Looking for tips on points redemption for travel from Melbourne to Tel Aviv and United Kingdom

hi experts,

i’m looking for some help to work out the best way to fly to tel aviv and the uk at the end of this year. i know that’s a bad/impossible time for redeeming FF points but the trip is for a family celebration that’s just been confirmed and can’t be moved.

the ideal itinerary is

  • max trip length is 25 days (due to commitments here)
  • spend 8 - 9 days in israel and 1 - 2 weeks in the UK
  • depart melbourne between 10/12 and 13/12, arrive israel 20/12, depart israel 28/12 or 29/12, depart uk between 4/1 and 6/1 to return to melbourne.

ideal conditions are minimum cash spend, maximum points redemption, and i’m getting old so have a strong preference for a lie flat bed on the longest leg of the australia - europe flights.

i have 770,000 velocity points,160,000 qantas points, 73,500 emirates skywards points in my account and access to another 220,000 skywards points at cost of $15USD per 1000 (ie they are held by family who are happy to transfer them to me).

i found a virgin atlantic upper class seat hong kong london (10/12 outbound and 7/1 return) but the velocity call centre couldn’t see it on those days or on 5 days either side of those dates.

can’t see any availability on qantas, singapore or cathay economy or business seat redemptions.

next i’ve looked at emirates. cash fare plus points upgrade to business class for melbourne-london return costs about $4400 because of the gouging they charge to transfer points between accounts.

i’ve looked at a few point hack articles and other websites and now my head is hurting with all the options and ways to investigate availability.

grateful for any suggestions, advice or tips.

thanks!

Hi jazzah,

I would probably suggest:

  • Exhausting searches via other ports in Australia.
  • Fly to Bangkok/ Hong Kong/ Singapore separately, whether it is via points or a cheap cash ticket. As these ports generally have better award availability/flight options.
  • The other option is to get somewhere to EU (CDG/AMS, etc) or close to Israel. Then making your way to the final destination on your own (cash or separate point redemption).
  • The strategy is basically getting the long flights on premium cabin redemptions and filling in the more manageable shorter flights that may be not in premium or even LCC.
  • Searching for 1 seat if you were looking for more.

In summary, you gotta be flexible if award availability is slim. The bottle necks are usually in/out of Australia.

Good luck.

1 Like

It’s pretty simple. Keep checking for award space (Velocity can be particularly tricky with finding Virgin Atlantic space). To get to tel aviv, you might have to fly to hong kong or another asian port and then another ticket to Tel Aviv. To get to london from tel aviv, Virgin Atlantic just announced the route which you can use your velocity points on or Qantas points can be redeemed on British Airways which is always pretty generous with Business class award space. Getting home, you have plenty of options.

thanks w.hiew and djtech.

i’ve found business seats hong kong to london, although my qantas points balance is 30,000 short. qantas wants to charge $888 to top it up. that still seems like a great deal: with taxes it’s about $1300 for a return business class seat from HK to LHR.

now to get from aus to HK. the velocity redemption search seems much harder to use and gives far fewer options.

I’m not sure about how you are getting to and from israel but I would assume you want to go to london from tel aviv so backtracking to Hong Kong would be less ideal?

i’m not sure either yet :slight_smile:

i’ll either fly aus-uk return with uk-israel return as a side trip, or go aus-israel-uk-aus. i’m not bothered about the extra flying involved in the first option…

I’d say to Israel your best bet is using Qantas points for Cathay Pacific redemption, otherwise using Velocity to book with Singapore (via Istanbul). I had issues for finding J SYD-TLV with SIA, but specifically IST-TLV seems to be an issue with J, but available in Y.

Another option is to fly return to London, which I’m sure plenty of options available, and get a return flight to TLV, either with points or with cash (Easyjet if you like).

TLV is generally a pain with points etc and for unknown reason, the surcharges are very high.

can’t see any cathay. the only any business class availability to israel with qantas points is royal jordanian (HKK - TLV via amman) - that’s on a multi-trip ticket with the other flights being TLV-LHR on BA and LHR-HKK on BA.

velocity searches showing no business class on singapore, etihad or virgin atlantic.

i’ve read a couple of reviews of royal jordanian & BA business class on these routes (HKK-amman and HKK-LHR). both sound fairly meh but as they both have a bed in the sky, i reckon either will do.

Just don’t go El Al, they are pretty crap, even tho I heard their new 787 J is decent.

definitely won’t be going EA.

thank you all. i’ve found business class availability from hong kong to tel aviv on royal jordanian and from HK to london on BA.

if you’ve flown both, how do you think they compare and which would you recommend?

i haven’t flown RJ before and only economy on BA. RJ flies the 787 on that route, BA the 777, and both have flat bed seats (which is the most important factor for me as i’m tall and the trip is only for a couple of weeks).

Flight review from the expert (in case you haven’t read these already)

https://onemileatatime.com/royal-jordanian-business-class-787-review/

BA business class is generally considered average. However, things seem to have improve slightly recently from what I read on blogs. If you set your expectations low to begin with, it should be fine. I always tell myself, at least I am not in economy class when I am in a sub par business class. Like you have mentioned, what is important is leg room and a flat bed. :slight_smile: that is essentially what business class is all about, the seat.

your advice prompted me to keep searching and it’s paid off.

after a few hours searching this weekend, i found a cathay business seat departing from manchester for HKK. no luck with an inbound cathay flight, despite trying various route combinations to all the other euro cities that cathay flies to. so i had one last crack at velocity – called them again and they had an etihad business seat available return from melbourne to the uk, flying melb-LHR and manchester-melb.

as a result, my velocity balance is over ½ a million points lighter. but the cheapest paid business ticket for that itinerary that i can see on google flight search costs $12,600. so the points i’ve used are worth 2.3c per point. not bad for a cost base of 0-0.2c per point!

that means i didn’t need to use any qantas points so i’ve booked LHR-tel aviv return business both ways and still have 80,000 qantas points spare.

all up, i’ve scored 6 business class flights from melbourne to europe and back departing 9 days before christmas and returning in early january, all for under $600. now i get why people spend a lot of time working out FF points.

thanks for your support. persistence pays off!

3 Likes