It is not often that the Award Expert needs award help, but I find myself in a unique position.
I’ll spend Christmas in Germany this year and have a bit of time after for a trip with my family. I asked my wife where she wanted to go and her response was instant: Israel.
But here it is December 14th and we are talking about a trip less than two weeks away. The nature of my other business makes advance planning nearly impossible, but this request is almost as bad as the families who ask me for four tickets (nonstop of course) to Australia in business class at the saver level departing on December 26th and returning on January 2nd…
In all honesty, I may well have to push the trip to spring or next Christmas. But I’d thought I would put it out here for discussion first. The goal is three tickets from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles just after New Years.
I have plenty of miles in all currencies. I do see there is “standard” award space. But I simply cannot bring myself to spend 180K United miles (or ten million Delta miles) on each business class ticket home. The miles are too valuable and I am not generating them fast enough to dump 600K on a trio of tickets and sleep with a clear conscience.
My best hope, it seems to me, is to wait and hope SWISS or Lufthansa award space opens at the last-minute. That’s usually a sure bet, but we are talking absolute peak travel season here. I’m skeptical.
Augustine has grown from a restless one-year-old to an adorable two-year-old who can keep himself occupied with books and toys. I don’t need first class anymore in order for the journey to be comfortable. But while I am sure we could survive economy class, that is not something I want to consider right now. It’s a very long trip from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles so business class is a prerequisite.
Ideal Trips Home
The ideal situation would be three seats in business class on EL-AL’s nonstop flight from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles. I have the AMEX points to transfer to Matmid Club. But that is not happening. Even coach tickets are $2K each.
We are also considering a couple days in Jordan in order to visit Mount Nebo and Petra. I’ve never flown Royal Jordanian longhaul and would happily fly from Amman to any North American gateway. But that space is also long gone and likely never existed in the first place.
One-way tickets are not economical on Delta or United and I also do not want to play the upgrade lottery.
One possibility might be going to Cairo, where I can score a cheap(er) premium ticket home. But I don’t have time…the trip will be rushed enough as is.
So, dear readers, any thoughts? If I do end up going to Israel and Jordan, I will certainly ask you again to help me maximize my time there. It has been nearly a decade since I have vacationed in Israel, though I did have a memorable security experience at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv last year.
The wise move is probably to wait on Israel and better plan it, so that I can secure the flights I want in advance at saver level. I haven’t even thought about hotels yet, though I’d be content in guest houses and don’t mind chancing that. But with a short window of opportunity, I’d sure like to take advantage of trip to Israel after Christmas.
What do you think?
Please note I am not asking you to do any work on my behalf. But I do consider this a fun puzzle and invite you to play along if you are so inclined.