American Airlines Is Ending Partnership with El Al
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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.
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