Getting To Israel Using AMEX Membership Rewards Points!

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Update: Through 03/31/11 there are transfer bonuses available for BA (40%) and for Delta (50% for first-time transfers with 25,000 bonus elite miles or 30% for additional transfers) that will change the points required as posted below.

Related:
-Get 51,000 AMEX Membership Rewards Points After Spending $1,000 On The AMEX Platinum Charge Card!!!
-Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints!
-Membership Rewards Transfer Partners Linky

This must be one of the most common questions out there, maybe this will settle it once and for all?
While these aren’t all of the possible transfer options, this should cover the good ones.
If I’m missing any good AMEX transfer methods or if there any mistakes let me know!
You are able to transfer AMEX points form your AMEX account into someone else’s mileage account!

The rates in this chart are for flights from NYC to Tel Aviv. Rates from other cities should be similar, but may differ depending on the airline.

Confused about which airlines charge a fuel surcharge on award travel? The good news if that generally US based carriers never do, but I’ve been compiling a chart of the policies of 44 airlines on the Dansdeals Forums where you can read more about the murky policies of fuel surcharges.
I wish the offending airlines would just call them what they really are: Mileage co-pays. It has nothing to with fuel and everything to do with a deceitful cash grab that will ultimately kill the mileage cash cow that is the most (only?) profitable segment of the airline industry! The airline that books your reward ticket (not the operating carrier) decides whether to charge a fuel surcharge or not.  On principle I avoid accumulating miles with airlines that resort to charging them. For a trip like NYC-TLV a fuel surcharge may range from $250 to as much as $500 per ticket! I’ve noted which airlines below charge them.
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Star Alliance:
With 28 airlines (not even counting that most airlines have even more non-Star Alliance partners), Star Alliance offers the best availability for flights to Israel by leaps and bounds.

Using ANA miles, from 60,000 AMEX points.
-If there is availability on Continental or USAirways for your dates: Transfer 60,000 points per ticket to ANA for coach or 90,000 points per ticket for business.
Notes:
-Fuel Surcharges: ANA does not charge fuel surcharges for travel on Continental, United, USAirways, and Virgin Atlantic, but they do charge heavy fuel surcharges for travel on other airlines.
-Check availability for Continental rewards on Continental.com and USAirways awards on USAirways.com.
-It takes a few days for AMEX points to transfer into ANA miles and there is no way to have ANA hold a ticket if have no miles in your account.
-ANA miles expire after 3 years, regardless of account activity.
-ANA partner flights must be booked 7 days in advance.
-ANA does not charge for date changes.
-ANA allows a ticket to be canceled and the miles to be redeposited for a fee of just 3,000 miles.
-You can book alliance travel on on ANA’s website once you have miles in your account, although you may need to call them to book travel for flights not found on their website.
-AMEX normally charges .0006 per mile transferred, but this fee does not apply for transfer to foreign carriers like ANA.

Using Continental miles, from 75,000 AMEX points.
-If there is Star Alliance availability besides for Continental and USAirways (generally you should transfer to ANA for those airlines), transfer 75,000 points per ticket to Continental for coach or 115,000 points for business.  Continental also gives its own elite members expanded award availability for travel on Continental.
Notes:
-Fuel Surcharges: Continental does not charge fuel surcharges for travel on any airline.
-While you can check availability for Continental rewards on Continental.com many airlines with great availability will not show up, such as Lufthansa and Swiss. You must call Continental to check availability and to book flights on many partner airlines. You may be able to check Star Alliance availability on ANA’s website and then call Continental to book. See this forum thread for info on using ANA to search Star Alliance availability and workarounds to use ANA’s website even if you don’t have any ANA miles.
-Continental allows free date and route changes.
-AMEX points must be transferred to Continental by 09/30/11. They will not be partners after that date.
-AMEX points are instantly transferred over to Continental.
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OneWorld:
Oneworld availability to Israel can be tough. Flights to Israel include BA from London, Iberia from Madrid and Barcelona, Royal Jordanian from Amman, and Malev from Budapest.
While AA is partners with El Al, they are a non-alliance partner and El Al is not a partner with BA. AA is not an AMEX transfer partner.

Using BA miles, from 65,000 AMEX points.
-If there is OneWorld availability, transfer 65,000 points per ticket to BA for coach or 130,000 points per ticket for business.
Notes:
-Fuel Surcharges: BA has recently started charging fuel surcharges on most partner airline flights. They do not charge a surcharge for travel on LAN. They also do not charge a surcharge for travel on AA if booked online. If you book over the phone they charge a surcharge even for AA travel if it involves flights outside of North America.

