Alaska Airlines, Icelandair to sever ties

Alaska Airlines has announced they will be severing ties with partner Icelandair effective June 1, 2013. The two will have a "phased" winding down of relations following that date per an email sent to Mileage Plan members this week:

Alaska Airlines is announcing a change in its Mileage Plan airline partnership with Icelandair, which is scheduled to conclude June 1, 2013. In an effort to minimize impact on our customers, we will phase the relationship out over eleven months. To learn the details of this phased approach, please visit We know many customers have found value in our partnership with Icelandair and apologize for any inconvenience that this change may cause.

The phased approach is actually reasonably generous, based on the purchase date of the ticket as defining the earning rules. Here’s what their website shows:

Effective June 1, 2013, Icelandair will no longer be a Mileage Plan™ partner.Tickets purchased on or after June 1, 2013, will not earn Mileage Plan™ Miles. Tickets purchased on or before May 31, 2013, will continue to earn miles for travel through February 28, 2014.

Existing award travel, and award travel booked by May 31, 2013, will be honored for travel through February 28, 2014. Award travel on Icelandair cannot be booked or changed after May 31, 2013.

That said, the inability to change an award after the cutoff date isn’t so great.

It is not entirely clear why this change came about, though the launch of service by Icelandair from Anchorage to Iceland is one possible reason. Ditto the rather crazed flood of award bookings a few months back when Icelandair was selling miles cheap and they could be used to book first class awards to Hawaii at bargain rates. Whatever the reasons, the relationship is ending and that’s a shame. Fewer partners is rarely a good thing.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I would not be surprised if its the Latter, some kind of corporate bad blood over the mess that got generated there.

    I would be surprised if it was the former, though I don’t pretend to get Airline business synergy It would seem that the link between ANC/SEA and KEF would strengthen the relationship feeding into each other’s hubs.

  2. Consider this, Alaska is losing its bragging rights as a “family-style” organization. It has outsourced its ground crew (would a real family do that?) and even the lowest ranking part-time CSA has to pay $40 in union dues every month. Not a small amount considering they are paid about $12 an hour and might be working 20 hours a month. If you would like to read about what its like to be interviewed by AS, which might also be why service is in a nosedive, click

    1. The union (which is the employees, not management) decides to charge for dues. That’s not management’s fault. But, hey, enjoy your rant.

  3. Hi Seth,

    I have 60,000 iceland air miles, bought them just like everyone else hoping to redeem them for Hawaii but never got to it. I’m concerned that after May I’ll have no good use of it. What do you recommend I do with those 60K miles.

    Ironically, I am going to be in Seattle at the end of month but have no way home to Atlanta yet. Should I use them for that or is there a better use? And I apologize, but how do I find what Alaska air flights are eligible for redeeming for iceland air miles?

    Thanks for your help.

  4. @Seth
    I think the point is that a family probably doesn’t need a union. Enjoy your blog and the airline ad dollars it brings in. Church and state dude, church and state.

    1. I believe that they are maintaining their interline relationship so the bag transfer should still be possible. You should confirm with Alaska Airlines to make sure.

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