Join El Al Matmid For Free

Related posts:
Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints
Getting To Israel Using Miles
El Al has a fairly terrible frequent flyer program (which is why I’m not a fan of the HAS credit card for example).

Points from flights expire after 3 years, redemption rates are poor, availability can be very tough, partner award options are close to nil, the point system is confusing, and they charge a fuel surcharge (about $350 in total fees for North America-Tel Aviv) on redemptions to boot.

Adding insult to injury: They also charge $25 to join the program.

Apply for Matmid here though and use the following code to have the $25 fee waived: AOW24483828

You can also join for free via the AMEX Membership Rewards portal.

Why do you want to join if the program is so terrible, you ask?

First of all, they do run promotions that can be very good.

Currently there is a cash and points promo to fly for about $860 plus 50 points.

And you can get half off coach awards right now, so it’s just 700 points+$350 for a round-trip flight. 35,000 AMEX points transfer into 700 El Al points.

Second of all, if you are a member you will be able to check award availability online. You can use American miles to book El Al flights, but that must be done by calling AA. Best of all AA allows you to even book one-way awards on El Al AND they don’t charge a fuel surcharge for redeeming miles to fly on El Al!

I know someone is going to ask this, so I’ll preempt them, no you can’t use British Airways Avios to travel on El Al. Period, end of story.

Bear in mind that AA can only book coach and business seats on El Al.  If you want to fly in First Class you will need 5,000 Matmid points+$350.  You’ll have to transfer 250,000 American Express Membership Rewards points into 5,000 Matmid points.  A terrible value compared to other lie-flat options on other airlines but on the upside El Al First Class award availability is generally very good and it’s the best kosher food in the sky (aside from having a flight attendant heat up a double wrapped meal from a place like Pomegranate).

Need AA miles?
You can signup for an AA credit card but you will do better spending money on the Starwood card as you can always transfer 20,000 Starwood points for 25,000 AA miles, so that 25% more bang for your buck. The Starwood AMEX gives 25,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 in 6 months. Plus AMEX runs simply incredible promotions year round that easily make up for the $65 annual fee (which is waived the first year anyway) and they have top-notch return and warranty protections.

Here is a link to the AA partner award chart.

You can fly from North America to Tel Aviv nonstop on El Al for 45K each way in coach or 67.5K each way in business.

Or if you fly via Europe between October and May it’s just 40K each way, for example an American flight to Paris and then an El Al flight to Tel Aviv would be 40K off-peak.  And you can stopover in Europe for as long as you want.

On top of that American also allows for free one-ways with a stopover even on a one-way flight. A one-way flight nonstop from Tel Aviv to JFK, stopping over in NYC for as long as you want, and then a flight from JFK to Alaska, Hawaii, LA, Miami, etc. is just 45,000 miles.  The travel date of the “trailing” flight can even be changed for free.

The reverse works as well.  Fly back from Hawaii to JFK, stopover in NYC for as long as you want, and then fly nonstop from JFK to Tel Aviv for just 45,000 miles.

More on that kind of fun stuff in my seminar in LA tonight 🙂

HT: carageenan, via DDF

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33 Responses to “Join El Al Matmid For Free”

  1. dovid Says:

    if there is availability on elal website for business one way tlv-jfk it is automatically available through aa for 67.5 or only sometimes? and how is the availability for elal business usualy compared with other airlines

  2. Bob Says:

    What is the difference between the global y and the regular matmid programs?

  3. Shaul Yaakov Says:

    Is new AA going to try to keep/add Israel routes? Then would the code share end?

  4. e Says:

    can u use united miles?

  5. Dina Says:

    I just joined last night and paid $25 🙁

  6. DaninSTL Says:

    Seems funny to me that you can use AA miles to book but not BA Avios with the AA-Israel labor issues you’d think it would be the other way around.

    Nice post, thanks.

  7. Chaim Says:

    Having a stop over in europe can cost allot in airport fees.
    If for whatever reason i do have HAS points is it still 50% off? And can to transfer them do a different person? Thnx

  8. josh Says:

    Can you clarify whether both routes can be combined? Meaning can I do Hawaii-NYC-Paris-TLV as a one-way award on AA for 40k off peak? Thanks

  9. Avi Says:

    What do you think of the value of paying $1000 one way to upgrade inflight from coach to 1st class? Am I going to miss out on the meals because I am glatt and I didn’t pre-order?

