Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
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We get a lot of requests for help traveling to Israel using American AAdvantage miles, and with airfares high and direct flights from the U.S. often sold out in Business Class, it’s a challenging destination to use miles.
It’s made even more challenging by the fact that American’s two biggest Middle East partners, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, don’t serve Tel Aviv for reasons beyond this discussion.
That leaves you with the following options…
If you don’t want to lay out any cash the most reliable option is to find space on Royal Jordanian flights to Amman, Jordan with no fuel surcharges. From there you can connect to Tel Aviv.
Royal Jordanian flies to Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, and New York in North America, mostly using modern 787 aircraft.
And award space is pretty decent in Business Class (here is New York to Amman)
And really good in Economy Class (again, New York to Amman)
It’s all searchable on AA.com as Royal Jordanian is one of the rare non European partners of American that displays on its website.
The catch is Royal Jordanian’s schedules are spotty.
It flies from Chicago each day except Tuesday and Thursday, and from New York each day except Monday and Wednesday. The Detroit flight is only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the Montreal flight is on Mondays and Thursdays.
It gets more complicated.
Royal Jordanian only flies twice a day to Tel Aviv, at around 7:00am and 8:30pm.
So it’s possible you could be stuck with a 12 hour layover during the day or overnight if award space isn’t available on the nearest flight.
The best way to find space is to search the New York, Chicago, Detroit, or Montreal to Amman flights on their own. Then start searching for Amman to Tel Aviv space.
Awards on Royal Jordanian cost 45,000 miles one way (90,000 miles round trip) in Economy Class and 67,500 miles one way (135,000 miles round trip) in Business Class, since Israel is part of American’s Middle East / India award zone.
Save miles and use cash
Another option is to fly on an award ticket to Europe and buy a cheap ticket onward, while paying fewer miles. You’ll save 30,000 miles on a round trip Economy Class ticket and 35,000 miles on a round trip Business Class ticket by booking award to a destination in Europe like Rome and taking advantage of American’s cheaper U.S. to Europe mileage prices.
Rome is a good gateway to Israel, with nonstop flights to Tel Aviv for less than $300 roundtrip. And spending $300 to save 30,000 miles is not a bad trade.
If you want to avoid fuel surcharges to Europe, follow some of our tips here.
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