Altialia Will Retain Cheap Transatlantic Awards At Least Through End of 2017

A couple of weeks ago I covered Alitalia’s doubling the price of partner awards overnight.

Their partner award chart had said for a few weeks that it was ‘valid through October 14’ however no new chart was posted in advance. So members were shocked that many awards doubled.

A transatlantic economy award on Delta or Air France now costs 100,000 miles plus fuel surcharges which is simply insane.

In contrast, Alitalia still charges 80,000 miles roundtrip for business class on its own flights.

Alitalia flight award prices haven’t changed and that’s true for upgrades as well.

And there’s some good news in Alitalia’s changes as well.

  • Improved online redemption. You can now book partner awards online, and also new cash and miles awards as well. That saves you the hassle of talking to Alitalia agents whom I place in the most frustrating quartile of airline call center staff.

  • Better combinability of awards. You can combine economy and business class in an award, no penalty for one way bookings now, and cash and miles redemptions start at 345 miles up to full ‘pay with miles’ options (and those earn miles too).

  • You can now cancel an award and redeposit miles, as well as pay award taxes and fees with miles and also use miles to pay for ancillary services like premium seating and baggage charges.

  • Partner awards can be combined into a single ticket at one price.

  • New miles for merchandise “MilleMiglia Gallery” with over 700 items to shop for.

I checked in with the Alitalia folks to find out what to expect going forward.

  • The current Alitalia program will end December 31, 2017. They explain that the maximum validity of the program under Italian law is 5 years. In the past, their programs have lasted closed to 3 years. They’ve previously announced though that this time when the program expires members will get to keep their miles.

  • The current award charts are published to expire December 31 but they tell me “we are planning to confirm shortly the current table until 31/12/2017 as well.” This should give confidence that we won’t see a devaluation before then and that Altalia’s cheap redemptions and upgrades for their own flights will remain in place for more than a year.

I still strongly believe the increase in partner award pricing is very out of step with competitors, and that the changes without notice are highly objectionable.

However – and I initially pointed this out as well – the continuation of Alitalia flight awards at the same price as before represents strong value, and combined with the expectation that those prices won’t be changing soon makes the program a continued useful one for members.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Alitalia’s updated partner chart is actually for a roundtrip. I confirmed that US-EU is 100k RT not 100k each way. It’s just a typo on the chart. It went up from 80k to 100k which is a “reasonable” devaluation. It is also somewhat improved insofar as one-ways are now allowed (previously only roundtrip partner awards were permitted).

    You should call and actually put a itinerary together and you’ll get the correct pricing.

  2. @Omar – If that’s the case, then their online booking system is broken too as I’m seeing the 200,000 mile round trips in business.

  3. Actually I was wrong. I called again and got a different answer (that it is 200k for a rt and also no one-ways allows) so I guess it depends on the agent (in true Alitalia form)!

  4. Guys the website has some problems but the chart is really changed as told.
    I think that, before you can say that the program is useful, try to check how many awards seats Alitalia puts on every flight.
    Believe me, this is my main FF program, the program is useless at this point, on every flight you have 2 business class and 3 to 6 economy seats, premium economy is not bookable anymore.
    Chart partner is too expensive for everyone so now every AZ FF must choose that 6/8 seats. Consider also that some flight are seasonal (Lax, Ord) so you can do the math, it would be hard at the end of the 2017 that every FF could find his award flight.

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