Who Is Responsible For The Disappearance Of El Al NYC-Tel Aviv Awards Via Qantas Points? Here Are The Workarounds You Can Use!

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Read this first: Everything You Need To Know About Booking El Al Awards With Qantas!

A few weeks ago I wrote about how El Al Matmid suddenly moved to dynamically priced awards and removed the ability to search for standard award tickets. El Al tried to spin this to me as a good thing.

The new El Al site is even buggier than the one it replaced and it removes functionality that the old one had. It’s a complete swing and a miss as it is right now and the old functionality should have been retained until the new site was tested by end users and made ready for prime time.

El Al also removed award data from the GDS, but I was able to help get El Al award data restored to Qantas.com. In turn ExpertFlyer restored the ability to search for El Al award tickets via scraping Qantas.com data, though they weren’t able to restore the ability to tell how many award seats were available.

On 7/24, DDF member bachhere pointed out that El Al NYC-Tel Aviv flights were no longer showing up on Qantas.com, despite them showing up earlier in the day.

Sure enough, El Al flights for other routes still show up, but JFK-Tel Aviv and Newark-Tel Aviv flights do not show up.

Qantas blames El Al and El Al blames Qantas for the issue, but 5 days later it still hasn’t been fixed and nobody wants to take responsibility for what exactly is going on and why.

Many readers have written to me asking for help.

Luckily for them, there are some workarounds.

The tricky thing is to figure out when a flight has standard award space.

To search for standard award space on ElAl.com you now need sufficient points to book a standard flight, otherwise you are shown dynamic award space. Partner airlines like Qantas can only book travel if there is standard award space.

You can call El Al to search for standard award space, but that’s a time consuming process.

DDF member hamburg points out that Matmid members without sufficient points can still sniff out which dates have standard award space.

You can open a Matmid account for free via the El Al app.

For example I searched for NYC-Tel Aviv from November 10-December 1 via a Matmid account without any points.

I know that El Al charges non-Executive members 1K points for coach in the winter, 1.1K for coach in the summer, 1.75K for premium in the winter, 2.25K for premium in the summer, and 3K for business class from NYC-Tel Aviv.

El Al charges Executive members (those who have transferred 5K AMEX points in the past 12 months) 800 points for coach in the winter, 880 points for coach in the summer, 1.4K for premium in the winter, 1.8K for premium in the summer, and 2,550 points for business class from NYC-Tel Aviv.

From the results page I unchecked economy and premium, leaving only business checked. The calendar showed that on November 11th and 12th there were 3K business awards, which lines up with the standard award price for non-executives.

However El Al blocks Matmid members without sufficient points from seeing the standard award space, so when you click on the date it won’t show that rate.

But Qantas should have those dates available to book with their miles.

 

Another way to find flights with standard award space is with Qantas. On Qantas.com’s desktop site (their mobile site is a disaster) you won’t find any El Al awards if you search from NYC to Tel Aviv.

However if you try searching from other cities, like Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington DC, etc, it will actually pull up El Al awards flights with connections in NYC!

 

I suppose you could just book that and call Qantas to try to get them to delete the connection, but you can also just text Qantas and book flights from NYC-Tel Aviv via SMS in the following locations:

  • US SMS: 1-478-772-6827
  • Australia SMS: 0477-726-827
  • Hong Kong SMS: +852-64507645
  • Singapore SMS: +65-82410824
  • UK SMS: +44-7480785726

I knew based on my searches above that there would be business class award space available between NYC-Tel Aviv on November 11 and 12 and the SMS agent was also able to find space for me and book it for 78K Qantas points:

 

You can also try calling Qantas to book El Al award space between NYC and Tel Aviv. Knowing which flights are available will certainly give you a leg up as you can reference that specific flight.

It’s worth noting that Qantas employs a large number of fairly useless SMS and phone agents, so you may need to HUCA in order to book these awards, but the good news is that you can still search for and book these awards with your Qantas points.

Share your experience in the comments!


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47 Comments On "Who Is Responsible For The Disappearance Of El Al NYC-Tel Aviv Awards Via Qantas Points? Here Are The Workarounds You Can Use!"

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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Matovu

Very informative.

Ira

I bet Elal wishes they also deleted the CLE options when they deleted the JFK and EWR.

sol

I bet Dan wishes there was a CLE option…

jonahtan

will expertflyer.com help to find available award space?

HY

This is crazy I just booked a flight from Boston even though I am based out of New York City I thought all the flights from New York City were booked what would you recommend me doing now?

Mike

There are some good agents but most of them will hang up on you or ignore the text if they don’t know the answer to your question. Especially when you doubt them. Unprofessional, and I waited 1 hour to speak to someone. But there are certain times of the day with 1 minute wait times.

