Getting To Israel On The Cheap With BA Avios And Air Berlin

Update: Commenters point out that it is in fact possible to use Air Berlin round-trip between JFK and Israel.  For example you can fly round trip from Tel Aviv to JFK on 10/16 and back on 11/05 for 60,000 Avios and $83 tax.  43K AMEX MR points will get you more than that amount of Avios right now.

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DDF user Reuven posted something earlier today that I hadn’t realized somehow (and hopefully isn’t old news), that BA does not collect a fuel surcharge for travel on Air Berlin.

There are actually lots of flights for which BA does not collect a fuel surcharge, including Alaska, LAN, and pretty much all AA flights that are wholly within the Western Hemisphere. Lots of other fee-free routes also exist, like intra-Australia flights on Qantas.  Plus surcharges are close to nil on Aer Lingus flights that allow you to hop the pond to Ireland without paying crazy amounts.

Personally I love that BA has made short-haul travel so much more affordable, I don’t even think twice about spending 9,000 Avios on a short-haul round-trip flight. But this is a neat option for getting to Israel and more options are always good to have. The problem is that on the return there are no connections from Israel back to the US so you would have to book 2 separate tickets and have an overnight stay in Germany to get back home. But then again you can always use American miles for a one-way ticket on El Al or United miles for a one-way ticket back home on any Star Alliance carrier with no fuel surcharges.

For 30,000 Avios plus $21 you can fly from JFK to Tel Aviv via Berlin. That’s less than 22,000 American Express points with the current 40% promo. From Miami it would be 35,000 Avios or 25,000 AMEX points.
I also found availability in business from JFK to Tel Aviv via Dusseldorf for 50,000 Avios (less than 36K AMEX) plus $19, though business is only available on the Trans-Atlantic segment.

Of course this will also work for getting to Europe without fuel surcharges as well!

As always you will need to find dates without BA availability and then search partners to get the flights to display on BA.com.

Click images to enlarge.

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41 Responses to “Getting To Israel On The Cheap With BA Avios And Air Berlin”

  1. Avi Says:
    1

    Dan do you know the quality of the business cabin for that Dusseldorf segment?

    ReplyReply
  2. Al Says:
    2

    Will doubling the miles on air Berlin put you in business?

    ReplyReply
  3. Menachem Says:
    3

    Just curious, I want to fly to Melbourne Australia from LAX with this Avios-Amex promo, how can I book a quantas flight or any flight with Avios? Or is there a cheaper way of getting there? Any help is appreciated. :)

    ReplyReply
  4. sd;fsjdlf Says:
    4

    AirBerlin does not offer business on the TXL-TLV flight. It’s a one cabin aircraft.

    ReplyReply
  5. AsherO Says:
    5

    @sd;fsjdlf: But you still get to fly across the pond in Biz.

    ReplyReply
  6. aj Says:
    6

    good trick but ba offers just a couple flights in oct – dec

    ReplyReply
  7. g f Says:
    7

    I have booked a flight from TLV-JFK (TXL?) that had a good connection. it is possible and no fuel charges.

    ReplyReply
  8. Desparat Says:
    8

    Dan, any way to get to Belgium using avios without these crazy fuel charges???

    ReplyReply
  9. Michael Says:
    9

    Is this roundtrip, or just one way?

    ReplyReply
  10. bubble347 Says:
    10

    what’s the link to the website you uploaded these pages from?

    ReplyReply
  11. Dan Says:
    11

    @g f:
    Date?

    @Desparat:
    On Aer Lingus or Air Berlin.

    @Michael:
    Read the post.

    @bubble347:
    http://www.ba.com

    ReplyReply
  12. Estie Says:
    12

    Dan can i book such a flight with a credit card instead of using miles? or it must be miles?

    ReplyReply
  13. Yitz Says:
    13

    dan but there is no partner flights bet. Berlin and new york, can you help with that

    ReplyReply
  14. aussie Says:
    14

    i just bought 2 weeks ago a return ticket for 1200 on Qantas mel-lax from qantasexperts@gmail.com they are pretty good… and the cheapest. i don’t know about avios.. although united has decent economy, business and first availability.. i have bought a mileage flight – first class with them and it was out of this world.
    but if your on the cheap and want a good quality airline (qantas is really good) the above agent is the “Qantasexpert”

    ReplyReply
  15. Dan Says:
    15

    @Estie:
    Miles.

    @Yitz:
    Gotta do some BA.com hacking then. You need to find a date without BA availability. Try something like 12/23 and work backwards or forwards from there once you are able to include partners.

    ReplyReply
  16. Yitz Says:
    16

    thanks Dan, but the tax back comes out $123

    ReplyReply
  17. Yitz Says:
    17

    17 hours layover…

    ReplyReply
  18. Dan Says:
    18

    @Yitz:
    Germany departure taxes are likely most of that.

