SkyTeam member Alitalia has the strangest frequent flyer program in the world.
- Instead of expiring miles, the program itself used to expire.
- With each new program every few years you could credit flights to your account to earn back the miles you had.
The program was supposed to end in 2015, but it was extended through August 2016 and members were told they’d get to keep their miles in the new program.
I wrote a the time, “I wouldn’t accumulate Alitalia’s miles until they release what the changes to the program are going to be. But at least miles won’t go away when the program goes away!”
Over the summer they extended the program through the end of 2016. Based on past precedent, I expected the current award chart — which has some great values — to last through the end of the year (and probably be significantly devalued in 2017).
I assumed this decision was the result of a delay in moving Alitalia to a new computer system. That finally happened this weekend.
And now — without notice — Alitalia’s award chart says it was only valid through this past Friday.
The chart is still there, there is no new chart available. So the only pricing on the website, for instance, shows that roundtrip business class on Alitalia between the US and Italy is 80,000 miles (plus taxes and fees).
Loyalty Lobby writes that award prices have gone up as much as 100%. Apparently referencing partner awards,
Seems that both economy and business class partner awards (at least between Europe – North America) now require 100% more miles and insane taxes/fees (mainly fuel surcharges).
…It is absolutely crazy trying to charge 100,000 miles for transatlantic economy awards combined with 350 in taxes/fees. You can often buy a paid ticket for roughly the same amount during slow season.
American Express Membership Rewards has a 25% transfer bonus to Millemiglia this month. When I wrote about that on October 2, I concluded “I would not transfer unless you’re going to redeem these miles right away” and I suggested a devaluation was in the offing.
I had no idea it could happen this soon. If you were enticed by Alitalia’s award chart and American Express’ transfer bonus I would complain to American Express about this duplicitous behavior.
Update: It appears based on details available on Alitalia’s Italian website that Alitalia-only awards haven’t gone up in price, while partner awards have more or less doubled without notice.