Related post: Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints
Now that Air France/KLM Flying Blue has lowered their fuel surcharges on coach tickets, their Promo awards are actually a pretty sweet deal. A one-way ticket from Houston to Tel Aviv for Rosh Hashana (New Year Holiday), Yom Kippur, or Sukkos holiday can be had for just 12,500 miles plus $107.
AMEX MR points transfer to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio and Starpoints transfer at a 20:25 ratio so 20K Starwood becomes enough for 2 one-way tickets.
The current promo awards offer includes 12,500 miles coach tickets from Chicago, Dallas, or Houston to Europe for travel 09/01-10/31.
Flying Blue includes Israel in their definition of Europe.
There are also 31,250 mile one-way business class tickets from Dallas or Washington DC to Europe though those comes saddled with heavy fuel surcharges:
Still 62,500 miles for a round-trip business class ticket to Israel during peak travel time isn’t too shabby, even with their ridiculous fuel surcharges.
Remember that if you find Delta coach saver award availability (no easy feat as Delta is notoriously stingy!) that you can book it via Flying Blue for just 50K in coach instead of 80K via Delta. Plus they don’t charge any fuel surcharges for Delta awards and they allow for one-way redemptions.