You Can Now Redeem Qantas Points For EL AL First & Business Class

EL AL is an airline that’s in the process of nicely improving, as they take delivery of their first Boeing 787 shortly, which features a new business class product, as well as the addition of premium economy. EL AL will first fly the plane to London, Newark, and Hong Kong.

EL-AL-787

They’re an airline that has been on my radar, and I have plans to fly them in the coming months once they take delivery of their new 787s. However, up until now there haven’t been many practical ways to redeem miles on them. American and EL AL used to have a partnership, though that was discontinued as of November 2014.

The EL AL Matmid program is an Amex Membership Rewards transfer partner, so booking directly through EL AL is in many cases the best way to redeem miles on them. But it looks like there’s a decent new option.

AusBT notes that you can now redeem Qantas points for travel in EL AL first & business class. Previously you could just redeem Qantas points for EL AL economy, so this is a very nice improvement. However, unfortunately you can only redeem Qantas points for travel on EL AL to certain regions, including Asia and Europe. You can’t redeem Qantas points for travel on EL AL between North America and Israel.

Remember that Qantas Frequent Flyer is a Citi ThankYou transfer partner, so that’s a practical way that many can earn those points.

So, how’s the pricing? Just to give a few examples, Qantas charges the following number of points for travel on EL AL (one-way):

  • Tel Aviv to Bangkok or Beijing — 35,000 miles economy, 65,000 miles business, 95,000 miles first
  • Tel Aviv to Hong Kong — 42,000 miles economy, 78,000 miles business
  • Tel Aviv to London — 20,000 miles economy, 38,000 miles business, 56,000 miles first

How does that compare to EL AL’s own redemption rates? First of all, EL AL uses a different points system. For example, 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.

EL-AL-Amex

With that in mind, let me share redemption rates in terms of Membership Rewards points, since that’s more of an apples-to-apples comparison (if you want to know the number of Matmid Club points required, just divide the below by 50):

  • Tel Aviv to Bangkok — 45,000 miles economy, 100,000 miles business, 162,500 miles first
  • Tel Aviv to Beijing — 30,000 miles economy, 100,000 miles business
  • Tel Aviv to Hong Kong — 45,000 miles economy, 115,000 miles business
  • Tel Aviv to London — 17,500 miles economy, 47,500 miles business, 90,000 miles first

Usually Qantas’ frequent flyer program is lousy, though as you can see, the redemption rates through Qantas for premium cabin travel on EL AL are significantly better than EL AL’s own program.

In first class we’re talking about a difference of 162,500 miles vs. 95,000 miles for first class to Bangkok, and 78,000 miles vs. 115,000 miles for business class to Hong Kong.

If I’m looking to redeem points for a premium cabin ticket on EL AL, this is certainly how I’d do it. It’s just too bad that they don’t allow redemptions between North America and Israel.

Comments

  1. Just a reminder, Qantas has terrible YQ charges on a number of its partner airlines (like $350AUD for Australia-S.E. Asia on Malaysia in J).

    Might be worth considering this before transferring points to redeem just in case El Al falls into this group.

  2. You’ve literally managed to come up with every excuse possible for not flying El Al or visiting Israel and invalidated them all by flying on much worse airlines and paying higher prices.

    Just do it already!

  3. @ Scott — True, though fortunately in the case of EL AL there don’t appear to be any carrier imposed surcharges.

  4. Doesn’t Qantas’ frequent flyer program charge a membership fee? If so, how does that change the value proposition?

  5. Does anyone fly EL AL from Europe to Asia or Asia to Europe, and transit in TLV?

    Is it also tough to transit in TLV itself?

    Is Qantas able to issue a Europe to Asia/Asia to Europe award ticket in one PNR?

  6. Why bother posting this? Everyone knows ElAl is the worst airline in the world with the worst cabin products, especially compared to the luxury carrier with the best in class service: Spirit.

  7. Bobby J

    Qantas does charge a joining fee but it is trivially easy to get it waived by joining a partner programme first. Sign up for Woolworths rewards and you can almost always get qantas membership for free.

  8. No membership fee if you’re outside Australia and NZ, and like Ed said, if you’re from those countries, it’s heaps easy to join through partners without paying anything. Just do a google search and links will come up.

  9. @DS – well obviously that comment was meant to be a joke, but I have heard from all of my Israeli friends that El Al is pretty bad, although it most certainly beats Spirit.

  10. Ben you should fly EL AL business LAX-TLV and COMPARE with the upcoming new business class Newark-TLV. You need to go to Israel already!!!!

  11. @flyingfish:
    Transiting through TLV is only advisable if you have a very long connection time (like >3H)
    Ask Matthew of Live and Let’s Fly.
    Israel is in the crosshairs of literally every terrorist group and rogue country, and exists at a permanent maximum alert level.
    So, as long as you approach every visit to TLV as seeing the SSSS on your boarding pass, and don’t take anything personal, you will do OK.
    And, sometimes it is as smooth as having TSA Precheck, but, don’t plan on it.

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