Massive El Al Matmid Devaluation Effective 02/10/15

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Update: Today is the final day to transfer points from AMEX to El Al that won’t expire.  Effective tomorrow transferred points will expire after 3 years.

Additionally today is the final day to book tickets under the current award chart.

Changes will probably occur at 5pm EST today, which is midnight Israel time.

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Originally posted on 11/10/14:

El Al has the industry’s worst frequent flyer program and is coming off a broken partnership with their only worthwhile airline partner, American.

They charge $350 in fuel surcharges and fees for North America tickets even though their competition in the US does not charge those fees.

They fly first class in a configuration that is significantly behind the business class offered by Air Canada, Delta, and USAirways that offer direct aisle access to every passenger.

So what do they do next?
Announce some sort of goodwill to win over the hearts and minds of their target market once again?

Nah. They announce a humongous devaluation to their industry-trailing program.

As part of it members will be split into executives and non-executives.  Executives will include El Al elite members as well as non-elites living outside of Israel who have transferred at least 100 points to Matmid (5,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points) in the past 12 months from non-Israeli credit cards. Israeli members who have a fly card or fly card premium credit card also get the Executive member rates.

I have nothing against El Al, but this is just downright embarrassing.  Compare this to ANA’s changes where a round-trip ticket to Israel costs just 60K in coach or 90K in business.

Or Flying Blue where a round-trip coach ticket is 25K points with a stop or 50K points nonstop. Or Alitalia where 80K points is enough for round-trip business class to Israel.

See other rates for travel to Israel in Ultimate Israel Mileage Award Chart.

Here are some of the lowlights:

1. Significantly worse expiration policy.

El Al has long had a strict 3 year expiration on points earned from flights, but points earned from credit cards and the like have never expired. Effective 02/10/15 points earned from credit cards and other partners will expire after 3 years, regardless of activity.
Points that are transferred by 02/09/15 won’t expire.

2. Coach awards get more expensive.

Currently a coach ticket from New York or Toronto to Tel Aviv is 1,400 Matmid points (70K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points)

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 there will be different rates for different seasons.

Non-executives:

In the winter (which runs this year from 02/10/15-03/24/15 and 11/01/15-12/31/15) tickets from Toronto will cost 1,600 Matmid points (80K AMEX MR points), tickets from NYC will cost 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points), and tickets from LA will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points).

In the summer (which runs this year from 03/25/15-10/31/15) tickets from Toronto will cost 1,800 Matmid points (90K AMEX MR points), tickets from NYC will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points), and tickets from LA will cost 2,200 Matmid points (110K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

In the winter (which runs this year from 02/10/15-03/24/15 and 11/01/15-12/31/15) tickets will remain as they are priced currently.

In the summer (which runs this year from 03/25/15-10/31/15) tickets from NYC and Toronto will cost 1,600 Matmid points (80K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 2,000 Matmid points (100K AMEX MR points).

3. Business class awards get more expensive.

Currently a business class ticket from New York or Toronto to Tel Aviv is 3,000 Matmid points (150K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 4,000 Matmid points (200K AMEX MR points)

Non-executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from Toronto or NYC will cost 4,500 Matmid points (225K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 5,000 Matmid points (250K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from Toronto or NYC will cost 4,000 Matmid points (200K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 4,500 Matmid points (225K AMEX MR points).

4. First class awards get more expensive.

Currently a first class ticket from New York to Tel Aviv is 5,000 Matmid points (250K AMEX points) round-trip and a ticket from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv is 5,400 Matmid points (270K AMEX MR points)

Non-executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from NYC will cost 7,000 Matmid points (350K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 7,500 Matmid points (375K AMEX MR points).

Executives:

Effective for reservations made on or after 02/10/15 tickets from NYC will cost 6,500 Matmid points (325K AMEX MR points) and tickets from LA will cost 7,000 Matmid points (350K AMEX MR points).

5. Fuel surcharges remain the same, but points required to waive them go up.

Fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees will continue to add about $350 onto El Al’s “free” tickets, but effective 01/01/15 you will need to use more points if you want to reduce the fuel surcharges.

6. New earning tables.

Until 02/09/15 you will earn 100 points for a round-trip discounted paid coach ticket between Tel Aviv and NYC/Toronto, 400 points for a round-trip discounted paid business, and 800 points for a discounted first class ticket .

