80K Barclay Arrival Miles + $1,825.88= Trip for 4 to Iceland

image: google maps

On the evening that school ended (in NYC), the Michael W Travels family headed off to Iceland. This would be the first trip to the island nation for all of us.

Kim and I have wanted to visit Iceland for years but put it off for one reason or another. When I saw what I felt was a great deal on a flight there, I immediately booked it.

With 8 days/7 nights for our trip, we needed to decide whether or not it made sense to drive the full ring road. Rather than rush around, we decided to focus on sites around the south.

By the time our trip ended, we all were looking forward to returning in the future to see more of this incredible country.

Here are the details for what we booked and the related costs to make this trip happen.

The Flights:

We flew with Icelandair on direct flights which I booked through Vayama. I paid for the flight using my Barclay Arrival card so I could use my award miles towards the flight.

We flew:

  • JFK-KEF: 23:50- 9:20
  • KEF-JFK: 20:30-22:40

The flights cost $1,360 for four tickets. I clicked through TopCashBack which gave me $12 back making the flight now cost $1,348. I then used 80,000 Barclay Arrival miles to get a $800 credit for the flight.

Total Cost: 80,000 Barclay Arrival miles + $548.

Rental Car:

Figuring out the proper car to rent in Iceland was a bit of a headache. Rentals can be quite pricey and not all cars can drive on all of the roads. In the end, Kim and I figured that we’d be sticking to regular roads. We also hoped that we could squeeze all of our things into an economy car.

While the car rental was pricey, it was still much cheaper than had we went up a size level.

Our 8 day car rental came to $347. At around $43 per day, this seemed pretty fair for Iceland.

Car rental cost: $347 (not including gas)

Lodging/ Accommodations:

Sadly, hotel points were of no use to us during this trip. Lodging can be really pricey plus rooms seemed to be filling up since it was peak season.

To bring down the costs, some of our stays included rooms with a shared bathroom. While this sounds like a major inconvenience, it really wasn’t bad and I’d recommend doing the same if/ when you visit Iceland.

  1. Rekjanes Guesthouse- Grindavik: $103.06
  2. Cafe Arhus Hella: $109
  3. Solheimahjaleiga Guesthouse: $184
  4. Brunholl Guesthouse: $192
  5. Cafe Arhus Hella: $125
  6. Reykjavik Hostel Village: $217.82 (total for 2 nights)

Total lodging costs: $930.88 for an average of $132.98 per night (not including cash back )

Total Trip Planning Budget: 

  • Transportation: 80,000 miles + $895
  • Accommodations: $930.88

Total Costs: 80,000 Barclay Arrival miles + $1,825.88

Overall, Kim and I feel that we did very well keeping the budget in check for what is a very pricey country. While in Iceland, we were happy to see that the price of food wasn’t as high as we expected. Also, if you’re traveling with kids, admission is free at most sites and museums.

In closing, we had a great trip, saw lots of unique natural sites and some interesting museums. We hope to return in the near future so we can explore more of this incredible country!

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