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Israel Airfare Roundup

Monday, October 21st, 2013

-Bookable on Orbitz with full mileage earning and free cancellations until 10pm CT the day after you book or directly from the airline.

- Earn 3 MR points per dollar with American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card or 2.14 UR points per dollar with Chase Sapphire Preferred

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Sample airfare deals:

Chicago-Tel Aviv:
01/16-01/29: $671.97 on Delta.
01/23-02/05: $671.97 on Delta.
01/26-02/03: $666.77 on Air Canada, $686.47 on Delta.
02/02-02/12: $671.97 on United

Houston-Tel Aviv:
12/01-12/12: $748.86 on Air Canada and United
12/04-12/12: $739.27 on Air Canada
01/26-02/03: $739.27 on Air Canada

Los Angeles-Tel Aviv:
01/21-01/30: $750.36 on Air Canada and United
01/21-02/04: $745.97 on United
01/22-02/04: $745.97 on United
02/02-02/17: $740.77 on Air Canada

Miami-Tel Aviv:
12/11-12/23: $845.77 on Air Canada
01/26-02/10: $845.77 on Air Canada
02/02-02/10: $850.97 on Delta or United
03/10-03/18: $850.97 on Delta

NYC-Tel Aviv:
$999 nonstop on Delta, El Al, or United for most winter travel.
$784 for travel on Turkish via Istanbul

Washington DC-Tel Aviv:
11/17-11/25: $666.77 on Air Canada
11/24-12/12: $666.77 on Air Canada
01/19-01/27: $666.77 on Air Canada
01/20-01/30: $671.97 on United
01/26-02/04: $671.97 on Delta
02/02-02/10: $666.77 on Air Canada, $671.97 on Delta and United
02/09-02/17: $666.77 on Air Canada
03/02-03/10: $671.97 on Delta
03/10-03/20: $671.97 on Delta

Find more cheap travel dates: Read about using ITA Software to use their awesome month-long calendar search to help find dates with cheap flights.

USAirways: We’ll Honor Israel Tickets But We Won’t Give You Miles If You Skip A Leg

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

USAirways sent an email to people who bought the $300-$500 tickets to Israel that I posted about in late August from NYC and from other cities. The email says that USAirways will not be awarding any miles for any part of the ticket unless all segments are flown. In other words if you are booked from NYC-Philadelphia-Tel Aviv-Philadelphia-Toronto and you wind up skipping the Philadelphia-Toronto segment they are saying that they will not award miles for your entire trip.

They’re also offering a full refund if you’re not happy with that. You can email usairways.noreply@usairways.com to request a refund until 10/15.  (And boy are they hoping you will :D)

Of course you can always continue onto Toronto and take a 4,500 Avios flight back to NYC or Chicago for example. Though one-way flights going to Toronto have just $2.50 in tax there is $50 in tax for one-way flights leaving from Toronto. The Chase British Airways card gives 50K signup Avios (Over 11 free short-haul flights) with the fee waived for the first year.

The far more interesting question will be if they can or will stop people from crediting the flown flights to a partner airline like Aegean or United…if you try that be sure to let us know how it goes.

Unlimited Israel: Exclusive Coupons For DansDeals Readers!

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

www.unlimitedisrael.net
-Get 10% off iPhone rentals under $100 with code (Exp: 12/31/13): DAN10
-Get 15% off iPhone rentals over $100 with code (Exp: 12/31/13): DAN15

Unlimited Israel’s #1 priority is your complete satisfaction.
Unlimited Israel plans include:
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-Great coverage across Israel.
-Phones can be used as a HotSpot.
-Type in your apple ID and transfer all your data from your current iPhone to your Israel iPhone.
-US numbers available at additional cost.
-Contact us to find out more about our iPhone rental packages for students and groups who are traveling to Israel.
-Convenient options for pickup or nationwide shipping.
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-Reserve your phone today by visiting us at www.unlimitedisrael.net. While you’re there be sure to check out our testimonials! You can also reach us at 845-371-9800 or 855-972-CELL.

Get The Best Price For A Succos Car Rental In Israel

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

-Reserve now and lock in an amazing rate for Succos. Rates starting from only $225 for 10 days with insurance and taxes. Great deals for other dates as well.
-Car Pick Up conveniently located in Terminal 3. Cars are only rented from major and reliable rental companies.
-Guaranteed no hidden fees or surprises!
-Email your desired rental dates and you will get you the best price available.
-Please note: this deal is for foreign residents only and includes a coupon for shomer Shabbat from the rental companies.

Email now for reservations: reservation@yerent.com
Or call: 347-534-1111 (Office located in Israel)
www.yerent.com (Hebrew)

Earn (Lifetime?) Star Alliance Gold Status With 2 Cheap Flights To Israel

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

For somewhere between $600-$1,000 you can fly twice to Israel right now from pretty much anywhere in the country.

Credit those flight miles to Aegean and you will earn what seems to be lifetime Star Alliance Gold elite status.  Read more about Aegean and Star Alliance Gold in this post.

More Dirt Cheap Flights To Israel From Cities Across The Country!

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Update #2: This deal appears to be dead.

 

Update: Commenter “Raphi” points out that on Orbitz if you click on “Narrow the search to my preferred airlines” and select El Al and USAirways that prices are actually cheaper!

-Bookable on Orbitz with full mileage earning and free cancellations until 10pm CT the day after you book or directly from the airline.

- Earn 3 MR points per dollar with American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card, 3 MR points per dollar with The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN, or 2.14 UR points per dollar with Chase Sapphire Preferred.

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Read this post first for background info!

Update: Chicago-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 11/25-12/02 for Chanukah is just $302!
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Commenter “Raphi” points out that on Orbitz if you click on “Narrow the search to my preferred airlines” and select El Al and USAirways that prices are actually cheaper!

Below is just with 1 sample date, many other dates will be available as well so keep searching post what you find!

-Boston-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $347.
-Chicago-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $389.
-Miami-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $402.
-Houston-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $446
-Dallas-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $454
-Denver-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $454
-Los Angeles-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $458
-S. Francisco-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $461
-Seattle-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $461
-Baltimore-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $546
-Cincinnati-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $546
-Buffalo-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $561
-Atlanta-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $561
-S. Louis-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $561
-Pittsburgh-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $571
-Philadelphia-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $598
-Cleveland-Tel Aviv-Toronto on 01/12-01/20: $598

-With the $389 Chicago-Tel Aviv-Toronto fare you can get off the plane in Philadelphia and use 7,500 BA Avios plus $2.50 to fly nonstop back to Chicago.

-With the $402 Miami-Tel Aviv-Toronto fare you can get off the plane in Philadelphia and use 7,500 BA Avios plus $2.50 to fly nonstop back to Miami.

-With the $454 Dallas -Tel Aviv-Toronto fare you can get off the plane in Philadelphia and use 10,000 BA Avios plus $2.50 to fly nonstop back to Dallas.

Need Avios? You can pick up 50,000 BA Avios with the BA credit card (the annual fee is waived if you apply by 09/30).

-With the $561 Buffalo-Tel Aviv-Toronto someone from Toronto can just get to Buffalo to pickup the first leg and then fly back home to Toronto.

More to come!

Does A Ticket To Israel For The New Year Ever Get Cheaper Than This?

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Related post: Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints
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Now that Air France/KLM Flying Blue has lowered their fuel surcharges on coach tickets, their Promo awards are actually a pretty sweet deal.  A one-way ticket from Houston to Tel Aviv for Rosh Hashana (New Year Holiday), Yom Kippur, or Sukkos holiday can be had for just 12,500 miles plus $107.

AMEX MR points transfer to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio and Starpoints transfer at a 20:25 ratio so 20K Starwood becomes enough for 2 one-way tickets.

The current promo awards offer includes 12,500 miles coach tickets from Chicago, Dallas, or Houston to Europe for travel 09/01-10/31.

Flying Blue includes Israel in their definition of Europe.

There are also 31,250 mile one-way business class tickets from Dallas or Washington DC to Europe though those comes saddled with heavy fuel surcharges:

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Still 62,500 miles for a round-trip business class ticket to Israel during peak travel time isn’t too shabby, even with their ridiculous fuel surcharges.

Remember that if you find Delta coach saver award availability (no easy feat as Delta is notoriously stingy!) that you can book it via Flying Blue for just 50K in coach instead of 80K via Delta.  Plus they don’t charge any fuel surcharges for Delta awards and they allow for one-way redemptions.

Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Related: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express gives 10,000 points after your first purchase and a 15,000 point bonus for spending $5,000 within 6 months besides for the 5,000 points you’ll get from base spending.
Don’t forget that you can also use your Starpoints to stay free at the Le Meridien Dead Sea, Le Meridien Eilat, and the highly rated Sheraton Tel Aviv.
Slated for a 2015 opening is also the W Tel Aviv – Jaffa
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Summary:

Rates listed in this post are for round-trip travel and are assuming that you maximize the 25% point bonus for transferring Starpoints in blocks of 20,000 points (which you may or may not be able to do depending on the number of passengers so you may have leftover miles)

Before you transfer try to find availability to see which transfer you should do!

Star Alliance:
-For United and USAirways travel transfer points (from 48K) to ANA (no fuel surcharges)
-For Star Alliance travel on airlines besides United and USAirways transfer points (from 48K) to ANA (fuel surcharges apply)
-For Star Alliance travel on airlines besides United and USAirways transfer points (from 64K) to USAirways (no fuel surcharges)
-For Star Alliance travel with lap children transfer points (from 64K) to Air Canada (fuel surcharges on select carriers)
-For travel on Singapore transfer points (from 60K) to Singapore (fuel surcharges apply)
-For travel on Lufthansa or Swiss transfer points (from 48K) to Lufthansa (fuel surcharges apply)

OneWorld/El Al:
-For OneWorld travel transfer points (from 40K) to JAL (fuel surcharges apply)
-For Air Berlin travel transfer points (from 48K) to BA (no fuel surcharges)
-For OneWorld or El Al travel transfer points (from 64K) to AA (no fuel surcharges)

Skyteam:
-For Delta travel transfer points (from 40K) to Flying Blue (no fuel surcharges)
-For Skyteam travel on airlines besides Delta transfer points (from 40K) to Flying Blue (fuel surcharges apply)
-For Skyteam travel on airlines besides Delta, transfer points (From 64K) to Delta (no fuel surcharges)
-For Air France/KLM travel during a promo period, transfer points (From 20K) to Flying Blue (fuel surcharges apply)
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As you probably know already, the Starwood card is one of the best cards out there for general spending.  You can use just a couple thousand points for free hotel stays or transfer points into miles with dozens of airlines at favorable ratios.  If you are transferring points you may also want to consider Starwood’s Nights & Flights option where you can save 8,000 points on a mileage transfer and any future 5 night stay in a category 3 or 4 hotel.
To make a mileage transfer just login to your Starwood account at SPG.com. If you have never made an account at SPG.com you may need to set one up. Locate your SPG number on the Starwood AMEX statement where it lists how many points you earned in the past month and for the year. Then you can setup for SPG.com account. Click here to transfer Starpoints into airline miles. Transfers don’t happen instantly. They can take between 1-20 days. On average figure on about 2-7 days though.

The rates in this chart are for flights from NYC to Tel Aviv. Rates from other North American cities should be similar, but may differ depending on the airline. Remember to try to do your own research online when searching for award flights. With enough time and effort you should be able to easily book something over the phone. Remember the phone agents just want to get you off the phone as quickly as possible and aren’t likely to want to try to find any creative routings to get you your free flight.

