El Al is the flag carrier of Israel. It flies to Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Matmid, El Al’s loyalty program, has two award redemption charts. One is for the those who live in Israel and have the airline’s co-branded credit card, as well as Executive Circle elite status holders living outside of Israel. The other chart is for everyone else.
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- South African Airways
- Ben Gurion Airport (Tel Aviv)
Matmid underwent a devaluation in 2015 that raised award prices for non-elite members. The new program also raised the price of economy round-trip tickets between North America and Israel by 200 points during the summer season. Between March 25 and October 31, a round-trip ticket from New York to Israel costs 1,600 points, and from Los Angles to Israel is 2,000 points.
The earning scheme was also changed. General members now earn 80 points for a discounted round-trip flight in coach between the U.S. and Israel. Previously, that flight was worth 100 points.
Note that El Al imposes fuel surcharges on award flights. The charge on a round-trip ticket between Israel and the U.S. is $250, though you can redeem 300 points to pay for $150 of the cost.
- Points plus cash award redemptions
- Some fuel surcharges and baggage fees can be paid for with points
- Good rates on short-haul award flights
- Discounts for elite members
- Fuel surcharges
- Generally high award redemption rates
There are a some good redemptions in Matmid’s award charts, but none of them are for long-haul flights. Round-trip flights between Tel Aviv and Athens, for example, can be as cheap as 100 points during the off season. In general, flights between Israel and Europe range from 300 to 900 points, depending on the destination and the season.
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to your El Al account at a rate of 50 Amex points for 1 Madmid point. That means flights between Israel and Europe range from 15,000 to 45,000 Membership Rewards points.
Most programs offer better rates for flights between the U.S. and Israel, though it might make sense to purchase an award ticket if there’s no availability on other airlines.
Redeeming Matmid points for premium class awards, especially on long-haul flights, is very expensive. A business class ticket between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv costs 5,000 points, or a whopping 250,000 Membership Rewards points.
You can upgrade your cash ticket from economy to economy plus or business, or from business to first. Some heavily discounted fares do not qualify for upgrades. A one-way upgrade from coach to business between New York and Tel Aviv is 1,350 points. Business to first costs 1,800 points.
El Al has four elite levels. These are the requirments for reaching each level:
- Silver: 800 points or 700 points and 12 flight segments
- Gold: 1,500 points or 1,300 points and 25 flight segments
- Platinum: 3,000 points or 2,800 points and 40 flight segments
- Top Platinum: 7,000 points or 6,700 points and 60 flight segments
Each level includes the perks of the previous level.
- Silver: Seat selection; ability to pay for a second bag with points; 10 percent point bonus on flights; better rates for upgrades; Executive Member Circle benefits
- Gold: Free membership to the King David Club lounge program; priority check-in at the King David counters; 25 percent point bonus on flights
- Platinum: 50 percent point bonus on flights
- Top Platinum: 70 percent point bonus on flights; two business class upgrades a year; preferential service from a personal account manager; concierge service
El Al does not offer a co-branded credit card to U.S. residents.