January 12th, 2014
Business class award tickets direct from North America to Israel without stopping in Europe can be hard to come by.
The airlines release them at random times, when they feel the seat would otherwise go unsold. So you just have to keep checking for space to open up. Of course you can always either fly via Europe or use United Plan B.
DDF member ilherman notices that there is a lot of space from Newark to Tel Aviv nonstop in business class during the first week of February:
02/02, UA84: 7 business saver+9 coach saver.
02/03, UA84: 9 business saver+9 coach saver.
02/03, UA90: 9 business saver+9 coach saver.
02/04, UA84: 9 business saver+9 coach saver.
02/05, UA84: 9 business saver+9 coach saver.
Plus you can pickup one of these spiffy limited edition amenity kits that are being handed out in United BusinessFirst/GlobalFirst flghts from the US through 03/01 or while supplies last (have to figure out how to get my hands on a CLE Friendly kit :D)
Worth pointing out while we’re at it how the expanded saver coach award benefit work if you have a Chase United credit card. On 02/06 if you aren’t logged into your account you won’t see any coach saver award seats. If you have a credit card and login to your United account before searching then you will see 2 coach saver award seats!
The return is tricky. You can return nonstop in coach, return via Europe in business, or use United Plan B.
Or tour the holy land for a month, United has a return business saver flight on 03/04, UA85 has 7 business saver seats (or 8 business saver seats for Platinum/1K/GS elites, something I haven’t seen for a long time).
United currently charges 40K for coach saver or 60K for business saver each way. That goes up to 42.5K and 70K respectively on 02/01 for United flights only. Partner flights will also be 42.5K in coach but are going up to 80K in business. You can book travel now and change the dates later and just pay a date change fee and not pay the higher award rate.
You can also save a bundle by using ANA miles, you would need just 60K for a round-trip coach saver or 90K for a round-trip business saver on United with no fuel surcharges.
A flight from 02/05-03/04 in United business class using ANA miles would be 90K+$46.82. Membership Rewards and Starpoints transfer to ANA though transfers aren’t instant.
Finally it’s definitely worth pointing out that Air Canada starts flying the first 787 Dreamliner to Israel starting in July and coach saver award space between Toronto and Israel on it looks great. The business class on those planes looks incredible, but currently they are just releasing a maximum of 1 seat per flight. Still availability in November and December for 1 seat in Dreamliner business class is very good.