Tips for finding saver award availability:

Award tickets to Israel are always tough, though that’s a function of it being an expensive route to fly compared to the distance of the flight.
1. Check availability at least daily as award seats can come and go quickly.
2. Be willing to connect in Europe for much better availability.  Flights on low cost carriers from Europe to Israel can also be dirt cheap and it can make sense to use miles to get to Europe and then buy a flight to Israel from there.
3. If you are ready to fly on a whim airlines typically open up saver awards the day of or the day before a flight. Otherwise a couple months in advance is a typical sweet spot.
4. Realize that not all partners will be displayed online and you need to do your own research on partner sites and/or call to find partner availability.
5. Airline search engines are only so powerful. Use free stopovers and open-jaws to your advantage. If you are flying from somewhere besides NYC just search from NYC-Tel Aviv instead of from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv. You can always piece together an award by searching for Los Angeles-NYC separately then NYC-Tel Aviv, especially if you are willing to have a long connection, change airports in NYC, or are willing to stay overnight in NYC.
6. The same goes for tickets from NYC.  Search from other gateways like Toronto and Philadelphia and piece together the flights to get there afterward. Consider searching from NYC to European cities and piece together an award from Europe to Israel. You may find availability from NYC to London and then from Paris to Tel Aviv but a computer would never put that open jaw ticket together. Instead you can check out London and Paris on the way to Tel Aviv. Maybe you’ll even get to check out Venice and Rome on the way home. Sometimes you can even save miles by doing that!
7. Don’t forget to book a free domestic trailing flight anytime in the year after you arrive back to your destination.  American for example allows you to book a one-way flight from Tel Aviv to JFK, stopover in NYC for as long as you want, and then fly from JFK to Alaska, Hawaii, LA, Miami, etc. for 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 from JFK to Tel Aviv for just 45,000 miles.
8. Find award availability before transferring miles. Once they’re transferred they can’t be reversed!
9. Need help? You can post your travel dates and which miles you have in this DDF thread and ask for help. Consider offering a monetary or mileage reward to the forum member that can come up with the best award ticket to meet your needs and you may find that suggestions will come flooding in!
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Airlines that fly nonstop from North America to Israel:
-Air Canada from Toronto (bookable via Star Alliance miles)
-United from Newark (bookable via Star Alliance miles)
-Delta from JFK (bookable via Skyteam miles)
-El Al from JFK, Los Angeles, Newark, and Toronto. (bookable via AA, connections to Eilat for the same mileage available)
-USAirways from Philadelphia (bookable via Star Alliance miles)
None of these carriers offer First Class seating to Israel for miles on nonstop flights.  (El Al does offer First Class, but you can only use AA miles to redeem for Coach or Business Class on El Al).

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Star Alliance:
Nonstop flights from North America include Air Canada from Toronto, United from Newark, and USAirways from Philadelphia. These flights all have lie-flat business class seating and have no first class.

Star Alliance offers the best availability for flights to Israel by leaps and bounds. Besides for the nonstop flights from North America there are many options via Europe in coach, business, and first class worth looking into including Swiss via Zurich, Lufthansa via Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich, Brussels via Brussels, Austrian via Vienna, Turkish via Istanbul, SAS via Copenhagen, Singapore via Frankfurt, Aegean via Athens, LOT via Warsaw, or a mix of carriers like United from Newark to one of dozens of European cities and a European carrier to Tel Aviv.
By utilizing free stopovers and open jaws the possibilities are endless if you take the time to research your options leg by leg.

You can search for Star Alliance award availability on sites like United.com and Aeroplan.com. ANA also offers a powerful Star Alliance search tool though you’ll need to have 100 miles in your account to use their Star Alliance search.  Though if you perform an ANA-only search on a route they serve (like JFK-Tokyo) the site will then allow you to search Star Alliance airlines on different routes as well (just remember to click on connecting flights to expand the selection).

Rates are for travel using the airline’s miles below for travel on any partner airlines.  Remember that policies follow the miles that you have so if you have USAirways miles you can’t fly one-way on United, but if you have United miles you can fly one-way on USAirways,

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Using ANA miles, from 48,000 Starpoints.
-Miles required: 60K coach, 90K business, 140K first.
-Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 ANA miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 48,000 Starpoints in coach, 72,000 Starpoints in business, or 112,000 Starpoints in first.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: None on United and USAirways partner awards.
-Mileage expiration: 3 years after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Officially not allowed but there are “workarounds.”
-Stopovers: ANA allows for 4 stopovers, though each additional flight will add to the fuel surcharges.
-Changes/Cancellation: ANA allows free date changes, but other changes or cancellation results in a 3,000 mile penalty.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.

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Using USAirways miles, from 64,000 Starpoints.
-Miles required: 80K coach, 120K business, 180K first.
-Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 USAirways miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means the equivalent of 64,000 Starpoints in coach, 96,000 Starpoints in business, or 144,000 Starpoints in first.
-Fuel surcharges: None, although there is a $50 award ticketing fee.
-Mileage expiration: USAirways miles require activity every 18 months.
-One-way awards: Not allowed.
-Stopovers: USAirways allows for 1 free stopover OR 1 free Open jaw.
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $150 charge to change or cancel an award ticket
USAirways is draconian in not allowing any changes to partner award tickets once travel has begun.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: $75 within 21 days
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
-Partner airline awards must be booked over the phone.
-5,000 mile discount on USAirways flights with a USAirways credit card.

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Using Air Canada Aeroplan miles, from 64,000 Starpoints.
-Miles required: 80K coach, 135K business, 190K first.
-Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 Aeroplan miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means the equivalent of 64,000 Starpoints in coach, 108,000 Starpoints in business, or 152,000 Starpoints in first.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio.
-Note that effective for tickets purchased in 2014 you will need 165K for business and 230K for first.
-Fuel surcharges: If you fly on these carriers you will pay a fuel surcharge: Adria, Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, and THAI.
If you fly on these carriers you will not pay a fuel surcharge: Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca/TACA, Brussels, Copa, Croatia, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, South African, Swiss, TAM, Turkish, United, and USAirways.
-Mileage expiration: Air Canada miles require activity every 12 months to keep them active.
-One-way awards: Allowed for about 68% of the award cost of a round-trip. Note that in 2014 this will be allowed for half of the round-trip cost.
-Stopovers: Air Canada generously allows for 2 free stopovers, so you can check out 2 American or European cities in addition to Tel Aviv for the same amount of miles!
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $90 charge to change or cancel an award ticket and a $180 charge to cancel within 21 days of departure.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: Flat fee of just $50 in coach, $100 in business, and $125 in first.

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Using Singapore miles, from 60,000 Starpoints.

-Miles required: 75K coach, 115K business, 150K first.
-Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 Porringer miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means the equivalent of 60,000 Starpoints in coach, 92,000 Starpoints in business, or 120,000 Starpoints in first.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: None on United and USAirways partner awards.
-Mileage expiration: 3 years after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: 1 free stopover
-Changes/Cancellation: $20 change fee, $30 cancellation fee.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-With Singapore miles you can fly on Singapore from NYC to Tel Aviv on Singapore to Frankfurt in business or first class and then to Tel Aviv on Lufthansa which you can’t do with other miles.

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-Miles & More Group (Adria, Austrian, Brussels, Croatia, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, and Swiss): For departures from the USA nonstop to Tel Aviv: 80K coach, 135K business. For departures from the USA to Tel Aviv via Europe: 100K coach, 185K business, 290K first. For departures from Israel to the USA nonstop or via Europe for Miles & More accounts with an Israeli address on file: 60K coach, 105K business, 170K first.
-Transfer partners: Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on all airlines except USAirways and LOT.
-Mileage expiration: Miles expire 36 months after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: 2 free stopovers.
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $60 charge to change or cancel an award ticket.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: None except for airport departure taxes.
-Children ages 2-11: Receive a 25% discount on the mileage requirement on Miles & More flights.
-Expanded award availability on Lufthansa and Swiss business and first class.

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OneWorld:
Oneworld availability to Israel can be tough to find without fuel surcharges. Flights to Israel include Air Berlin via Berlin and Dusseldorf, BA via London, Iberia via Madrid, and Royal Jordanian via Amman.  BA availability is good, but has high fuel surcharges.

El Al is not part of OneWorld (and therefore can’t be booked with miles from other airlines like BA) but they are non-alliance partners with AA. It’s more advantageous to book El Al travel with AA miles than it is with El Al miles (the miles received from the HAS Advantage card) because El Al adds fuel surcharges onto their own tickets, but you do not pay any fuel surcharges for booking El Al tickets with AA miles. However you can only book coach or business on El Al when using AA miles, first class must be booked with El Al points. El Al has nonstop flights from JFK, Newark, Los Angeles, and Toronto to Tel Aviv.
You can check OneWorld availability on flawed sites such as AA.com, BA.com, and Qantas.com. (BA or Qantas frequent flyer account required) You can check El Al availability on elal.com (Matmid account required). You can also check availability by calling AA.

Using American miles, from 64,000 Starpoints.
-Miles required: 80K coach off-peak (10/15-05/15 annually) via Europe, 90K coach on El Al flights from North America or peak via Europe, 135K business on El Al flights from North America or via Europe, 180K first via Europe.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 AA miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 64,000 or 72,000 Starpoints in coach, 108,000 Starpoints in business, or 144,000 Starpoints in first.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply for flights on partners British Airways (very high) and Iberia (nominal).
-Mileage expiration: AA miles require activity every 18 months.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Allowed at the North American gateway city.
-Changes/Cancellation: AA allows free date and routing changes, but changes to the origin or destination city or cancellation costs $150 for non-elites.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: $75 within 21 days for non-elites.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
-Some partner airline awards must be booked over the phone.
-The best shot at availability without paying fuel surcharges would be to take AA to London or anywhere else in Europe and then El Al from London or anywhere else in Europe to Tel Aviv. This routing would be 80,000 miles between October 15-May 15 or the same 90,000 miles as the nonstop El Al flight from the US during the summer.
You need to call American to book travel on El Al. You should do your research first by opening a Matmid account and searching for awards on elal.com. Remember to search for flights from all of El Al’s cities in North America and in Europe as you can use other American and partner flights to reach those El Al cities.
-American has an alternate OneWorld Explorer award chart which allows for up to 16 stopovers starting from 90,000 miles in coach, 115,000 miles in business, and 150,000 miles in first, but the rules of this complicated award that require at least 2 OneWorld carriers besides AA and excludes partners such as El Al are beyond the scope of this article.

The image below shows a business class award found on El Al’s site which is the same as the availability that American can access.  While El Al charges 3,000 points (150,000 AMEX MR) + $350 for fuel surcharges American would charge 135,000 miles (~108K Starwood) and no fuel surcharges for the same flight.

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Using BA Avios, from 48,000 Starpoints
-Avios required:  60K coach on Air Berlin, 65K coach on other carriers, 100K business on Air Berlin, 130K business on other carriers, 195K first.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio, Chase Ultimate Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 BA miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 48,000 Starpoints in coach, 80,000 Starpoints in business, or 156,000 Starpoints in first.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply for all Trans-Atlantic flights except on Air Berlin and Aer Lingus via Ireland.
You can drastically reduce fuel surcharges for travel on Iberia via Madrid by transferring your BA Avios into Iberia Avios. You must have your Iberia account open for 3 months before you can do such a transfer.
-Mileage expiration: BA miles require activity every 36 months.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Each leg costs additional mileage, but you can stopover at any connection city for as long as you want.
-Changes/Cancellation: $40.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None
-Infant fees: Instead of cash, BA charges just 10% of the adult mileage required on international segments.
-Some partner airline awards must be booked over the phone.

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Using JAL miles, from 40,000 Starpoints
-Avios required: 50K coach, 80K business, 115K first.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 JAL miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 40,000 Starpoints in coach, 64,000 Starpoints in business, or 92,000 Starpoints in first.
-Fuel surcharges: Applies to most travel.
-Mileage expiration: 3 years after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Not allowed.
-Stopovers: JAL allows for 2 stopovers, though each additional flight will add to the fuel surcharges.
-Changes/Cancellation: JAL allows free date changes, but other changes or cancellation results in a 3,000 mile penalty.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None
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Skyteam:
Skyteam generally has the worst award availability. You can try searching some Skyteam availability on Delta.com and AirFrance.com. Options to Israel besides Delta’s nonstop JFK flight are on Czech via Prague, KLM via Amsterdam, Air France via Nice or Paris, Aeroflot via Moscow, and Alitalia via Rome.

