Friday, August 17, 2012

First Class to Hawaii for $330!

Giant tip of the cap to Online Travel Review for figuring this one out!

I promise this blog isn't dedicated to awesome travel deals to Hawaii, even though it seems that way lately.  This travel gem is more complicated than my previous post about U.S. Airways flights to Hawaii for $569, but it's well worth your time and effort.

Icelandair, based in (obviously) Iceland, is having a sale on points in their loyalty program, Saga Club.  Through September 28th, purchases of Saga Club miles earn a 20% bonus.  Purchasing 25,000 Saga Club miles will net you an additional 5,000 miles with the bonus promotion, and the total cost will be 39,500 Icelandic Krona.  That sounds like a lot, doesn't it?  If you go to any currency conversion website, you will see that 39,500 Icelandic Krona is only $330.  This deal is so great because the points purchased are being bought in Krona.  Thus you are leveraging the strength of the U.S. dollar against Icelandic currency.  

Now, down to business.  30,000 Saga Club miles will get you a round-trip first class ticket on Alaska Airlines.  Check out the award chart here if you don't believe me.  There are some things to note with this deal, but if you are really wondering if this is just a hoax, I assure you it isn't!

Due to the overwhelming demand, it will take some time to fully register for the Icelandair Saga Club.

This is the first and most important step, but due to crazy deal, Icelandair is having a tough time automatically registering everyone who signs up for the Saga Club.  I believe they are trying their hardest and will get everyone registered as quickly as possible.  My account is still in limbo at the time of writing.

Availability is a bit tricky to search for.  You must call Icelandair directly to book after searching on Alaska's website.

Finding coach and first class seats can be tough, especially with Alaska restricting Icelandair's access to their award inventory.  Using a tool such as Expertflyer will help immensely, but that website isn't for everyone.  You need to log onto Alaska's website and search for "saver" availability.  Check out the screen shot below.

All Of Those Green "Saver" Dates Can Be Deceiving

I did a hypothetical booking for Seattle to Honolulu in January.  All green dates show "saver" availability in First Class, but that might not be entirely accurate.  You need to fully click through the dates to get to the itineraries screen to verify.

Only The Circled "Super Saver" Itinerary Is Eligible For Redemption 

Once you have a tentative itinerary, write it down and call Icelandair directly.  Their reservations number is 1-800-223-5500.

Availability is poor from the East Coast.  Start from the West Coast, instead.  

You are far better off finding an award ticket from Seattle, Portland, or Oakland to Hawaii on Alaska and buying a cheap fare to get to the origin city.  The most important step is snagging that award ticket on Alaska.  You can figure out how to get to gateway city on your own (via Delta, Southwest, American, or whichever carrier is least expensive).

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me.  I have posted an FAQ from the original deal finder, Online Travel Review, and their expert advice on all of this.  Pay attention the caveats that they give, so that you fully understand the parameters of this deal.

Online Travel Review: How to Buy Icelandair Miles to Fly on Alaska Airlines to Hawaii

Online Travel Review: An Icelandair/Alaska FAQ

Aloha means goodbye!

-Charm City Traveler


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