Sweet Spot: Business Class To Israel For Just 63,000 Points

by Anna

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Note: The Citi transfer bonus  to Qantas ended on April 13, 2019 but you can still fly for 78,000 Citi Thank You points. 

Thinking about jetting off to the beautiful beaches of Tel Aviv in style? Well, you can for as little as 63,000 Citi ThankYou points with the currently 25% transfer bonus to Qantas. Here’s everything you need to know about this mini-sweet spot redemption.

Business Class To Israel On The Cheap

The ThankYou points to Qantas transfer bonus ends on April 13. If you have been wondering what to do with your ThankYou points and wanted to go to Israel, now is the time to act.

You might be asking, how can Australian airline’s miles help me book a trip to Israel? This is where knowing airline alliances and partnerships comes in handy. El Al is not a member of Oneworld alliance, but it is a partner of Qantas. With the current Citi promotion, you will need only 63,000 Citi ThankYou points to book a non-stop flight from one of El Al’s east coast getaway cities to Israel in business class.

I took advantage of this special offer to book an El Al ticket in business class, including a domestic segment for 69,000 ThankYou points.

First Step: Qantas Award Chart

Qantas has a distance-based award chart and there’s a separate chart for partners.

I got a chuckle with Air Berlin still on there…

To estimate distance flown, I use Great Circle Mapper.

Tel Aviv to JFK falls into zone 6 of Qantas’ award chart, so we’ll need 78,000 Qantas miles for business class.

If you need a domestic connection, you can use this separate chart below to determine the number of additional Qantas miles needed. In my case, I needed 8,000 more miles to go from JFK to Cleveland.

How to Transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Qantas

Log into your Citi account and scroll down until you see Redeem ThankYou Points for Travel.

On the next screen you should see a a banner with the Qantas’ Frequent Flyer logo and the details of the promotion.

Click on Transfer Now and on the next page you’ll see a handy slider that will help you determine exactly how many ThankYou Points you need to transfer. You can only transfer in 1,000 point increments.

 

I wanted to book a one way flight from Tel Aviv all the way to my home airport of Cleveland, including a domestic flight on American Airlines, so I transferred 69,000 ThankYou points for 86,000 Qantas miles. My flight on El Al is in business, and the short domestic flight on AA is in economy.

How to Book Award Flights on Qantas

I love the straightforward Qantas search engine. To look for award space, you’ll first have to create an account. Navigate to Qantas.com and click on Book, then Flights. If you have flexibility, put a check mark in the depart date window and check the box next to Flexible With Dates.

On the next screen you can select your desired class of service.

 

Here are our search results. As you can see, economy, premium economy and business are all available on our selected date. Overall, award availability looks to be pretty excellent.

 

Click on your desired date to see available award space and itinerary. El Al flies to both Newark and JFK, so there are lots of good options.

Click on the red Continue button on the bottom of the screen to see the taxes and fees. Qantas doesn’t pass on carrier surcharges so the taxes and fees should be minimal. I paid $53 for my trip.

Where Does El AL Fly To In The US?

ElAL aircraft | Image courtesy of Oyoyoy via Wikimedia Commons

ElAL aircraft | Image courtesy of Oyoyoy via Wikimedia Commons

Flights between Tel Aviv and these three Northeast airports are just 63,000 ThankYou points + $50 or so in taxes (with the current bonus):

  • Boston
  • New York, JFK
  • New York, Newark

El Al also flies to the following US destinations:

  • Las Vegas (Begins June 14, 2019)
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Orlando (Begins July 2, 2019)
  • San Francisco (Resumes May 13, 2019)

If you don’t live near one of these airports, you can book a separate positioning flight or do what I did and include a short domestic flight in your award booking with Qantas miles.

How to Earn Citi ThankYou Points

You can earn Citi Thank you points with Citi Prestige (annual fee $495, not waived the first year) or Citi Premier (annual fee $95, waived the first year). Both cards currently have 50,000 ThankYou points signup bonus. The Citi cards have a generous earning structure with a few bonus categories, so it’s fairly easy to accumulate a good stash of ThankYou points.

You can transfer ThankYou points to Qantas, but it’s never a good idea to transfer flexible credit cards points speculatively. I’ve read that transfers can take between 2 and 10 days, but my points were in my Qantas account in less than 24 hours.

The Upshot

I fly to Israel a couple of times a year, but, ironically, I’ve never flown El Al. I usually book my flights on Star Alliance carriers with United miles but I am am excited to try out a new airline.

Only one other time I was able to book an award flight to Israel in business class with 69,000 miles via Singapore Airlines Krisflyer. I am always excited when I can find a business award flight to Israel under 70,000 points with any carrier. I am looking forward to trying out El Al’s newly updated business class.

Will you be booking a flight to Israel with Qantas miles while the promotion is still going on?

 

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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2 comments

Steve March 17, 2019 - 8:40 pm

Thank you for the article; this may be off topic, but I wondered if you have a preferred redemption to Tel Aviv from the Northeast US that includes a stopover in Europe to break up the long flight (travelling with children and wanting to include other cities); I have tried to research this, and so far have not come up with any great options (since Flying Blue took out stopovers). Thanks for you advice!

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Anna March 18, 2019 - 8:35 am

Steve, I am not familiar with any airlines that allow stopover on award tickets. TAP Air Portugal allows a stopover on paid tickets: https://www.flytap.com/en-us/stopover. You can also just book award tickets to Europe and then buy flights from there to Israel. There are lots of low cost carriers that fly to Israel so it’s not expensive at all.

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