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If you collect Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles, a change in mileage redemption is coming on May 1, 2019.

If you plan on redeeming on Icelandair for flights to Europe, you’re now going to need more miles for an economy flight.

Details on Icelandair redemption changes

Starting on May 1, 2019, you’ll need an extra 7,500 miles one way to redeem for an Icelandair flight from Canada to both Iceland and the rest of Europe in economy class.

Here’s a detailed screenshot of the changes from Alaska Airlines:

Alaska Airlines redemption changes on Icelandair flights

Obviously, this isn’t great news. Flights to Europe generally don’t give the greatest value to begin with, and Icelandair was a decent option since they charged somewhat less in taxes and fees for redemptions compared to Air Canada and British Airways.

With that said, everything else remains the same for both Alaska Airlines and the other 16 partners you can redeem your miles with. There’s still great value for flights on Alaska, as well as the other airline partners and business class seats.

And business class redemptions are not changing at this time.

So, if you have either the or the you’ll still get great value for your travel rewards.

Alternatives for travel to Europe

For travel to Europe in economy class, since most airlines charge high taxes and fees, a flexible travel rewards card may be a better option. Use your points to redeem for any flight on any airline. And, you can use your points to cover taxes and fees as well.

Here are a couple of great flexible credit card options.

American Express Cobalt Scotiabank Gold American Express
Welcome bonus Up to 30,000 points (terms) 15,000 points (terms)
Earn Rate Up to 5 points per $1 Up to 4 points per $1
Annual fee $120, charged out as $10 per month $99
Apply Now Apply Now

American Express Cobalt

A great option is the .

Earn plenty of points at these rates:

  • 5 points per $1 spent on groceries & eligible dining,
  • 2 points per $1 spent on gas, travel and transit, and
  • 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

And, as a welcome bonus, earn up to 30,000 points. Get 2,500 points for every month you spend $500 on the card in the first 12 months.

There are 2 ways to use your points for travel to Europe:

  • First is by using the Amex Fixed Points Travel Program. Use 60,000 points to save up to $900 on the base airfare of any flight. Maximize this and you’ll get a point value of up to 1.5 cents each.
  • Or, if the flights you’re looking at are cheaper or have large taxes and fees, redeem your points for any flight (or travel) charged to the card. Each point is worth 1 cent this way.

Either way, you’ll get great savings on your next trip.

Get the full details here:

Scotiabank Gold American Express

Another great option for flexible travel rewards is the .

To start, earn a welcome bonus of 15,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

And, like the Cobalt Card, you’ll earn lots of points on your daily purchases:

  • 4 points per $1 spent on gas, grocery, restaurant, and entertainment purchases and
  • 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else.

You can use your points to pay for any travel you like through Scotia Rewards or any provider you choose. Each point is worth 1 cent when redeemed for travel.

Just note if you book with any provider, you’ll need enough points to cover the entire transaction. Partial redemptions are only allowed on bookings through Scotia Rewards.

Get the full details here:

Plan ahead your travel rewards

Planning on using your miles and aren’t thrilled about the upcoming change? Take a look at our comparison of 18 Canadian loyalty programs and see which is best for long distance flights.

Or try our Rate Your Wallet tool and receive a personalized report to see if your cards still hit the mark.