American-El Al Partnership Ending 10/31/14

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Update: Just 1 week left to use your AA miles to fly on El Al. Have you booked a trip since this announcement? Hit the comments!

Originally posted on 09/24:

On November 19th I made several predictions about the American-USAirways merger. Several have already come true.

-As referenced in #3 and #4, the American OneWorld round-the-world award chart was killed and USAirways started collecting fuel surcharges on British Airways and has already killed some off-peak awards.

-And I wrote in #9,

“Beware that El Al may decide to sever its relationship with American if they become a competitor and you may no longer be able to use American miles on El Al. Though if El Al would do that they would lose codeshare access to other US cities that they get from American though they can always set one up with an airline like JetBlue.”

And unfortunately that’s come to fruition as well.

“Effective November 1, 2014, flights taken on El Al will not accrue AAdvantage miles due to the discontinuation of American’s frequent flyer relationship with EL AL.

All award travel on EL AL must be booked and ticketed by October 31, 2014. Travel is valid one year after ticket date, and must be completed by October 31, 2015. No changes to the EL AL segments are allowed during that period.”

El Al used to be partners with Delta and that relationship ended when Delta started flights from Atlanta to Tel Aviv. Eventually those flights shifted to JFK.

American’s subsidiary USAirways of course flies to Tel Aviv via Philadelphia. The best way to book that flight is with less than 40K Starpoints round-trip via a transfer to LAN.

As American works out their issues with the former TWA employees who were stiffed in Israel they will surely launch more flights to Israel from JFK and Miami.

Had the United-Continental merger not gone through then I think El Al would be announcing a partnership with United today. Alas it did and United flies to Israel as well thanks to absorbing Continental’s flights. Which means there are no major North American carriers remaining to partner up with. Air Canada, Delta, and United all are competitors and all have a better business class product than El Al.

I still think a JetBlue partnership may occur, but that will likely be a codeshare-only relationship and not a frequent flyer relationship.

If you have AA miles and want to book a trip to Israel do it now before award inventory is completely wiped out by other AA mileage hoarders. Don’t wait for 10/31 to book a trip.

There is still time to transfer Starpoints to American to book flights on El Al, that transfer typically takes a few days.

You’ll need 45K miles in coach and 67.5K miles in business each way to fly nonstop from North America to Israel on El Al. El Al has flights from JFK, Los Angeles, Newark, and Toronto to Tel Aviv.

If you stop in Europe that price can drop to 40K if you fly between 10/15-05/15. There’s a lot more info on hacking that award that in footnote *** at the end of this post.

A flight from Europe to Tel Aviv on El Al is 20K miles in coach and 30K in business.

Asia is a real bargain. Tel Aviv to Asia is just 22.5K miles in coach and business is just 30K. El Al flies nonstop to cities like Bangkok and Hong Kong. Their business class isn’t anything to write home about, but 30K is still a great bargain. In fact I just helped my parents book a trip from the US-Europe-Asia-Israel-US using AA miles with a flight on El Al in business class from the far east to Israel.

And El Al was a good way of getting from Israel to Australia for just 30K in coach and 45K in business as you can route from the Middle East to Australia via Bangkok and Hong Kong. Or you can use a 60K first class award to connect to a Qantas First class flight in Asia. Or you can use 30K AA miles to fly business to Bangkok and 30K United miles to fly Thai Business or 40K United miles to fly Thai First down under.  Thai First even comes with a free hour long massage in their Bangkok lounge.

Here is the rest of the AA award chart. You can always combine flights on El Al with other AA OneWorld and non-alliance partners on the same award.

Note that American agents often can only see 2 El Al awards at a time, so have them grab those 2 seats and then have the agent check for 2 more or just call back.

Some agents don’t know how to properly search for El Al award seats due to their confusing class codes (business on El Al is the same class as coach on other airlines, leave it to the Israelis to come up with the one 😀 ), so you may need to use some HUCA.

AA.com doesn’t show El Al awards, so you’ll need a Matmid account to research availability online.

Of course earlier this year HAS Advantage points stopped transferring to El Al as well.

Stay tuned for a post on the best remaining ways to use miles to fly on El Al in a post-AA and post-HAS era.

HT: chucksterace, via DDF

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28 Comments on "American-El Al Partnership Ending 10/31/14"

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Captain Obvious

Dan,

Competition is good in this case. As you say yourself, El Al has a lousy BC offering. While it stinks to lose the ability to fly on El Al with AA miles, how great is that really if the product offered is inferior?