Non-executives:

Effective 02/10/15 you will only earn 80 points in coach and 360 points in business. First remains 800 points.

Executives:

Effective 02/10/15 you will earn 96 points in coach, 432 points in business, and 960 points in first.

7. Additional free checked baggage costs more points.

Until 02/09/15 you can redeem 230 points for a 2nd free bag. Effective 02/10/15 you will need 300 points.

8. Upgrades cost more points.

The cost to upgrade to a preferred coach seat for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 199 to 299 points.

The cost to upgrade to a business class seat with coach service for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 900 to 1,350 points

The cost to upgrade to a first class seat with business service for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 950to 1,800 points

The cost to upgrade to an economy plus coach seat for NYC-Tel Aviv goes up from 300 to 450 points.

HT: damaxer91, via DDF

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55 Comments on "Massive El Al Matmid Devaluation Effective 02/10/15"

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hamberg

dan this is a wakeup call lets stop using elal

yanky

גנבים גזלנים no words

Mordechay

Wow!!! you are a serious El Al hater! BUT i can promise you that you are not alone :-)

Dan

@Mordechay:
I have no hate for them, only for how they run their mileage program.
The US carriers make billions on their mileage programs because they are well managed. Matmid is mismanaged on a criminal level.

ExGingi

Well Dan, you might have nothing against ELAL, but I think many others do.

I for one am proud of the fact that I have not flown ELAL in over 14 years. I’ve flown DL, UA, US, and a host of European carriers over those years. But I refuse to fly ELAL.

They have no concept of good customer service, they have discontent for frum jews. I find no reason to subject myself to the experience.

Suri

Time to switch to other airlines

rivka

Thank you ELAL, now I know what credit card not to apply. You guys suck! Keep it up!

JONATHAN

Do you need to complete the flights prior oto 2/10/15 or only book by them for the current amount of points

Marc

I am flying to Israel IY’H in February and happy to say I am being taken there via the good folks at United and Lufthansa. On a related note, if El-Al was a publicly held company you could bet that their service would be better and they would call for the CEO’s resignation.

Dan's the Man

If they already have a transfer partnership with Amex can’t they offer a co-branded Amex El Al card. If they do that, get ride of fuel surchages and revamp their points program. I think they’d get thousands of people to apply for that Amex card to get the sign up bonus and many (of the non Dan’s Deals crowd) would keep it and use it for most of their spending.

ccz

@Dan – the webpage you linked seems to be speaking to Israeli Matmid members – is it that these changes favor those who have the “fly card” while devaluing for those without it?

Gabi

I really cannot believe this!

I wonder what their strategy is??

Da Coach

Wow, El Al is worse than da bears.

Happy Thanksgiving

Why don’t they just remove their points program altogether? Stop with the Israeli baloney & get an overhaul in place…

shauliko

Expensive or not, I wanna fly direct from LAX. I wanna have extra security, I wanna speak hebrew to the attendants. I also wanna feel Israel in the air craft already. I wanna feel the fighting, I wanna feel the “KOMBINOT”, I will never forget where I came from. Say whatever you wanna way.

Meir

The correct link for people who live outside of Israel is:
http://www.elal.com/en/FrequentFlyer/Branches/Pages/default.aspx

ari

the unfortunate thing is by these changes they are driving people away from flying with them

they want to earn more $$$ but i think the end result it will backfire

in a service business they get a very low mark and downgrading their matmid program wont do anything to gain them any loyalty

traderprofit

That does it, I’m switching to Iran Air.

El al

El al is even worse than Cleveland!

ketubahla

I’ve complained to them for putting extra seats form Los Angeles to TLV on such a long flight and they don’t care so neither will I and I’ll take other airlines.

aradisc

@traderprofit You’d probably get better service on them if you could work around the logistical and political factors.

Mike

@traderprofit I hear IranAir is great. Once a Yid flies it, you can never go back, literally.

Emma

This is life.

Rewards programs are not getting better. In general they are getting worse. There are just too many unclaimed miles/points out there, and airlines have a huge liability on their hands.

So what to do? Devalue the points.

Dovid

I was a top platinum on Elal for three years until it dawned on me that I was not receiving any tangible benefits from my status.
I announced to them that I was departing for United and the announcement brought a whole delegation up to Yerushalayim to persuade me to change my mind.
Their approach(after I showed them what I stood to gain by switching) was
Not to offer increased benifits but rather to ‘preach Zionism’ !!
Starting at United without any ‘yichus’ was not easy but I am DELIGHTED with my.new airline!!

