When I read about discounted fares to Iceland, I found it only would cost $500 for a round trip ticket from JFK to Reykjavik. At that price, there wasn’t a point transfer that would offer a better value. However, there was a way I could use my points to pay for our tickets.
I was looking for a way to burn our Citi points and this was a great option, even more so because I received 10% of the points back because we have the Citi Rewards+ card.
There was an additional advantage of booking our flights through the Citi ThankYou portal. Our tickets were treated as if we paid cash for our flights.
Let me explain.
If you have Delta Skymiles and book an award ticket for 10,000 miles, you’re not going to receive any credit for that flight (except for miles flown). In other words, you’re not going to earn redeemable miles for flights paid with an award ticket.
But if you pay for a ticket with your miles from a credit card travel portal, it’s the same as booking the flight yourself and paying with a credit card. That’s because the bank buys the ticket and takes the points out of your account. You’re not using miles in a frequent flyer program to pay for the ticket.
This means your ticket is eligible to earn frequent flyer miles. For our flights on Icelandair, I was able to attach our frequent flyer numbers to our tickets. Neither Sharon nor I belong to Icelandair’s loyalty program but I found that the airline has several partners to credit our flights.
I put my JetBlue TrueBlue number on my reservation and then added Sharon’s Alaska Mileage Plan number.
Shortly after our flights, we both received 1,297 miles in our accounts. The flight from JFK-KEF is 2,593 miles and both programs award 50% miles flown for Icelandair basic economy tickets.
I’m sure that many of you are cringing that I didn’t choose to earn AS miles for my flight but I currently don’t have an Alaska Mileage Plan account. I was also curious if the points would post to each program, so I took the loss in the website’s name.
So while it’s often a better value to transfer your points from a transferrable point program to an airline to make an award booking, there are several reasons why it could make sense to book the flight directly through the credit card portal. It might cost fewer points and you’re also able to earn frequent flyer miles for the flight.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary