Israel is probably one of the most confused countries when it comes to listing it for award regional classification. There are 4 different classifications from 4 different programs for this little country! But, to the people traveling on miles, this can be a big help! For 45,000 miles, you can fly business class to Israel – just 2,500 miles more than United charges for ECONOMY on the same route!
How To Fly Business Class to Israel from the US for Just 45K Miles
What Airlines Would You Be Able to Fly On?
For this award, we will be using Aegean’s Miles+Bonus program. Because of that, you can use any Star Alliance airlines for you travels from the US to Israel. That means Austrian, Swiss, LOT, Lufthansa, Turkish, and, of course, United. Any of those airlines are great ones to fly in business class as they offer a very nice hard product and airlines like Austrian and Turkish even offer catering in business class!
Also, United has begun flying their actual Polaris business class seat on the Newark to Tel Aviv route so this means you would be able to fly the best United business class seat around (maybe – see below!).
Flying Business Class for Just 45,000 Miles to Israel
This is a great deal since airlines like United actually charge 85,000 miles to fly through Europe in business class from the US to Israel and 75,000 miles to fly non-stop on United from the US to Israel. This is a savings of 30,000 miles at least when you use Aegean miles instead of United miles.
How to Book Business Class to Israel for Just 45,000 Miles
Since last year, Aegean has made it possible to book partner awards online. However, their award booking engine is not the best so I advise you start by searching on United’s website. To make it easy, search for your departure city in the US to Israel and make sure you select for business class and that you want to look at the 30 day calendar to see all the options. On dates you see 75,000 miles, that is the United flight while the 85,000 mile options are partners that fly through Europe.
Note: There is one thing to be aware of – Aegean only lets you have one connection on award tickets. This means that if you fly through Europe, the major airport in the US that you would depart to fly to Europe must be your originating airport for this ticket. For example, if you are flying LOT, you would be flying something like New York – Warsaw – Tel Aviv. You cannot go Buffalo – New York – Warsaw – Tel Aviv. But, you can fly from your regional airport if you catch that United business class flight from Newark as that is the only non-stop from the US to Israel with Star Alliance.
To actually search for and select business class flights on Aegean, you must have the required miles in your account. So, just search through United to get started.
Aegean does pass on fuel surcharges so you will need to pay more in cash when flying on airlines like Austrian, Lufthansa, and Swiss. Turkish charges less and LOT and United do not have any. United awards do not charge any fuel surcharges so make sure you take this into account.
Which Flights to Book?
The best option would the United Airlines flight from Newark. The problem is that business class award space on this flight is very hard to come by! I searched through the calendar and did not find any until April! It can open up but you will either need to plan very far in advance or pretty much last minute.
On the other hand, there is a ton of availability with LOT Airlines (through Warsaw). They have a newer lie-flat business class seat that is supposed to be very good so this is a great option. Plus, you could take one of the longer layovers to get out and check out a bit of Warsaw while you are waiting.
If you fly with Turkish, your fuel surcharges from the US will be around $250-300. If you fly with Austrian, Swiss, or Lufthansa, expect to see fuel surcharges over $500 for one way!
So, if you want to pay as little out of pocket as possible, look for flights in this order:
- Everyone else
How to Get Aegean Miles?
Ok, now that you see you can get an awesome business class deal for just 45,000 miles, how do you go about getting those 45,000 miles? Fortunately, Aegean is now a transfer partner of SPG so you can convert SPG points to Aegean at a 1:1 ratio (with the regular 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points transferred). That means you only need 40,000 SPG points to do this.
You can also transfer points from other people’s Aegean accounts! It only costs €15 per transfer so that can be a great way to move other people’s miles to your account. If you have Aegean elite status, you can setup a Together Account and pool up to 5 other people’s miles into your account for free.
Finally, if someone sets up an Aegean account, they get a free 1,000 bonus miles. So, that is at least 5,000 miles if you use a Together Account.
I have been to Israel probably 20 times and have both purchased tickets and used miles. This is honestly the best mileage deal for many people if you want to fly to Israel from the US! I mean, United charges 42,500 miles to fly this in economy! I know United miles are easier to come by but that example just underscores how great of a deal it can be to use Aegean miles!