How Bad Is El Al’s Blocking Of Business Class Award Space For Partner Airlines?

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In October 2017 I wrote about how it was technically possible to use Qantas points on El Al, but I noted about the extremely difficult process you had to go through to book them over the phone as they weren’t bookable online.

In January 2018 I wrote about Qantas adding the ability to book El Al economy and business awards online.

In March 2018 I wrote about Qantas adding the ability to book El Al Premium Economy awards online.

In June 2019 AMEX points started to be able to be converted into Qantas points.

Thanks to stacking promotions, transfers from AMEX to Qantas actually got a 44% bonus, making for ridiculously cheap redemptions on El Al. I wrote a post about everything to know about using Qantas points for El Al awards.

In July, El Al overhauled their website, added dynamically priced awards, and removed the ability to search for saver award tickets when using Matmid points. They even removed the ability to travel agents and paid online award tools to search for award space.

After I complained about how hard it was to find awards, El Al added back a tool to search for saver award flights using Matmid points.

The saver award search tool is buggy, has some dates mixed up, and won’t give an exact number of seats that are available, but it’s better than nothing.

In the meantime, Qantas business class saver award availability stopped matching up with El Al Matmid saver award availability. I’ve asked El Al multiple times for comment on what exactly is going on, but they have yet to respond to my requests.

Qantas tells me that they’re not blocking anything, which only leaves one possibility. El Al is systematically blocking partners like Qantas from booking some of their saver award space.

But how bad is the problem? And is there any pattern to the blocking?

I took 2 sample routes, Newark to Tel Aviv and Miami to Tel Aviv, to see what patterns I would find from now through June 2020 by locating business class saver award space in the El Al tool and then searching for award space on Qantas.com.

In short:

  • Newark to Tel Aviv flight 26 is always blocked from redemption with Qantas points.
  • Newark to Tel Aviv flight 28 is only available with Qantas points on select Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • Miami to Tel Aviv is only available with Qantas points on select Wednesdays.
  • The El Al tool is often off by a day, meaning you should search Qantas for flights a day before or after the dates in the tool.

I’d assume that other routes follow similar quirks, though I haven’t yet explored them. I also haven’t explored economy and premium economy availability.

It’s certainly within El Al’s rights to block partner airlines from accessing their award space, but it’s dirty pool to do so with no advance warning or even an acknowledgment that they are actively blocking award space from partner airlines.

While the major US airlines each turn profits to the tune of billions of dollars annually from their mileage programs, El Al still looks at Matmid as a cost center and not as a program that can generate profits by being honest with their customers. That’s a shame.

Here is the underlying data from my research. An asterisk indicates that the El Al tool is one day off from what it should be. Dates where El Al is blocking award space is in plain font, while dates that aren’t blocked are in bold font.

Newark-Tel Aviv business class:
October 26 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
December 1 LY26 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
December 29 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
December 30 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
December 30 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
December 31 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
January 5 LY26 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 11 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 12 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 14 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 18 LY26 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 25 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 26 LY26 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 1 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 1 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 3 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 10 LY26 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 17 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 22 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 24 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 29 LY26 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 2 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 7 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 8 LY26 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 10 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 16 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 16 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 21 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 22 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 23 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 23 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
March 24 LY26 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 24 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid and Qantas)
March 25 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
April 10 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
April 11 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
April 11 LY26 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
April 12 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
April 25 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
April 27 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 12 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 17 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 18 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, 1 with Qantas)
May 23 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 24 LY26 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 25 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 30 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 31 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 1 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid and Qantas)
June 2 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid and Qantas)
June 3 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 8 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 9 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid and Qantas)
June 10 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 13 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 13 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 14 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 15 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 17 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 20 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 22 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 23 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 24 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 26 LY26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 27 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 28 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 29 LY28 (1 seat available with Matmid and Qantas)
June 30 LY28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)

