April 11th, 2014
I have never been a fan of the HAS Advantage card.
I’ve spoken at seminars and written why many times over the years. I write exactly why whenever I post a code to join El Al’s Matmid program for free. The El Al program is just not a good place for your points. Just yesterday I actually had an argument with a commenter who didn’t like me calling out the HAS card and favoring the SPG card.
Or as I wrote in this post,
The Starwood card is much better than other cards (Like HAS advantage) for going to Israel. With HAS you are stuck with just the availability on El Al. Plus El Al charges hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges on award tickets.
With Starwood you have thousands of routing possibilities for free flights to Israel for less points than with HAS. And even if you want to only go to Israel on El Al you can just transfer Starwood points to AA and they will book you on El Al without any fuel surcharges!
At any rate, here is the awful news from HAS,
HAS Advantage is unable to process point transfers to El Al. Unfortunately a business dispute has arisen between HAS and El Al. At this time we can’t provide additional information about this dispute and while we are trying to resolve it, we are not very hopeful it will be resolved.
If you planned on using your points to fly El Al we recommend that you make other travel arrangements. We are extremely sorry about this sudden development. As a HAS cardholder we truly appreciate your support and you deserve better.
If you have a pending transfer, the points will be placed back into your HAS account.
Unlike AMEX, Chase, and Starwood which each have lots of transfer options in case a dispute were ever to arise, HAS only had El Al.
This news has no effect on AMEX points, which continue to transfer El Al.
At this point you should wait and see if they can get it restored somehow, but it seems likely that the best option will be to just take the 1% cash back that they are offering (sure beats the Blue Fringe CD redemption value ;)). Which really, really stinks considering cards like the Barclay Arrival card give 2.22% cash back on everything.
There’s no longer any reason to keep using the card, that’s for sure.
Much better cards to get you to Israel include the:
-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (25% bonus for transferring blocks of 20K points into miles.)
More on lots of ways of using Starpoints to Israel (from 20K round-trip) in this post.
-Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard (40K signup points plus 2.22% cash back on everything to use towards any travel related charge.)
-Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature (40K signup points, 5K points for adding a free additional user, up to 3.21 points per dollar spent, points transfer to United for Air Canada or United flights for 85K miles with no fuel surcharges or to BA for Air Berlin or USAirways flights for 60K Avios round-trip with no fuel surcharges).
-Chase Ink Plus Business Card and Chase Ink Bold Business Card (50K signup points each, up to 5 points per dollar spent, points transfers to the same places as Sapphire Preferred including BA, Korean, United, Virgin Atlantic, etc.).
-American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card (25K bonus points, triple points on airfare, double points on gas and groceries, 15K bonus points every year you spend $30K, points transfer to Air Canada, Alitalia (80K miles in business class round-trip!), BA, Delta, El Al, Flying Blue (as low as 25K miles round-trip), Singapore (fly in a private suite) etc)
-Chase Freedom Visa (No annual fee, 10K signup points plus 2.5K points for adding a free additional user, up to 5 points per dollar spent or 5.5 points per dollar spent if you also have a Chase checking account, point transfers require that you or your spouse have a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus card.)
-Chase British Airways Visa Signature (50K signup bonus, 1.25 points per dollar spent, Air Berlin or USAirways flights are 60K Avios with no fuel surcharges)
-Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card (30K signup bonus plus 5K points for adding an additional user, 10K bonus points every year that you spend $25K, 85K miles with no fuel surcharges to Israel)