Trip Report: Everything You Need To Know About Israel


Last year around August, there was a massive fare mistake to TLV departing from major cities in the US like Chicago and New York for $314 – $414 taxes included. The trip I booked was ORD-LHR-TLV-CDG-ORD. The segments I booked included two legs operated by American Airlines and two operated by El Al. Since I am an Executive Platinum, I am always thinking about the future in terms of miles and why not use my status to benefit from that fare mistake? I can choose exit row seats or use a systemwide upgrade to upgrade to Business class on any flight operated by American Airlines metal.

A few weeks later, El Al contacted everyone who purchased the fare mistake which posted on forums such as DansDeals and FlyerTalk. El Al had some mixed reactions and a news site broke out the news that El Al was going to cancel every ticket. A day later, the El Al twitter social media team announced that all tickets would be honored, which was a relief for much needed tourism for Israel.

I used Vayama to book my trip and strategically searched segment by segment and was able to find a <24 hour layover in London, which was awesome. I always look for multiple stops in different cities for the same price as long as the fare rules allow in order to maximize my value in time and money. Well, a few months went by and lo and behold, a schedule change happened. El Al decided to change the fare rules and not give me the overnight in London. This actually worked to my advantage since I booked two tickets and was able to cancel without penalty now that a major schedule change has happened.

Before my trip commenced, I actually had to cancel the other ticket I booked so I was going to be traveling alone. A lot of other bloggers and others in the twitter world also booked similar trips and our trips were commencing around the same time. As it turns out, I was able to share my journey with Angelina from Just Another Points Traveler since our dates worked out.

We only had 4 nights and 5 days in Israel which is a short amount of time since it was our first time in the Middle East. To maximize our time, we came up with ideas to visit Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea. Days before the trip began, I started looking into camel riding in the Negev Desert and visiting Masada was on the way to the Dead Sea from Jerusalem. Booking the hotels was definitely the hardest part because everything in Tel Aviv is super expensive. Thankfully, we used a combination of cash and points to save a lot of money in premium hotels. There will be more detail on how I booked the hotels in their respective reviews.

The journey begins….. Shalom


About the Author

Points Summary
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2 Comments on "Trip Report: Everything You Need To Know About Israel"

  1. Did/do you have any concerns about using Vayama? We’ve read mixed things about them.

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