Using Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) miles, from 20,000 Starpoints
-Miles Required: 25K coach during a promo period, 50K coach otherwise, 62.5K business during a promo period, 125K business otherwise.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 Flying Blue miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 20,000 Starpoints in coach or 50,000 Starpoints in business for a promo award. For regular tickets and partner ticket 40,000 Starpoints per ticket in coach or 100,000 Starpoints per ticket in business.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on all airlines except Delta.
-Mileage expiration: Flying Blue miles expire 20 months unless you credit a Skyteam flight to Flying Blue.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Flying Blue allows for 1 free stopover.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
spga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Using Delta miles, from 64,000 Starpoints.
-Miles Required: 80K-190K coach, 120K-370K business.
Transfer Ratio: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 Delta miles. At a 1:1.25 ratio this means 64,000-152,000 Starpoints in coach or 96,000-296,000 Starpoints in business.
-Other transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on select partners but generally won’t apply to/from Israel.
-Mileage expiration: None.
-One-way awards: Not allowed.
-Stopovers: Delta allows for 1 free stopover OR 1 free Open jaw.
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $150 charge to change or cancel an award ticket. No changes or cancellations are allowed within 3 days of the flight.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
-It can be brutal trying to find Delta low award availability and Delta’s terrible website only makes it more difficult. Plus Delta used to be a good option for booking Air France/KLM but now availability when booking those direct with Flying Blue is much better than when booking with Delta.

spgg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Find a mistake or better method of getting to Israel with Starpoints? Hit the comments!

Travel To Israel For Succos From Just $1,195 With Tax!

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

Book your tickets to Israel for Succos on www.globaltoursinc.com from only $1,145 tax included.

-Stopover flights from $1,195 on www.globaltoursinc.com

-Stopover flights from $1,395 on www.globaltoursinc.com

-Non-stop flights from $1,745 on www.globaltoursinc.com

-Business/First class seats from $4,995. Email/Call to book.

-Travel is valid NYC-TEL AVIV-NYC, Add-ons available from most US cities.
-For other departure dates please call.
-Limited availability so book now. Restrictions may apply.
———-
For more info & to book, please visit www.globaltoursinc.com, call 877-SEE-TEL-AVIV, 212-986-7400 or email sales@globaltoursinc.com

Israel Flight Deals

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

1. As I’ve mentioned several times, Air Canada, Delta, and United continue to offer $643 tickets from cities like Chicago and Washington DC to Tel Aviv this winter.  Other cities like Houston and Los Angeles have tickets for just $712.  Deduct the miles you’ll earn for flying and those are some great airfares for Israel.

Use the ITA Matrix calandar search option to find cheap travel dates if you’re flexible.

2. Delta, El Al, and United have round-trips from NYC to Tel Aviv for $949 with tax, great prices for nonstop flights.
Sample dates:
-11/18-11/28
-11/24-12/04
-12/01-12/09
-12/12-12/25
-12/31-01/15
-01/05-01/16
-01/19-01/28
-02/02-02/10
-02/09-02/17
-02/16-02/26
-02/23-03/03
-03/02-03/10
-03/11-03/19

3. If you’re creative though you can manufacture a cheaper nonstop ticket from NYC for just $807, though the airlines may not like it and they may punish people who abuse hidden city ticketing repeatedly, so don’t do this every month.

You can use the Travelocity multi-destination search page and search for EWR-TLV in flight #1 (sample date 02/09/14) and then TLV-ORD, TLV-WAS, TLV-IAH, or TLV-LAX (sample date 02/17/14).

tlv5

You can choose a nonstop on United from Newark to Tel Aviv. For the return  you can select a United flight from Tel Aviv to Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, or Washington DC that connects in Newark. Your bags will be tagged to Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, or Washington DC but everyone, whether their destination is NYC or anywhere else in the world, must pickup their luggage in Newark on the return and bring it through customs. At that point you can either recheck your bags or just leave the airport.

tlv1

In the red square is a flight that nobody is going to force you to board.

Of course you can always just fly to DC for 4,500 Avios or Chicago for 7,500 Avios and book the flight originating there to save yourself another $164 per person by knocking the price down to $643.  You can still get off the plane in Newark.

Or you can originate in NYC to TLV and then just fly to Chicago on the return for $807, enjoy an awesome meal at Shallot’s Bistro or Milt’s BBQ and then use 7,500 Avios to fly back to NYC.

Or you can originate in NYC to TLV and then fly to Los Angeles on the return for $807, enjoy a world class meal at Herzog Winery’s Tierra Sur and then use 12,500 miles to fly back to NYC.

Of course this will work for dozens of other dates as well. The key to finding valid dates is to first search for a cheap outbound flight date from Newark to Tel Aviv.

Go to the ITA Matrix.

To find a cheap outbound flight from Newark to Tel Aviv just search for a round-trip with flexible dates using their calendar of lowest fares .  Use the following advanced routing code to limit the calendar search to nonstop United flights only: UA

Here is what I searched for that you can emulate:

tlv2

And here is the results page with cheap outbound flight dates.

tlv3

Once you have that you’ll be able to then search for a Travelocity multi-destination search and plugin the cheap outbound date from Newark to Tel Aviv and a cheap return date from Tel Aviv to Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, or Washington DC.
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Join the 15,400+ people who follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even set up your mobile device to receive text messages (and choose which hours of the night not to bother you) and you’ll be the first to know about every deal. After setting up your device be sure to opt into mobile notifications from DansDeals (it’s in the drop-down menu next to the blue “Following” button), so that you will never again be kicking yourself for missing another deal!

Going to Israel for Vacation? You Make The Deal!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

Once again Learning Torah on Vacation, L’TOV, a special chavrusa learning program is reaching out to families who will be in Yerushalayim for the summer (or any other time) and want someone to learn with their boys (or even them, the father!).

As an encouragement for you to schedule a CRUCIAL part of your trip and to satisfy you as much as possible, we are asking YOU to set the price!

L’TOV will provide a rebbi who will come to the neighborhood where your family is staying, to learn at a time that is convenient for you. This is beneficial because your learning doesn’t get neglected over your vacation!

Visit LearningTorahonVacation.com to learn more and set up a Chavrusa.

-Satisfaction guaranteed!
-References available.
-Learning NEVER goes on vacation!

Website: LearningTorahOnVacation.com
Email: torahonvacation@gmail.com
Phone: 845-290-9927
In Israel: 054-846-9913

Hertz Israel Now Requiring Proof Of Credit Card Insurance Coverage

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Effective immediately Hertz in Israel is requiring you to furnish a letter of coverage stating that your credit card covers car rental CDW insurance.  If you don’t have that letter you will be compelled to purchase CDW from Hertz. Worse than that, like all CDW policies sold in Israel, the Hertz provided CDW comes with a deductible that you will have to pay on top of the daily CDW coverage in case of any alleged damages. Plus your credit card will not cover CDW if you do not decline the car rental agency CDW coverage.

Car rental companies in Israel love to ding people with alleged scratches and dings whether they caused the damage or not. My assumption is that this is likely the reason Israel is one of just 3 countries in the world that is excluded from most credit card coverage. To save yourself a lot of headache always take extensive pictures of your rental car while it’s still on the lot and make sure the agent signs off on every miniscule scratch on the car.

To get a letter of coverage you can call World Mastercard at 800-622-7747 and then push prompts 1, 1, and 3 to speak to someone.

It used to be that all World Mastercards covered CDW in Israel even though almost every other credit card excludes coverage in Israel, Ireland, and Jamaica.

The reason for the requirement now is due to numerous World Mastercards no longer covering Israel including Chase United, Chase Ink, Barclays Arrivals, and Barclays USAirways.

Cards that currently still provide coverage include the Sapphire World Mastercard.  There’s no public link for the Sapphire World Mastercard but if you call or send a secure message to Chase they can still convert the Sapphire Preferred Visa or the Sapphire Non-Preferred Visa into a World Mastercard. The Preferred card card gives 2.14 points per dollar on all dining and travel including car rentals and it has no foreign exchange fees, making it the best card to use for rentals in Israel.  The non-preferred version gives 1 point per dollar and has a 3% foreign exchange fee.

Those World Mastercards cover up to $50,000 in damages to your rental car for rentals up to 31 days in length.

Coverage is primary if your own personal auto insurance does not cover rentals outside of the USA.  I called Geico and they confirmed that on my policy I’m only covered for rentals in the USA, so coverage from the World Mastercard anywhere else in the world is primary.  This means that the credit card will pay for damages without having to get your personal insurance involved which can raise your premiums.

It’s worth noting that the Discover cards like the Discover IT card cover CDW in Israel as well and they don’t charge a foreign exchange fee. However they limit their total coverage to $25,000 so if you wreck your rental car you may be on the hook for damages as cars in Israel typically cost at least double what they do in the US.  However for regular scratches and dents this should work just fine.

Even if your card does give CDW coverage agencies in Israel require you to purchase liability insurance for damages caused to other people as CDW only covers damages to your own vehicle.  Reputable agents like Noach build this into their quote but most prices online that you’ll find do not include this daily fee.

As far as rentals in the US go, if you have your own policy you’ll most definitely want to rent on the United Explorer card as it is one of the few cards that give free primary CDW coverage.  Almost every other credit card will not cover damages if you have a personal car insurance policy.

HT: hocker, via DDF

NYC To Or From Israel Nonstop For Just $868.97 Round Trip With Tax

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

-Bookable on Priceline (with regular mileage earning and free cancellations until 11:30pm ET the day after you book, on Orbitz (with regular mileage earning and free cancellations until 10pm CT the day after you book, or direct from the airline.

- Earn 3 points per dollar with American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card, 3 points per dollar with The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN, or 2.14 points per dollar with Chase Sapphire Preferred.
————————————————————————————————–

The $868.97 fare is valid for departures on select dates between 10/20/13-12/15/13 and 12/25/13-03/15/14.
It should be bookable from now through 06/30/13.

Currently the fare is only available on Delta but tomorrow it will also be bookable on El Al and United.  More travel dates on sale will be available tomorrow when the El Al and United fares are loaded.

There will be a $1,068.97 fare nonstop from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv on El Al as well that will be bookable tomorrow.

You will earn full miles with all of those carriers but bear in mind that:
-Delta miles are worth the least of the major airlines and rumor has it that they will be making them worth even less as they shift to a revenue based program. Delta has one flight a day between JFK and Tel Aviv at night and it’s on an older though renovated 747.
-El Al Matmid points are terrible and expire but you can earn full American miles for your El Al flight by giving them your AAdvantage number. El Al flies from both JFK and Newark several times a day.
-United miles are the most valuable. They fly twice a day between Newark and Tel Aviv and their 777s are the newest aircraft that services the market.

Yes, The Israel Winter Travel Deals Are Still Alive

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Several people have been telling me to post the current deals to Israel.  I posted these deals when they came out 2 weeks ago and they’re still going strong for travel on select dates between November 2013 and March 2014.

Read about using ITA Software here as that can really make it easy to find cheap dates if you’re flexible.

Here are the links to the original posts:
-“Hacking” A Newark To Tel Aviv Nonstop For $895.97 Round-Trip…
Sample date 11/24-12/03

-Air Canada/Delta/United: Washington DC To Tel Aviv For $638.97 Round-Trip With Tax!
Sample date 01/26-02/03

-Air Canada/United: Chicago To Tel Aviv For Just $638.97 Round-Trip With Tax
Sample date 02/09-02/17

-Air Canada/United: Los Angeles To Tel Aviv For $712.97 Round-Trip With Tax

-$713 fares are also available from Houston on Air Canada/United.
Sample date 03/02-03/10

Travel To Israel For Succos From As Low As $1,095 With Travel Insurance Included!

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

Book your Airline tickets to Israel for Succos on www.globaltoursinc.com and we’ll include travel insurance.

-Valid for bookings through 05/31.

