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Last week we received news that Alaska Airlines was adding a new partner in the form of El Al, Israel’s flagship airline. I have to admit, the second I heard this I was over the moon. Why? Well, I personally fly often between the West Coast and Israel (once every two months or so), so this new partnership means I can really rack up the miles. Let me show you why.

Why This Is Amazing

Alaska is one of few US airlines that exists outside of an alliance, instead depending on partnerships with individual airlines to offers reciprocal earning and benefits. While this has been really great for awards to Asia (Cathay Pacific, anyone?), they’ve been lagging in terms of European and African travel. And once you’re outside the US? Finding awards has been a nightmare. I recently attempted to find a flight from Tel Aviv to literally anywhere in Africa, and Alaska shrugged its shoulders and asked if I wanted to go to Hong Kong.

The addition of El Al opens up a whole new world of possibilities with over 50 destinations served across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. And while there’s no word yet on how partner redemptions will work, we can keep our fingers crossed that we won’t see insane fuel surcharges like those British Airways imposes on its flights.

Essentially, we’ve got an entirely new hub for flying around the world, giving us an out in case Emirates isn’t an option or costs three arms and two legs (which it often does).

No Seriously, It’s Great

Alaska is one of the final few airlines that bases earnings on distance flown rather ticket price. This comes especially in handy with El Al. Like I said, I’m west coast based and fly often to Tel Aviv. I’m a Premier Platinum on United (thanks, status match challenge!) and here’s my earning from a direct flight one month ago.

Keep in mind, I’m earning way more than the average due to my high status. Here’s their earnings chart.

As a regular member, I would have earned just 2,405 miles.

Now here’s Alaska’s earnings chart for flights on El Al.

According to GCMapper, the flight distance between Tel Aviv and San Francisco is 7,422 miles. So, as a regular member with no status whatsoever I would have earned 7,422 miles for my flight. A roundtrip would net me 14,844 miles on Alaska as their lowest tier member, compared or 4,810 as a regular member on United.

That’s crazy! Especially when you consider that flight prices are almost identical for these ultra long distance flights.

4000 miles on United isn’t enough for a single flight to anywhere, especially now that they’ve abolished their award chart. In contrast, 14,000 miles on Alaska is enough for three one way flights within the contiguous US and Canada.

But Wait, There’s More!

None of this takes into account Alaska’s own incredibly generous earnings plan for its elite members. While I’m no longer an Alaska MVP 75k (I wasted that status match 🙁 ), if I was, I would have taken home 16,699 miles per flight, for a total of 33,398 miles on a single roundtrip booking. That’s enough miles for a one way flight to Europe on one of several of Alaska’s partners. It’s also enough for a one way flight to Asia, and nearly enough for a one way ticket to Australia.

Alaska Airlines is notoriously generous with its status match policy, offering a no-questions-asked match to just about any airline elite status there is. So if you have status, it’s totally worth heading over and getting yourself matched for that sweet sweet bonus.


Alaska and El Al’s partnership is nothing but good news for us. We’ve got tons of new options for flying, with an entire alternate hub in the Middle East offering new destinations across the world. We’ve also got one of the most generous earnings policies of any airline out there. And while we don’t know what award redemptions will look like yet on El Al, we can hope that Alaska continues its fixed award chart across every continent, offering low cost redemptions for even the most expensive of tickets.

I’m so excited!

Is anyone else here as thrilled as me?




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