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Now and again, I like to feature actual emails from readers (with their permission, of course). The idea is to highlight real-world miles and points challenges, as well as possible solutions. With this particular email, I’m hoping for some feedback from you guys, since Israel isn’t my area of expertise.
Here we go:
|American Airline Miles||33787|
|British Airline Miles||30,473|
|Alaska Airlines||68,459+5 for survey on 11/12/21 – should be good for two years now|
|Chase Freedom Points||25,163 – definitely use for Israel – hope for another sapphire card before then|
|AMEX Membership Rewards||86,998|
|Club Carlson Points/Radisson||10,585|
|Hilton Honors Points||300913|
First, the short answer. My advice for something like this is to always accumulate flexible points. That way, when you are ready to book, you can search various programs and see which one has award availability. Your plan is quite specific, aka fly on certain dates (Thanksgiving?) in business class. That’s always tough to pull off, as redeeming miles in economy is much easier.
I do think Air France Flying Blue program will probably be your best bet. According to this post on Frequent Miler, Israel is once again priced the same way as Europe routes. There is even a screenshot highlighting a non-stop flight from New York to Tel Aviv. The rate is a relatively reasonable 55k miles in business class each way. Air France is known for consistently offering four or more business-class seats on each flight to its own members. In fact, Nancy recently wrote about her experience redeeming Flying Blue miles on five tickets from Dallas to Paris.
There is a catch, though. The fuel surcharges are higher than what you are willing to pay: about $650 per business-class roundtrip ticket. Still, this option will probably be your best bet. Even if you find award availability via another program for your dates (and that’s a big if), you will most certainly pay much more than 55k miles each way. Most programs will charge you between 70k and 95k miles.
Of course, anything is possible, which is why I recommend accumulating flexible points in the meantime. You could see a sale on business-class award tickets to Israel, or perhaps a great deal on a revenue flight might pop up out of nowhere. Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, Capital One and Marriott programs all partner with Air France. So, you should easily have enough for two roundtrip tickets in business-class after you get your bonus on Capital One card. And if that option doesn’t work out, there are other frequent flyer miles programs to look into.
As far as what cards you should concentrate on next, I do think applying for Capital One Venture X in a few months isn’t a bad idea (see Nancy’s post). Make sure it’s been at least six months since your last Capital One application.
It’s a very good deal, as long as you can meet the minimum spending. You don’t necessarily need the points for Air France award tickets, but you can use them to offset other travel expenses in Israel or elsewhere. I also recommend looking into Citi Premier that currently has 80k points offer. If the 100k bonus on CSP card returns, that’s another no-brainer.
Readers, do you have any other suggestions?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.