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Sweet Spot Sunday: Book El Al flights to Israel with Qantas points

July 31, 2022
7 min read
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El Al is the flag carrier of Israel. Its hub is located (as you’d imagine) in Tel Aviv, and currently serves six airports in North America:

  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City.
  • Miami International Airport (MIA).
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

The airline has a notoriously bad loyalty program — but that doesn’t mean you can’t easily fly it for free. It’s one of the most convenient options to get to Israel — and it can be one of the cheapest if you use Qantas points to book it.

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Let’s take a look at how to use Qantas points to book El Al flights, and why you’d want to in the first place.

Why it’s special

Qantas utilizes a distance-based award chart. That means the farther you fly, the more you’ll pay. Here’s a look at its partner award chart, which it implements for El Al flights.

(Screenshot from qantas.com)

Depending on your U.S. origin airport, you’ll spend the following to get to Tel Aviv:

  • Between 37,800 and 50,000 points in economy.
  • Between 70,800 and 93,500 points in Premium Economy.
  • Between 90,000 and 119,200 points in business class.

The sweet spot here is any flight under 5,800 miles. That relegates you to these choices:

  • Boston.
  • Newark.
  • New York City.
  • Toronto.

If you fly from any other airport, you’re better off using a different award currency.

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

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Generally, your biggest savings will be in economy. Spending 90,000 points for a business-class seat is higher than many airlines such as United Airlines and American Airlines charge — but the ability to spend as little as 37,500 points for an economy ticket to Israel is solid.

For example, an economy flight on other airlines would cost:

Another reason this is a great deal is that Qantas doesn’t incur fuel surcharges when booking with El Al. So you’ll pay minimal fees when booking this seat.

How to book this award

Step 1. Estimate your flight distance (optional)

Because Qantas uses a distance-based award chart, you can know what you’ll pay for your flight before you even begin the booking process. Simply head to Great Circle Mapper and enter your origin and destination airports.

A flight from New York City to Tel Aviv is a distance of 5,677 miles. That means the flight should cost:

  • 37,800 Qantas points in economy.
  • 70,800 Qantas points in Premium Economy.
  • 90,000 Qantas points in business class.
(Screenshot from gcmap.com)

Step 2. Enter your travel information on the Qantas site

Navigate to the Qantas website and input your desired route.

When searching, be sure the “Use points” toggle is switched. You’ll have to log into your account to search for award seats. Selecting “Flexible with dates” is always helpful, as well.

(Screenshot from qantas.com)

Step 3. Find dates with your desired cabin

The Qantas search tool leaves plenty to be desired. You can’t filter by airline, price or number of stops — but the award calendar does show you which dates offer economy, Premium Economy, business class and first class. If you’re interested in, say, business class, this shortens your hunt for the perfect flight.

Select a date and click “Continue.”

(Screenshot from qantas.com)

Step 4. Find an El Al flight

An El Al flight between the U.S. and Israel is nonstop and will therefore be sorted at the top of the results page when available.

However, you may find El Al seats that include a connection lower on the page. For example, your first leg may be to London with British Airways, then on to Tel Aviv with El Al. If you select one of these mixed partner flights, beware of fuel surcharges.

(Screenshot from qantas.com)

How to earn points for this award

The easiest way to earn Qantas points quickly is by transferring flexible rewards points. Your options are:

Because of all these options, you can accrue Qantas points with relatively little effort by opening cards such as:

For more ways to earn, check out our complete guide to maximizing the Qantas frequent flyer program.

Bottom line

Because El Al has such an inconvenient and mediocre frequent flyer program, there’s really only one viable option if you’re looking to fly El Al for free: Book it with Qantas points.

If you keep your flights under 5,800 miles in distance, you can get a great deal on coach flights — and a competitive to slightly overpriced seat in Premium Economy and business class.

Qantas points are easy to earn, and El Al is a comfortable nonstop way to reach Tel Aviv. If you’ve been wanting to try the airline out, there’s no better way to do it than with Qantas points.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto
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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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees