Dumpster Fire Frequent Flyer Program Devalues Next Month, Only Promises To Keep Prices For 5 Months

Alitalia is being restructured (again..) because Etihad is the latest investor to decide it’s done losing money on the transatlantic debacle. Alitalia’s frequent flyer program is a separate company, spun off so that Etihad could give Alitalia more cash and so that Etihad could exercise more control all without running afoul of foreign ownership rules.

And the Millemiglia frequent flyer program is one of the real dumpster fires of loyalty. And not just for doubling partner award prices overnight either. Some loyalty programs expire miles. Alitalia expires the program. Everyone’s mileage goes away at the end of the year when the program resets. (They run promotions to let you earn back the miles you had previously earned.)

Copyright: jvdwolf / 123RF Stock Photo

Alitalia moved to a revenue-based program for 2018. But it’s redemption pricing I’m most interested in because Alitalia is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, because they used to have excellent award pricing (albeit frustrating customer service), and because they’re expected to become a Barclays transfer partner later this month.

And Alitalia is devaluing their award charts again. What’s amazing is they’re also telling us that we can only rely on this new pricing through the end of the year.

The award chart for August through December. I’m almost speechless.

  • Some intra-Europe redemptions get less expensive
  • By raising the price of many roundtrip awards they’re eliminating the premium for one way awards

For US-based customers one way economy awards to Europe stay the same, while roundtrip economy goes from 50,000 miles to 60,000 (20% increase).

Business class one way goes from 48,000 miles to 70,000 miles, a 46% increase. Business class roundtrip goes from 80,000 to 140,0000 miles, a 75% increase. And of course Alitalia adds fuel surcharges to awards.

(HT: Ben J.)

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. I downloaded their app to my phone, just so that when they go out of business and it’s removed from the app store, I can still have the app.

  2. Because, ostensibly, they’re still a member of Skyteam, I don’t know who’d choose to accrue miles in their program when they could accrue in Flying Blue, Skymiles, Skypass, etc. Yes, earning rates are low, but I’d rather earn a few miles in a program that’s going to exist than more miles that will evaporate.

    In my 5 minutes of research, the fare classes that earn nothing on partners also seem to earn nothing in Mille Miglia, so it’s not like points are being left on the table.

  3. Typically the Italian way of doing business, as anyone who has visited Italy will recognise.

  4. So these guys guarantee that there will not be any devaluations during this period?

    Compared to the other programs, it is much better. Delta devalues without notice at any time.

  5. I ended my relation with Alitalia with the last program change. You know the one where they took all of my miles. In the words of that wise sage George W. Bush: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me . . . Can’t get fooled again.”

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