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There are some unique frequent flyer programs out there, and most of them — with the exception of a few, including Delta and JetBlue — have expiration policies in effect. In order to keep those miles alive and safe from expiring — one of the most costly and wasteful things that can happen in the points and miles hobby — there are several strategies to keep in mind.

Expiring miles took a different meaning with Alitalia’s MilleMiglia program, where everyone’s miles expired on a set date. Fortunately, the carrier announced last week that it would be extending its program, which was set to expire December 31, 2015. That’s right; the entire program was set to expire at the end of this year. Members of the program would then have until June 30, 2016 to claim their rewards, and after that, any miles earned prior to December 31 would have been deleted from each member’s account and gone forever (subject to any program extensions).

But thankfully, Alitalia did extend the program and leave that part of its bizarre frequent-flyer program behind. In last week’s announcement, the airline said it would be extending the program until August 2016, at which point all miles will be transferred to the new program (when it’s introduced). Whereas in the past, the programs were eliminated and started completely anew, now under Etihad’s wing, users’ points will just roll over.

Say goodbye to Alitalia's bizarre frequent flyer program.
Say goodbye to Alitalia’s bizarre frequent-flyer program.

As strange as the carrier’s frequent-flyer program may have been in the past, it was because of Italy’s strict laws that don’t allow programs to change the prize of a program once it’s established, and programs can’t last longer than five years, as had been the policy with Alitalia. However, that is all changing now with Etihad’s leadership (and perhaps could have been done long before), as points will just roll over to the next period.

Alitalia, isn’t known for its outstanding in-flight product, but it is one of the best options for flying internationally in premium economy. TPG himself enjoyed flying the airline’s Magnifica Business Class from Milan to JFK. Also of note, Alitalia is offering status matches into its MilleMiglia program, which will put you on the fast track to SkyTeam Elite or Elite Plus status. Act quick, because the airline is only accepting emails to initiate the match until December 31, 2015.

H/T: View From The Wing

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