How to fly to Iceland using points and miles this summer
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Earlier this month, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the long-awaited traffic light system for leisure travel from 17 May. The first classification of countries into green, amber and red was on the disappointing side, as the vast majority of foreign destinations were squarely on the amber and red lists, meaning quarantine is required on your return to the U.K.
More specifically, only 12 counties and territories made it to the green list — and many of them still either have their borders completely shut down or are untypical holiday destinations. There are only three destinations Brits can visit without quarantine on either end of their trip.
There were a few shining lights on the list, including the popular destinations of Portugal, Israel and Iceland.
If you’re looking for something a little different this summer, consider Iceland, which also made it onto the green list. The best attractions are all outdoors, so it’s a great destination for social distancing and it has some of the most incredible natural scenery you will see anywhere in the world.
Here’s how you can use your points and miles to fly to Iceland.
British Airways Avios
British Airways flies from London Heathrow (LHR) to Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport (KEF), serving the capital city of Reykjavík four times weekly.
These flights are part of British Airways’ good-value Reward Flight Saver offer. This means you’ll pay a fixed amount of fees, taxes and surcharges of £17.50 per person in Euro Traveller or £25 per person in Club Europe regardless of the date or destination. What does differ slightly is the number of Avios required, which is based on the distance of the flight.
You’ll be charged the following Avios, per person, each way:
- 9,250 Avios on off-peak dates, and 10,750 on peak dates in Euro Traveller
- 17,750 Avios on off-peak dates, and 20,750 on peak dates in Club Europe
It’s a good idea to check cash prices on the same flights, so you can be sure you’re getting value from your Avios.
These flights can be booked online at BritishAirways.com. However, to quickly search if there is award availability on a wide range of dates, we recommend using SeatSpy, which quickly lets you see BA award availability on a month-by-month basis without having to individually search for specific dates each time.
Star Alliance miles
Normally, there would be plenty of options to fly to Iceland on Star Alliance carriers as the likes of Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SAS fly to Keflavík International Airport (KEF). The problem with booking these flights though is that you would need to connect through their hubs, which are currently on the amber list. This means that although you would be returning from a green list destination in Iceland, you would still need to follow the amber list rules of testing and self-isolation because you transited an amber airport on your journey home.
Unfortunately, TAP Portugal does not fly to Iceland at all. If it did, you could use Star Alliance miles to fly from the U.K. to Iceland via Portugal with no self-isolation on your return as you would be returning from a green country via another green country.
The flag carrier of Iceland flies to Keflavík International Airport (KEF) from London’s Heathrow (LHR) twice daily during the summer, and from London’s Gatwick (LGW) four times weekly during the summer. The airline also flies from Manchester (MAN) three times weekly and Glasgow (GLA) four times weekly.
Unfortunately, Icelandair is not part of a major airline alliance, nor can you book flights on Icelandair with points or miles from any of the transfer partners of American Express Membership Rewards in the U.K. The airlines does partner with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, however, it does not currently allow intra-Europe redemptions using miles on Icelandair.
Right now, British Airways Avios are your best option for redeeming points and miles to Iceland this summer. As part of their Reward Flight Saver offer, the Avios and fees and taxes are fairly low for what is one of the longer intra-Europe flights. Do check the redemption rates against cash fares if you’re looking to book a trip right now, as there are bargains to be had.
Hopefully, as more countries are moved from the amber list to the green list this summer, there will be more connection options and more ways to use your points and miles.
Featured image by Andrea Comi/Getty Images
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