United

Thank you very much. Amazing.

Useless agents

Took 5 full days of texting to get a rep to help me

tamar

dan, did that 15-40% bonus , which was your original post before the 44% amex bonus came around, get honored on top of the 44%? i never heard a follow up much appreciated thanks

Arye her

Thanks @dan what an informative post
Now gotta decide drive to Boston 3-4 hours or be on the phone with Qantas forever

Ash

Dan I booked 3 business class seats with Qantas using their SMS…it’s insane the response time avg is 20 – 30 min in convo. They also charged a mandatory 6k extra for booking fee, and would not allow me to pay that fee with a CC. Only had me pay the taxes with CC. I was thinking maybe Qantas is doing this purposely to get the extra 6k per booking on their SMS system without changing their award charts

JW

Glad to hear there are workarounds, sounds like El Al’s new system is a disaster, and their reasoning for it sounded like BS in one of your previous posts.

I don’t know if the call center being overwhelmed would actually make them reconsider, but I feel like if everyone reading who has interest in booking El Al’s flights would call in once or twice and ask them to search a few routes and specifically say it’s because they can’t search for saver awards online w/o having the points already, maybe they’d think about restoring the functionality.

guy

Didn’t it go up to 90k ?

HY

Im seeing a lot 3978 Matmid points for business flights from NYC is that a standard reward

moshe

thanks dan it became so difficult to get the elal route NYC TLV even through their sms service can you advise call center location we didn’t need waiting hours like now

Yitz

Can you book TLV-JFK-BOS and then call qnatas that day and ask for them to drop the last leg?

HY

A lot more points

Yitz

Thats why I am asking about dropping the last leg:) Anyway if th eonly way to book is was to pay 10k extra points thats still not terrible esp with the 44% transfer bonus

moshe

hi guy’s we most to figure out their calling center that excepting calls it’s just a most few hours for simple booking or anything is a disaster …including their sms service

tyh

thanks man!

Engadin

Just to point out on any mobile device, when searching for Qantas award space if you turn your device sideways then you can search for award seats without any hassle

sam
No filter

The SMS service is horrible! Takes hours to get anything done.

Meir

I guess the Qantas bonus was to good to be true

EYAL L

Quick Question
How do I become elal executive
Member with Amex points?
In my understanding per the below that all I need to do is transfer 5K Amex points to elal and I get matmid gold status?

“El Al charges Executive members (those who have transferred 5K AMEX points in the past 12 months) “

Confirmation on that would be greatly appreciated

Thanks a lot
Eyal

Ebar

I would love to know that too, can anyone confirm if transferring 5k points to elal will upgrade to executive or that has been discontinued,

I have 800 points by elal expiring soon and need a one way ticket tlv-nyc and want to use it…

Thanks in advance if anyone can help

chaya

thanks dan just booked with them on the phone, they picked up right away

Dan

Can they put an award on sale or do the Citi points transfer immediately?

mike

workarounds are gone . Last week I could see the Ny to TLV flights by trying CLE . Now nothing shows up . I figured they read this site and close anything that is posted . El Al is really bad .

Noah

@Dan: I’ve been doing all sorts of searches from EW and JFK to TLV and vice versa throughout the next 12 months VIA EpertFlyer,
OFFICIAL: NO AVAILABILITY in ANY ElAl Premium cabins!

AT FAULT: ELAL! NOT Qantas ✈

#stopblamingothers
#manuptoanotherflop!

yhersh

i transfered a ton of points to qantas because of promotion and elal availibility
is there anything i can do now, maybe transfer these points somewhere now that i cant get elal with ease?

or do u know if their are going to restore availibility on qantas site in the near future?

Jonathan

Is it now just harder to verify the saver space prior to contacting Qantas to book or is it now actually impossible to book NYC-TLV at the same classic award rate via Qantas? I am waiting for the calendar to open to book for August 2020, but I have no idea how to go about making the booking when the calendar opens. Any advice? Any other workaround ideas?

Michael

You can now book Elal flights Jfk-tlv on Qantas site again

Jonathan

After pecking around I found just one random date where there was availability showing up again on the Qantas booking site. But seemingly nothing for next Summer. Anyone else have any luck booking anything recently? Any idea exactly how many months in advance El Al releases dates for booking?

Ben

Seems Tuesdays from Toronto and BOS have availability. But only Tuesdays…

ari

Just booked a flight from JFK-TLV using QANTAS points on the website. Qantas tells me seat selection must be done via El Al, El Al says they will charge $20 per passenger and Qantas should be able to do it. Any info/advice?

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