Anonymous

@Dovid: @Dovid: why no yichus united and any other airline will gladly match any status to get frequent travelers to fly with them i remember when elal start flying on shabbas some 8 years ago united offered status for frequent travelers from elal

sarah

exgingi I understand the points thing is annoying to those who live for points but to say you are proud for not flying elal for 14 years is over the top. I have flown Delta and United also but much prefer elal. Since you haven’t even flown them how do you even know they have discontent for frum Jews. As someone who has flown with kids and without I will tell you I would rather be on ELAL anytime over the others.

Though this may be old news to the rest of you if your points are expiring they can be used to take an extra suitcase. Something that can be useful when going to Israel.

Alfie

Did any one try to book BA to Tel Aviv?
In addition to the points, you will pay over $1000 in taxes and fees.
You want seat assignment – you pay for it.
El Al I not unique in the way they do business – we just like to hate our own…..

moe

maybe not, but, the positive comments here seem to be from ElAl themselves.

joey

do “executives” receive premium seating??

el

@Dan I have some really old points in my acct that were transferred from a HAS advantage from winning a free ticket to Israel at an event yrs ago. I never used the points and the 1400 points are just sitting there. Does this mean I will no longer have enough for a ticket from NYC? Or will they allow me to use the points at the old rate since they are old? or will they inflate my points?(I remember them adjusting the points a couple yrs ago when they changed the point system). Please advise.

Dima

do other airlines match el al status? Could be a good deal for 5k SPG?

YY

@ExGingi: I second the motion of ExGingi – “they have discontent for frum jews”

Gabbai

El Al has an old fleet, except for a few new airplanes. It has an even older approach to airline management. I agree the security is tighter on LY than on other airlines, but that doesn’t mean it is actually better. LY survives by preaching Zionism; its product is far inferior to the European and US carriers. I recently flew from TLV to London and had no option but to take the UK low cost airline Easy Jet. From what I had been told I was dreading it. It was actually more comfortable than economy in LY and without the screaming Israelis and rude cabin attendants and at a fraction of the cost. A few weeks ago I flew SWISS from ZRH to TLV in Business which beats the LY product any day of the week. The seat is a real lie flat business class seat, the glatt kosher meal beat anything I have ever had on LY and the cain service was unparalleled. Who really cares what LY do with the FF program as no serious frequent flyer who values comfort and service over the spurious El Al at home and vaunted security shpiel, would even dream of making LY their main FF carrier. Don’t believe me – fly LY First Class from New York to Tel Aviv and return with DL or UA in Business and tell me which is more comfortable, especially if you go upstairs on the DL flight. If you want a real comparison return with one of the great European carriers in their First Class cabin [BA, SWISS or LH]. The LH kosher food makes LY look like a cheap take away. So who cares that the Matmid Program is being devalued?

zizzle

Look I for one. I live in Israel and fly to the USA and UK on busines. always try to be home for shabbos. when you want to fly out motze and be back for shabbos, stops are not a good idea and elal has the best times.

so some people actually care about the devaluaton…

I’m thinking if getting teh elal credit card is a good idea, at least in my case…

alfie

1. positive comments come from regular passengers
2. Why is it that when there is a positive comment – it is from “El Al employee” – do you think that everyone hate El Al – not really!!
3. Never saw any negative comments about Delta and United changing their FF program, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian and Air Canada for charging for seats, etc. But when El Al does it,
4. Never saw any comments about Delta & United changing their FF programs
5. By the way, have you ever seen “our” people act on any other airline the way they act on El Al – I did not!!!

Maier

I was “gold” for years on LY, suddenly got downgraded to silver. They told me that I purchased discounted tickets & that only gets 1/4 of the points. I asked to look up how many transatlantic flights I had that year. She answered: 15! I asked if they were nuts. Loosing a costumer that flies 15-20/year???
I’m now gold on AA, never pay full price (I’m Jewish), they don’t care where I buy the ticket – or how much I pay. Miles equal miles. Great service. Curbside check in. Decent meal (no, not a sandwich thrown at me). Beer. Free upgrades on domestic. Lounge in almost all major cities. Exit seat that does NOT cost $150. And …ready for this one: NO ONE EVER gave me a hard time because I wear a yarmulke, never had a hard time finding a quiet place to Daven.
LY – shalom, v’lo lehitraot.

