Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.
By: Caroline Lupini
Israel is a highly popular travel destination for all who are fascinated by history and want to experience some gorgeous natural scenery. With all of this demand for travel, award seats are tough to come by – in any class of service.
If you want to use your miles to fly to Israel, the best way might be whatever award space you can find when you need it. That being said, it’s good to keep in mind what airlines offer better redemptions to Israel.
Below, we’ll discuss you some of the best ways to get to Israel with points and miles in economy and business class.
25,000-29,000 Air France-KLM Flying Blue Miles
Air France/KLM Flying Blue gets a lot of press when it comes to redeeming miles between the U.S. and Israel. That’s because Flying Blue considers Israel to be part of Europe. So, you’ll pay the same number of miles to fly from the U.S. to France as you will pay to fly from the U.S. to Israel when you use Flying Blue miles.
There are some changes coming to the Flying Blue program coming June 1, 2018, but awards from the U.S. to Israel will still be an absolute steal! Depending on your departure city, you’ll be able to find one-way economy awards for 25,000 to 29,000 Flying Blue miles
Note that when booking with Flying Blue, you will pay fuel surcharges. In economy class, these will likely run you about $300 on a round trip booking. You can keep the surcharges lower by flying out of the U.S. on Delta.
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, SPG Starpoints, and American Express Membership Rewards to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio.
Chase Sapphire Preferred (learn more)
35,000 Delta SkyMiles
If the idea of paying $300 per person in fuel surcharges doesn’t sound like a deal to you but you can find award space, you can book the same flights as mentioned above for 35,000 Delta SkyMiles one-way. Yes, you’re paying up to 10,000 miles more, but you will only pay taxes and fees, not fuel surcharges! This will save you some cold, hard cash.
You can fly from the US to Israel for just 35,000 Delta Skymiles
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards and SPG Starpoints to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio. You can also earn Delta miles directly through one of their co-branded cards provided by American Express. Both personal and business versions of these co-branded cards are available.
32,500+ British Airways Miles One-Way (But Only For Your Return Flight!)
British Airways has a distance based award chart, so the number of miles you need will depend on where you’re flying. For example, flying from Tel Aviv to London to New York JFK will cost 32,500 British Airways Avios in economy whereas flying from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles (via London) will cost 37,500 British Airways Avios.
What’s really important to note here is that you won’t be charged fuel surcharges on flights leaving from Tel Aviv, but the same is not true of flights going in! Fuel surcharges on British Airways flights are not insignificant, especially in premium cabins, so the chance to fly British Airways and use your Avios without having to worry about fuel surcharges is pretty great.
Unfortunately, British Airways mileage requirements for business class are still extremely high, so even after you consider that you aren’t paying fuel surcharges it’s not worth paying the miles. Economy is the way to go to get the most value out of your miles if you can stand to fly that far in economy.
British Airways Avios can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio from SPG Starpoints, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and American Express Membership Rewards. You can also earn British Airways Avios directly with the co-branded credit card issued by Chase.
British Airways Credit Card (learn more)
53,000 Air France-KLM Flying Blue Miles
In an unusual turn of events, Air France-KLM Flying blue updated its award chart and reduced the mileage requirement for business class awards from the U.S. to Israel. For 53,000 Flying Blue miles, you can book a one-way business class flight from New York (JFK) or even Los Angeles (LAX) to Tel Aviv (TLV), down from 62,500 miles.
You can fly Business Class to Israel for 53,000 Flying Blue miles each way
This is definitely a great price for a business class flight from the U.S. to Israel, but remember that you’ll be paying fuel surcharges with Flying Blue. Fuel surcharges for business class are higher than for economy class, so it may be worth paying a few more miles to save on fuel surcharges. As within economy flights, flying with Delta can help you avoid the surcharges when departing the U.S.
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, SPG Starpoints, and Citi ThankYou points to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio.
100-120K Miles With JAL, ANA Or Korean Air Miles Round-Trip
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank, All Nippon Airways (ANA) MIleage Club, and Korean Air SkyPass typically show up on the lists of cheapest mileage currencies to use to a variety of destinations, and Israel is no different. You can book travel from the U.S. to Israel for 100,000 JAL miles, 104,000 ANA miles, or 120,000 Korean miles.
Unfortunately, will all three of these currencies, you are going to have to pay fuel surcharges. Additionally, JAL Mileage Bank miles are very difficult to earn, ANA Mileage Club requires a round-trip bookings and Korean SkyPass will only let you book for immediate family members and round-trip bookings. These issues may not all apply to you, but they do generally make these three mileage currencies more difficult to use. Nevertheless, if it’s a good option for you and you can find availability, go for it!
JAL is a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints.
ANA is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and SPG Starpoints.
Korean is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and SPG Starpoints.
75,000-85,000 United MileagePlus Miles
If you want to fly business class and avoid paying fuel surcharges, United MileagePlus miles are probably the way to go. If you can find flights only on United, you’ll pay 75,000 miles each way plus taxes and fees. If you would rather fly on a Star Alliance partner such as Lufthansa, it’ll cost you a bit more at 85,000 United miles, but you still won’t have to pay fuel surcharges.
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United MileagePlus at a 1:1 ratio. You can also earn United miles directly with one of the Chase United cards—both business and personal versions.
Chase Sapphire Preferred (learn more)
Chase Sapphire Reserve (learn more)
Regardless of how you end up getting to Israel, you’re bound to have a great time while you’re there. There are a lot of redemption options to help you get there, but keep in mind that award availability to Israel is tough to find in any class of service. If you find award flights that fit your needs, you might want to jump on them even if they’re not the absolute cheapest or best option.
Of course, another great way to get to Israel is to tie it in with a bigger trip. Consider heading to Europe for a week or two and then hopping on a low-cost carrier to get the rest of the way to Israel. As always, travel date flexibility will improve the chances of getting great value from your miles!