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Anytime I hear someone talk about planning a trip to Israel, the first question I ask is, “Have you ever heard of Flying Blue?” With Flying Blue, you can get to Israel with some of the best redemptions you’ll find from any airline. What’s more, you can throw in an additional stopover to Europe at no extra cost! Here’s a breakdown of the best way to get to Israel with reward points and miles.
What is Flying Blue?
Flying Blue is the frequent flyer program for Air France and KLM, and several other air lines. Read more about Flying Blue redemptions and how to book them here.
Here’s how many miles you will need to get to Israel
- Economy: 50,000
- Business Class: 125,000
These are pretty phenomenal rates, especially the economy rate.
Earning the Points
The first step to getting to Israel is earning the points you’ll need to get there. Luckily, Flying Blue is a transfer partner of three of the major rewards programs:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Starwood Preferred Guests
- Citi Thankyou Points
Thus, it’s very easy to accumulate miles for this program in a hurry if you need to. If you’re looking to rack up some points in a hurry, I’d recommend looking into the following cards:
- The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express can earn you 25,000 to 50,000 Membership Rewards when spending as little as $1,000 in three months!
- The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, can earn you 25,000 Starwood points, which when transferred to Flying Blue, will amount to 30,000.
- Citi Thankyou® Premier card and the Citi Prestige® Card often have bonuses at or above 50,000 Thankyou Points.
Just getting one of those cards can earn you enough miles to cover your trip in economy and getting the bonuses from a couple of them can get you really close to having a business class ticket waiting to take you to Israel.
Redeeming Flying Blue miles to get from North America to Israel
The most valuable redemption Flying Blue has to offer is probably the 50,000 economy award to Israel. Now, you will still have to pay some fees and/or fuel surcharges to take advantage of this redemption but the value is still unbeatable.
Here’s what you’d pay flying Air France and KLM:
You can get an even better bargain flying via partner airlines like Russian’s Aeroflot and Delta.
So how much value does this come out to if you were to compare it to paying cash for your airfare?
If you snagged a paid fare for the JFK to TLV flight you would pay $2,267.99, which means that a 50,000 redemption would come out to a value of approximately 4.2 cents per mile for this trip which is excellent and honestly a somewhat conservative valuation given how much those tickets can cost.
Furthermore, when compared to the rates of other rewards programs you see how much of a steal this 50,000 redemption award is.
- Aeroplan: 80,000
- American Airlines: 80,000
- ANA Partner: 65,000 (high surcharges likely)
- Delta: 70,000
- United: 85,000
Compared to most other airlines, business class from JFK to TLV for 125,000 miles is a steal, too (ANA can’t really be beat by anyone with their routes to the Middle East).
- Aeroplan: 165,000
- American Airlines: 140,000
- ANA Partner: 104,000 (high surcharges likely)
- Delta: 170,000
- United: 160,000
Adding a trip to Europe for free?
Flying Blue allows for one stopover and open jaw. This stopover can be on your inbound or outbound leg. Therefore, you hit Europe up either on your way to Israel or on your way back.
For example, your route might look like:
- JFK -> CDG (Paris) [stopover]
- CDG -> TLV
- TLV -> JFK
Unfortunately, after calling in a few times I wasn’t able to see the exact amount of surcharges that I would incur for this flight but I imagine it couldn’t be much more than what shows for booking the legs individually.
See even more of Europe
Don’t forget that Flying Blue allows for one open jaw in your destination zone. Typically, you might be restricted to your destination zone for your open jaw. For example, since you’re arriving in the Middle East, you would be restricted to planning an open jaw in one of those countries.
However, somewhat inexplicably, Flying Blue includes Israel with its Europe region. That means you’re allowed to open jaw in places like London or Paris on your way back from Israel. Thus, you could hit up two spots in Europe in addition to the Middle East and only have to pay for a one way ticket to get to your European open jaw destination.
In this case your route might look like:
- JFK -> TLV
- TLV -> FCO [paid ticket]
- FCO (Rome) [open jaw] -> CDG (Paris) [stopover]
- CDG -> JFK
You would just have to take care of your leg from TLV to FCO but those flights can be as cheap as $166. This, in my opinion, is one of the cheapest ways to do Europe, let alone also get to the Middle East! Even when compared to airlines like ANA,which has some pretty unbelievably low redemptions to Europe and the Middle East, economy redemptions for Flying Blue are still more valuable with this itinerary!
So the take-a-way for me would be that with Flying Blue you can get to the Middle East and Europe for fewer miles than most airlines require just to make it to Europe! If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Israel, Flying Blue is definitely one of the best ways to go!
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.