DansDeals will receive compensation if you are approved for a credit card via a link in this post. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers, visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
Update, 12/30: El Al tells me that all tickets that have a 12/31/22 or earlier purchase date based on the location of the purchase will be eligible for a voucher in the future.
Will you lock in Chase or AMEX points for El Al vouchers?
Update, 12/29: If you want to book any fully flexible El Al tickets, or if you want to use your points for El Al vouchers, now is the time to do so!
Update, 12/21: El Al’s Shlomi Zafrany, VP Commercial & Industry Affairs tells DansDeals that “EL AL is extending its flexible ticket policy by waiving change fees for changes required by our customers for any reason. The voucher program will continue until further notice in cases where significant schedule disruption occurred.”
However, the voucher program that has been around since COVID, which allows tickets to be exchanged into a voucher that anyone can use even without a schedule change, will end on 12/31/22.
If you purchase your ticket by 12/31/22, you will still be able to convert it into a voucher up until 6 hours before departure. Anyone can then use that voucher for the value originally paid through 12/31/23 for flights through 11/30/24.
That means if you’re going to buy an El Al ticket, it would be advantageous to do so by 12/31/22 so that if you do need to cancel, anyone can use the ticket funds.
Under the free change program that will continue for tickets issued after 12/31/22, only the ticketed passenger will be able to use that credit. For now, that free change policy will be in place for tickets purchased by 2/28/23 with validity for changes through 2/29/24, though the airline expects that this will be an ongoing program.
While El Al will still offer a voucher for flights with a significant schedule change, you can also always request a refund when that occurs.
Will you purchase any voucher eligible tickets by 12/31 to lock in that flexibility?
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
108 Comments On "[Final Hours To Lock In Transferable Voucher Flexibility, But Free Changes Will Continue] El Al’s Awesome Ticket Voucher Exchange Program: Will You Lock In AMEX Or Chase 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.
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.
Unless you have status and they do status match.
You can always use AMEX BP points at 1.54 cents for business class. This is just a method to do so for Premium Eco or Eco.
I fly often LAX-TLV. I have status on United but none on EL AL. I would consider flying more often on EL AL (and its direct of course). How does one go about requesting a status match with EL AL? I recall talking to an agent and was told that it is not possible…Thanks Dan
Just wondering if I’m a cow or a sheep?
With free changes still there. Would you still be able to change you own ticket?
how long does it take for the vouchers to come in?
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
File a complaint with the DOT
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?
Do we book on Amex Travel website the tickets initially?
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.
Does anyone know how long the vouchers take to come in? I submitted yesterday and am apprehensive that they won’t get done before todays potential deadline. Haven’t heard back yet
Several days, but you’re fine.
Thanks as always
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?
Should be same. Are you requesting cancellation or changes?
I’d like to cancel and get a voucher for future flights.
I had the same situation, canceled for a voucher directly on the El AL website no problem.
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
A travel agent can use the voucher as well.
Most 3rd party sites with cheaper prices are sketchy and will leave you high and dry if anything goes wrong.
How can you round it up to buy a ticket in business in line with the total amount needed?
You can add a payment.
I just bought a biz class ticket on amex. How long after the purchase can I get the voucher. Do I need to wait 24 hours?
Looking to book a ticket and use as a voucher after, how can I find a ticket for the amount I need of $5400 ?
Does elal automatically upgrade you if you have status? Is there a way to request an upgrade?
Can you get a voucher for a reward ticket as well?
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?
Uh. Who told you to call AMEX? Rule #1 is don’t call.
It would have posted on its own after 30 days.
shoot! I just wanted to confirm it was done properly.
Now what? will they cancel my new reservation also?
is it possible Amex credits me, and Elal Keeps the new reservation for 6 economy?
Keep us posted.
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!
Gain is to redeem Amex points at 1.54 cents a point
was it extended until oct 31?
Don’t u need to call amextravel to cancel a booking made via MR?
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
Is it possible to do the same thing with Delta / United / American airlines
If you apply for the El Al voucher before the 35% bonus posts, will Amex still post the 35% bonus?
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 ?
File a DOT complaint if you can’t get a refund for a cancelled flight.
Why not just call Amex and make elal the primary airline instead of going through hoops?
Let me know how that goes please…
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?
You should be able to book any codeshares sold on their site.
Personally I booked AA flights with miles to connect to El Al, though granted that was a pain on the outbound as AA wouldn’t check bags through.
How do i register to get the 35% rebate for elal?
You can’t. That’s the point of this post.
Do you get the rebate even with register nothing?
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?
