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Greg was playing with SeatSpy this morning and noticed that on many days in December and January United has at least 2 seats available in business class (and up to 6 seats on some days) on the nonstop from Newark to Tel Aviv, Israel. I believe the best way to book this would be via Turkish Miles & Smiles, which charges just 47K miles each way. Another great option for those without Citi ThankYou points would be ANA Mileage Plan, which charges 104K miles round trip (though note that you must book round trip with ANA).
- United Airlines has decent availability for 2 or more passengers in nonstop business class from Newark to Tel Aviv in December 2021 / January 2022 (with multiple seats available on both nonstop United flights on some days). The cheapest way to book is via Turkish Miles & Smiles for 47K miles each way
While this isn’t quite “wide open” availability, there are quite a few days with room for at least two passengers. Flying nonstop cuts at least a couple hours off of the trip over flying via Europe.
United charges 75K miles per passenger on the dates shown above with saver availability. In some cases, I see as many as six seats available at the saver level.
However, those with Citi ThankYou points can snag those seats with just 47K Turkish Miles & Smiles miles + $5.60 from the US to Israel or $44.82 on the way back.
Turkish Miles & Smiles is a Citi transfer partner. If you don’t have Citi ThankYou points but you do have Amex Membership Rewards points, your next best bet would be booking via ANA Mileage Club for 104K miles round trip.
That’s still a much better deal than what you’ll get when booking through United. Just keep in mind that ANA requires booking round trip.
If you want to kick things up a notch from there, keep in mind that ANA allows a free stopover. That 104K round trip price covers all of Africa, so you could use this availability to visit Tel Aviv en route to Johannesburg as an example (though in the example below it does increase taxes / surcharges quite a bit – I’m not sure whether those are primarily from Ethiopian or Egypt Air, but this is just an example to show it could work).
Of course, if we’re kicking it up a notch, keep in mind that ANA has a pretty terrific around the world chart. You could do something like fly United from Newark to Tel Aviv and then continue onward on Air India to Delhi, Thai Airways to Bangkok, Thai or ANA to Tokyo, and then back to Newark on ANA or United and based on the cumulative distance of just under twenty thousand miles that would only cost 115K ANA Miles in business class with stops in each city. See Around the World in business class for 115K [Sweet-spot spotlight] for more detail.
We obviously don’t know what travel restrictions may be in place in December and January, so the above is a pipe dream at this point and it’s worth considering that unknown before transferring points. On the other hand, if you already have Turkish or ANA miles from cancelled trips, this could be a good way to put them to use. Turkish charges a cancellation fee of just $25 per passenger and I believe ANA is 3,000 miles per passenger, so in either case the risk of cancellation is relatively low.