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AA Flies to Iceland – Best Use of Miles for Business Class

Discussion in 'New Blog Posts' started by italdesign, Nov 14, 2017 at 2:34 PM.

  1. italdesign

    italdesign Level 2 Member

    [​IMG]

    One Mile at a Time writes that AA will start flying seasonally between Dallas (DFW) and Keflavik (KEF) in summer 2018. I’m excited for 3 reasons:

    1. It’s a fully flat bed in business class.
    2. You can redeem AA miles for it.
    3. It’s a long flight.

    Before I start my explanation, I need to point out that WOW Air offers some cheap fares to Iceland, in addition to lots of general transatlantic sales these days (mostly in coach). However, if you want to fly comfortably and/or are sitting on a stash of AA miles, read on.

    Now, let me explain, in reverse order.

    #3 – Long flight


    DFW-KEF is 3,743 miles, according to gcmap. That’s longer than east coast to London, and much longer than east coast to Iceland. As someone who lives in the middle of the country, I like it! I like my overnight long hauls to be at least 7 hours for a half-decent sleep so I can hit the ground running on arrival. This comes close, with a good 8:20pm departure and 9:15am arrival into Iceland.

    #2 – Use miles


    2 years ago, I was lamenting about the lack of award options for a comfy flight to Iceland. At the time, only Delta offered redemption, and it was way overpriced (~75k, I believe) for a short flight from JFK. Recently, more options opened up:

    • You can redeem 50,000 – 55,000 Alaska Airlines each way for Icelandair business (Saga) class.
    • You can redeem 60,000 – 70,000 United miles each way for United business class; service starts summer 2018 (or possibly connecting in Mainland Europe).

    However, the Alaska option isn’t fully flat, while the United option costs more miles and is shorter (except for possible connecting options). AA charges 57,500 miles to fly to Iceland, same as Mainland Europe. Here’s an example availability for today, from Indianapolis to KEF.

    [​IMG]

    Will there be award availability for the new direct flight? AA was super stingy with their own availability for a few years but seems to have improved recently (my personal experience), which matches their recent rhetoric. If they don’t change course, my guess is there will be very limited availability.

    57,500 miles + ~$50 in fees for a 6-7 hour flat bed isn’t bad for going to Europe.

    #1 – Flat bed


    It’s reportedly being operated by a 757. I haven’t flown AA’s version, but I have flown United’s 757 business class to Europe and enjoyed it enough. Personally, I find AA to have the worst service among the 3 US legacies, while others aren’t bothered. But more options is a good thing.

    in a nutshell


    This is a good way to use 57,500 AA miles for 6-7 hours in flat bed to Iceland. You will be more rested than most other available options. Keep in mind Iceland has experienced deliberate explosive growth in tourism, so do your research for realistic expectations.

    Will this be your preferred way of getting to Iceland?

    Featured image by By Andreas Tille – Own work: http://fam-tille.de/sparetime.html


    The post AA Flies to Iceland – Best Use of Miles for Business Class appeared first on Points Adventure.

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  2. italdesign

    italdesign Level 2 Member

    Updated article (not updated in thread, need to go to article) to mention UA Excursionist Perk. Also per this page:

    Code:
    http://liveandletsfly.boardingarea.com/2017/09/16/united-iceland-stopover/
    as I write in the article, "on a one-way ticket, he got a stopover and a free one-way in another region." I wasn't aware you are now allowed a stopover on a one-way ticket ... or maybe I just forgot.
     
  3. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    Excellent news! I was actually trying to make one of those "long weekend trips" to Iceland this late fall -> winter to see the Northern Lights. I found the same unattractive options you did ... basically via London w/surcharges or expensive on United. And routing through multiple flights (3 in the case you've shown). We have enough AS miles, but I'm holding these in reserve to create a flexible (multiple exit options) trip to Asia later.

    AA miles? We've got gobs and haven't been able to use many lately.

    Iceland was put off until next end-of-year (2018), which lines up perfectly with this AA news. The only down side is that, for us, it's CLE->DFW which is the wrong way to start. But that's not a show-stopper.
     
  4. Suzie

    Suzie Level 2 Member

    We did WOW out of BWI to Iceland. It was not a bad flight at all - if you prepared for it. They will charge you for a cup of water. We knew this in advance - were well stocked and made sure our bags were at the # limit. The plane was new and the seats were comfortable.

    However, if I were to do it again - I would go for the AA flights. I seem to be in the minority, but I use AA miles a lot. Next year will be Argentina/Chile, and later in the year - Uganda, Kenya and Seychelles. All J.
     
  5. italdesign

    italdesign Level 2 Member

    Not sure that's a bad thing - more time in flat bed overnight. Long as the positioning flight is up front of course.
     
  6. GetawaysRus

    GetawaysRus Level 2 Member

    I wish the AA option had been there last summer when my wife and I visited Iceland. We flew to Iceland from Europe for a week and a half stay in Iceland, but then our return to the USA was a problem. My wife has back issues, so I always try to put us in Business class on longer flights.

    For the return, I used Chase U.R. points (through the U.R. Travel Agency) to pay for KEF to JFK on Iceland Air in Business class. We then needed an overnight near JFK, so I used some SPG points for a (crummy) hotel nearby. Then the next morning we flew the AA Transcon in First from JFK to LAX using AA miles. Then a limo from LAX to home.

    The JFK to LAX Transcon in First is a very nice experience. But overall, I probably would have preferred the option to fly AA to DFW and then connect onward to our home airport (ONT).

    If you haven't been to Iceland, start making your plans. It's an interesting place to visit. I tell people that it's a mix of the mountains and glaciers of Alaska along with the geothermal features of Yellowstone.
     
  7. Maverick17

    Maverick17 Level 2 Member

    It's not exactly a one-way ticket in the other blog. But you don't have to come back from Europe per se, you just have to have another flight in the origin region. So he has the throwaway segment at the end, EWR-BOS for 10k miles.

    EWR-Europe-30k
    Europe-Europe - Free
    EWR-BOS - 10k

    Then he'll use another currency to get home in his example, and try to make use of the throwaway if he can. I'm not sure of the whole value of that, unless you're using something like Alaska's stopover policy as well, so you can get another free stopover somewhere or something.
     

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