ElAl Frequent Flyer Awards worth less than a Big Mac at the airport

Thats it?

Yes. Amazing Fact. Do the math:

Lowest fare ticket to London earns 25 points one way. 36 Oneway flights gives you 900 points required for the “bonus fare”. Bonus fare is $340. Regular fare is about $650. So you save $310 = about $9 bonus. Or “half-Chai” in appeal-speak. Thats about 30 NIS which can’t even buy a hamburger at the airport.

And don’t forget – ElAl miles expire after 3 years no matter what you do. So, if you can’t squeeze in enough flights in that window, you get their most popular award – BUPKIS.

Compare to any airline in the industry or even in the oneworld or star alliance and 10 round trips to Europe will get you a FREE ticket to Europe or Asia. Or – two round trips to California gets a FREE ticket to Singapore.

To be fair – ElAl does have the advantage of special upgrades and perks for its real frequent travelers.

Pass it on.

Glutton for punishment? – More posts on ElAl Frequent Flyer Program – freddie award, VIP’s, citibank and more. Or just read about continental.
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Getting to LGA from Manhattan

I usually stay in Manhattan and getting to Newark or Kennedy is easy (max 30 minutes from Penn Station).

This trip – I had to be in LGA at 7am (for an AirTran flight). Cab would probably be at least $40. Israeli car service $30 + tips and tolls. Public transportation is almost non-existent.

This trip – I used Supershuttle. Call 1-800-BLUE-VAN or http://www.supershuttle.com and they book you a 15 minute slot in a shared van. Time to airport is about 45-60 minutes from Manhattan. Its $18 (including tip) and when you get to the airport your fellow passengers will wish you a good trip. Pass it on.

Price is per person – so if you are not alone – take a cab or Israeli car service.
AND BEWARE – LGA is a really bad airport – lots of delays. Non Existent service in the terminal.

This post is in the category of useful information on the ground. Here is one about buying a mobile phone in the US and this one is how to maximize a new york layover.
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elal airfare increase

Just got an email from ElAl – due to $117 oil, fares go up on average 6.5% on May 1. This reflects the overal trend in the airline industry.

SO, if you have already booked a flight – buy it before May 1.

Of course, check cancellation policy and change fee if that may be a possibility.

And question to our readers – will there be a similar price drop when oil goes down?

See other posts about ElAl prices going up and down – finding hidden bargains on ElAl’s website, the airfare increase due to $147 oil , special business class deals, the increased “price” for EL AL free tickets, some general tips for finding cheap airfare and more. This post even has some hope that the American Airlines and ELAL codeshare willl change pricing.
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Cheap Dollar – Buy in USA

My parents would always return from US with 14 suitcases loaded with clothes, shoes, toys, tuna, plastic bags, etc. The zionist reality did not include purchasing low quality expensive stuff in Israel.

While I like a nice trip to the Galleria as much as the next woman – in the past few years buying in the US lost most of its financial benefit. (Losing 2 suitcases on Delta – never to be found, did not help much) .

Now that the NIS/$ exchange rate is so low – it really pays to buy in the states. Todays case in point – crocs

80 NIS ($22) at Nordstroms vs. 200 NIS at LaMitayel

When a commodity product, like crocs cost 2.5x in Israel – take your business elsewhere and tell them I sent you.
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Kosher restaurant in the south bay area

While personally I keep to Kosher dietary rules, even when travelling abroad, I do not look for Kosher certificates and just try to keep on the ‘safe’ side (eating lots of Salmon, of course). But on my last trip I was challenged with the need to find a Kosher restaurant with a colleague he keeps to a stricter standard. Finding a Kosher restaurant in the south bay area of San Francisco was a challenge though. There are not many of them around. However, he found Izzy’s Brooklyn Cafe on 783, El-Camino Real, Sunnyvale, 408-523-1333. It is located in a strip mall beside the road with ample parking (it is California after all). We had an excellent Moroccan Soup, fish, falafel, and salads. Not quite on the cheap side but still quite reasonable. Shlomi, who attend to us was very nice and polite, originally from Petach Tiqva, now works in two such restaurants in the area. He was eager to please, set down to chat a little, all in a very pleasant way. We returned there for another meal later in the week, and my friend was there again with his father and brother. Lunch for three was $49 including tip, and lunch for two was $37 including tip.

And some posts about – water at the airport, kosher restaurants in LA and a horror story in the air.
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Searching for cheaper airfare

I guess that looking for cheaper airfares is always a priority for the traveler even though there are quite a few parameters that are important too when making travel arrangements. But let us admit it once and for all – there is no thrill like the thrill you get when you know that the guy sitting next to you paid $100 more than you paid on exactly the same itinerary, and pleasure increases exponentially as the price difference and percent grows. And of course, it works vice versa too. Multiple ways exist today to get such lower fares but recently I stumbled on a web site, www.cfares.com, that takes a different approach on getting us such low prices. It claims to connect the user directly with airlines, the major travel sites and wholesalers and that way to be able to proved low fares. While I did not yet order a ticket from them, I checked a few possibilities and prices seemed to be lower anywhere between $25 on the cheap routes to $500 on a business class trip to silicon valley in California. It will be interesting to get more feedback about this site as people try and get tickets and other reservations using them.

See other posts about ElAl prices going up and down – finding hidden bargains on ElAl’s website, the airfare increase due to $146 oil,the airfare increase due to $147 oil , special business class deals, the increased “price” for EL AL free tickets, and more. This post even has some hope that the American Airlines and ELAL codeshare willl change pricing.
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Priceline- Cheapest car rental in JFK- sometimes

Using Priceline to rent cars is the way to go in JFK- in the range of $25 to $35 per day- not including insurance- However despite the claim on Priceline site that cars can be picked up a few hours before the official time – in reality on my last trip to NY- the car rental company wanted an additional $250 to pick up the car 3 hours earlier- as the rental period began at 12:01 AM and I wanted to pick it up at 10PM. Earlier means the same calendar day!

See other posts about Using Zipcar, Car Rental Refueling Charges, Car Rental Dropoff charges and general Car Rental Scams.
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