Home Airlines My $325 Mistake Booking Flights To Iceland With Citi ThankYou Points

My $325 Mistake Booking Flights To Iceland With Citi ThankYou Points

by joeheg

When Sharon and I decided to book flights to Iceland, I was thrilled that I’d be able to burn our Citi ThankYou points to pay for the trip. I found a sub $500 round-trip fare on Icelandair from New York to Reykjavík and went and booked it.

In my excitement, I forgot something about booking flights through the Citi ThankYou portal. It doesn’t always allow you to filter out Basic Economy fares. That mistake cost me $325.

Citi used to make it impossible to filter out basic economy fares when using the ThankYou portal. For some airlines, they’ve fixed this problem. Such as if I was going to book a flight on Delta to Iceland.

It’s easy to choose which fare class you want and what each one offers.

This isn’t the case if you’re booking with Icelandair. There’s only one option for Economy Class.

In fact, this price is for a basic economy ticket that does not include a seat assignment or checked bag.

I found this out the hard way after booking a ticket and then looking up the reservation on the Icelandair website a few days later. According to this article on FrequentMiler, the only way to avoid booking a basic economy ticket using Citi ThankYou points is to call.

After looking at our reservation, I noticed that we only were allowed a carry-on bag and didn’t have any seat assignments.

After paying $55 per bag and $26 for a seat assignment each way per person, this was my additional charge for the flights.

That’s more than I would have paid if I booked a main cabin seat on Delta. Looking at Icelandair’s website, booking an Economy Standard flight only costs $45 more than an Economy Light ticket.

So I paid $144 more by booking online and paying for the extras instead of calling ThankYou and booking an Economy Standard flight that includes seat assignments and one checked bag on the phone.

I hope my mistake helps you from making the same error in the future.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

lenin1991 April 23, 2021 - 6:27 pm

Icelandair messes up their integration with booking engines on this. A couple years ago, I booked through Chase portal. The Chase confirmation clearly said it included checked bags. And outbound, no problem. But at the checkin desk to return, they said that flight was Basic Economy, so the checked bag was charged around $75. The Icelandair agents said this surprise happens often with OTAs. And they further confirmed their system should not have allowed a single itinerary to have one direction Economy and the other BE, but there it was.

I complained to the Chase portal (Connexions then), they had me send a receipt for the bag fee, and they actually sent me a check. But both sides really need to fix that integration.


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