The nonstop routes between Tel Aviv and North America are some of the hardest for business saver awards.
Earlier this year I took my family to Israel on USAirways business class when they had a glitch and opened up their entire schedule for business saver awards while they were converting their fare classes to match American’s. That was actually the 2nd glitch of the year. It happened the day before but I slept through it while DDF’ers were having all the fun. And then it happened a 3rd time a couple of weeks later. But aside from those glitches it’s a tough award.
Even finding 1 business saver award seat requires hunting, but DDF user D93 notes that United has at least 9 business saver award seats available on December 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25 on their Tel Aviv-Newark morning flight. There are also at least 9 coach saver awards, but the coach award seats aren’t rare.
Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be the same kind of business saver award space from Newark to Tel Aviv, though you can fly nonstop in United coach, in partner business class with a stop, or if you’re feeling adventurous you can give Plan B a try for United business saver award when there’s only coach saver availability.
Unfortunately United killed their legacy Continental website, and with it the ability to actually see which of these dates actually have nonstop award space.
Consider that Smisek’s last hurrah.
United’s biggest downgrade? The new website’s award calendar’s lack of ability to show nonstop saver award availability:
So what’s the best way to book?
However United will charge you $200 should you need to cancel and redeposit the miles.
Alternatively you can transfer points from AMEX, Chase, Citi, or Starwood to Singapore, however that transfer isn’t instant. From AMEX, Chase, or Citi it can take anywhere from a 2-48 hours while transfers from Starwood can take 2-6 days. In the meantime the award space may dry up.
But if you want to risk it Singapore charges just 57.5K miles for the same flight with no fuel surcharges. And should you need to cancel and redepsoit the miles you’ll pay just $30.
The same story applies in coach, United charges 42.5K miles while Singapore charges just 37.5K miles for the same United flight.
You need to call Singapore to book travel on United.
It’s also worth noting that while United miles can stay alive forever if you have their credit card or account activity, Singapore miles expire 36 months after they’re transferred in, regardless of activity. And Singapore charges a fuel surcharge for travel on most airlines besides for United.