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4 Best Ways to Get to Israel with Miles and Points

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4 Best Ways to Get to Israel with Miles and Points

Jake Pearring4 Best Ways to Get to Israel with Miles and PointsMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

INSIDER SECRET: Flying Blue frequently publishes promotional award prices. We’ve seen previous deals offering roundtrip flights to Tel Aviv for as little as 25,000 miles in coach!

My wife and I had the incredible privilege of visiting Israel two years ago, and did a self-guided tour of several of the country’s top religious sites. For us, it was a joyous and informative experience (that we won’t soon forget!) and we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see so many biblical destinations with our very own eyes.

Fortunately, we were able to use points and miles to offset the majority of our travel costs—and you can do the same! Even though it’s a long flight (or three!) from the US, you can get to Israel with miles and points earned from some of the best travel credit cards for award flights on airlines from all of the major airline alliances.

Tel Aviv is the primary airport in Israel, so you’ll want to plan to fly into Ben Gurion airport (TLV) regardless of where in Israel you might be adventuring. Jerusalem is just over an hour’s drive away, and renting a car in Israel is straightforward and safe (and Israeli roads are beautifully maintained!).

During our visit, we rented an economy car from Avis and quite enjoyed the freedom to explore Capernaum, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat and the Dead Sea on our own timeline.

Jerusalem is a bucket-list destination due to its historical and religious significance. You can get to Israel with miles and points!

I could write for hours about our adventures and highlights, but here I’ll show you 4 of the best ways to redeem miles and points for award flights to Israel.

How to Get to Israel With Miles and Points

1. Iberia

Iberia Avios points are some of the most powerful tools for crossing the Atlantic, and it’s an absolute steal if you’re trying to get to Israel.

For example, you can fly from New York to Tel Aviv in coach for just 28,000 points plus taxes & fees (generally $120+). Or you can fly in Business Class for 55,250 Iberia Avios points and slightly higher taxes and fees.

Here’s an example flight in September.

 

Iberia flies from five US airports, so you’ll have to get to those if you want to book these deals. Here are the coach prices to Tel Aviv from those airports:

  • Boston – 32,250 points
  • Chicago – 32,250 points
  • Los Angeles – 32,250 points
  • Miami – 32,250 points
  • New York – 28,000 points

On top of that, Iberia Avios points are pretty effortless to earn. You can transfer your points from:

Plus, if you have British Airways Avios points, you can transfer them to Iberia, as well.

2. Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles on SkyTeam Airlines

If you want to use airline miles to fly to Israel, my favorite option is booking with Flying Blue. Flying Blue is the loyalty program of several airlines including Air France and KLM. And award flights to Israel using Flying Blue miles require some of the fewest miles of any rewards currency (THE fewest when they have promo award sales). That’s because Israel is considered part of the “Europe” region when booking with the Flying Blue award chart.

If you want to travel in coach one-way from the US to Israel, you’ll pay as little as 29,000 Flying Blue miles plus taxes and fees. The outbound flight (from the US to Tel Aviv) should cost between $80 and $100 in fees, whereas the return flight home will probably cost closer to $200. So although the cost in miles will be low, keep in mind that you’ll be spending significantly more out of pocket.

Flying Blue offers surprisingly decent availability for award flights from the US west coast.

Each of the prices below represents the minimum number of points for those award flights. If none of the cheapest award flights exist, you’ll pay more. And Business Class award flights cost at least ~$250 in taxes and fees each way… ouch!

  • 29,000 Flying Blue miles one-way in coach between the US and Israel
  • 42,500 Flying Blue miles one-way in Premium Economy between the US and Israel
  • 53,000 Flying Blue miles one-way in Business Class between the US and Israel

Award flights that you can book with Flying Blue will need to be on airlines that are part of the SkyTeam alliance, such as Air France, KLM, Delta or Alitalia.

Redeem Flying Blue miles for award flights on SkyTeam airlines. But watch out for high fees!

Perhaps the best thing about Flying Blue is that even if you don’t have any Flying Blue miles, you can transfer points from each of the major transferable currencies:

This means if you’ve got points spread across multiple accounts, you can transfer them all in to Flying Blue to get the number of miles you need.

Finally, I recommend you keep an eye on the Flying Blue Promo Awards which are announced each month. These are only practical for specific cities and more last-minute bookings, but you might find value if you look closely. For more information, check out our permanent page for Flying Blue Promo Awards.

