Known as the City of Gold, Jerusalem is a holy place for three major world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. One of the oldest cities in the world, no trip to Israel is complete without visiting its ancient religious sites, such as the Wailing Wall and the Temple Mount. The ancient walled quarter in the center of town, known as the Old City, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Jerusalem is also modern and developed, with dazzling steel and glass office buildings and commercial plazas competing with the city’s ancient sites for space and attention. The strikingly modern and controversial Bridge of Strings, designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Santiago Calatrava, serves as the gateway to Jerusalem.
If you fly, though, the first thing you’ll see is Ben Gurion Airport, which is located outside of town, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The airport in Jerusalem has been closed since the Second Intifada in 2001.
Getting from Ben Gurion to Jerusalem is easy. The most popular option is to take a sherut (a shared taxi van), which costs about $16 per person. You can also take a bus for about half the price, but it’s a longer trip.
AAdvantage Miles and the Oneworld Alliance
The following oneworld members fly to Ben Gurion Airport:
- US Airways from Philadelphia
- airberlin via Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich
- British Airways via London
- Finnair via Helsinki
- Iberia via Madrid
- Royal Jordanian via Amman
Try to avoid flying on British Airways, as it adds huge fuel surcharges on flights to Israel.
Round-trip tickets purchased with AAdvantage miles cost:
- 90,000 miles in economy
- 135,000 in business
- 180,000 in first
MileagePlus Miles and the Star Alliance
The following Star Alliance members fly to Ben Gurion Airport:
- United Airlines from New York
- Adria Airways seasonally via Ljubljana
- Aegean Airlines via Athens and Larnaca, and seasonally via Heraklion, Rhodes and Thessaloniki
- Air Canada via Toronto
- Brussels Airlines via Brussels
- Croatia Airlines seasonally via Dubrovnik and Zagreb
- Egypt Air via Cairo
- Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa
- LOT via Warsaw
- Lufthansa via Frankfurt and Munich
- Scandinavian via Copenhagen, and seasonally via Stockholm
- Swiss International Air Lines via Zurich
- Turkish Airlines via Istanbul
Round-trip tickets purchased with MileagePlus miles cost:
- 85,000 miles in economy
- 140,000 in business on United and 160,000 on partner airlines
- 180,000 in first on United and 280,000 on partner airlines
SkyMiles and the SkyTeam
The following SkyTeam members fly to Ben Gurion Airport:
- Delta from New York
- Air Europa via Madrid, and seasonally via Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca
- Air France via Marseille, Nice and Paris
- Czech Airlines via Prague
- KLM via Amsterdam
Round-trip tickets purchased with SkyMiles cost:
- 80,000 miles in economy
- 140,000 in business
First class tickets cannot be purchased with SkyMiles.
SkyMiles offer the cheapest award seats in economy at 80,000 miles, but using AAdvantage miles will get you the cheapest business class tickets. Award seats on nonstop flights from the U.S. can be hard to find, but there are plenty of flights available if you’re willing to make a stop on your way to Israel.