-Stopover flights from $1,095.00 on www.globaltoursinc.com
-Stopover flights from $1,295.00 on www.globaltoursinc.com
-Non-stop flights from $1,595.00 on www.globaltoursinc.com

Travel Insurance benefits include:
-Trip cancellation (for a covered reason).
-Trip Interruption (for a covered reason).
-Trip Delay (12 hours)
-Baggage/Personal Effects
-Emergency Accident/Sickness Medical Expense
-Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation of Remains
-Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services
Click here to view the details of the included insurance policy.
——
Travel is valid NYC-TEL AVIV-NYC, Add-ons available from most US cities.
For other departure dates please call.
Limited availability so book now. Restrictions may apply.
——————————
For more info & to book, please visit www.globaltoursinc.com, call 877-SEE-TEL-AVIV, 212-986-7400 or email sales@globaltoursinc.com

Groupon NYC: Save 64% On Israel vs. Honduras Soccer Match At Citi Field

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Groupon NYC: Save 64% On Israel vs. Honduras Soccer Match At Citi Field

-Sunday, June 2, at 5:30 p.m.
-Citi Field, 126-01 Roosevelt Ave. Flushing, New York 11368
-Doors open at 4 p.m.
-Ticket includes all fees.

-$12 for promenade endline seating in sections 401–402, 410–430, 501–502, or 510–532 (a $33 value)
-$39 for excelsior sideline seating in sections 306–312 or 334–339 (an $86 value)
-$69 for field sideline VIP seating in sections 110–112 or 136–138 (a $126 value)

HT: b haas

Reserve A Car Now For Your Israel Travels And Lock In An Amazing Rate For The Summer!

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

Ends in 3 days! Reserve now and lock in an amazing rate for the summer!

For example:
-Mazda 3 for only $236 a week instead of $350
Includes all insurances and taxes.
-Car Pick Up conveniently located in Terminal 3. Cars are only rented from major and reliable rental companies.
Guaranteed no hidden fees or surprises!
Last Chance for this amazing deal! Reserve Now!
Great deals on other cars as well!
Email your dates now and you will get you the best price available.
Please note: This deal is for foreign residents only and includes a coupon for shomer Shabbat from the rental companies.
Or call: 347-534-1111
www.yerent.com (Hebrew)

Getting To Israel Using Miles

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

-Updated 04/16/13 with current rates.
Note that there is a current bonus for transfers from Starwood to Air Canada.

Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

Related: Which Miles To Use To Hawaii? (Read this post to learn how to get a free flexible ticket (or even 2) to places like Miami, Los Angeles, Alaska, or even Hawaii when you book your next ticket to Israel!)

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This post will attempt to break down some of the best options for getting to Israel, along with listing whether a fuel surcharge (which can add anywhere from $100 to $1,000 onto the cost a free ticket) applies.

There are 3 major transferable point currencies and you can transfer points into various mileage currencies from the following credit cards.
(Typically if you apply for multiple cards from the same bank on the same day you will only get a single credit pull.)

-Starwood points are earned from the consumer Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN.
20,000 Starwood points generally transfer into 25,000 miles, though the transfer can take between 2-12 days. Some partners (like USAirways) do not care if you transfer to someone else’s account while others (like AA) are stricter. There are no fees.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from consumer cards like the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Business cards include the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN.
Points generally transfer instantly (exceptions includes transfers to ANA and Singapore which can take a day or 2) and can be made to anyone, though a fee applies for transfers to domestic carriers like Delta.

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned from consumer cards like Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Non-Preferred, Chase Freedom Visa, and Chase Freedom Mastercard.

They can also be earned from business cards like Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Cash.
You or your spouse need to have either a Sapphire Preferred, an Ink Bold, or an Ink Plus to actually transfer points into miles.
Points generally transfer instantly with no fees.
——————————————————————–

Tips for finding saver award availability:

Award tickets to Israel are always tough, though that’s a function of it being an expensive route to fly compared to the distance of the flight.
-Be willing to connect in Europe for much better availability.
-Availability can change at any time. If you are ready to fly on a whim airlines do typically open up awards the day of or the day before a flight. Otherwise a couple months in advance is a typical sweet spot.
-Realize that not all partners will be displayed and you may need to do your own research and call to find partner availability.
-Airline search engines are only so powerful. Use free stopovers and open-jaws to your advantage. If you are flying from somewhere besides NYC just search from NYC-Tel Aviv instead of from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv. You can always piece together an award by searching for Los Angeles-NYC separately then NYC-Tel Aviv, especially if you are willing to have a long connection, change airports in NYC, or are willing to stay overnight in NYC.
-The same goes for tickets from NYC.  Search from other gateways like Toronto and Philadelphia and piece together the flights to get there afterward. Consider searching from NYC to European cities and piece together an award from Europe to Israel. You may find availability from NYC to London and then from Paris to Tel Aviv but a computer would never put that open jaw ticket together. Instead you can check out London and Paris on the way to Tel Aviv. Maybe you’ll even get to check out Venice and Rome on the way home. Sometimes you can even save miles by doing that!
-Don’t forget to book a free domestic trailing flight anytime in the year after you arrive back to your destination.
-Find award availability before transferring miles. Once they’re transferred they can’t be reversed!
-Need help? You can post your travel dates and which miles you have in this DDF thread and ask for help. Consider offering a monetary or mileage reward to the forum member that can come up with the best award ticket to meet your needs and you may find that suggestions will come flooding in!
——————————————————————–

Round-trip rates NYC-TLV-NYC:

Star Alliance:
Nonstop flights from North America include Air Canada from Toronto, United from Newark, and USAirways from Philadelphia. These flights all have lie-flat business class seating and have no first class.

Star Alliance offers the best availability for flights to Israel by leaps and bounds. Besides for the nonstop flights from North America there are many options via Europe in coach, business, and first class worth looking into including Swiss via Zurich, Lufthansa via Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich, Brussels via Brussels, Austrian via Vienna, Turkish via Istanbul, SAS via Copenhagen, Singapore via Frankfurt, Aegean via Athens, LOT via Warsaw, or a mix of carriers like United from Newark to one of dozens of European cities and a European carrier to Tel Aviv.
By utilizing free stopovers and open jaws the possibilities are endless if you take the time to research your options leg by leg.

You can search for Star Alliance award availability on sites like United.com and Aeroplan.com.

Rates are for travel using the airline’s miles below for travel on any partner airlines.  Remember that policies follow the miles that you have so if you have USAirways miles you can’t fly one-way on United, but if you have United miles you can fly one-way on USAirways,

Best overall for Star Alliance travel due to lack of fuel surcharges and flexible routing and change rules:
-United: 80K coach, 120K business, 150K first.
-Transfer partners: Chase Ultimate Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: None.
-Mileage expiration: United miles require activity every 18 months or none if you have a United credit card.
Having the United credit card also gets you access to expanded saver and standard award availability.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: United allows for 1 free stopover AND 1 free Open jaw.
-Changes/Cancellation: United allows free date and routing changes, but changes to the origin or destination city or cancellation costs $150 for non-elites.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: $75 within 21 days, waived for United Club cardholders.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
-United also has a round-the-world award that includes up to 16 flights in a single direction across the globe for 180K coach, 260K business, 350K first.
Bottom line: United is awesome for having a robust website, free date changes, one-way tickets, and for never charging a fuel surcharge.

The lowest mileage rates for travel on United and USAirways flights without fuel surcharges:
-ANA: 60K coach, 90K business, 140K first.
-Transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio and Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on all airlines except United and USAirways.
-Mileage expiration: 3 years after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Officially not allowed but there are “workarounds.”
-Stopovers: ANA allows for 4 stopovers, though each additional flight will add to the fuel surcharges.
-Changes/Cancellation: ANA allows free date changes, but other changes or cancellation results in a 3,000 mile penalty.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
Bottom line: ANA is awesome if you can find United or USAirways nonstop availability. Otherwise expect to get slammed with fuel surcharges. However bear in mind that fuel surcharges are the worst over the Atlantic, so if you can find United or USAirways availability to anywhere in Europe then the surcharges for a flight from Europe to Tel Aviv on any other airline should be relatively minor.

Best Starwood transfer option for Star Alliance flights besides for travel on United or USAirways:
-USAirways: 80K coach, 120K business, 180K first.
-Transfer partners: Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: None, although there is a $50 award ticketing fee.
-Mileage expiration: USAirways miles require activity every 18 months.
-One-way awards: Not allowed.
-Stopovers: USAirways allows for 1 free stopover OR 1 free Open jaw.
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $150 charge to change or cancel an award ticket
USAirways is draconian in not allowing any changes to partner award tickets once travel has begun.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: $75 within 21 days
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
-Partner airline awards must be booked over the phone.
Bottom line: The miles aren’t as great as United’s but besides for their ticketing fee you won’t be hit with fuel surcharges. Note that USAirways will be merging with American and migrating to OneWorld over the next couple years.

Best American Express transfer option for Star Alliance flights besides for travel on United or USAirways:
-Air Canada: 80K coach, 135K business, 190K first.
-Transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio and Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
Note that Aeroplan points can be transferred to USAirways at a 10.84 ratio via points.com.
-Fuel surcharges: If you fly on these carriers you will pay a fuel surcharge: Adria, Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, and THAI.
If you fly on these carriers you will not pay a fuel surcharge: Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca/TACA, Brussels, Copa, Croatia, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, South African, Swiss, TAM, Turkish, United, and USAirways.
-Mileage expiration: Air Canada miles require activity every 12 months to keep them active. They also expire 7 years after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Allowed for about 68% of the award cost of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Air Canada generously allows for 2 free stopovers, so you can check out 2 American or European cities in addition to Tel Aviv for the same amount of miles!
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $90 charge to change or cancel an award ticket and a $180 charge to cancel within 21 days of departure.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: Flat fee of just $50 in coach, $100 in business, and $125 in first.
Bottom line: Air Canada is very good due to generous infant and stopover policies, just beware of the airlines that they collect a fuel surcharge for.

Best for low one-way rates with no fuel surcharges on United and USAirways with very low change and cancellation fees plus the ability to fly on Singapore flights in business and first class to Israel via Frankfurt:
-Singapore: 75K coach, 115K business, 150K first.
-Transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio and Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on all airlines except United and USAirways.
-Mileage expiration: 3 years after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: 1 free stopover
-Changes/Cancellation: $20 change fee, $30 cancellation fee.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
Bottom line: American Express points transfer to Singapore faster than they do to ANA. Plus with Singapore miles you can fly on Singapore from NYC to Tel Aviv on Singapore to Frankfurt in business or first class and then to Tel Aviv on Lufthansa which you can’t do with other miles. Additionally you can book one-ay awards and change and cancel fees are very low.

Best option for Lufthansa and Swiss business and first class flights:
-Miles & More Group (Adria, Austrian, Brussels, Croatia, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, and Swiss): For departures from the USA nonstop to Tel Aviv: 80K coach, 135K business. For departures from the USA to Tel Aviv via Europe: 100K coach, 185K business, 290K first. For departures from Israel to the USA nonstop or via Europe for Miles & More accounts with an Israeli address on file: 60K coach, 105K business, 170K first.
-Transfer partners: Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on all airlines except USAirways.
-Mileage expiration: Miles expire 36 months after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: 2 free stopovers.
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $60 charge to change or cancel an award ticket.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: None except for airport departure taxes.
-Children ages 2-11: Receive a 25% discount on the mileage requirement on Miles & More flights.
Bottom line: The real beauty of Miles & More is the expanded award availability. If you want to travel in First Class on Swiss or Lufthansa then you’ll greatly appreciate the expanded availability as booking first class in advance on these airlines is nearly impossible with partner miles.  However you’ll need lots of miles for an extremely expensive 3 region award if you are departing from the USA.  Infant and children policies are excellent. Beware that fuel surcharges are a killer though!
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OneWorld:
Oneworld availability to Israel can be tough to find without fuel surcharges. Flights to Israel include Air Berlin via Berlin and Dusseldorf, BA via London, Iberia via Madrid, and Royal Jordanian via Amman.  BA availability is good, but has high fuel surcharges.

El Al is not part of OneWorld (and therefore can’t be booked with miles from other airlines like BA) but they are non-alliance partners with AA. It’s more advantageous to book El Al travel with AA miles than it is with El Al miles (the miles received from the HAS Advantage card) because El Al adds fuel surcharges onto their own tickets, but you do not pay any fuel surcharges for booking El Al tickets with AA miles. However you can only book coach or business on El Al when using AA miles, first class must be booked with El Al points. El Al has nonstop flights from JFK, Newark, Los Angeles, and Toronto to Tel Aviv.
You can check OneWorld availability on flawed sites such as AA.com, BA.com, and Qantas.com. (BA or Qantas frequent flyer account required) You can check El Al availability on elal.com (Matmid account required). You can also check availability by calling AA.