Miami-Tel Aviv
November 10 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
November 13 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
November 16 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
December 8 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
December 10 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
December 11 (1 seat available with Matmid and Qantas)
December 28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
December 31 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 1 (1 seat available with Matmid and Qantas)
January 5 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 11 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 12 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
*January 15 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
January 18 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 22 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
January 25 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 2 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
*February 5 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
February 8 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 9 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
*February 19 (1 seat available with Matmid and Qantas)
February 25 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
February 26 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
March 7 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 8 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
*March 11 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
March 14 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 15 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 24 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
March 25 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
March 28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
April 8 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
April 11 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
April 25 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 6 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 9 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 10 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 12 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 13 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
May 16 (1 seat available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 17 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 19 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 20 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
May 23 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
May 24 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
*May 27 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
May 31 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
*June 3 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
June 6 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 14 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 16 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
*June 17 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
June 20 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 21 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 23 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 24 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)
June 27 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 28 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
June 30 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid, none with Qantas)
July 1 (At least 2 seats available with Matmid and Qantas)

What patterns have you noticed about El Al award blocking from partner airlines? Which other routes do you want to see analyzed? Hit the comments!


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22 Comments On "How Bad Is El Al’s Blocking Of Business Class Award Space For Partner Airlines?"

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

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Baglach

Im short RIP QF-LY

Ben

That’s an over simplification

Dany

Dan tnx amazing stuff! How about the other way around? Tlv-ewr tnx whould really appreciate it!

zow

Dan,
You are amazing. Did you manually search every date? I’m getting dizzy just thinking about that task. Good Shabbos and Lshana tovah.

Grouchifier 1.0

Dan, I think they you are wrong, they are not blocking anything, there is something else that is causing it. That thing is Israeli Garbage Web Development

Try using Israeli sites in internet explorer, it works better there. Israeli web development sucks, they may have some high tech in Israel, but their web dev is by far horrible. IE is their preferred browser. Horrible popups and advertisments that chase you around the page. They absolutely suck at web development.

The reason that the dates are off and why flights do not show up is because instead of using typical standard tools such as API , they instead find convoluted ways of doing it. They probably have some sort of every 10-15 min CSV via ftp system from the 90’s, and to avoid overselling they have a buffer that will not show the last seats available.

They will claim that their way of doing it is better because no chance of hacking. It is all BS, they just suck.

I would bet that the avios award site was built by some to Israeli web development firm.

Probably the new JetBlue app as well..

Jeff B

True!

Aryeh Sonnenberg

Sounds like some pretty deep lashon hara about Israelis?

Batsheva

Thanks Aryeh. If I want Torah I will go to a Torah web site. I subscribe to Dans Deals to learn the truth about FF programs.

Sam

Par for the course. El Al is an arrogant airline and they think everyone will fly them even if they get treated like garbage.

joel

i have found that he night flights both leaving nyc or leaving tlv are completely blocked off. the day flights are available [and sunday night early am flight also]

First time poster

Figures now that everyone transferred over their amex points to Qantas Dan any suggestions what I should do with all those Qantas points?

Brucee

Yes…what should we do with all the transfered amex points into wants? Will texting qantas work to find availability or is that blocked from the agents as well?

Avi

Is this true by all airlines, that they can choose to block award space from partners or is this something that only EL AL- Qantas can do?

Izz

Enjoyed this article Dan, thank you.

I have found that they blocked awards on Elal #1 (JFK), #25 & #27 (EWR) as well. Elal #7 (JFK) pretty wide open, at least on Tuesdays & Wednesdays.

Israeli

El-al is crap, be thankful you can’t book

Ron

I had no problem getting LAX-TLV and back with QF points on LY. The SFO-TLV, however, shows absolutely no availability on QF. Checking availability on the LY site is almost impossible unless you are willing to grow old in the process, but Expert Flyer seems to do a pretty good job of finding LY availability.

Harry

What about Premium Economy? That is great value and on the 787 is not a bad hard or soft product for a third world country airline. The arrogant crew are the same as always though: arrogant.

Anonymous

Flew el al in the summer and they were so nice. Ground and flight crew. Both ways. A really good experience.

wpDiscuz