-You can only search partner flights on BA.com after searching for BA availability. If there is no BA availability you will then see the option to include partners in the search. This search is far from perfect, you should call BA to check more partner availability
-AMEX points are instantly transferred over to BA.
-Oneworld availability can be searched by creating an account and searching on Qantas.com.
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Skyteam:
Skyteam has by far the worst availability of the 3 alliances. You can try searching some Skyteam on Delta.com.

Using Alitalia miles, from 50,000 AMEX Points.
-If there is Skyteam availability transfer 50,000 points per ticket to Alitalia for coach or 80,000 points per ticket for business, plus expect to pay fuel surcharges.
-Fuel Surcharges: Alitalia charges a fuel surcharge for travel on all airlines.
-AMEX points are instantly transferred over to Alitalia.

Using Flying Blue miles, from 25,000 AMEX Points.
-If there is a promo award available on Flying Blue for your dates and you’re ready to work really hard to get them to honor it and cut through miles of red tape: Transfer 25,000 points to Flying Blue per ticket for coach or 50,000 points per ticket for business.
Flying Blue charges a larger fuel surcharge than Alitalia, so transfer to Alitalia if you don’t want the hassle of booking a promo award.
-Fuel Surcharges: Alitalia charges a fuel surcharge for travel on all airlines.

Using Delta miles, from 80,000 AMEX points.
-You can also transfer to Delta Skypesos to avoid fuel surcharges for travel originating in the US, but their mileage rates are variable.  Coach can be between 80,000 and 190,000 and business can be between 120,000 and 370,000.
-Fuel Surcharges: Delta does not charge a fuel surcharge for round-trip travel originating from the US on Delta but does charge fuel surcharges on select partners.
Delta always charges a fuel surcharge for round-trip travel originating from outside the US on all airlines.
-AMEX points are instantly transferred over to Delta.
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Other:
Using El Al miles, from 98,000 AMEX points.
Note: Through 11/30 transfers to El Al receive a 25% points bonus, so 1,050 AMEX points will become 18.75 El Al points.
El Al normally charges 1,400 E Al points for a RT ticket from NYC-TLV. However for tickets booked in November for travel through 02/28/11 they will only be 1,050 El Al points.
With both promotions, 58,800 AMEX points becomes 1,050 El Al points after the 25% point bonus, which is enough for a RT ticket from NYC-TLV after the 25% award ticket discount.
-Without any promotions, if there is El Al availability transfer 98,000 points per ticket to El Al for coach or 210,000 points per ticket for business.
-Fuel Surcharges: El Al charges a fuel surcharge.
-El Al points can only be redeemed for travel on El Al.

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46 Comments on "Getting To Israel Using AMEX Membership Rewards Points!"

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mo

Hi data point i priced out an award using ba miles to tlv on iberia online and there was a 589$ fuel surcharge so buyer beware

Dan/Ctownbochur

@mo:
Thanks!
So BA definitely charges a fuel surcharge for Iberia redemptions online now.

This is a brand new thing they started.

Won’t be long before they charge for AA online as well I bet.

yaakov

how much is the el al fuel surcharge?

dave

Are you able to sign up for both cards and then transfer the points to one account? also, can you just buy gift cards for the $10,000 for the business card and still get the points?

Dan/Ctownbochur

@dave:
Yes and yes.
Enjoy!

dave

@Dan/Ctownbochur: thanks so much!
so do you just then use the gift cards at the mint with the $1 direct coins?

Dan/Ctownbochur

al613, thanks for the info on BA!
I’ve moved our discussion (we can continue there) over to this post where it’s more on topic:
http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/3740/comment-page-1#comment-68181

Mordy

is there a link for an explanation on how to transfer starwood points into a ticket to israel? thanks

Dan/Ctownbochur

@Mordy:
Next week iy”h.

SUSHI

Hi Dan,
How long does it take for Starwood points to transfew to ANA?
THX!

Dan/Ctownbochur

@SUSHI:
I think Starwood-ANA transfers post every Monday.

anon

how can I sell my delta miles?

Zack

@Dan

Do you know if there are any resources or similar analysis for trips to other cities. I’m wondering if anyone has done this sort of analysis for getting to SE Asia in particular.

Gold

“It takes a few days for AMEX points to transfer into ANA miles and there is no way to have ANA hold a ticket if have no miles in your account.”

So then you are risking not having availability when you actually get the miles in the account? What if you have a few miles in the account first, can you hold the ticket till the rest are transfered?

gary

I just booked an alitalia flight to israel for travel in may, 2 business class tickets and they charged me $358 taxes and surcharges per ticket

Dan/Ctownbochur

@Zack:
Not that I know of.

@Gold:
Yes, you do risk that.
1 possible strategy would be to have Continental hold the award flights you want, transfer the points to ANA, and then when the points get there to have Continental cancel the hold.
Usually the award will go back to being available, although there is always the risk that it does not go back to being available.