Best OneWorld option for nonstop travel to Israel and for travel via Europe on El Al without fuel surcharges.:
-American: 80K coach off-peak (10/15-05/15 annually) via Europe, 90K coach on El Al flights from North America or peak via Europe, 135K business on El Al flights from North America or via Europe, 180K first via Europe.
-Transfer partners: Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply for flights on partners British Airways (very high) and Iberia (nominal).
-Mileage expiration: AA miles require activity every 18 months.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Allowed at the North American gateway city.
-Changes/Cancellation: AA allows free date and routing changes, but changes to the origin or destination city or cancellation costs $150 for non-elites.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: $75 within 21 days for non-elites.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
-Some partner airline awards must be booked over the phone.
-The best shot at availability without paying fuel surcharges would be to take AA to London or anywhere else in Europe and then El Al from London or anywhere else in Europe to Tel Aviv. This routing would be 80,000 miles between October 15-May 15 or the same 90,000 miles as the nonstop El Al flight from the US during the summer.
You need to call American to book travel on El Al. You should do your research first by opening a Matmid account and searching for awards on elal.com. Remember to search for flights from all of El Al’s cities in North America and in Europe as you can use other American and partner flights to reach those El Al cities.
-American has an alternate OneWorld Explorer award chart which allows for up to 16 stopovers starting from 90,000 miles in coach, 115,000 miles in business, and 150,000 miles in first, but the rules of this complicated award that require at least 2 OneWorld carriers besides AA and excludes partners such as El Al are beyond the scope of this article.
Bottom line: AA is great for El Al and is a decent option for connecting in Europe, though watch out for BA surcharges.

Lowest OneWorld rates to Israel without fuel surcharges on Air Berlin:
-British Airways: 60K coach on Air Berlin, 65K coach on other carriers, 100K business on Air Berlin, 130K business on other carriers, 195K first.
-Transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio, Chase Ultimate Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio, and Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply for all Trans-Atlantic flights except on Air Berlin and Aer Lingus via Ireland.
You can drastically reduce fuel surcharges for travel on Iberia via Madrid by transferring your BA Avios into Iberia Avios. You must have your Iberia account open for 3 months before you can do such a transfer.
-Mileage expiration: BA miles require activity every 36 months.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Each leg costs additional mileage, but you can stopover at any connection city for as long as you want.
-Changes/Cancellation: $40.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None
-Infant fees: Instead of cash, BA charges just 10% of the adult mileage required on international segments.
-Some partner airline awards must be booked over the phone.
Bottom line: The infant policy is great and if you can find Air Berlin availability for your dates you can grab a real steal.  See this post for help on finding Air Berlin availability.

Lowest OneWorld mileage rates to Israel:
-JAL: 50K coach, 80K business, 115K first.
-Transfer partners: Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: Applies to most travel.
-Mileage expiration: 3 years after they are earned regardless of activity.
-One-way awards: Not allowed.
-Stopovers: JAL allows for 2 stopovers, though each additional flight will add to the fuel surcharges.
-Changes/Cancellation: JAL allows free date changes, but other changes or cancellation results in a 3,000 mile penalty.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None
Bottom line: The fuel surcharges will likely eat away at the low mileage requirements though if you’re short on miles it’s worth looking into.

The only no fuel-surcharge option to fly on British Airways:
-LAN: 112K coach via Amman, 154K coach via London, 224K business via Amman, 308K business via London, 385K first via London.
-Transfer partners: Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:50K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: None.
-Mileage expiration: LAN kilometers expire 3 years after they are earned unless you take a paid LAN flight.
-One-way awards: Not allowed.
-Stopovers: Each leg costs additional mileage, but you can stopover at any connection city for as long as you want.
-Changes/Cancellation: Date changes are free, cancellations carry a varying kilometer penalty.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None
-Partner airline awards must be booked over the phone.
-LAN is interesting due to the excellent Starwood transfer ratio and that they are the only airline that will book you on British Airways without collecting fuel surcharges. It may take about 155K Starpoints to fly from New York to Israel via London in BA First, but at least you won’t be paying fuel surcharges!
Bottom line: The only way to fly BA without fuel surcharges. Several DDF readers have flown to Israel via Amman using LAN kilometers without any problems.
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Skyteam:
Skyteam generally has the worst award availability. You can try searching some Skyteam availability on Delta.com and AirFrance.com. Options to Israel besides Delta’s nonstop JFK flight are on Czech via Prague, KLM via Amsterdam, Air France via Nice or Paris, Aeroflot via Moscow, and Alitalia via Rome.

Best overall Skyteam option:
-Flying Blue (Air France/KLM): 25K coach during a promo period, 50K coach otherwise, 50K business during a promo period, 100K business otherwise.
-Transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio, Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-You can check which cities have promo awards for select dates here. Fuel surcharges will apply.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on all airlines except Delta.
-Mileage expiration: Flying Blue miles expire 20 months unless you credit a Skyteam flight to Flying Blue.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Stopovers: Flying Blue allows for 1 free stopover.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
Bottom line: Very low mileage rates, though fuel surcharges for airlines besides Delta are hefty. Delta travel can be a bargain though. Expanded award availability for travel on Air France and KLM.

Best option for some Skyteam travel excluding for Delta and some Air France/KLM flights:
-Delta: 80K coach, 120K business.
-Transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 1:1 ratio, Starwood transfer partner at a 20K:25K ratio.
-Fuel surcharges: Apply on select partners but generally won’t apply to/from Israel.
-Mileage expiration: None.
-One-way awards: Not allowed.
-Stopovers: Delta allows for 1 free stopover OR 1 free Open jaw.
-Changes/Cancellation: There is a $150 charge to change or cancel an award ticket. No changes or cancellations are allowed within 3 days of the flight.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
-Infant fees: 10% of full fare.
-It can be brutal trying to find Delta low award availability and Delta’s terrible website only makes it more difficult. Plus Delta used to be a good option for booking Air France/KLM but now availability when booking those direct with Flying Blue is much better than when booking with Delta.
Bottom line: Find availability before transferring to Delta.

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Only a good option for redeeming for ultra-expensive First Class nonstop to Tel Aviv:
-El Al 1,400 coach, 3,000 business, 5,000 first.
-Transfer partners: AMEX Membership Rewards partner at a 50:1 ratio, making a coach ticket 70K, a business ticket 150K, and a first class ticket 250K.
-Fuel surcharges: $349 for JFK-TLV.
-Mileage expiration: Points from flights and bonus promotions expire after 3 years regardless of activity and base points from partners and transfers do not expire.
-One-way awards: Allowed for half the amount of a round-trip.
-Expedite/Close-in fee: None.
Bottom line: Only transfer points to El Al if you need to fly in first class to Israel as AA can’t book El Al first class. In first class you’ll enjoy what’s likely to be the best glatt/mehadrin kosher food in the sky, but you’ll burn a lot of miles and be hit with a $349 surcharge for the pleasure. Plus the seat pales in comparison to every other First Class product out there, though it is at least lie-flat.

Know of a better way to get to Israel with miles? Find a mistake? Have something to add? Post a comment!

Israel Flight Deals From $690 Round-Trip

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

-Bookable on Priceline (with regular mileage earning and free cancellations until 11:30pm ET the day after you book or on Orbitz (with regular mileage earning and free cancellations until 10pm CT the day after you book.

- Earn 3 points per dollar with American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card, 3 points per dollar with The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN, or 2.14 points per dollar with Chase Sapphire Preferred.
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There are lots of below average airfares to Israel right now from cities like Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, and Los Angeles.

Read about using ITA Software to use their awesome month-long calendar search to help find dates with cheap flights.

Below are some sample valid dates from Chicago.
If you live in NYC or Toronto you can always book a cheap one-way ticket (paid or with miles/Avios) to pickup the ticket in Chicago for example and then simply not fly the final segment from NYC/Toronto to Chicago as everyone must pickup their luggage and bring it through customs before they can either recheck their bags or leave the airport.

Chicago-Tel Aviv: $690-$696 round-trip.
Sample valid dates:
04/16-04/24 (Delta via JFK)
04/28-05/08 (Delta via JFK)
04/29-05/08 (Delta via JFK)
05/06-05/21 (United via Newark)
05/06-05/22 (Delta via JFK)
05/07-05/22 (Delta via JFK)
11/27-12/05 (Air Canada via Toronto)
12/01-12/12 (United via Newark)
12/08-12/16 (Air Canada via Toronto)
12/08-12/17 (Delta via JFK)
01/12-01/23 (Air Canada via Toronto or Delta via JFK)
01/15-01/27 (Air Canada via Toronto or Delta via JFK)
01/19-01/26 (Delta via JFK)
01/19-01/27 (Air Canada via Toronto or Delta via JFK)
01/30-02/11 (United via Newark)
02/02-02/10 (United via Newark)
02/09-02/17 (United via Newark)

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Join the 12,900+ people who follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even set up your mobile device to receive text messages (and choose which hours of the night not to bother you). After setting up your device be sure to opt into mobile notifications from DansDeals (it’s in the drop-down menu next to the blue “Following” button), so that you will never again be kicking yourself for missing a crazy deal!

Very Few Seats Left To Israel For Pesach For Only $1,495 With Tax!

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

Fly JFK-Tel Aviv-JFK for Pesach on March 20th – April 3rd for only $1,495 after taxes!

-If you’ve waited until now to buy your ticket to Israel for Pesach you know that tickets are a small fortune.  We can save you a whole lot!

Depart:
Air France 3/20/13 from JFK 8:10pm, Arrive Paris 8:25am on 3/21/13
Connect to Air France 3/21/13 from Paris 10:15am, Arrive Tel Aviv 3:40pm on 3/21/13

Return:
Delta 4/3/13 from Tel Aviv 12:40am, Arrive JFK 5:40am on 4/3/13
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Bookable only on www.globaltoursinc.com
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Travel is valid NYC-TEL AVIV-NYC, Add-ons available from most US cities.
For other departure dates please call.
Limited availability so book now.
Offer may expire at any time.
Restrictions may apply.
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For more info & to book, please visit www.globaltoursinc.com, call 877-SEE-TEL-AVIV, 212-986-7400‎ or email sales@globaltoursinc.com

Get A Free Israeli Landline Phone Number

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Update: While this works perfectly for me still, an employee at the firm just sent me this:
“Misparchinam.com was not supposed to go live today and this information was leaked prematurely. However, we will be live in 24 hours. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
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www.misparchinam.com is now offering a free Israeli landline phone number that you can forward to your US phone.

I just set one up to forward to my Google Voice/OBi landline phone.

With an Israeli number forwarding to your US phone number you can have relatives in Israel call your Israeli number to reach you in the US (or anywhere else you are in the world via Google Voice) as a free local landline call.

HT: BrooklynCPA, via DDF

Fly Delta Non-Stop To Israel For Pesach On Prime Dates For Only $1,295 With Tax!

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

Delta Non-Stop JFK-Tel Aviv-JFK for Pesach on prime dates from only $1,295 after taxes!

3/19-4/4: $1,295
3/19-4/3: $1,495
3/20-4/3: $1,495 (short stop on outbound)
3/20-4/4: $1,595

Bookable only on www.globaltoursinc.com
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-Travel is valid NYC-TEL AVIV-NYC, Add-ons available from most US cities.
-For other departure dates please call.
-Limited availability so book now.
-Offer may expire at any time. Restrictions may apply.
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For more info & to book, please visit www.globaltoursinc.com, call 877-SEE-TEL-AVIV, 212-986-7400‎ or email sales@globaltoursinc.com

4 Days Left! Win $25,000, A Honda Odyssey Lease, A Trip To Israel, Or Any One Of 27 Awesome Prizes

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

Click HERE to participate!

Update: We have received a matching challenge grant, and each dollar given will be matched, up to $10,000!

The deadline to purchase tickets online is Friday, 01/25. The raffle will be held on motzei shabbos, 01/26.

Only $36 per ticket! You can buy 15 tickets for $250, that’s just $16.67 per ticket! Each ticket gives you a chance to win one of 27 amazing prizes!

