El Al has a fairly terrible frequent flyer program.
Points from flights expire after 3 years, redemption rates are pretty awful, and they charge a huge fuel surcharge ($350 in total fees for JFK-TLV) on redemptions to boot.
Adding insult to injury: They also charge $25 to join the program.
Why do you want to join if the program is so terrible, you ask?
Primarily because if you are a member you are able to check award availability online. You can use AA miles to book El Al flights, but that must be done by calling AA. Best of all AA allows you to even book one-way awards on El Al AND they don’t charge a fuel surcharge for redeeming miles to fly on El Al!
Need AA miles? You can always transfer 20,000 Starwood points for 25,000 AA miles (In case you missed last month’s promo for 20,000 Starpoints becoming 33,750 AA miles)
You can book a one-way between Israel and the following zones (For Coach, Business, and First) for the following amounts:
-North America (Including Hawaii, as AA bizarrely counts Hawaii as part of North America for intercontinental awards which can make a Buenos Aires-Honolulu ticket in May be fewer miles (20K) than Los Angeles-Honolulu (22.5K)!): 45K, 67.5K, 90K
-Europe: 20K, 30K, 40K.
-Asia: 22.5K, 30K, 45K
-India/Middle East: 17.5K, 25K, 35K
-Africa: 30K, 45K, N/A
-South Pacific: 30K, 45K, 60K
-South America Zone 1: 60K, 82.5K, 102.5K
-South America Zone 2: 67.5K, 90K, 110K
Because the way the chart is set up, sometimes it is cheaper to book a flight like US-Europe-Israel during off peak periods for 40K instead of 45K from the US-Israel. You won’t be able to go nonstop from the US to Israel for 40K…but you can check out any European city for as short or long as you want, or just use it as a connection point.