I wrote last week about El Al offering vouchers worth 125% of the price paid for a flight. At the time, you had to email El Al to make a request, but El Al now has a form in English and in Hebrew to make your selection. Currently they are only accepting requests for vouchers on flights cancelled through April 30th, but that will be expanded.
El Al’s offer is surprisingly generous.
You can select between:
- A full refund and 30 Matmid points. You can even request that the points be given to someone else. If you want to donate your 30 bonus points to Miles For Life, their Matmid number is 11034810 and the last name is Mendlovic.
- A voucher worth 125% of the price paid. The voucher is valid for bookings through 12/31/21 for travel through 11/30/22. You can request a cash refund of the voucher in January 2022 after it expires, though you’ll only get a refund for the actual amount paid and not the bonus value. You can get a whole refund or a partial refund if you used some of the voucher, though it’s unclear how exactly a partial refund will be calculated. You won’t get the 30 Matmid points if you request a refund after getting the voucher.
I’m surprised to see El Al offering a point incentive for taking a cash refund, but they can certainly use the goodwill after holding onto funds for this long.
I’m also surprised that El Al didn’t lobby to change the law so that if people accepted the 125% voucher, they wouldn’t be able to choose a refund later on. I think it would have been fair if El Al offered a 125% non-expiring voucher that didn’t have a refund option, in addition to offering an upfront cash refund option.
I also would have liked to see an option to convert the ticket into a more flexible ticket that could be used on the same route without paying a fare difference, perhaps with some limited blackout dates. That could have been a win-win for El Al and consumers as consumers would have the peace of mind knowing they won’t have to pay more for a ticket and El Al wouldn’t have to issue as many upfront cash refunds.
At any rate, here is some of the fine print:
- The 125% voucher offer will be valid for tickets purchased through 9/21/20 for cancelled flights until 10/24/20.
- Group tickets of 10 or more are not eligible for the voucher offer.
- Partially used tickets are not eligible for the voucher offer.
- Matmid tickets are not eligible for the voucher offer or bonus point offer.
- The voucher can be used for El Al or Sun d’Or flights, upgrades, baggage fees, and seat selection fees.
- The voucher can be used for “select products” on the El Al site, otherwise you’ll need to call El Al or ask a travel agent for items not supported by the website.
- The voucher can be used by anyone and is transferrable.
- If the ticket was issued in US dollars, Euros, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, South African rand, or British pound sterling, the voucher will be issued in that currency. If the ticket was issued in another currency, a US dollar voucher will be issued.
- You can only use 2 forms of payment for an El Al ticket, so you can use 2 vouchers, or 1 voucher and a credit card number when you want to buy a new ticket.
The actual voucher will be a 15 digit UATP virtual credit card number that is only valid for use with El Al. This is great news for travel agents, as they will earn a commission when they sell new tickets that are paid for with a voucher. Other airlines have issued bonus vouchers that don’t give travel agents any credit for new bookings.