El Al is losing its only US frequent flyer partner. The American Airlines website announced this change:
If you’re flying El Al after October 31, you won’t be able to earn American miles for it. And you won’t be able to use American miles for El Al tickets after that date either — all tickets must be issued by then.
I have to imagine this was initiated by American.
- American was El Al’s only US partner, and gave them feed — bringing passengers to and from their US – Israel flights.
- American wasn’t getting much traffic from El Al, since they offer only 14 flights each week to the US and only some of the passengers on each connect onward.
- American does now fly to Israel (US Airways has Philadelphia – Tel Aviv service).
El Al’s remaining frequent flyer partnerships are with Qantas, South African, and Aeromexico.
They still have codeshare, interline baggage, and ticketing agreements with other carriers.
El Al itself, whose frequent flyer program has never much inpressed me, is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. So is Aeromexico, though dealing with their call centers is frustrating. It does remain possible, even with the loss of the American relationship, for US-based frequent flyers to redeem points for travel on El Al. It just became harder and more expensive to do so however.
Not that the US-Israel flights were ever easy to get on points, although Europe – Tel Aviv generally was (so US-Europe and then connecting wasn’t tough).
The US Airways Philadelphia – Tel Aviv flight isn’t an easy ‘get’ either. Connecting through Europe with American miles remains quite possible, since there’s service:
- British Airways, London – Tel Aviv
- Iberia, Madrid – Tel Aviv
- Air Berlin, Berlin and Dusseldorf – Tel Aviv
There’s also Royal Jordanian service Amman – Tel Aviv.
(HT: Loyalty Lobby)