El Al to Resume Nonstop Service Between Miami and Tel Aviv
South Florida-based flyers will soon have a quicker means of getting to Israel. El Al Israel Airlines announced that it's going to resume its route between Miami (MIA) and Tel Aviv (TLV). The route, which is set to launch in November, will resume El Al's service on the route, which was terminated in September 2008. El Al serves five other North American airports with nonstop service to Israel — New York (JFK and EWR), Los Angeles (LAX), Boston (BOS) and Toronto (YYZ).
El Al will operate the nonstop service between the two cities three times per week, and tickets will go on sale in mid-May (pending government approval). Each of the flights will be operated by one of the carrier's Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which has six lie-flat seats in first (2-2-2 configuration), 35 angle-flat seats in business with 62 inches of pitch (2-3-2 configuration), 34 seats in economy plus with 36 inches of pitch (3-3-3 configuration) and 204 seats in economy with 32 inches of pitch (3-3-3 configuration).
The only transferable point program that partners with Matmid (El Al's frequent flyer program) is American Express Membership Rewards. And, even though it's the only transfer partner, you might not be getting the best value, as the redemption ratio is 20 Matmid points for every 1,000 Membership Rewards points transferred.
The carrier's award chart is a bit confusing and broken down by two groups: 1) Executive, which you can become if you transfer 100 Matmid points (5,000 MR points) from a non-Israeli credit card (for example, an Amex card); and 2) regular. Each of the groups then has seasonal rates that are higher in the summer and lower in the winter (only in economy). Business and first class remain the same year-round. You can find the charts here.
Miami isn't yet listed as an option on the carrier's award chart, so it's not yet clear how many points it'll cost you to book an award ticket. But, as a point of reference, BOS, JFK, EWR and YYZ to TLV will cost you 1,400 Matmid points (70,000 MR points) in economy in the winter, 1,600 Matmid points (80,000 MR points) in economy in the summer, 4,000 Matmid points (200,000 MR points) in business class year-round and 6,500 Matmid points (325,000 MR points) in first class year-round. As you can see, you're probably getting the best value out of the economy redemptions. Check out this post to learn more about how you can book award travel to Israel, including more information on how to book an El Al award ticket.