A week or so ago I shared the great news that I had read at Online Travel Review about how to get to Hawaii in first class for about $330 roundtrip. If you want to go the coach route, it can be had for about $100 less. The short version of how this was possible was by purchasing miles on Icelandair and taking advantage of a favorable currency conversion and a 20% bonus on miles purchased. The 20% bonus runs until September 28th. That means that you need to purchase 25,000 miles per first class ticket and they will be converted to the needed 30,000 miles with the 20% bonus. I purchased 50,000 miles (converted to 60,000 miles) so I could obtain two first class tickets and it cost me $645.76USD. That is about $323 per ticket! There are roughly about $38 each in additional taxes/fees when you make the reservation for each ticket. Warning: in the comments, some are reporting being charged over $100 in taxes. Sounds like that is likely an error, but it is one that is not yet resolved. I did not have that experience, but just wanted to include the warning. Those Icelandair miles that were purchased were then used to book on their partner airline, Alaska Airlines. Since the news first came out, much more has been learned about the Icelandair rules.
It turns out that Icelandair allows one stopover or one open-jaw per roundtrip. A stopover is when a flight has a four hour or longer layover in a given city. An open-jaw is when you fly in or out of a different city. For example, Seattle to Maui and then Kauai back to Seattle would be considered an open-jaw (you would be getting yourself between islands on a separate ticket). What that means is that many of the flights from the East Coast and Texas don’t work because the connections in cities like Seattle are for longer than four hours both coming and going. That was the case for me when I tried to get in on this deal from Texas. Alaska Airlines serves Houston, but they only fly to Seattle from Houston, and the flight times made it such that I could not find a way to jump in on this deal without positioning myself to a different city that Alaska Airlines serves.
I decided to position myself to the West Coast and fly from San Jose to Kauai on this deal. The dates and location lined up well for me, so I am pretty excited about it. With my daughter I really didn’t want to go from Houston to Seattle to Hawaii all in the same day anyway (though I might have sucked it up and done it had it been available). Obviously getting to San Jose adds a cost in miles or dollars to my trip, but it is worth it to me. However, I wanted to find a way for my friends in Texas to take advantage of this deal without having to get themselves to the West Coast first.
It looks like there is a way to jump on this from Texas without positioning flights – if you can get yourself to Dallas. I see that there are flights from DFW to Seattle to Honolulu or Maui that would meet the requirements of just one stopover or open-jaw. I also saw a comment on Online Travel Review from someone who actually booked one of these tickets successfully from Dallas. Since Dallas is just a three hour drive from major cities in Texas like Austin and Houston, this opens up this deal for many more folks in my home state. Here is a screen shot of two flights that are available from DFW to HNL – the first wouldn’t work because the stopover in Seattle is for longer than four hours, but the second option should work just fine.
As a reminder, when you search for these flights, you need to be looking for Super Saver availability on Alaska Airlines reward flights. This will be the Super Saver level when you are looking on the Alaska Airlines site. The Alaska Airlines site is a great place to start looking for availability, but to verify that it is actually bookable by Icelandair, I recommend checking out Expert Flyer to look for “A” (First Class Saver) or “W” (Coach Saver) seats. Expert Flyer offers a free 5 day trial, so you don’t have any financial commitments if you just want to use it for this purpose. If you see something like A 0 on Expert Flyer then you know that it won’t be bookable by Icelandair. However, if it says A and then a number like 1, 2, 3, etc. then it should be bookable by Icelandair if it meets the other open-jaw and stopover requirements. The number will tell you how many seats should be available. When you call Icelandair to book the flights (1-800-223-5500), have the exact flight information available for them.
Million Mile Secrets has a great post detailing step by step instructions on how to search for this deal. If someone finds a way to jump on this from Houston, Austin, or San Antonio. let me know. The one evening flight per day to SEA, and one morning flight return seems to make it impossible to stay within their four hour stopover rule from these cities. However, it is good to have an option just a few hours drive away (or 4,500 Avios for a one-way flight on American using British Airways points).
I really hope that some of my Texan friends (both in the “real world” and on this site) are able to get in on this deal! If so, I’d love to hear about it.