@gary:
Thanks for the data point. Are you traveling on Alitalia or on a partner like Delta?

Dave

Overall, where do you get the best deal froma points transfer from amex?

e. Weinberg

Hi Dan.
I went to the ANA website and created an itinerary;
NYC to Rome with Lufthansa via Munich, business class. Spend a week in Italy. Venice to Zurich. Spend a week in Switzerland. Zurich to NYC with Lufthansa via Munich, business class. This came out to 68,000 points. However the site wouldn’t tell me the charges. Would you know what the cost will be.

Dan/Ctownbochur

@e. Weinberg:
You’ll have to call them to check if you don’t have the miles in your account.
ANA charges a fuel surcharge if you are flying airlines other than Continental, USAir, United, and Virgin Atlantic.

Gabbai

@Gold: No, they will not hold reservations; been there tried it! You have to risk transferring the miles.

marc

I have over 52,000 starwood miles and 65,000 delta miles.
What combination of new cards and my present miles do I need for a trip to Israel

gary

@Dan/Ctownbochur:
Sorry for the late response. I’m going air france to rome then alitalia to israel the alitalia back to newrk thru rome

interested

dan, you said that if continental has availability than i should book with ANA, does this apply to only saverpass availability or also easypass availability.

Dava

What is ANA?

dovid k

On the current elal program for 1050 points if you transfer 50 or more points from a partner like amex or others alike excluding has advantage the ticket cost you only 1000 points but make sure to pay for it via the phone not the internet so you can make sure they only charge you 1000 points (cant predict what elal will do)

Dan

@interested:
The rule for booking travel on partners is that only the lowest level of award availability (saver) is bookable.

@Dava:
http://www.htsti.com/?q=ana

@dovid k:
Any link for more info on this?

eli

if i cancel my amex plat without transfering my amex points right away, will they confiscate it?

Mordechai

i have an amex gold i plan on canceling soon not sure what i am going to use the miles for is it worth it for me to transfer to delta just because of the bonus or am i still better off transferring it to continental?

adamSmiles

to use ANA miles on continental, do you have to check Continental availability under continental’s reward travel section or even under regular continental flights?

Yitz

Dan

Question

I am in S Florida and have 70K thousand points to transfer from Amex (Thanks to the rewards card and such) I already have about 50K points on Delta do I transfer to Delta with the 50% bonus or move it to united, the goal is rt FLL to TLV

Dan

@eli:
Transfer before canceling.

@Mordechai:
@Yitz:
I prefer Continental/Star Alliance. Much better availability and better airlines than Delta/Skyteam.

@adamSmiles:
Reward availability.

mancunian

thanks Dan

Quest

If I have both the Amex Gold and the Amex Plat and I want to cancel my platinum, will my points stay there (because of my linked gold account?)

runner

Just to clarify..if I transfer all of my Amex points approx. 150K to Delta, they will double them brfore May 31st? Is this a no brainer or am I missing something. Goal is always tkts to Israel. Thanks Dan the Man!

Dan

@Quest:
Yes.

@runner:
No idea where you got that from. Double?

runner

sorry, I meant 50% not double.

Dan

@runner:
80K Continental miles are worth more than 120K Delta miles.

Joe

Dan, i am a AAdvantage member and a delta Skymiles member. i got the 51000 points on the Amex- i dont have any immediate traveling plans- what do i do next, where can i save them?(i want to cancel the Amex card, so i guess i need to transfer the points)
Any advice?

Dan

@Joe:
I would put them in Continental, but if you’re a Delta flyer and can get the 50% bonus and 25,000 elite miles you can definitely make that argument.

The 40% BA bonus, ANA, and Air Canada aren’t bad options either.

Not really any definitive answer, sorry!

adamSmiles

for long weekend of 6/23-6/28 what is best miles/points options to get from JFK/EWR to TLV? I checked ANA and they dont have availability, BA the same and it looks like Delta would be 140k for coach? can someone help me research this? Should I try Alitalia or Swiss? thanks

mark

F.Y.I, Dan, correct if if I am wrong. Starpoints transfer to LANPASS at a ratio of 2:1, Lan charges 20,000 klm. from nyc to ord while all the rest of them charge 25,000 mi. which means that you would need less than 1/2 the starpoints if you use them via Lan now the question: Can you use Lan klm to tlv on oneworld and if yes how many(online you can’t you this ticket)?

mark

sorry, if may correct my post and question see archives lanpass program 1/22/2010

Joe

Dan, why continental?

Dan

@Joe:
Their miles are the most valuable and usable in my opinion.
Some more info here: http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/9380

Herry

Dan. I never saw a swiss award seat on continental.com , only by calling.

sara

dan, what is the diff bet saverpass and easypass on continental? i can’t figure it out

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