Alitalia Awards Now Bookable on Delta.com
I often complain that Delta's website is broken since it can be darn near impossible to find partner award availability - partly because the site actually pulls availability from so few partners to begin with. However, following recent developments that have made awards on partners like Korean and Virgin Australia searchable, Delta.com now shows Alitalia award space when searching for flights. Previously, you had to actually call Delta to search for Alitalia awards and book them (and often agents would tell you that the system would take 24 hours to confirm availability), so this takes that extra step out of the equation, though you might still need to call in thanks to Delta's clunky award searches.
Economy awards from the U.S. to Europe using Delta SkyMiles require 60,000 miles roundtrip, and I was able to find quite a bit of availability, including this example New York (JFK)-Milan award on Alitalia for 60,000 SkyMiles and $52.70 in taxes and fees. Be sure to check out My Flight Review: Alitalia JFK-Rome in Coach, which I flew with my dad back in December 2011, and which was satisfactory overall.
Business class awards from the U.S. to Europe are 100,000 SkyMiles roundtrip. Here's a sample New York (JFK)-Rome business award on Alitalia for 100,000 SkyMiles and $59 in taxes and fees - a bargain compared to the the taxes on many awards to European destinations. Check out my Flight Review: Alitalia Magnifica Business Class – Rome to Miami if you're interested in experiencing that class of service, though to be fair I had their old business class and their new lie-flats get decent reviews.
Although Delta still has a long way to go before it catches up with both other SkyTeam airlines' website award searches, notably AirFrance.us, as well as competitors in other alliances including United in Star Alliance and Qantas (and even American) in Oneworld, I'm glad to see the airline making another positive change to its award searchability and adding more partner availability. Hopefully one day we'll be able to book awards on any of its partners online, but until then, I'm keeping the Delta SkyMiles phone number on my speed dial.
Hat tip TPG reader Dennis!