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In 2017, EL AL and Qantas launched a partnership, allowing reciprocal mileage redemptions. This really came in handy, given how few airline partners EL AL has. American AAdvantage used to partner with EL AL, though that ended in 2014.
Not only is it now possible to redeem Qantas points on EL AL, but over the past year or so they’ve made the process of booking easier, so in this post I wanted to provide a refresher of how this works.
How to earn Qantas points
Qantas Frequent Flyer is transfer partners with Citi ThankYou and Capital One:
- Citi ThankYou points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and through April 13, 2019, there’s even a 25% transfer bonus
- Capital One points transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio
So in particular there’s value in finding good Qantas redemptions right now, given the Citi ThankYou transfer bonus. Being able to transfer points at a 1:1.25 ratio is a great deal.
Probably the most well-rounded card for earning ThankYou points is the Citi Premier℠ Card. The card has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first 12 months, and offers triple points on travel and gas, and double points on dining and entertainment.
Qantas redemption rates on EL AL
Qantas has a distance based award chart. For travel on most partner airlines, here’s their redemption chart:
The reason I think redeeming on EL AL is a good value is because they don’t have many airline partners, and because Qantas doesn’t impose fuel surcharges for travel on EL AL.
So if you’re looking to redeem for travel between the US and Israel, you can expect to pay the following number of points:
- Flights of 4,801-5,800 miles cost 42,000 points in economy, 63,000 points in premium economy, or 78,000 points in business; this includes flights between Tel Aviv and Boston, Newark, and New York JFK
- Flights of 5,801-7,000 miles cost 50,000 points in economy, 75,000 points in premium economy, or 92,000 points in business; this flights flights between Tel Aviv and Chicago, Miami
- Flights of 7,001-8,400 miles cost 56,000 points in economy, 84,000 points in premium economy, or 104,000 points in business; this flights flights between Tel Aviv and Los Angeles, San Francisco
So taking advantage of the 25% transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou, you can expect to pay as little as 63,000 ThankYou points for a one-way ticket in business class, which is a great deal.
How to search EL AL award availability
The easiest way to search EL AL award availability is through ExpertFlyer, assuming you have a membership. Whatever awards they show there should also be bookable through Qantas.
Alternatively you can just search through through Qantas’ website. The catch is that there’s no way to specify that you want nonstop award availability, so the calendar will show you all kinds of award availability, including on other partners.
Just because the calendar indicates there’s business class award space on a particular date doesn’t mean there’s actually “real” business award space. It could be that really there’s New York to London to Tel Aviv on British Airways, with the New York to London flight in economy, for example.
But you can either play around with the calendar or go based on ExpertFlyer space, and you should see the availability. Below is availability between Newark and Tel Aviv, for example.
The cost there is just 78,000 Qantas points plus a few dollars in taxes.
In general EL AL isn’t good about releasing award seats, so just be aware of that. Most flights seem to have zero business class award seats, while other flights have 1-4 award seats. So there is some space, but not that much.
EL AL’s 787 business class
In the past EL AL was an airline that many people avoided for their subpar business class product. However, the airline is now primarily operating 787s to the US, featuring a very good business class product. All seats have direct aisle access, and I’ve had good experience with service and food.
EL AL’s 787 business class
Comparing this to EL AL Matmid redemption rates
One other option for booking EL AL awards is using the Matmid Club, which is EL AL’s own frequent flyer program. This program is partners with Amex Membership Rewards.
The first thing to understand is that EL AL uses a different points system. Amex Membership Rewards points convert into Matmid Club points at a 1,000:20 ratio. Furthermore, if you transfer at least 5,000 points to EL AL you become an Executive Member, which gets you discounted award redemptions.
You can find EL AL’s redemption rates here. In general you’ll see that business class redemptions cost 2,000-2,900 Matmid points in each direction, which is the equivalent of 100,000-145,000 Amex Membership Rewards points in each direction. Booking through Qantas is a significantly better value.
EL AL’s 787 business class
Redeeming Qantas points on EL AL can be a very good value, especially in conjunction with a transfer bonus. In fairness, EL AL doesn’t release that much award availability, but with some planning it’s not too hard to find seats.
There are some other great value ways to get to Israel, though a lot of people value the convenience of a nonstop, and with EL AL’s improved product, I think the airline is well worth flying.
Has anyone taken advantage of the opportunity to redeem Qantas points on EL AL?