[Extended Through 12/31] El Al’s Awesome Ticket Voucher Exchange Program: Will You Lock In AMEX Points For El Al Flexible Credits?

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Update: The deadline to buy tickets that can be exchanged for a voucher has now been extended to December 31st.


Originally posted on 8/30:

For the past couple of years, El Al has offered passengers the ability to convert their ticket into a voucher without charge. That’s one of the most passenger friendly policies out there and it can be requested on their website. While other airlines allow free changes, this allows you to use the voucher to book travel for anyone, not just for the same passenger. You can also use 2 vouchers to purchase another ticket or 1 voucher can book multiple tickets.

The vouchers are valid for bookings made by 12/31/23 for travel by 11/30/24.

Another good use for this program is if you have an AMEX Business Gold Card or AMEX Business Platinum Card. With those cards you can receive a rebate of 25% or 35% respectively of the points used for a paid ticket. That effectively values your AMEX points at 1.33 cents or 1.54 cents each towards paid airfare. The catch is that the rebate is only available in economy or premium economy tickets on selected US airlines. It’s only available in business or first class on all other airlines worldwide.

However thanks to the voucher system, you can book El Al business class tickets at a value of 1.54 cents per AMEX point, turn them into a voucher, and then use the voucher to book economy or premium economy tickets for anyone.

Unfortunately it does take several days from when you cancel a ticket until you get the voucher.

I used this strategy when I wanted to book 6 El Al economy tickets for $8,100. I first booked 2 round-trip El Al business class tickets from Tel Aviv to Toronto which cost $8,100 for 810,000 AMEX points. Thanks to my Business Platinum card I got a rebate of 283,500 points, making the actual cost 526,500 points for $8,100 in tickets. I then converted those tickets into an El Al voucher and used that credit to book 6 round-trip economy tickets.

From what I understand, US travel agents like AMEX collect a commission from El Al for flights that originate in the US, but not for flights that originate from Israel. That’s why I booked 2 business class tickets from Tel Aviv to North America with my AMEX points rather than the reverse when converting them into an El Al voucher. By booking the flight from Israel and then converting it into a voucher, there’s no unnecessary loss or cost to El Al.

El Al’s website currently says that the voucher program will end on 8/31, though contacts in the airline tell me they plan to extend the program through mid-September, likely for tickets purchased by 9/14. After that point, tickets between North America and Israel will remain free to change, but they won’t be convertible to a voucher useable by anyone.

Of course the airline can always extend the program, but if you want to convert some AMEX points into El Al vouchers at a value of 1.54 cents per point, now is the time to act.

If you plan to fly to Israel in general, booking El Al before the voucher program ends is a great option as you can effectively cancel for free and have a voucher that anyone is able to use.

When I spoke with El Al CEO Dina Ben-Tal Ganacia earlier this summer in her office at the airline’s Ben Gurion headquarters she explained that she was a fan of the voucher program. However there were concerns regarding paying travel agents commissions on the original booking and then again when the voucher was rebooked. There were also concerns about people cancelling tickets at the last minute, causing spoiled inventory for the airline. Those both seemed to me to have easy solutions, the airline could either stop paying commissions on voucher redemptions or they could claw back commissions on cancelled tickets. And they could require that tickets be cancelled a certain amount of time before the flight in order to qualify for a voucher exchange.

Hopefully the airline will reconsider and allow the program to live on, as it’s a great competitive advantage for the airline that encourages bookings on El Al, locking in funds with the airline that may have otherwise gone to another carrier.

Will you take advantage of this program before it ends?

Leave a Reply

58 Comments On "[Extended Through 12/31] El Al’s Awesome Ticket Voucher Exchange Program: Will You Lock In AMEX Points For El Al Flexible Credits?"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

FBR

The only difference is that we wouldn’t get a free upgrade to business like you did and we’d be stuck flying cattle class as there’s no instrument that I know that’s easy to achieve and use to upgrade Elal tickets.

Flyfree

With free changes still there. Would you still be able to change you own ticket?

Yochai

Yes

elal

how long does it take for the vouchers to come in?

yup

Why would you risk keeping anything by Elal (credit voucher)?? Thye still havent refunded me for my tickets from 2 years ago Covid, that they canceled. I filed on their website 1.5 years ago and still nothing. When you try to refile it states “already filed” and wont let you. Tried whatsapp talking to bot for an hour. So ya go ahead and give Elal your money to hold a voucher….lol

Dovid

So based on what your saying i could fly round trip for 250k+ for round trip business? Seems like a steal or was that for one way?

El Al CLE

Do we book on Amex Travel website the tickets initially?

Jmail

Must you convert to a voucher by September 14 or tickets purchased by September 14 can be converted to a voucher at a later date? Seems to be the latter but a bit unclear from the post. Thanks for clarifying.

yosef768

Does El Al view tickets purchased through Chase’s website using Chase points differently than if you purchased the tickets through the Amex Travel website? I have 2 round-trip tickets that I need to cancel and El Al won’t extend the voucher to me (JFK -> TLV and TLV -> JFK). They’re telling me I need to speak to Chase and Chase will only give me a credit that will only be valid for the same 2 travelers, only on El Al and expires in about 11 months from now. Any ideas to help me out and get the voucher?

