El Al Adds San Francisco to Tel Aviv Route, With Its New 787

Jan 3, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.      

Israeli airline El Al has announced that it will start nonstop flights between Tel Aviv (TLV) and San Francisco (SFO) in late 2018. The carrier will operate its new 787 Dreamliner, which features a revamped cabin and sleek new seats compared to El Al’s now-outdated 747s, 767s and 777s.

Although an official start date has not been announced, flights will commence in the fourth quarter of 2018 and El Al will operate 3 weekly flights between the two cities.

This will be El Al’s sixth route connecting Israel and North America. It started flights to Miami in November and also flies to Boston, Los Angeles, New York (both JFK and EWR) and Toronto. Northern California’s Silicon Valley and Israel are both known for their thriving tech industries, so the route is an obvious choice for El Al. United is the only other airline operating nonstop flights from the Bay Area to Israel, also with a Boeing 787-9, which began connecting San Francisco and Tel Aviv in 2016.

“The acquisition of the Dreamliner enables us to expand our long-haul network. San Francisco is an important strategic city for El Al. Our target is to take the business segment,” said David Maimon, El Al’s CEO, according to Reuters.

El Al will use one of the 16 Dreamliners it has ordered and began taking delivery of in 2017. The 787 is replacing an aging fleet of twin-aisle airplanes that offer first and business class products way behind the best international carriers. El Al’s Dreamliner does not have first class, but does feature 32 lie-flat business class seats in a 1-2-1 layout and a premium economy cabin. TPG‘s Emily McNutt had a solid experience in business class on the new bird this fall.

You can use points to book award seats on the new flight, using El Al’s Matmid frequent-flyer program. El Al is not part of an international alliance, but you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards to Matmid at a 1000:20 ratio. Assuming the redemption rate is the same as the Los Angeles to Tel Aviv route, it would take 90,0000 (winter travel) or 100,000 (summer travel) Membership Rewards points to fly round-trip in economy on the route. Business class would go for 275,000 (winter travel) or 350,000 (summer travel) Membership Rewards round-trip. The Amex Platinum card currently has a 60,000 point sign up bonus (or up to 100,000 if you’re lucky), which could get you close to a round-trip economy flight on the new route. You can also book El Al awards through Qantas Flying Club (which is a Citi ThankYou transfer partner) after the two airlines expanded their partnership in August.

Images by Emily McNutt / The Points Guy.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $2,000

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber Cash annually (only for use in the U.S.)  (Enrollment required for select benefits)

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Annual Fee
$695
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.