Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly from the US to Israel for 20,000 Virgin points one-way

Aug 1, 2021

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Sweet Spot Sunday is a weekly series highlighting the best-value award redemptions across loyalty programs.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has a ton of interesting redemptions with its non-alliance airline partners. One of these includes economy flights from the U.S. to Israel. More often than not, you can book this award at prices similar to what you’d pay for a domestic ticket within the U.S. That’s right: These awards start at just 20,000 Virgin points one-way.

Remember, you can transfer points to Virgin Atlantic from most of the major transferable points programs, like:

Let’s take a closer look at this award and how to book it.

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In This Post

Why it’s special

People on the beach in Tel Aviv
Visit the busy Tel Aviv beach scene with your points and miles. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Award tickets to Israel aren’t cheap. Most programs charge at least 30,000 points one-way, including Air France and KLM’s joint Flying Blue loyalty program, which recently devalued these tickets. So with that in mind, 20,000-point one-way tickets to Israel are an absolute steal. Plus, awards are predictable as Virgin Atlantic Flying Club doesn’t have dynamic award pricing on partner flights.

Air France award pricing JFK to TLV via CDG with Virgin points
(Screenshot courtesy of virginatlantic.com)

You’ll fly on airlines like Air France, Delta and Virgin Atlantic on these award itineraries. These airlines each provide quick connections to Israel through European hubs like Amsterdam (AMS), London Heathrow (LHR) and Paris (CDG). Unfortunately, Delta-operated flights are more expensive thanks to Virgin Atlantic’s new Delta award chart.

Taxes and fees on these tickets are reasonable too. When on Air France or KLM flights, you’ll pay less than $175 each way. Virgin Atlantic tickets will have moderately higher taxes and fees in economy, but you’ll get a slight points discount. For example, New York-JFK to Tel Aviv (TLV) via London is 19,000 points and $244.50 in taxes and fees.

Virgin Atlantic award pricing JFK to TLV via LHR
(Screenshot courtesy of virginatlantic.com)

Better yet, you’ll pay only marginally more points if you depart from the West Coast. For example, this KLM flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tel Aviv via Amsterdam is just 23,000 points and $190.80 in taxes and fees one-way. This is an exceptional deal on such a long flight.

KLM award pricing LAX to TLV via AMS with Virgin points
(Screenshot courtesy of virginatlantic.com)

Related: Here’s how to get to Israel using points and miles

How to book this award

Air France jet at Tel Aviv airport in Israel
You can book flights to Tel Aviv online with your Virgin points. (Photo by Flik47/Shutterstock.com)

You can book these award tickets right on the Virgin Atlantic website. Make sure to check for award availability online before you transfer points to Virgin Atlantic.

Step 1: Log in to your Virgin Atlantic account

First things first: You need a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account before you can book a ticket. Create an account by clicking the “Join” button at the upper right-hand corner of the Virgin Atlantic homepage. If you already have an account, sign in by clicking the red “Log in” button.

The log in and join buttons at the top of the Virgin Atlantic website
(Screenshot courtesy of virginatlantic.com)

Step 2: Enter your desired itinerary

Now, enter your desired itinerary in the search box at the top of the screen. Click the “Advanced search” drop-down button and select “Points” under the “Show Price in” header to search for award flights. Then, click the red arrow button to run your search.

Searching for a flight on the Virgin Atlantic website
(Screenshot courtesy of virginatlantic.com)

Step 3: View and pick your flights

You will see all available flights at the center of the screen. Click on the one you’d like to book and you will be redirected to the checkout screen. Now is also the time to transfer points to Virgin Atlantic if you need them to book your ticket.

Flight from ORD to TLV via AMS on the Virgin Atlantic website
(Screenshot courtesy of virginatlantic.com)

Step 4: Pay taxes and book your flight

Now, follow the on-screen prompts to book your ticket. Remember to pay taxes and fees with a card that earns bonus points on airfare, like The Platinum Card® from American Express. This card earns 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1 point per dollar spent).

Related: 7 things you must do during your first trip to Tel Aviv

How to earn points for this award

Virgin Atlantic 787-900 at HKG Airport
Virgin points are some of the easiest to earn, even if you’re based in the U.S. (Photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock)

As discussed, it’s really easy to earn Virgin Atlantic points. You can transfer points from most of the major transferable points currencies to Virgin Atlantic, including:

If you’re new to the world of points and miles, I recommend starting with Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is currently offering its best-ever sign-up bonus and earns points on travel and dining. Plus, you’ll want to open Chase cards first to avoid the bank’s strict 5/24 application rule on credit card applications.

Here’s a look at the best Chase credit card offers:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

If you’re over 5/24, consider earning Citi ThankYou points with the Citi Premier® Card. This card is also offering its best-ever signup bonus: 80,000 bonus ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Related: Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly from the US to Europe, North Africa from 21,500 miles each way

Bottom line

In this article, you learned how to book flights from the U.S. to Israel for just 20,000 points plus moderate taxes and fees. This is by far the cheapest way to visit the country, and I highly recommend you consider it the next time you need a flight to Tel Aviv.

Featured photo by ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
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.

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