[Update: Back in Europe] Air France moves Israel to the Middle East, heavily devalues business class awards


Update: Israel is once again pricing as part of Europe. I noticed in the terms of the monthly Promo Rewards (and noted in our earlier post) that it says (bold is mine added for emphasis):

  • Promo reward tickets for long haul-flights depart from or arrive in Europe, as defined by IATA as the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Austria, Balearic Islands, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, West Russia.

Indeed I was able to confirm that Tel Aviv is pricing from the same 55K miles in business class between the US and Israel:

And I checked that on multiple routes and both on Air France and KLM:

The original post follows for informational purposes, but the good news is that it appears to no longer be true.


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 (now expired) 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. (See the update at the top — Tel Aviv once again prices as part of Europe)

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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Just checked and it looks like it’s back to 85K 🙁 any chance they’ll honor the old award price over the phone?

[…] do think Air France Flying Blue program will probably be your best bet. According to this post on Frequent Miler, Israel is once again priced the same way as Europe routes. There is even a screenshot highlighting […]


I’m thinking the main reason is that they switched the plane to have real lie-flat on the route CDG-TLV as opposed to the European blocked-middle-seat business class and as such probably thought that route was really not Europe anymore. It still sucks


Probably true…
I flew few times on the TLV-CDG-BOS line for 53k, which is an excellent rate compared to what is available on Delta/Unites/AA. The lie flatbed on my June flight was a nice surprise!
You can still get good redemption to TLV with Turkish, but they have their share of issues.


It’s a shame to see this go but it is where all airline programs are headed. They seem so tone-deaf. Some of this may be fueled by the temporary spike in leisure travelers combined with bad financials and over-exposure on points in the marketplace but once travel returns, school is back in session, etc. They will lose long-term customers. Air France won’t lose much of my business due to this as I knew it was too good to last forever but it’s disappointing to change it without notice.

[…] Bei Israel gibt es Veränderungen. Im Meilenrechner schaut alles noch wie zuvor aus. In der Flugsuche erhält man nun aber ein neues Ergebnis. Israel wird zu Middle East gezählt. (Danke: Frequentmiler.boardingarea.com) […]


Not really a devaluation. Kinda clickbait title.


I actually thought the title somewhat ironic, even bit humorous, given the extraordinarily “loaded” historical implications…. (and I’ll leave it alone)

Last edited 1 year ago by escot

Just as a point of info for readers, Morocco is in North Africa, not the Middle East. (In case anyone is assuming anything in common with Israel other than the fact that it also is a non-European country that Air France lumped in with Israel.)


ah yes, having taught “Middle East” politics for much of the past 40 years, guess it was wrong of me to include Morocco therein….. 😉 (and you conveniently don’t mention that Moroccan & Israeli…. um…. politics & global pr had more than a few common threads…. Ah never mind, I do appreciate the news that loophole for relatively cheaper travel to the King’s place remains. (and therefrom — well, across North Africa and beyond)


Personally, I have minimal interest in traveling to Israel (I imagine once in my lifetime would be incredible, but enough), so I certainly don’t think this is a big devaluation for most people. Your headline makes it sound like AF devalued all of their business class awards.