The Foxman Torah Institute is raffling off $25,000 plus 26 awesome 2nd prizes. You could win $25,000, a Honda Odyssey Lease, 2 tickets to Israel, a Dell Laptop, a Camcorder, a Digital Camera, a GPS, 6 $500 gift cards, and much more!

Mesivta Bais Dovid of Cherry Hill was established to fill a critical void in the Delaware Valley. Our purpose is to provide young men with a comprehensive Torah education that will serve as the foundation of their development as mature Bnei Torah, distinguished by their dedication to ongoing Torah study, their commitment to personal character development and Torah values, and their understanding and appreciation of the richness and beauty of a Torah lifestyle. Following the tradition and principles of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, the Mesivta’s program is designed to engage the intellect of each student so that skills, knowledge, and values critical to his total development are most effectively transmitted.

To participate, just click HERE

Israel Sale Coming Tomorrow

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Get out your credit cards, there will be nonstop tickets to Israel tomorrow for just $999 round-trip with tax. I’ll tweet it out with the full details once the sale starts.

No it’s not a crazy sub-$400 deal, but it is a nonstop flight (though curiously 2 of those deals from 2012 were also upgraded to allow nonstops!)
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Join the 11,400 people who follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even set up your mobile device to receive text messages (and choose which hours of the night not to bother you). After setting up your device be sure to opt into mobile notifications from DansDeals (it’s in the drop-down menu next to the blue “Following” button), so that you will never again be kicking yourself for missing a crazy deal!

Flying Round-Trip To Israel On Air Berlin For 40K Starwood Or 47K American Express Membership Rewards Plus $81 Tax: A Tutorial

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Update #2: Commenter “Baruch” was able to call BA and get them to book a ticket to Israel with an overnight connection in Germany, thereby saving the extra taxes incurred when booking each leg on separate tickets.

Update: I’ve added information for business class (from 50K Avios+$20 tax one-way) in the addendum at the end of this post.

Related posts:

-Get A 30% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points Into British Airways Avios! (Transfers must be initiated by tomorrow, 01/14!)
-Convert 20,000 Starpoints Into 31,250 British Airways Avios (Transfers must be initiated by today, 01/13!)
-Chase British Airways Visa-Get 50,000 bonus Avios for spending $1,000, an additional 25,000 bonus Avios for spending $10,000 in 12 months, another 25,000 Avios for spending $20,000 in 12 months, an award companion cert for spending $30,000 in a year, plus 1.25 Avios per dollar spent everywhere.
-Which Miles To Use To Fly To Israel?
-BA.com Overhauls Their Award Search Engine!
-Getting To Israel On The Cheap With BA Avios And Air Berlin
-Save $400 On Fuel Surcharges To Israel By Booking Avios Rewards Via Iberia Instead Of British Airways!
-Booking With Avios? Check Those Surrounding Airports!
-Using BA Miles To Fly In Business Class For An 80 Minute Flight Can Make Sense.
-Flying With An Infant With Miles In Business Or First Class? Start Collecting Air Canada Miles Or British Airways Avios
-Short-Haul Flights: BA Avios Versus LAN Lanpass.
-BA Miles Are Now Avios…For Better Or For Worse.

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I’ve blogged numerous times about redeeming British Airways Avios for travel on Air Berlin and broke the news that BA stopped charging fuel surcharges on Air Berlin in September.

People have had trouble finding the Air Berlin flights on BA.com so hopefully this article will empower those people to hone their searching skills.

I’m posting this now so that people will be able to lock in these rates via the expiring AMEX and Starwood transfer promotions.  Even if you don’t have enough points you can borrow either of those point currencies from AMEX of you can read on to learn about the valus of Avios+Cash options.  The AMEX and Starwood promotions will both likely be back at some point in the future, but if you’re looking to travel in the next few months and the Air Berlin flights work for you then it will make sense to lock those promotion now.

More after the jump…

(more…)

Flying To Israel With The Current El Al Promotions

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Update: Promo #2 is already dead, but promo #1 for a 20%-30% bonus on transfers to Matmid expires today, 01/10/13.

This was originally posted on 12/10/12:

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Find more articles like this by clicking on the “Mileage Posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.

Related posts:
Which Miles To Use To Fly To Israel?
Which Miles To Use To Hawaii? (With info on how to get a free flexible ticket to places like Miami, Los Angeles, Alaska, or even Hawaii when you book your next ticket to Israel)

Other Current AMEX promotions:
-Get A 30% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points Into British Airways Avios!
-Transfer Membership Rewards Into 2.7 Hilton Points.
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Update: If you don’t have an El Al account you can signup here for free and receive 25 points (the equivalent of 1,250 AMEX MR points).  Having an account allows you to check award availability (even when using AA miles) on ElAl.com

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I’m not a big fan of El Al points:
-Flight points and bonus points expire after 3 years regardless of activity.
-They charge $350 in taxes and fuel surcharges on award tickets between the US and Israel.
-Award availability can be very scarce and unlike United where you have dozens of other partners to redeem for, El Al doesn’t have any redemption partners.
-For NYC or Toronto to Tel Aviv you need 1,400 points in coach, 3,000 points in business, and 5,000 points in first.
-For Los Angeles to Tel Aviv you need 1,800 points in coach, 4,000 points in business, and 5,400 points in first.

To translate those numbers into AMEX points,
-For NYC or Toronto to Tel Aviv you need 70,000 MR points in coach, 150,000 MR points in business, and 250,000 MR points in first.
-For Los Angeles to Tel Aviv you need 90,000 MR points in coach, 200,000 MR points in business, and 270,000 MR points in first.
Plus add $350 in fuel surcharges to those rates.

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Other AMEX options besides El Al:

There are generally better ways to get to Israel with AMEX points, such as with Air Canada, British Airways, or Delta miles.  Or possibly even converting Air Canada miles into USAirways miles with a 27% points haircut via points.com to avoid the fuel surcharges that Air Canada collects on some European carriers.

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If you’re sold on El Al:

If you only want to fly El Al, consider AA and Starpoint transfers to AA.  And don’t forget to fully utilize JFK as a free stopover point for up to 2 free bonus award tickets.

-You can book El Al flights via American for as low as 80,000 miles in coach via Europe, 90,000 miles in coach nonstop, or 135,000 miles in business.
-When booked via American you also don’t need to pay any fuel surcharges.
-You can transfer increments of 20,000 Starwood Starpoints into 25,000 American miles. That 25% bonus makes the American booking that much less.
-When booking American you can also add on a free flight at the end to go anywhere in the US for free. In other words If you fly from JFK to TLV on 01/10/13 and back on 01/25/13 you can make JFK the “stopover” on the return and then add a flight from JFK to Los Angeles or Honolulu nonstop at any later date for free. Plus American does not charge anything for date changes.
The same thing works on the return you can book Honolulu or Los Angeles to JFK, use that as a “stopover” and then add a flight from JFK to Tel Aviv nonstop at any later date.
Plus they even allows stopovers like that on one-way tickets, so you can get 2 stopovers for free, effectively a free round-trip to anywhere in the US or Canada.

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First Class:

Wow, I got off on a tangent from what I intended to write about in this post…
At any rate what American can’t do is book you on El Al in first class, which is known to have the best kosher food in the sky even if it falls short of the first class service found on Asian and European carriers.
With the promotion #1 below first class becomes a lot cheaper, and first class availability on El Al is excellent, far better than coach or business (likely because AA can’t book into that class with their miles).

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Current Stackable Promotions:

Promo 1: Convert credit card points (AMEX, Diners, and HAS) to El Al by 01/10/13 and get a bonus:

-Members converting up to 1000 Club points will receive 20% additional free points.
-Members converting 1000 – 2000 Club points will receive 25% additional free points.
-Members converting over 2000 Club points will receive 30% additional free points.

So transfers of less than 50,000 AMEX will earn a 20% bonus, transfers of 50,000-99,999 AMEX will earn a 25% bonus, and transfers of at least 100,000 AMEX will earn a 30% bonus.

While the 20% bonus will post within a day, the extra 5% or 10% bonus (to make it 25% or 30% in total) won’t post until January.

With AMEX points if you go for the 30% bonus this means,
-For NYC or Toronto to Tel Aviv you need 54,000 MR points in coach, 116,000 MR points in business, and 193,000 MR points in first.
-For Los Angeles to Tel Aviv you need 70,000 MR points in coach, 154,000 MR points in business, and 208,000 MR points in first.
Plus add $350 in fuel surcharges to those rates.

Beware that the 30% bonus points are subject to the 3 year expiration policy.

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Promo #2: Points and Cash awards (Book by 12/31/12, depart between January 8 and March 9, 2013, returns until March 15, 2013)
This promotion is not good in first class unfortunately.
-For NYC or Toronto to Tel Aviv you need 900 points plus $200 in coach or 2,000 points plus $250 in business.
-For Los Angeles to Tel Aviv you need 1,200 points plus $200 in coach or 2,500 points plus $250 in business.
Plus add $350 in fuel surcharges to those rates.

If you use AMEX points and you go for the 30% bonus this means,
-For NYC or Toronto to Tel Aviv you need 35,000 MR points plus $200 in coach or 77,000 MR points plus $250 in business.
-For Los Angeles to Tel Aviv you need 47,000 MR points plus $200 in coach or 97,000 MR points plus $250 in business.
Plus add $350 in fuel surcharges to those rates.

Update: A commenter pointed out that only 20% of the bonus will post in December (the other 10% will post in January). Thus, if you use AMEX points and you only factor the immediate 20% bonus this means:
-For NYC or Toronto to Tel Aviv you need 37,500 MR points plus $200 in coach or 84,000 MR points plus $250 in business.
-For Los Angeles to Tel Aviv you need 50,000 MR points plus $200 in coach or 105,000 MR points plus $250 in business.
Plus add $350 in fuel surcharges to those rates.
Of course you can also get a 10% bonus in January to use for next time that makes the effective transfer rate better than these numbers.
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Need some Membership Rewards points now? You can always call American Express to borrow some if you are a cardholder!

-The American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card comes with 25,000 points for spending $2,000 and the first year is free.  That will net you some 70,000 Hilton points.

-The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 25K points as well and now is a great time to signup as you can get $200 of airline fee credits (or airline gift cards in $100 increments) in December of 2012 and another $200 in January of 2013. It also comes with a $100 global entry expedited customs (5 year membership) refund, platinum card airline club access (American, Delta, and USAirways) for you and your entire family for 4 years, priority pass worldwide unlimited lounge membership, Regus Office Club Membership with worldwide locations, Starwood gold elite status, car rental perks at Avis, Hertz, and National, lost item (up to $10,000/item) refund protection, checked baggage protection, Open Savings automatic cash rebates on top of points, 3 additional Platinum users (with 4 years of free platinum card lounge access, priority pass membership, and global entry refund) for just $58 each, no foreign exchange fees, and many more free benefits.  There is a $450 annual fee.  As with all annual fees they are refundable if cancelled within 60 days, they are pro-rated if cancelled after 60 days and have another American Express card (i.e. if you have the card for 3 months and then cancel you would get a $337.50 refund), and they are pro-rated if you downgrade the card even if you have no other American Express card.

HT: Drago and freemymiles, via DDF

Delta Allowing Free Changes To Nonstop Flights On Israel Glitch Tickets!

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Update #4, 1:45pm: Some people are still reporting success at switching while others are being denied.  Share your experience in the comments!

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Update #3, 12:30pm: Reports are now coming in that Delta is no longer switching people over to the nonstop flight. Post a comment with your experience and congrats to all those who were quick and got in on this deal.

As to why Delta would create a department to switch people to nonstops, leave a comment on DansDeals about who qualifies, switch over a ton of tickets, and then just pull the offer completely…I have absolutely no idea, but feel free to ask them and let us know!

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Update #2: A Delta representative has left the following comment below:
“Hi this is Russell from Delta. Please be aware that this offer only applies to customers traveling from Newark who purchased their tickets between Dec. 21-26. No date changes or other adjustments, such as upgrades, are possible. We are allowing eligible customers who are interested from Newark to change to our nonstop flight from JFK. It’s strictly voluntary, and no other compensation is being offered. If you did not purchase your ticket between these dates, we will not be able to offer this re-routing option to you. Also, the number posted on this blog is a special area with limited staffing. If only customers who are eligible will call, it will help us to serve them more quickly.”

