hilton

Canopy Reykjavik City Centre (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

Hilton has three hotels in Reykjavik: the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre and Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. The Hilton Reykjavik Nordica has the cheapest paid and points rates. In April and early May, you can find paid rates of around $133 per night or 35,000 Hilton points.

The Canopy Reykjavik City Centre costs around $169 per night or 46,000 Hilton points. The Curio property has paid rates just under $200 per night in April, while points rates are 48,000 per night. These three hotels are located within three blocks of each other, so the best option comes down to your tastes.

I’ve now stayed at two Curio Collection hotels and like the brand so far. If you’re looking for a boutique hotel experience that’s also affordable, I’d go with the Curio Collection hotel.

That being said, TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents each. So you’re better off saving your points, unless you’re taking advantage of the fifth-night-free benefit, which would bring the point-per-night cost down 20%. Instead, consider using a currency like Capital One Venture miles or the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit on longer stays.

IHG One Rewards

IHG One Rewards has three hotels in all of Iceland. All of them are from the Mr & Mrs portfolio. In Reykjavik, the The Mr & Mrs Smith Kvosin Hotel offers paid rates of around $180 per night in April. You can also redeem 25,000 IHG points per night. You can knock an extra 25% off with the fourth-night-award benefit from the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.

Mr & Mrs Smith The Retreat at Blue Lagoon also looks intriguing. The hotel is built over an 800-year-old lava field and surrounded by geothermal lagoons. It’s adjacent to the famed Blue Lagoon, but the lagoon surrounding the hotel is for guest use only. As you can imagine, this comes with a hefty price tag. Paid rates are around $1,400 per night and as of now, there is no award availability year-round.

The Mr & Mrs Smith Kvosin Hotel. (Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott has five hotels in Iceland: there's a Courtyard at the airport, three Design Hotels and one Edition.

The Courtyard starts at just 30,000 points per night, but if you're looking for luxury in Reykjavik, I would go with the Edition, which just opened. With rates starting at 73,000 points per night, it's rather expensive, but the property could make for the ultimate five-night vacation by taking advantage of the free fifth night. Cash rates start at just over $500.

The Ion Adventure Hotel, Nesjavellir, a Member of Design Hotels is located outside of Reykjavik in the Icelandic countryside. During peak dates, you should expect to spend around 70,000 points or $385 per night here.

Radisson Rewards

Radisson Rewards often gets overlooked, but it has a pretty expansive portfolio, especially in Europe. In Iceland, it has two hotels, both located in Reykjavik. Its paid rates tend to be lower than most hotel chains and at 20 base points per $1 spent, you can earn a ton of points for future redemptions.

Its Reykjavik hotels range from 45,000-75,000 points per night:

  • Park Inn By Radisson Reykjavik Keflavik Airport: 45,000 points.
  • Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik: 75,000 points.

The Park Inn and Radisson Blu are great options for value travelers. The paid rates for both hotels are around $165 per night in March and April.

Despite just a $3-$5 difference in the paid rate, the redemption rates are vastly different for these two properties. TPG values Radisson points at 0.4 cents each, so neither of these properties is ideal for redeeming points. Instead, save them up for a premium redemption and enjoy the fairly low paid rates while they last.

World of Hyatt

Hyatt has one option in Iceland: Hotel Ranga, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The redemption rates start at 25,000 points per night on off-peak dates.

In April, you can stay for around $350 per night. Since TPG values Hyatt points at 1.7 cents each, you won’t get the most value out of your points on this redemption.

If you’re looking to save up points for Reykjavik, the World of Hyatt Credit Card is a solid option. You’ll not only earn a welcome bonus, but the card also includes Discoverist status and the ability to spend your way to a higher elite level.

Activities

(Photo by Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images)

Once you’ve made it to Iceland, you’ll probably want to go sightseeing, visit a sauna or venture out to see the northern lights. One of the best ways to cover these expenses is through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Not only does it offer competitive rates on tours and museum tickets, but you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards at 1.5 cents each if you’re a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder and 1.25 if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Another option is to charge your activities to your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Assuming your purchases get coded as travel, you can redeem miles at a rate of 1 cent each to offset these purchases. I like the second option better because you’ll also earn 2 miles per $1 during the process, but be sure to compare prices and go with the option that works out most economically.

Bottom line

Due to year-round low fares, Iceland might be a destination where it’s better just to purchase your ticket outright and save your points for on-the-ground redemptions or premium awards elsewhere, especially given the lackluster business-class seats several airlines offer on their routes to Reykjavik. If you decide to make the trip, here are some mistakes to avoid and where to stay and what to do.

Additional reporting by Eric Rosen and Ariana Arghandewal.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees