Alaska Airlines Formally Announces New Mileage Partnership With El Al
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.
Alaska Airlines is one of the most valuable mileage currencies in TPG’s monthly valuations thanks to the diverse array of partners and valuable rewards it provides. Rather than being a part of an alliance, the carrier has inked deals with individual airlines for earning and/or redeeming Mileage Plan miles. And today, Alaska has formally announced a new partner.
Starting July 1, you’ll be able to earn Alaska miles on flights operated by El Al. This is a terrific development for anyone with paid El Al flights to Israel, and it’ll hopefully expand to award tickets in the future as well (though details aren’t currently available for that possible side of the partnership). Assuming it does go live at some point, it’ll represent a massive step forward for those looking to redeem points and miles to get to Israel. El Al hasn’t always had the most up-to-date in-flight product, but the carrier’s new 787 is a major step up in this regard.
Let’s dive into the details of this partnership in its current form.
The chart for earning Alaska miles on El Al-operated flights matches the one that was accidentally published last last week, and it applies to all paid fare classes, though naturally deeply-discounted economy tickets will accrue at a much lower rate based on the distance of the flight.
What’s especially interesting is that the mileage-earning chart lists P class as an eligible Premium Economy fare, even though that’s the fare bucket El Al uses for Premium Economy awards and upgrades according to ExpertFlyer.
The other award and upgrade classes aren’t listed in the above chart and are thus not eligible for mileage accrual.
It’s also worth noting that base miles and class of service bonuses will count towards elite status qualification, giving you yet another airline to help you earn or requalify for Alaska MVP elite status.
This is (of course) the most anticipated aspect of any new partnership, and unfortunately we don’t yet have any details on using Alaska miles on El Al. Instead, there’s a cryptic message that indicates this will come in the future:
“Award redemption isn’t available at this time, but will be at a later date.”
The press release announcing the partnership specifically highlights the upcoming ability to redeem El Al’s Matmid miles on Alaska flights. However, it doesn’t even mention the other way around. We reached out to Alaska for confirmation on these items and were told that “Mileage Plan members will be able to redeem miles on El Al at a later date, to be announced,” so as of now, you’re limited to earning Alaska miles on El Al flights.
Once the redemption ability goes live, it’ll be interesting to see how these award rates compare to Qantas Frequent Flyer, the other main option for booking El Al award flights. Qantas partners with both Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1 transfer ratio) and Capital One (2:1.5 transfer ratio), giving US-based flyers a number of ways to book these flights using credit card rewards.
Here’s a list of the current (or planned) US destinations to which El Al operates from Tel Aviv (TLV):
- Boston (BOS)
- Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), service slated to start in 2020
- Las Vegas (LAS), service starts June 14, 2019
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Miami (MIA)
- New York-JFK
- Newark (EWR)
- San Francisco (SFO)
Given that both Los Angeles and San Francisco are Alaska hubs (since its merger with Virgin America), you’d hopefully have a variety of ways to get from the US to Israel with just a single stop through this new partnership.
Since Qantas uses a distance-based award chart rather than region-based (like Alaska’s), here’s how nonstop, one-way awards between the above cities and Tel Aviv price with Qantas points:
|US Destination||Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Las Vegas (LAS)||
|Los Angeles (LAX)||
|San Francisco (SFO)||
These are relatively high for one-way award tickets to the Middle East compared to other major loyalty programs, so hopefully Alaska’s rates will be more affordable.
Alaska Airlines is one of the most valuable airline currencies out there, and adding an additional partner is always a great development. While El Al isn’t exactly a major carrier compared to some of Alaska’s other international airline partners, the addition of El Al from an earning standpoint as of July 1, 2019 is a great development for US-based travelers.
However, it remains to be seen exactly how this new partnership will help with award travel to Israel, as redemption is not currently available. Fingers crossed it will open up a new, more affordable award option for these flights.
This article has been updated with confirmation from Alaska that award tickets will be available on El Al at a later date.
Featured photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
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.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- 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 up to 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 in the U.S., 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 $80 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 PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- 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