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Update: The special department handling these changes (888-977-6186) has just closed for the day at 9pm.  They will reopen at 9am tomorrow.

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I posted  4  Delta  deals in late December for ticket to Israel starting from just $372 round-trip. Many flights were via Europe.

The culprit once again was a missing fuel surcharge.

Today Delta started calling passengers to get them to change to the nonstop Delta flight from JFK-TLV instead of flying on airlines like KLM via Amsterdam or Air France via Paris. 

This will not work for folks booked via Rome on Alitalia.

This is of course very reminiscent of the $336 El Al deal from August when they allowed people to upgrade to nonstop flights for $75 each way.

Except that Delta is doing it for free!

Nope, no word from folks who got in on the $376 Alitalia deal to Israel on eliminating their extra flight segments.

Apparently you don’t have to wait for them to call you. DDF members have had success getting moved to nonstop flights for free by calling them at 888-977-6186. If at first you don’t succeed just HUCA (Hang up, call again!).

And be sure to post the results in a comment!

See the DDF thread below for more discussion.

HT: Mordy788, via DDF
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Join the 11,200 people who follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even set up your mobile device to receive text messages (and choose which hours of the night not to bother you). After setting up your device be sure to opt into mobile notifications from DansDeals (it’s in the drop-down menu next to the blue “Following” button), so that you will never again be kicking yourself for missing a crazy deal!

Missed Out On The Israel Deals? Fly Delta Non-Stop For Pesach On Prime Dates From $1,095 With Tax!

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

Delta Non-Stop JFK-Tel Aviv-JFK for Pesach on prime dates from only $1,095 after taxes:

3/18-4/5: $1,095
3/19-4/4: $1,295
3/19-4/3: $1,495
3/20-4/4: $1,495

Bookable only on www.globaltoursinc.com
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-Travel is valid NYC-TEL AVIV-NYC, Add-ons available from most US cities.
-For other departure dates please call.
-Limited availability so book now.
-Offer may expire at any time.
-Restrictions may apply.
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For more info & to book, please visit www.globaltoursinc.com, call 877-SEE-TEL-AVIV, 212-986-7400‎ or email sales@globaltoursinc.com

Tons Of Flying Blue Promo Award Availability To Israel…But Is It Worth It?

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Related post: Which Miles To Use To Fly To Israel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been blogging about about Air France/KLM Flying Blue’s promo awards for many years now. They’re a bit of a mixed bag. You can go to or from select cities in North America (the cities rotate every 2 months) and Europe for half of the regular rate. The good part about the awards is that Flying Blue counts Israel and Russia as part of Europe. The bad part is that they’re only good on Air France and KLM and are therefore subject to heavy fuel surcharges.

You can book these by logging into a Flying Blue account on AirFrance.com

The rate in coach is 12,500 miles each way and in business class it’s 25,000 miles each way.

That means you can transfer 20,000 Starpoints or 25,000 American Express Membership Rewards points into enough miles for a round-trip promo award ticket in coach or double those amounts for a round trip business class ticket.

Fuel surcharges for JFK-TLV round-trip add a whopping $540.  Searching for a ticket from 01/14-01/21 for example shows the cheapest option is $969 on KLM.  Thus using 20K Starpoints or 25K AMEX MR points miles is really only saving you $429 or a value of 2.15 cents per Starpoints or 1.72 cents per MR points.  Plus on top of that you don’t collect miles when using miles on an award ticket.

The current cities valid for travel in January or February are Chicago, Houston, JFK, Montreal, and Washington DC.

Another probably better option with Flying Blue is to use their miles to fly nonstop on Delta in coach (25K each way) or business (50K each way) without paying fuel surcharges.  To book these you’ll want to use the award calendar on Delta.com, locate “low” (green) level dates, and then plugin those dates on Air France to book them with Flying Blue miles with no fuel surcharges.  Low level dates on Delta can be hard to find at times though.

Yet Another Israel Deal…Newark To Tel Aviv For $498 Round Trip

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Update, 12/24 : This is still alive, but with very limited dates.
For example on Orbitz using multi-city from Newark to Tel Aviv on 01/30 and Tel Aviv to Miami on 02/10 comes out to $538 (it says $498 but then the price jumps to $538 on the next page).  The return flight is nonstop via JFK where you can claim your luggage and leave the airport.
If you find more dates make a comment!

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I apologize in advance for posting yet another NYC-TLV fare deal…

The $592 deal for Newark-Amsterdam-Tel Aviv-Amsterdam-Newark is still alive and well.  All of the same rules apply as with that deal, so be sure to read that post first! That deal has many more working dates than this one does.  For example if you are looking for Succos tickets be sure to look at that deal and not this one.

Here’s another way to book it for even less:
Go to Orbitz and under the flight search click on “multi-city.”

You may also have luck with Priceline.
For example search for:
Flight 1 from Newark To Tel Aviv on 01/22
Flight 2 from Tel Aviv to Miami on 01/31.

In the results will be fares starting from $444, but anything less than $498 is just a dummy fare and will give an error. Scroll down to the $498 price and select it.
The itinerary is as follows:

01/22, Delta 34, EWR-AMS
01/22, Delta 9575, AMS-TLV
01/31, Delta 269, TLV-JFK
01/31, Delta 269, JFK-ATL
01/31, Delta 2373, ATL-MIA

Now here’s the catch. You fly nonstop from Tel Aviv to JFK and you pickup your bags in JFK to go through customs. At that point you can go into line to recheck your bags to Miami or you can just leave the airport. Nobody will force you to recheck your bags or board the plane to Atlanta and then Miami.

Of course you can always just go to Miami and book a one-way flight back home. Or if you’re from Miami just book a one-way flight to NYC at the beginning of the trip. This trick also works for Fort Lauderdale.

Sample $498 dates:
01/22-01/31
01/22-02/06
01/23-02/06
01/27-02/05
02/03-02/12
02/10-02/18
02/10-02/20
02/10-02/27 (Purim)
02/19-02/27 (Purim)
02/19-03/03 (Purim)
03/13-04/08 (Pesach, $498) Now $541 (cheaper fares error out)
03/17-04/08 (Pesach) Now dead!

Post a comment if you find other dates.

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Get notified!
Follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com!
You can even set up your mobile device to receive text messages (and choose which hours of the night not to bother you). After setting up your device be sure to opt into mobile notifications from DansDeals (it’s in the drop-down menu next to the blue “Following” button), so that you will never again be kicking yourself for missing a crazy deal!

HT: chaim

Early Bird Special: Fly to Israel for Succos 2013 for only $1,095 With Tax On Air Berlin!

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

Fly to Israel for Succos 2013 for only $1,095 (after taxes) on Air Berlin with a short stop!

Itinerary is as follows:
Depart: Air Berlin 9/15/13 from JFK 5:35pm, Arrive Dusseldorf, Germany 7:15am on 9/16/13
Connect to: Air Berlin 9/16/13 from Dusseldorf, Germany 11:35am, Arrive Tel Aviv 3:55pm on 9/16/13

Return: Air Berlin 9/30/13 from Tel Aviv 3:50am, Arrive Berlin, Germany 8:05am on 9/30/13
Connect to: Air Berlin 9/30/13 from Berlin, Germany 1:00pm, Arrive JFK 3:45pm on 9/30/13

Click here to book
——————————
Travel is valid NYC-TEL AVIV-NYC, Add-ons available from most US cities.

For other departure dates please call. Limited availability so book now. Offer may expire at any time. Restrictions may apply.
——————————
For more info & to book, please visit www.globaltoursinc.com, call 877-SEE-TEL-AVIV, 212-986-7400‎ or email sales@globaltoursinc.com

Israel Airfare Sale Coming On Sunday!

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Currently the cheapest available nonstop from NYC to Tel Aviv is $1,157 round-trip with tax and the cheapest nonstop from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is $1,227 with tax.

-For bookings made between 12/02-12/06 the price will drop to $949 from NYC and $1,099 from LAX. Those prices are round-trip, with tax.
-The tickets will first be available on El Al (from JFK or Newark) sometime on Sunday and then will almost certainly be matched by Delta (from JFK) and United (From Newark).
-At this point it seems like the El Al fare will not earn any miles if credited to American, but I will check on that when the fare becomes bookable. So basically fly El Al to support Israel’s national airline and if you don’t care about earning miles, fly Delta if you like old planes and pathetic miles but want to fly from JFK, or fly United if you like newer planes, awesome miles, and are willing to fly from Newark.
-Travel will be valid between 01/13-03/10.

-The fares will be bookable on Orbitz, which offers regular mileage earning, price assurance refunds and more importantly free cancellations until 11pm ET the day after you book. (I.E. Book at 1:00am and have 46 hours to cancel for free).

-I’ll post an update when this becomes bookable.

Don’t forget to use the best credit card for airfare:
-Earn over 5 points per dollar with Chase Freedom (up to $1,500 per quarter with registration), or 3 points per dollar with American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card, or 3 points per dollar with The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN, or 2.14 points per dollar with Chase Sapphire Preferred.

HT: joel

Israel Restored To Category 1 Safety Rating; More Competition Ahead?

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

The FAA downgraded Israel 4 years ago to a category 2 safety status over concerns about Israel’s oversight of non-commercial flights.

Because of that Israeli airlines like El Al, Israir, and Arkia have not been able to add any flights between the US and Israel or form new partnerships with US airlines.

Today Israel has been upgraded back to category 1 status.  It’s hard to say what this will mean, but we may see El Al trying out service again between cities like Chicago, Miami, or S. Fransisco and Tel Aviv, though it may come at the expense of the Los Angeles-Tel Aviv flights.  This may also mean a return of Israir to the US market.

United has long been rumored to wanting to add service between Chicago or S. Fransisco and Tel Aviv or even a 3rd daily flight between Newark and Tel Aviv once they get enough 787 deliveries.  It would be very interesting to see what will happen to airfares if United and El Al try to compete head to head in a secondary market.

It will be great to see any capacity being added between the US and Israel though.  It’s definitely needed and will hopefully normalize some of the exorbitant nonstop airfares, which rank among the highest international fares on a price per mile basis.

Yet Another Alitalia Deal: $315 Off Any Flight! Fly From JFK To Israel For $376 Round Trip With Multiple Stopovers…

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Update, 1:05am: This deal is now dead.
You can still use the Alitalia USA site and save 25% on flights booked there.

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Follow @DansDeals on twitter and you’ll get a tweet when a deal is posted on DansDeals.com! You can even opt-in to get a text message (and choose which hours of the night not to bother you) whenever DansDeals.com is updated!
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You can save 25,000 Japanese Yen, currently $315.18, on any tickets booked on Alitalia Japan.
The site is in Japanese but you can just open the page using Google’s Chrome browser and it will translate the page to English. You can also have the english version of Alitalia.com open in a different browser to help you as the sites are very similar.

Use the following “E-Coupon” code on the Alitalia Japan site after selecting your flights: PROMOJP
Travel must be booked by 10/26 and begin between 11/05/12 and 03/27/13.
Blackout dates are 12/20/12-01/06/13.
Beware that this can be pulled at any time and Alitalia can always attempt to cancel people’s tickets.

This will be a better deal than the 25% off code for any tickets that are under $1,260.
——————————————————————–
If you want just one short stop you can save $315.
All Alitalia flights from the US go through Rome or Milan.

-For example searching for JFK-Tel Aviv on 12/02-12/10 the regular Alitalia site prices the ticket out at $1,018.40. With 25% off it is $763.80.
The Japanese site prices it at ¥80,980 which is currently $1,020.93. With ¥25,000 off it is ¥55,980 which is currently $705.74.