BigAl

Should be same. Are you requesting cancellation or changes?

yosef768

I’d like to cancel and get a voucher for future flights.

E

I had the same situation, canceled for a voucher directly on the El AL website no problem.

ntk

the only thing is that the voucher is only good for elal’s site but if you want to book through a 3rd party agent like kayak or skyscanner which are usually much cheaper then the voucher is useless

Abe

Looking to book a ticket and use as a voucher after, how can I find a ticket for the amount I need of $5400 ?

Mike

Does elal automatically upgrade you if you have status? Is there a way to request an upgrade?

Moshe

Can you get a voucher for a reward ticket as well?

Dh

i purchased 2 business class tickets with Amex Platinum for February on 8/31. I did as you said and requested a voucher from El al. I received the voucher a few days later and booked 6 economy flights to travel in November of this year. I received my 6 ticket confirmations and was all good. I then contacted AMEX today to confirm i will be receiving the 35% points credit, which at first said within 10 weeks I will “as long as you followed the terms of the promotion”. I pressed them for a confirmation, and after being transferred around a few times, i was told that i would not be getting the credit as the flights originally booked were cancelled! Immediately thereafter i received an email stating my trip (for 2 business class tickets) was indeed cancelled. And was told i would be getting a refund for the trip as well.
Did i just mess up my whole itinerary for 6 in November? What did i do wrong? If a business class ticket is credited to a voucher, does that violate the terms of the bonus?

Sarah

Hi, what is the ultimate gain here? I’m looking to book tickets to Israel but am I gaining more for my money/points by cancelling and rebooking? Please advise, thank you!

Amex

Gain is to redeem Amex points at 1.54 cents a point

moses
Amex

Don’t u need to call amextravel to cancel a booking made via MR?

mergs

On elal website it states a different policy for tickets purchased before 9/14/22 and those purchased after 9/14 thru oct 31st.
says the latter is only valid for free changes not vouchers

David P

Is it possible to do the same thing with Delta / United / American airlines

David M

If you apply for the El Al voucher before the 35% bonus posts, will Amex still post the 35% bonus?

ISO ELAL CEO CONTACT

How can I get cash for a canceled elal covid flight with no penalty?

I got voucher but it didn’t work on next flight
Elal was impossible to reach
Phone or whatsapo

When reached by phone weeks later
Rep said she can’t apply voucher bc it was booked weeks ago

I want a refund or TSA

How can I reach elal ceo ?

Dave chyzowski

Why not just call Amex and make elal the primary airline instead of going through hoops?

CtownBin

Would you be able to use the vouchers on flights that include connections on JetBlue? If not, this would be difficult to do for anyone not living in an ElAl city. ElAl is now tougher to use for us here in CLE with the end of the Toronto route… shouldn’t I be weary of locking in ElAl when the US airlines can connect me home?

yh

How do i register to get the 35% rebate for elal?

yh

Do you get the rebate even with register nothing?

AR

I booked a ticket with El Al thru Chase Ultimate Rewards for 197,156 points
which has a value of $2,957.34, when I cancel the ticket on El Al and apply for the voucher they would only give me $2,665.34, anyone had this in the past?

shmaya nachfolger

does this work for regular platinum points as well?

Big Al

Hi Dan, thanks as usual for an amazing and informative post. In your opinion, is it better to cancel the business tickets through Amex or through El Al?

Leah b

If I book the business class tickets on my Amex business platinum card for money not points, do I still get anything from AMEX for them?

Yid

Can I sell the Voucher ?

Checkitout

I have Delta platinum medallion status. My husband has Delta silver medallion status.

We want to go to Israel at the end of April or beginning of May for about 15 days. We would like to travel in business or first class.

We have about 900,000 points together. About 400,000 Delta, some Chase ultimate, some Capital One, and some non-Delta Amex. What is the best choice for us, to get the most value?

We are willing to use our points, plus we plan on opening up another Delta card thereby getting (at least) 50,000 more Delta points, plus we are continuing to spend on our cards, getting more points across most of our cards.

We currently have the Delta Reserve card, Delta Platinum personal card, Delta Platinum Business card, Capital One Venture X card, 2 Chase Sapphire cards, 2 Chase Freedom Flex and a Chase Freedom Unlimited, amongst others.

Should we be taking into consideration that our medallion status will not give us any perks if we don’t fly Delta?

What airlines do you recommend we fly, and booked on which website? We don’t care if the flights are non-stop or one stop, but we prefer to only fly with airlines from countries that are considered “more safe” for Jews and Americans.

Thank you for all you do for the travel community, and thank you in advance for any and all advice/suggestions you can give us.

Ari

Unless I’m missing something here , how is a 35% bonus 1.54 CPP it seems to be 1.33?

I wasn’t aware of this- just booked delta flights via klm using the amex offer of 20,000 points/ $1000 would you say this elal deal would’ve been better?

Tia

Neyo

I’m not clear on the 25% point rebate with Amex Business Gold.
Is it automatic? I booked a couple of ELAL tickets in the last year and did not get any points back.
Is it only for Business class tickets?

Aron

Do you need to use the vouchers for tickets of equal or lesser value than the original tickets?

Can I buy Black Friday tickets, cancel, get voucher, then book regular priced tickets with the vouchers?

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