3. United Airlines Miles or Air Canada Aeroplan Miles on Star Alliance Airlines

While Iberia and Flying Blue are certainly the cheapest award option, you’ll be limited on routes and award flight availability. And if you want to travel with the whole family, those taxes and fees can add up quickly! That’s why United Airlines miles can be a great value for award flights to Israel – lots of airline partners with tons of flights, and low taxes and fees.

United Airlines charges the following amounts for award flights between the US and Israel:

  • 42,500 United Airlines miles one-way in coach
  • 75,000 United Airlines miles one-way in Business Class on United
  • 85,000 United Airlines miles one-way in Business Class on Star Alliance flights
Fly United Airlines from the US to Israel, including nonstop from the United gateways of Newark, San Francisco or Washington, DC.

If you happen to live in New York, Washington, DC or San Francisco, you can even try to book one of United’s nonstop flights from the US to Tel Aviv. Surprisingly, I see multiple options for round-trip coach flights on United’s nonstop flights from Newark and Washington, DC, so that’s probably the best overall flight option.

The United.com website makes searching for award flights incredibly easy, so I start most of my adventure planning by starting my award searches from there.

Star Alliance airlines like Air Canada, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, LOT Polish airlines, Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines all offer service to Tel Aviv as well. This means you have a variety of options, and hopefully you can find flights that fit your travel schedule.

If you’re low on United Airlines miles, you can always earn more by applying for cards that earn their miles directly, like the United℠ Explorer Card. Or transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Pro Tip: If you want to save a couple thousand miles, you can also book the same award flights with Air Canada Aeroplan miles. These transfer instantly from American Express Membership Rewards and you can book the same Star Alliance airlines for 40,000 miles each way in coach or 67,500 miles each way in Business Class.

Book Star Alliance award flights with Aeroplan miles to save 2,500 miles in coach each way.

On some airlines (including Air Canada), you may be on the hook for substantial fuel surcharges. For more info on booking award flights with Aeroplan, read our guide to Air Canada Aeroplan miles.

4. American Airlines Miles on oneworld Airlines

If you fail to find award flights with Flying Blue or United Airlines, consider redeeming American Airlines miles for your Israeli adventure. American Airlines has fewer partners that fly to the Middle East region (which includes Israel), but awards are often readily available.

Unfortunately, as with most American Airlines partner award flights that cross the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll want to avoid flights on British Airways because of the outrageous fees.

That said, you can typically find flights from most US cities to Israel, and availability is reasonable. Then, try to narrow your search to transatlantic flights on American Airlines, Royal Jordanian or Iberia.

Redeem American Airlines Miles for Award Flights on oneworld Partners Such as British Airways, Royal Jordanian or Iberia.

For flights between the continental US and Israel, you’ll pay the following:

  • 40,000 American Airlines miles one-way in coach
  • 70,000 American Airlines miles one-way in Business Class
  • 115,000 American Airlines miles one-way in First Class

American Airlines miles are particularly easy to earn with generous welcome bonuses from cards like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.

Be sure to check out our complete guide to booking award flights with American Airlines miles.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom Line

If traveling to Israel is a religious, historical or personal aspiration of yours, I wholeheartedly encourage you to put in the time and effort to make it happen. And although cost can often be an inhibitor to bucket-list trips, the right planning with miles and points from travel rewards credit cards can make a trip from the US to Israel affordable for almost anyone.

My favorite strategies for booking award flights to Israel include Iberia, Flying Blue, United Airlines and American Airlines miles, but other options exist, too. Regardless of how you redeem points and miles to make your trip happen, I hope they help make your trip a reality!

Have you ever been to Israel?  How did you book your trip?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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  • No foreign transaction fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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The problem with Flying Blue is that both KLM and AF use the dreaded “euro business” on their segments to TLV. Flying Blue is good for coach, but I wouldn’t choose it for a business class redemption. Especially when Iberia offers a wide-body A330 on the MAD-TLV route at a similar cost.

Looking to go sometime 2019 and would love to use up our AA points.

Any information you could send, would be appreciative. It’s hard to find it online, I think I’m better calling American.

Have you seen 75,000 mile business class seats from IAD to TLV on nonstop flights? I’m seeing 180,000 on the United site for a business everyday award. I can’t find a business saver on a nonstop flight. Thanks.

very hard to find non-stop to TLV at saver awards. TK is a great option as it gets you most of the way there on the TATL

I recently booked a flight to visit my daughter who’s studying abroad in Israel using American Airlines miles (since that’s what I had the most of) on Royal Jordanian. It worked out great to be able to use miles for the flight.

And I’m glad to hear you say renting a car is a reliable option – I’d been leaning toward doing that for my trip. Now I’m convinced.

I hope you’ll share more about your trip!