Here is a sample valid itinerary for $705:
New York (JFK) to Rome (FCO) – Sun, Dec 2 Dep: 5:55PM-Arr: 8:10AM
Rome (FCO) to Tel Aviv (TLV) – Mon, Dec 3 Dep: 11:45AM-Arr: 4:05PM

Tel Aviv (TLV) to Rome (FCO) – Mon, Dec 10 Dep: 5:30AM-Arr: 8:20AM
Rome (FCO) to New York (JFK) – Mon, Dec 10 Dep: 10:10AM-Arr: 2:00PM

-Miami-Tel Aviv on 12/03-12/09 for example is ¥52,380 with the ¥25,000 discount or $660 round-trip with tax.
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Of course with a $315 discount per ticket booked you can book 2 separate tickets to save $630. This will mean 3 total stops.
For example:

-Ticket #1: JFK to Madrid from 11/21-11/29 is ¥24,340 after the ¥25,000 discount or just $306.86 round-trip with tax.

-Ticket #2: Madrid to Tel Aviv from 11/22-11/28 is ¥7,320 after the ¥25,000 discount or just $92.28 round-trip with tax.

Or even cheaper:
-JFK to Madrid from 01/27-02/07 is ¥22,540 after the ¥25,000 discount or just $284.16 round-trip with tax.

-Madrid to Tel Aviv from 01/28-02/06 is ¥7,320 after the ¥25,000 discount or just $92.28 round-trip with tax.

The total from JFK to Tel Aviv would thus be $376 round-trip with tax.  I’m sure there are other places besides Madrid to play this game with and such a flight would mean flying from JFK-Rome-Madrid-Rome-Tel Aviv-Rome-Madrid-Rome-JFK.  Hardly ideal, but doable I suppose.
There are connections available for the flights to Tel Aviv but on the return you would have to spend at least a night (well, technically) 6 hours in Madrid, though of course you could also stay longer.

Here is a sample valid itinerary for $376:
New York (JFK) to Rome (FCO) – Sun, Jan 27, Dep: 5:55PM-Arr: 8:10AM
Rome (FCO) to Madrid (MAD) – Mon, Jan 28, Dep: 8:55AM-Arr: 11:30AM
Madrid (MAD) to Rome (FCO) – Mon, Jan 28, Dep: 5:45PM-Arr: 8:15PM
Rome (FCO) to Tel Aviv (TLV) – Mon, Jan 28 Dep: 10:15PM-Arr: 2:35AM

Tel Aviv (TLV) to Rome (FCO) – Wed, Feb 6 Dep: 2:50PM-Arr: 5:40PM
Rome (FCO) to Madrid (MAD) – Wed, Feb 6 Dep: 9:15PM-Arr: 11:50PM
Madrid (MAD) to Rome (FCO) – Thu, Feb 7 Dep: 6:00AM-Arr: 8:25AM
Rome (FCO) to New York (JFK) – Thu, Feb 7 Dep: 10:10AM-Arr: 2:00PM

Find a better method of booking multiple tickets from the US to Tel Aviv? Hit the comments!
On the bright side that $376 round-trip ticket to Israel would earn you 14,705 redeemable and elite qualifying miles on partner Skyteam airlines like Delta or Flying Blue!
——————————————————————–
Other sample flights with the coupon:

-London to Venice from 03/03-03/10 is free after ¥25,000 discount.

-Tel Aviv to Rome from 12/03-12/10 is ¥16,650 after the ¥25,000 discount or just $209.91 round-trip with tax.

-Rome to Venice from 12/05-12/10 is ¥610 after the ¥25,000 discount or just $7.69 round-trip with tax.
——————————————————————–
Use a card like Sapphire Preferred to earn 2.14 miles per dollar and pay no foreign exchange fees.  Or you may want to use Freedom even though it has a 3% foreign exchange fee because this quarter you earn over 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on airfare (up to $1,500).

Want to find cheap flights with flexible dates? You can even search for flights from your closest departure airports to anywhere in Europe! Just type in an airport and use the nearby airports functionality and increase the default mileage range and then select all of them!  You will want to uncheck “allow airport changes” if you don’t want it to search for flights that arrive in one city and leave from another.

Post a comment with deals you find!

Read about using ITA Software here and use the following advanced routing code to limit the calendar search to only Alitalia flights: AZ+
Remember to use the code in both the departure and return fields.

Once you find a deal on ITA just plugin those dates onto the Alitalia site.

 HT: hocker and Gary

Going To Israel For Succos?

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

Introducing Learning Torah on Vacation, L’TOV, a special chavrusa learning program for families who will be in Yerusalayim for Yom Tov (or any other time) and want someone to learn with their boys (or even them the father!).

L’TOV will provide a rebbi who will come to the neighborhood that your family is staying and learn at a time that is convenient you. This is great because your learning doesn’t get neglected over your vacation!

Visit LearningTorahonVacation.com to learn more and set up a Chavrusa.

Reasonable rates. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Learning NEVER goes on vacation!

Website: LearningTorahOnVacation.com
Email: torahonvacation@gmail.com
Phone: 845-290-9927
In Israel: 054-846-9913

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

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

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.

Related posts:
-Get A 40% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points Into British Airways Avios!
-50,000 Point Signup Bonus For the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card!
-Save $400 On Fuel Surcharges To Israel By Booking Avios Rewards Via Iberia Instead Of British Airways!
-Booking With Avios? Check Those Surrounding Airports!
-Why Using BA Miles To Fly In Business Class For An 80 Minute Flight Can Make Sense.

-Flying With An Infant With Miles In Business Or First Class? Start Collecting Air Canada Or British Airways Miles
-Short-Haul Flights: BA Avios Versus LAN Lanpass.
-BA Miles Are Now Avios…For Better Or For Worse.

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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Israel Winter Sale From $999 Nonstop!

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Bookable on Orbitz (with regular mileage earning, free cancellations until 11pm ET the day after you book, and price assurance refunds).

El Al and United have nonstop flights from NYC to Tel Aviv this winter for just $999 round-trip with tax. Flights are available from mid-October until mid-March.

A sample valid date for $999 on El Al or $1,003 on United is 01/27/13-02/04/13.

Nonstop flights from LAX are also available on El Al for $1,138 (Sample date: 01/29/13-02/07/13)

Connecting flights from either city can be found for less, but this is a good price for nonstops.

Seats are of course limited as always.  Check the Orbitz box to search “3 days before and after” to help find valid dates.

The El Al flights are from EWR and JFK but are in the U fare class which does not appear to earn any AAdvantage miles. Of course you can earn El Al points but those must be used on El Al only, will expire in 3 years regardless of activity, and include a mandatory fuel surcharge of hundreds of dollars when redeeming.

The United flights are only from EWR but they will earn full Mileage Plus miles which never expire if you maintain activity or have their credit card, can be used on dozens of partners airlines, and never include any fuel surcharges.

HT: yitzyul, via DDF

El Al’s Mixed Messages, Media Coverage, And Other Thoughts On The Ongoing Israel Tickets Saga.

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

1. The about-face.

August 6th: El Al’s verified twitter account makes these 2 tweets:
“-An outside company posted incorrect fares on travel websites, so all tickets sold will indeed be honored”
“-Yes, all tickets will be honored!”

I even tweeted a compliment to them at the time,
“-@ELALUSA Kudos for coming out and honoring the tickets without any fuss. @United can actually learn a lesson from you guys!”

Today they made another tweet:
“-Thanks for your patience. Details/decisions re incorrect fares that were briefly sold on Monday are not finalized. We will update tomorrow.”

For posterity (in case any tweets wind up going AWOL) here’s a screenshot link.

Additionally The Jewish Week obtained a quote on the 6th from Sheryl Stein, an El Al spokeswoman, that the fare would be honored.

Apparently El Al hasn’t read the first rule in customer service.  Don’t tell the customer that you will honor something unless you are 100% sure about it. The ill will you will create by backing out will be 100 times worse then if you didn’t confirm that you would be honoring in the first place.
———————————————————
2. News articles:

UPI.com, which claims “Over 100 years of journalistic excellence” has the most bizarre coverage of the story,
“Israel’s El Al Airline said the New York to Tel Aviv flights were posted for the wrong price on the Dan’s Deals Web site by a contractor and dozens of customers — many of them Orthodox Jews — quickly moved to take advantage of the discounted fares, which dropped the price of a $1,600 ticket to less than $400, the New York Post reported Wednesday.”
Wow. Just wow.


ABC in NYC had this report
which mentions DansDeals’ coverage of the deal:

The NY Post identifies DansDeals twitter alerts as setting off the frenzy.

The USA Today quotes the AP saying that over 5,000 tickets were sold. It mentions a Dan’s Deals email alert, though presumably they mean a Twitter alert from @DansDeals.

VIN quotes DoT spokesman Bill Mosley, regarding the error being done by a 3rd party as saying,
“If the third party was working for the airline, that is tantamount to them being the airline,” said Mosely. “I don’t see the distinction if the error was made by a third party or by El Al. If the airline hires a third party to post their fares, that party is under their auspices and it shouldn’t make a difference who actually made the error.”

JTA covers the airfare deal taking down the DansDeals servers.

———————————————————
3. Halachic (Jewish Law) issues:

Yair Hoffman deals with the halachic aspects on VIN.

I’m not going to enter into an ethical or halachic debate, but some key points must be added to that analysis.

1. Only a tiny percentage of flights take off without empty seats, so buying an airline seat seems to be different than buying a physical good. On average about 20% of the seats on a plane (that means over 80 seats on a 747) go out empty. In fact the whole basis of Priceline is to sell bargain basement seats and hotel rooms, as even getting a few dollars is better than getting nothing when the seat or hotel room are unoccupied.
2. Unadvertised airfare sales are the norm. Is it the purchasers responsibility before purchasing an airline ticket to determine if this is a sale or if this is a mistake?
3. The author goes into a lengthy discussion of a fuel surcharge (which is what I originally speculated had been left out of this fare and was later confirmed by El Al) but can your average consumer be expected to understand the concept of a fuel surcharge?
4. The fact that when American Airlines sells you a mileage ticket to fly on El Al they do not collect a fuel surcharge seems to indicate that the fuel surcharge is not an essential part of the ticket. If it was an essential part of the ticket then how would you be able to use that ticket on El Al when you pay no fuel surcharge?
True that when El Al sells a mileage ticket they do bundle a fuel surcharge, but you can clearly see that booking via other sources can often drop the fuel surcharge.
Why should the consumer assume that the fuel surcharge is an essential part of the ticket and should they have to determine if a fuel surcharge is supposed to be collected before buying an airline ticket?
———————————————————
4. My thoughts on whether tickets will be honored:

If you’ll recall during United’s 4 mile island crisis (a term that I coined for the Hong Kong 4 mile tickets that caught on) United waited about 5 days before announcing their final decision, likely to determine with the DoT whether they would have to honor the 4 mile tickets.
United had 2 arguments in that case.
1. They have a published rate chart for mileage tickets. While paid tickets can fluctuate wildly, mileage tickets don’t have such fluctuations. (Though I’d argue that we have seen discounted mileage awards in the past, but nothing like that)
2. Even when it said 4 miles it also said the correct amount of miles on the same page. (Though I’d argue that the page made it look like they were discounting it from the regular rate to 4 miles and indeed on the receipt it said 4 miles.)

El Al is likely having negotiations with the DoT right now and they probably regret having come out on Monday as saying tickets would be honored, as that can only hurt their case for cancellation of the tickets.

Personally I don’t see El Al being able to void people’s tickets, due to the US DoT regulation that prohibits airlines from raising the fare or cancelling people’s confirmed tickets, even if the airline claims it was a mistake.  These regulations have been tested and enforced, for example Korean Air had to reinstate tickets that they cancelled after people started flooding the DoT with complaints.

As for me, sadly Pesach in Israel doesn’t seem to be in the cards so I cancelled my family’s tickets last night, but I’ll be rooting for the rest of you!

If You Thought $339 To Israel Was A Great Deal, Check This Out!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Please note: This is a paid advertisement which is stickied as the top post, please scroll down for new posts.

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-Using Honda’s Bank! No Residency Restrictions!
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-Make sure to mention you saw this ad on DansDeals.com to lock in this price.
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Poll: How Many Tickets Did You Book To Israel Today?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

[poll id="3"]

Include tickets that you purchased for family and friends in your poll response.

Think you booked the most tickets? Post a comment!

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