Alitalia has come out with details of its ‘new’ frequent flyer program. Really, it’s just a tweak of the old one, but by ending that one and starting fresh they get to completely flush out their existing mileage liability and hose their customers. Welcome to Alitalia!
As previously reported, the current program ‘ends’ December 31 — that’s the end date for accumulating miles to add to existing ones, which must be redeemed by June 30th or else they disappear into the ether. Alitalia will match your existing miles in the new program, however, if you take two Alitalia flight segments in the first six months of 2008. Partner flights don’t count, so if you earned Alitalia miles on an Italy trip and you’re in North America you pretty much have to go back to Italy if you want to extend your miles.
The new program is called the ‘2008 – 2010 edition’ so they seem to be putting folks on clearer notice that they’re going to pull the same trick again in a couple of years. At least they’re more upfront about it this time, instead of burying the possibility deep in their terms and conditions. Their FAQ says they may end the program in 2010, but that they also may not.
There are now 3 elite levels (at 20,000 – 50,000 – 80,000 miles)instead of just two, and midtier status is required for lounge access (both Alitalia and Skyteam partner lounges).
One way awards (but for more than half the cost of a roundtrip) are introduced.
And Mileage accrual is now based on fare class, so the cheapest fares earn less than flown miles and full fare coach or business class earn up to 300% of flown miles with generous minimums.
All in all, it isn’t really a “new” program .. Just more revenue-based and with a new top tier.