Emkay

Are there other nonstop options to Asia with AA miles?

Anonymous

What’s your educated guess on how long it will be before USAir flies NY to Tel Aviv? I just transferred 500,000 Starwood to AA with the intention of using on ElAl in 2016. I took advantage of the bonus transfer points early this summer.

sammy

No changes allowed to Elal segments? What about a cancellation and redeposit of miles?

Heshy

Thank you Dan.

I just booked the last availability for 2 in November NYC-TLV on ELAL with AA miles.
Your’e the best!
Shana Tova.

Z

Once again Dan has the best instincts in the game! Kol hakavod and ksiva vachasima tova.

Florida

Any idea when AA or any else will start flying direct from Miami to Tel Aviv?

Hamburg

Tichle Shana vkilloseha ……. Tachel Shana ubirchoseha

kermit

Good thing I already used half of my AA hoard for El Al tickets for next August. Was hoping to use the other half for summer 2016 but will have to use a different partner. Or maybe by then there will be more AA/US flights.

Eli

Kasiva v’chasima Tova

Anonymous

Dan you think now that this partnership is over AA will start nonstop flights from NYC or Newark?

David

Will tickets already purchased with miles for April 2015 still be good?

Thanks
Shanah Tovah

Mutty

Does the BC mileage tickets to Israel on USAirwyas compare to the current ElAl 67.5? I also transferred a lot from SPG for the special bonus but don’t plan on going within the year.
Ksivah Vchasimah Tova. All the best.

Josh G

@ David

Once ticketed your itinerary is confirmed and all set. However you won’t be able or make any changes after that time.

שנה טובה

Fred

@dan

You could use the aa miles on us airways from Philly

Yana

Whats wrong with El Al ????
Saved so many points with HAS advantage,
And lost them , now the same thing with AA
REALLY UPSET

BL

Booked 6 tickets to EY for next August…

ExGingi

@Yana
What’s wrong with you? Why in the world would you count on ELAL doing anything that’s good for the customer?

It has been almost 15 years since the last time I was subjected to flying ELAL.

Dan's the man

@Yana: In this case it was AA that severed that ended the agreement with El Al. In the HAS case I believe it was El Al that ended their relationship.

meir weiss

Hey DAN please read this: (post it if u want)
it has no connection to this post, but just for the sake of helping out our fellow Jews.
I just booked a united flight ord to Newark than Newark to tlv on 11/24 through 12/1 of this year for 830$, but here’s the catch I really got a business class ticket for 1230$ on united bc I used 35,000 united points to upgrade and paid the 600 Fee, so its really like I got a business class fair for 1250$$!! on united plus the milage!!
hopes this helps those who want it!!

doctor

hey dan! what can i do with 40,000 us airway points? anything?

yosel

Trying to use AA points to book NYC-TLV direct on LY on Dec. 27 NO luck

anon

What will be good uses for AA miles after this. I have 400 I was planning on using for Israel sometime next year and will be too late…

Thanks

Dan's the Man

@anon: It’s not too late. Simply book now for next year. You need to book by 10/31. I’d do it by Monday the latest.

Dan's the Man

Dan, won’t El Al need to partner with some other airline? After all there will now be a lot more open award seats that won’t be filled as people who have AAdvantage miles will no longer use there miles on El Al. Won’t El Al need to partner with another airline or give a better ratio for Amex MR to Matmid transfers? Why doesn’t El Al allow transfers from Chase? Why doesn’t El Al come out with a US based credit cards. Everyone on Dans Deals would apply the day the card came out with a decent sign up bonus. Maybe they could come out with an Amex card as they are already partners with point transfers?
Any other thoughts about this Dan?

Thanks for all you do.

Shimmy

I have matmid points expiring before the summer. I have enough for a coach reward and then some… I was forced to transfer from HAS because they were going to start expiring there. Now I know it was a good thing… but how do I maintain the points? anyone know? can I book a ticket and cancel? I wasn’t planning on a trip this year.

Maurice

Now why couldn’t they warn us with the HAS
Card?

AA Million Miler

Dan – I have accumulated over 1.25 million AA miles from Citi AAdvantage promotions on DansDeals. I have been saving them up to fly my family from NY/NJ/PA to Israel (preferably on Business Class) for my son’s Bar Mitzvah. Now that AA miles are no longer transferable to El Al, is there another efficient way to use those miles to get to Israel?

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