Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly from the US to Israel for 20,000 Virgin points one-way
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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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Why it’s special
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.
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.
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.
How to book this award
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.
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.
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.
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).
How to earn points for this award
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. 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 60,000 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 50,000 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 a signup bonus of 60,000 bonus ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
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.
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