El Al and Etihad announce codeshare flights and reciprocal benefits

Jul 1, 2021

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Here’s some news you might not have expected a few years back.

Israeli flag carrier El Al and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad launched a new strategic pact today. It includes a codeshare agreement and new reciprocal frequent flyer benefits for El Al Matmid and Etihad Guest members.

This news comes less than a year after Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced a landmark deal to establish diplomatic relations.

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El Al and Etihad launch partnership

Starting July 18, 2021 El Al will add its “LY” code and start selling seats on Etihad’s twice-weekly flights between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Tel Aviv (TLV). Then, on Aug. 1, the partnership will expand to include destinations in Australia, Bahrain, India, Korea, the Philippines and Seychelles. In the next phase, the airlines hope to expand the partnership to 14 more destinations across the Middle East, Europe, Asia and U.S. by adding Etihad’s “EY” code to El Al flights.

Like any codeshare agreement, this partnership will offer passengers greater choice and make connections more seamless.

Related: Etihad just made the first-ever known airline flight from the United Arab Emirates to Israel

But that’s not all.

El Al and Etihad plan to also establish a reciprocal loyalty agreement. Members will be able to earn and redeem miles across both airlines through the EL AL Matmid and Etihad Guest programs. While details haven’t been revealed yet, there will likely also be reciprocal elite benefits.

This part of the news is especially exciting for points and miles enthusiasts. El Al’s Matmid program doesn’t partner with any of the major transferable points programs and isn’t all that valuable to begin with. However, the Etihad Guest program partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards and offers attractive redemption rates, especially on partners. This means that it will be easier to redeem your flexible points on El Al flights.

Related: How to get to Israel using points and miles

El Al’s CEO Avigal Soreq explained, “This is the first commercial partnership that EL AL has established following the Abrahamic Accords. This is an important milestone as this codeshare will bring growing benefits to our passengers and to our respective airlines and countries. EL AL and Etihad teams have a common goal in this partnership, and we look forward to see it grow in the future.”

Bottom line

Overall, this announcement is great news for travelers heading to the Middle East. Both airlines significantly scaled back their route networks due to the pandemic, so travelers will benefit from the joint network. Israel-bound travelers might appreciate Etihad’s more premium inflight products and will have more ways to redeem points and miles for El Al flights.

Featured photo by KITTIKUN YOKSAP/Shutterstock.

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