Don’t do this with Chase! You gain nothing
does this work for regular platinum points as well?
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?
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?
Can I sell the Voucher ?
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.
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?
35% rebate, not bonus. Spend $100 (10,000 points) get back $35 (3,500 points) netting 6,500 points for $100 or a value of 1.54 cpp.
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?
Business only, hence the voucher workaround.
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?
if i need to cancel elal tix which points are best to use?
El Al is not the best airline we fly United and it is great
If i book through chase points, how does the points/voucher work with el al
Just contact El Al.
Trying to find eligible ELAL biz tickets that would work for Amex plat biz acct with ~130k MR.
Would TLV>MXP qualify?
Sure, any business class ticket works.
can the ticket be cancelled right away, or better to leave it open for a few days/weeks?
Amex won’t shut accounts for doing this ?
Booking flights and right away asking for vouchers
I’m sure they can see on their end that it was refunded
I’ve done tens of thousands over the years. Are you from Calgary?
How late can this be done? Is it based on date of cancellation or voucher issue date?
Can the ticket be purchased on 12/31 and request a voucher that day- will it be valid for anyone?
As long as the ticket is purchased by 12/31/22, it can be converted to a voucher at any time up to 6 hours prior to departure.
don’t need to wait 24 hours after flight?
Dan What is the last update all about
Can I book award availability and then book any day
Can I link my personal platinum account to my business platinum points account to get the 35% rebate?
Amex won’t shut accounts for doing this ? Or clawback the 35% bonus
Booking flights and right away asking for vouchers
I’m sure they can see on their end that it was refunded
People have been doing it for years now without issue.
I maxed out on my 35% MR rebate for this year. If I purchase the Elal ticket on Amxtravel on 12/31 in the evening, so the charge wont post before Jan 1, will it be considered a charge in 2023 and be eligible for the 35% rebate on 2023’s cheshbon?
+1 @ United. I was wondering the same thing!
How long after the purchase can I get the voucher. Do I need to wait 24 hours?
after cancelling I didn’t receive an email as it stated ? is it usually immediately?
Thank you for this post!
If I already chose an airline (and used the $200 travel credit), can I still get the 35% back for booking a Elal business flight?
Yes, the business class rebate works on every airline. The selection is just for coach.
Amazing, thank you for the response!!
If my voucher doesn’t cover the complete cost of the ticket, does EL AL allow me to pay the difference?
Any idea how long it generally takes to receive the voucher? I summited the cancelation request last Friday and still haven’t heard anything from EL AL. When contacting them via Whatsapp they tell me to contact my travel agent. Thanks!
I requested a voucher on Jan 1 – still no movement, other than the initial “request confirmation” email.
Last time I placed a request on 11/30, and received the voucher on 12/4.
I wonder if there’s a lag now due to volume
Ya could be. I got through to an EL AL rep who provided me with my voucher number. He said the voucher hasn’t been loaded yet and couldn’t provide a time frame.
ugh that’s rough – my (to be cancelled) flights are for the beginning of Feb, so in a bit of a time crunch
How am i paying on amextravel ? With cc or applying mr rewards for payment?
Will tickets booked motzei shabbos in NY still en eligible for the voucher program.
Is the 12/31 cut off time NY time or Israel time?
I booked through Qantas to get an ELAL ticket. Would they offer free changes as we’ll (assuming prices are the same)
So it doesn’t matter destination as long as elal ticket when cancelling they will give same value voucher that I can use towards any interenery on elal ?
The value is the amount paid for the ticket.
Thanks for the update about purchase date based on location. I’m assuming if it’s bought in LA before midnight on 12/31 it will count. Can always cancel it within 24 hours of reservation. Just wondering how I see the date of purchase. Will it be on the confirmation email?
@Dan just confirming does this work as well if I book any cabin and date with elal thru Quantes airlines can I have the date change at no fees or I need to book direct with elal?
I’m confused. I looked at tickets and the conditions say $270 cancellation fee. Does the voucher avoid the cancellation fee somehow?
tickets booked out of lax till 259 am?est
made $94,000 worth of vouchers
Just hope Elal will be able to sustain the massive drop in revenue for Q1
Hey Dan. To clarify, If I now book a ticket in my own name CDG-TKV in business, will I be able to change that for free to an economy ticket on another rout for myself?
I’m about to book NYC-TLV thru Chase Ultimate Rewards, can someone help on what flight to choose American Airlines VS. El Al?
my Question is not about price but about service, kids friendly…etc.
for a couple, 2 kids and Infant.
Thanks a bunch
Weird but got a cancelation email from amex stating refund even though turned it into voucher?