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Rated: August 2002- At first glance of the El Al Matmid Club home page, you'll notice a simple color scheme, some flashing graphics and passing clouds on the airplane photo on top (we think it's meant to look like the plane is moving, but it looks more like the clouds are moving).
If you can pass up the allure of the flashing graphics, you can dig right into information about the frequent flyer program through links prominently displayed on the left including Club Benefits, Premier Member Benefits, King David Club, Electronic Ticket (a fairly useless page--simply states that your tickets will be electronic, but we suspect that the option for an electronic ticket is still a bit of a novelty for the airline), Country Key Table (you might ask, "What's a Country Key Table?" It's a table of the six flight zones by geographical area), Donating Points to Associations, Information Booklet (to download in PDF) and a FAQ.
The flashing graphics take you to information about preordering duty free with cash and points (nice idea) along with a link to book a flight (but not an award flight). Clicking a photo of a couple looking at a bag will take you to a lengthy explanation about checking in at home in Israel only--for a rather hefty fee ($79 for one person or $99 per couple/up to six family members or for a combination of cash and Matmid points). The final flashing graphic explains a flight discount for medical tourism.
In the FAQ page we learned that members can receive a membership status report via fax, postal mail and email, so it looks as though there is no status report online--but wait! In the Information Booklet we downloaded, it reads that you can review your account status online. And as it turns out, you can even get a text message to your mobile phone with your account status. This little discovery leads us to believe that the Information Booklet PDF has been updated while the Web site has not. It is also in the PDF where you can read about El Al's complete roster of partners--it's odd that you cannot find this information readily on El Al's Web site.
Usually, when we review loyalty program Web sites, we enroll in the program to review the process. But Matmid Club is one of the few programs where you must pay for membership and being thrifty, we chose not to enroll. But we did start the process and came to a bit of a snag when it came to entering the telephone number. Here's a hint for U.S. residents: use the Abroad Phone space; first box: country code; second box: area code and the rest of the number in the final box. The enrollment process seemed smooth from there--until we were asked for the $20 fee--at that point, we moved on to the other aspects of the site. We should mention, that with your $20 fee, you receive 30 bonus points. If you choose to enroll via the telephone, the fee rises to $25.
Overall, the Matmid Club Web site is like Aunt Charlotte's wardrobe choices--a bit of a mess. But with a bit of patience, you can find the information you need.