Berl

HI
I have an existing reservation with ELAL economy, does anyone know how i can upgrade to a business using AMEX MR points ?
Thanks

Baba

I also want out of ElAl.. Enough already!
Does anyone knows a website that buys Matmid points?
I tried the one that advertizes on DD, but they (logically) don’t buy Matmid..

mir

When they say converted 100 points in the last twelve months to qualify for executive status, when does that stay true until? February? Or whenever you do it?

Jeff

Can you book a one way ticket using matmid points?

Dan

@Jeff:
Yes.

deal guy

Are you currently able to see on your account, if Elal is considering you Executive or not? I transferred much more than 100 Elal in the past year, and can’t see if Elal is considering me Executive or not.

Shayt

Is this surprising at all?

El Al is the kosher restaurant of airlines. They don’t need to try because of their captive audience. I know many people who won’t fly any other airline to Israel because of the El Al security.

Is the security on El Al really any better than other airlines? I know when flying other airlines to israel, especially through europe, you many times have to go through an additional security clearing.

sara

If i transfer points today to my matmid account but they take a few days to be processed, which policy will be in effect for them?

yanky

@Maier: wel said

traderprofit

El Al is the 1960’s kibbutz of airlines.
I’ll date myself by telling you I sat in coach in 1972 next to a woman who chain-smoked the entire flight from JFK.

Give up on them. Maybe we can find an actual 5 star hotel somewhere in Israel now?

f

@traderprofit: thumbs up

marko

I love elal but why are they such a tough bunch of cookies?!?!?! i feel like they actively try not to make it favorable to stay loyal to them. wtf?

Achshell

@sarah: You are from the ElAl PR team!

Chaim Toronto

@ExGingi:
You have not flown El Al in over 14 years and that EL Al is not nice to “more observant Jews”. This is downright silly. True, years ago, El Al Services had much to be desired, but for the past several years, I must say that it is excellent save and except that their bigh on board duty free prices (same as the overpriced “duty free stores in the airport of Ben Gurion and Toronto International) and their frequent flier programme is non existent except for annual fliers. True, that I have not seen a minyan for davening and their movies are inappropriate to say the least and their entertainment centre is terrible compared to say Air Canada, BUT, they make every effort to help, provide good Kosher meals, the newer planes are more spacious than before and they to little to discourage me from Davening (as occurred to me on an Air Canada flight to Montreal from a wonder French host). In fact, their prices are better than most AND they do not rip off for the “fuel,etc etc surcharges” as Air Canada does. So, give the Jewish airlines a try once again AND YOU try to be nice to the El Al staff. Best way to try to bring a little more Yddishkeit into their lives. Chag KAsher v’Sameach/// Chaim..Toronto

Anonymous

Looks like most commenters here don’t know what’s going in award booking line..
Speaking about their mileage program. I spoke to a award booker he tells me he books every week few tickets with elal points. And almost never with DL or ua.. Just give a look on their calendar ..

Anonymous

@Anonymous:
Was talking about NYC tlv direct

Joel

Yes let me say this. Since 2003 I have spent almost $100,000 yes 100k USD on tickets for bringing my wife and kids to visit her parents in Queens. I have received absolutely no benefit from El Al not one free ticket or 1 upgrade. El Al abuses us as “friers” because they have no competition really (except Delta) for non stops TLV-JFK. It is absurd. There is no other airline where you can spend so much and get 0 back.

Joel

IMO El Al treats its customers like friers (suckers). We made aliya in 2002 and since 2003 I have spent $100,000 on El Al tickets for my wife and kids to visit her parents. Yes $100,000 USD. In return, I have not received any free tickets or any upgrades. My mother in law who is a travel agent said they eliminate your points within a fast time frame so they never accumulate. She advised us to use other airlines but my wife doesnt want stop overs as she is not a great flyer and wants to land ASAP with the kids. El Al knows they have many such customers – a “captive audience” – and they abuse them. One would think El Al would have “some” loyalty and comp us with tickets or at least upgrades. Well, we are just friers for El Al.

Mendy

Check the transfer between amex platinum to Matmid (it’s 5-1) as opposed to gold and below which is 29-1.

Using mr points with a platinum account is VERY decent

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