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American Airlines just announced that they will be ending their partnership with El Al Airlines effective November 1, 2014. Presently, you can earn and redeem American AAdvantage miles on El Al, and vice versa, though award availability isn’t great and you can’t book first class. This partnership wasn’t that useful, especially since saver US Airways availability on Philadelphia-Tel Aviv is scarce at best. El Al’s remaining partners are AeroMexico, Qantas, and South African Airways.
American Airlines posted the following on their site:
“Effective November 1, 2014, flights taken on El Al will not accrue AAdvantage miles due to the discontinuation of American’s frequent flyer relationship with EL AL. All award travel on EL AL must be booked and ticketed by October 31, 2014. Travel is valid one year after ticket date, and must be completed by October 31, 2015. No changes to the EL AL segments are allowed during that period.”
Other Ways to Book El Al Awards
El Al is still a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards at a ratio of 20 Matmid Points to 1,000 Membership Rewards Points, so if you’re looking for alternate ways to boost your El Al account, you can do so by transferring from Membership Rewards without paying any excise taxes. In 2012 the transfer ratio was sweetened, though most awards still require a lot of Amex points in relation to flying to Israel on other transfer partners. For example. NYC to Tel Aviv requires 70,000 points for coach, 150,000 business class and 250,000 Amex points for roundtrip first class. Considering business and first class flights can easily be over $5,000 some deals could still be had here, especially if you value the ability to fly non-stop.
Other Ways of Redeeming to Israel
El Al is by no means the only option when redeeming awards to Israel. This summer we covered the best ways to use American Express, Chase and Starwood points for flights to Israel. While the loss of El Al as an Aadvantage partner isn’t good news, at least there are still many other ways to get to Israel. This is just one more reason why you should always diversify miles and points balances so you have plenty of options when you want to redeem on certain airlines.
Hat Tip: View from the Wing
With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.
- Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
- Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. Terms apply.
- There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
- Terms and limitations apply. See Rates & Fees