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

Aug. 01, 2021
7 min read
Dome of the Rock and Western Wall in Israel
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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

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.

(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.

(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.

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(Screenshot courtesy of virginatlantic.com)

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

How to book this award

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.

(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.

(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.

(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 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. 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 80,000 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 80,000 ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within 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 image by (Photo by ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more