Air France moves Israel to the Middle East, heavily devalues business class awards

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Dan’s Deals reports on an unfortunate devaluation of Air France KLM Flying Blue: while Israel has long been included in Flying Blue’s definition of “Europe” in terms of award pricing, it seems that they have finally moved Israel to price with countries in the Middle East, with prices for awards from the US to Israel increasing significantly for travel on both Air France and Virgin Atlantic.

For many years, dating back to when Air France KLM Flying Blue used to have an award chart, they classified Israel and Morocco as part of Europe.

It looks like Morocco is still pricing as part of Europe, with economy flights still available in the 20K’s one way and business class as low as 53K one-way on some itineraries I’ve checked (and note that Dan’s Deals reports this being the previous one-way business class starting price to Tel Aviv as well).

With the current point transfer bonus at the time of writing, this would require transferring just 41K Membership Rewards points.

However, flights to Tel Aviv start around 34K miles in economy class or 85K miles one-way in business class.

Dan’s Deals reports that pricing on partner Virgin Atlantic (or the nonstop Delta flight) starts at 38K in economy or business class starts at 95K miles one way.

Those are quite significant increases, particularly for those looking to fly in business class. The current Flying Blue 30% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards could temporarily relieve some of that sting, but that’s only if you’re ready to book right now.

I had hoped that perhaps Tel Aviv would still sneak through with promotional pricing through Flying Blue’s monthly Promo Rewards, but I checked the current list and while I found the expected “Europe” discounted pricing from Lima to Morocco, flights to Tel Aviv did not reflect that discount.

This is unfortunate for sure, though I think most people found this to be an incredible value that lived on borrowed time for many years. I’m not entirely surprised to see Israel’s region definition change, but that doesn’t make it any less unfortunate for those who had hoped to plan a trip in the coming months. A major downside of programs eliminating award charts is that a program without an award chart is ripe for a no-notice devaluation like this with the ability to hide behind variable pricing rather than showing a change on a published award chart and giving some advance notice.

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