  10. Adi Says:

    i just signed up this morning, and i got one email with 4 digit code for telephone service, and a password for the website!
    but i don’t know where is the MEMBERSHIP number, therefor i can’t login! anyone?

  11. Anonymous Says:


    It shows right after you sign up. Guess you didn’t save it.

  12. Tea with Lemon Says:

    If Im not planning on flying el-al in the near future, but you never know…. Should I join the club?

  13. chaya Says:

    the one AMAZING thing about matmid, is that if a seat on a flight is not available to book with points, you can call ELAL and have them waitlist you for that flight. We have flown with points this way 4 times, and always ended up getting our seats with points, that were not initially available! they will waitlist you on up to three flights in each direction. To me, this is invaluable!

  14. LN Says:

    tried to register my infant daughter but apparently registration is only allowed from 2 years of age. oh well, thanks anyway Dan!

  15. Adi Says:

    so there is no way to recover the MEMBERSHIP number?

  16. Davidd Says:

    Second of all, if you are a member you will be able to check award availability online. You can use American miles to book El Al flights, but that must be done by calling AA. Best of all AA allows you to even book one-way awards on El Al AND they don’t charge a fuel surcharge for redeeming miles to fly on El Al!

    When searching el al website for award flights How do you know which award flights on EL Al website AA will let you book using AA miles

  17. Avo Says:

    @Adi I had the same issue, so I just went through the process again and they said they’ll email me the number. I don’t understand why they couldn’t do that in the first email but hey….

  18. Dina Says:

    Adi call elal and theyll ask u some questions and give it to u

  19. Avo Says:

    Actually these are the exact words of the dialogue I received after signing up the second time

    ” Thank you for joining the Matmid Club.Your membership number is not displayed due to a technical error.We will send you your membership number shortly”

  20. JEFF Says:

    Can someone please answer what is the difference in the two cards at all ?? Would appreciate it.

  21. JEFF Says:

    Can someone translate this answer for me “ארעה תקלת מערכת, אנא סגור את הדפדפן ונסה שנית

  22. Adi Says:

    yep i tried to redo it and got the same error! and no email from more then 3 hours ago, i also tried to call elal during the day time but i was on hold for one hour until i had to go 🙂
    i guess this is why i didn’t had membership with elal the service is so pour that in comparison United looks amazing!

  23. Anonymous Says:

    @JEFF: @JEFF: Please technical problem, close screen and try again

  24. JEFF Says:

    I once complained about the poor customer service at the American Express office in Israel, after I easily resolved it with Amex in US by phone, and their answer was one that I will never forget “This is the Middle East.” Since then I don’t expect any Israeli business to put the customer any more than the last priority.

  25. Avo Says:

    @Adi: OK try this: Use your same name and details with a different email address. I went through the signup again, but this time I wrote down the Matmid number. For some reason it took them like 20 minutes to send me a confirmation email. Then I used that number with the password they sent the original email address and of course it didn’t work but I kept at it until they blocked me out and actually sent me a new password. and now I’m in 🙂

    i think it was the same number they issued me originally.

  26. chaya Says:

    to reach el al or matmid, dont call the toll free number – you’ll wait forever. call 212-852-0700

  27. rots5 Says:

    Is there cash and points for M class tickets also? Or business class?

  28. Adi Says:

    This is funny 🙂 after trying @chaya number and few other which are NOT working even that the recording say they do i call 1 888 359 3525 and waited for one hour on the phone, but got my Matamid number 🙂

  29. my08701 Says:

    intersting I signed up & it did not ask me for a code or a credit card…

  30. Kathleen Says:

    Dan do you do award bookings for a fee? Or do you recommend someone? Israel travel in mind…

  31. Anonymous Says:

    “Second of all, if you are a member you will be able to check award availability online. You can use American miles to book El Al flights, but that must be done by calling AA. Best of all AA allows you to even book one-way awards on El Al AND they don’t charge a fuel surcharge for redeeming miles to fly on El Al!”

    Dan why is this a benefit if an AA rep can check for you??
    also which award el al flights can you use AA miles??

  32. big fan Says:

    did it thanks!!

  33. evan stall Says:

    dan, get you pls post an updated link, AOW24483828 is expired


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