JT Genter broke the news this week on Award Wallet that it is now possible to book award tickets via the Alaska Airlines website for travel on El Al. The good news is that Alaska appears to have access to expanded award space on El Al (though much of it has been scooped up). The bad news is that award rates are high, so this won’t feel like a great deal but is rather a good chance to book El Al if it fits your needs.
As Greg mentioned on this weekend’s podcast, the thing that’s most interesting about this development is that we’ve now seen Alaska get access to expanded award space with several of its partners. For instance, while you typically can not book Singapore Airlines business class on flights to/from the United States with most partner miles, it is sometimes possible to book via Alaska Mileage Plan. As is the case with El Al, award pricing isn’t great, but Dan’s Deals reported that Alaska appears to have access to expanded availability. While I don’t see much award space this winter anymore out of New York, it’s worth keeping an eye on this if you want to travel to Tel Aviv or beyond.
Pricing seems to vary. For instance, I found New York to Tel Aviv for 40K in economy or 65K in premium economy. Dan reports that business on these dates was coming in at 85K miles one way.
However, at the end of the schedule, the rates jump up to 50K economy / 80K premium economy / 100K business.
Those rates aren’t particularly attractive for travel from the US to Israel, but if you want to fly nonstop and/or if Alaska has access to expanded space that you need, this could be an attractive option.
Also keep in mind that Alaska allows a free stopover on a one-way award, so this could potentially become appealing if you find on onward connection.
Keep in mind that the only reasonable way to earn Alaska miles with a credit card is via one of the Bank of America Alaska cards (consumer or business) — they aren’t transfer partners with the major transferable currencies. Given how difficult it is to earn Alaska miles, I find the redemption rate here to be unattractive — at least for as long as Alaska has a few sweet spots left like 55K to Australia and Fiji or 50K business class to Asia on Cathay Pacific (as two examples), I’d probably prefer to use Alaska miles with other partners. However, I’m glad to see the expansion of online ticketing to more partners and will keep this one in mind if and when I plan a trip where El Al is a fit.