    ReplyReply
  19. Yitz Says:
    19

    It reach’s worth of more than $800 round trip JFK-TLV, with a stop

    ReplyReply
  20. Yoj Says:
    20

    Great pick up! Business is a great deal with current Avios promotion when you compare 60K united business (36K Amex). Even if it doesn’t give you business from Berlin to TLV, it is worth it for the trans-atlantic route and using the lounge during connection. I happen to only need 1 way to TLV so this is perfect.

    ReplyReply
  21. mpz Says:
    21

    i went on BA.com. Even chose dates around 12/25. did not see the list of the partner airlines at all. after going on BA.com and telling them which dates i want, i got the charts of the outbound and inbound dates and prices. at what point and where do i click for the partner airlines?

    ReplyReply
  22. dina Says:
    22

    AB does have connecting flights from TLV-US. For example, they have connecting flight TLV-JFK Oct. 10, but not on Oct. 11

    ReplyReply
  23. EJB Says:
    23

    Dina, how long is the connection? When I checked they were full day ones.

    ReplyReply
  24. DJ Says:
    24

    Awesome tip! I just booked tlv-lax for Succos for 2!

    ReplyReply
  25. Dan Says:
    25

    @mpz:
    I said 12/23, not 12/25.

    @dina:
    Interesting!
    I do see availability for example from TLV-NYC with a 2:15 connection on 10/15 and 10/16 for example.
    Comes out to 30K Avios and $61 tax.

    ReplyReply
  26. yossi Says:
    26

    dan what would be the cheapest price for the 2 one way tickets tlv-germany germany- nyc? also anyone have an idea what the minimum time you would need btw flighs in munich for example?

    ReplyReply
  27. esti Says:
    27

    i search on http://onw.innosked.com/?show=MAP with preferences set for flights on air berlin as the airline from nyc to tlv. it showed some flights on a sample date (eg. 10/14) they show on the map such flight do run (jfk-dus/ dus-tlv) however upon searching include partners on ba.com there were no such results. would you say this is because there is no reward availability or because not all air berlin flights come up on ba’s partner search?
    thanks

    ReplyReply
  28. Amanda Says:
    28

    Why do you want to find dates without BA availability? Is it a better bet to fly a partner? Lower fuel charges? Thanks! Amanda

    ReplyReply
  29. Dan Says:
    29

    @esti:
    It won’t show up if there isn’t award availability.

    @Amanda:
    Flying on BA incurs very heavy fuel surcharges.

    ReplyReply
  30. esti Says:
    30

    @dan
    thanks for the quick response,
    would you say that searching the online timetable would be a good starting point to see if flights were even “nogaya” for specific dates? because it does give the option to expand the search criteria +/- a few days…

    ReplyReply
  31. Azhoopsfan Says:
    31

    Love that AB flies from LAX, but it seems business class is the equivalent of domestic first on American or United.

    ReplyReply
  32. Josh Says:
    32

    Dan, I imagine the no fuel surcharge on AB is something new and that’s why you didn’t hear about it. I booked AB from TLV-JFK (only 70 minute stopover). Booked it in Business (for me and my wife) and Economy (for my son) in November 2011 for 10/10/12 flight. Was charged approx. $300 in fuel surcharges for each ticket. 65k miles for business and 32k for economy.

    Is it worth contacting someone to reverse charges and if so, who? I booked it thru BA with Avios pts.

    ReplyReply
  33. RavKahaneTzadak Says:
    33

    I flew this flight a few months back with air berlin. It was the worst flight of my life. I don’t suggest it to anyone.

    ReplyReply
  34. Josh Says:
    34

    @RavKahaneTzadak: Business or coach?

    ReplyReply
  35. julia Says:
    35

    @Josh: No, you can,t reverse charges.

    ReplyReply
  36. Ben Says:
    36

    Yay! Just transferred 115,000 Amex point into 161,000 Avios miles, and booked FIVE one ways from JFK to TLV for 150k Avios (cost to me per flight= 21,428 Amex points!).
    Dan, you ROCK…

    ReplyReply
  37. Jay Says:
    37

    You can now search air berlin award availability on aa.com and then call BA to book with avios

    ReplyReply
  38. Davidd Says:
    38

    Dan, I have tried for days to try and find award flight with avios on the return leg from tel aviv to new york with air berlin with 0 sucesss. On the first leg from ny to tel aviv with air berlin there appears to be some flights but not much. How difficult is it to try and get a flight with avios w Air Berlin from tel aviv to ny?

    ReplyReply
  39. Chayie Says:
    39

    @Davidd: David, I’m also trying to book on Air Berlin for return from TLV to JFK with no success. Has anyone else encountered the same issue? I’ve been looking a few times a day for a few weeks.

    ReplyReply
  40. elgnt Says:
    40

    Is there a way to use AA status or any OW status to pick seats for free on AB?

    ReplyReply
  41. Avi Says:
    41

    It appears that BA redesigned their mileage booking option a while back, it doesn’t seem to show partner flights at all? How do you get to it?

    ReplyReply

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