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Alitalia is the perennially financially troubled flag carrier of Italy and a member of the SkyTeam Alliance. Its MilleMiglia frequent flyer program has long been a transfer partner of both Marriott Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, but it’s been thrust more into the spotlight in recent weeks with Capital One’s addition of transfer partners. You can now move your miles from cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Spark Miles for Business to Alitalia, so in today’s post, I’ll take a deep dive into the MilleMiglia program to show you how to earn miles and the best ways to redeem them.
As with many foreign carriers, the miles you earn by flying on Alitalia will vary based on both the distance flown and the booking class, with unrestricted tickets earning the most miles and highly discounted tickets earning the least. You can also credit flights from Delta and other SkyTeam members to Alitalia MilleMiglia.
But for most US travelers, the primary way to earn Alitalia MilleMiglia miles will be through reward transfers from credit card programs. As noted above, you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points or Marriott Rewards points to Alitalia, but the most recent development for MilleMiglia came with Capital One’s announcement that miles from many of its cards will soon be able to be transferred to airline partners including Alitalia MilleMiglia at a 2:1.5 ratio, meaning that two Capital One miles can be transferred to 1.5 Alitalia miles (transfers are expected to start in December)
If you’re looking to boost your Alitalia balance, the Capital One Venture Rewards Card currently has a limited-time offer for new accounts to earn 75,000 bonus miles one you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. This translates into 56,250 miles with Alitalia MilleMiglia or any of the program’s other 11 transfer partners.
For small business owners, you also have a terrific sign-up offer available right now. You can get up to 200,000 Capital One bonus miles with the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card after a two-tier total spend of $50,000 in the first six months. Along with the miles earned from meeting this minimum spend, you’ll take home a total of 300,000 Capital One miles, which can be transferred to 225,000 miles with Alitalia MilleMiglia or other transfer partners.
In addition to earning miles when flying with Alitalia and its SkyTeam partners, you can also reach the program’s elite status tiers. With MilleMiglia, elite status is referred to as Exclusive Clubs, and the names of the status tiers are in Italian:
- Ulisse: This status level requires 20,000 qualifying miles or 30 qualifying flights in a calendar year. It offers you a 25% bonus on flights operated by Alitalia and its partners. Other benefits include priority check-in and boarding, paid access to Alitalia Lounges, extra baggage and transportation of sports equipment free of charge. You also receive priority wait-listing and two one-way upgrades from Economy Class on certain fares (Y, M, B and H) to Business Class on medium haul international flights, free of charge.
- Freccia Alata Club: This status level requires 50,000 qualifying miles or 60 qualifying flights in a calendar year. It offers you a 50% bonus on flights operated by Alitalia and its partners. You receive all of the benefits of Ulisse status plus free Comfort seats, access to lounges and priority security lanes. Comfort seats are Alitalia’s version of extra legroom seats, located at the front of domestic cabins and in designated areas on international flights. There’s also a dedicated member services phone number and up to four free upgrades from Economy to Economy Premium or Business Class on medium haul flights, though you’re restricted to higher paid fares. Lastly, Freccia Alata Club members can use miles to upgrade through the on-board upgrade program through December 31, 2018.
- Freccia Alata Plus Club: This status level requires 80,000 qualifying miles or 90 qualifying flights in a calendar year. It offers you a 75% bonus on flights operated by Alitalia and its partners and provides all of the benefits of the Freccia Alta Club level, and you’ll also get four free upgrades to the next class of service. Freccia Alata Plus Club members can also give a friend or family member a Freccia Alata Club card to take advantage of all of the above perks without qualifying the hard way.
The program also rewards long-time loyalty with the Freccia Alata Plus Per Sempre Card. If you’ve held top-tier status for at least 10 years, you’ll enjoy a wealth of additional perks and preferred treatment when traveling on Alitalita. This includes additional upgrades, two guaranteed award bookings every year (in economy) and the ability to waitlist for an award ticket (as long as the request is made at least 60 days before the flight).
Award Chart and Redemption Options
Alitalia has an award charts for flights it operates to or from Italy for reservations ticketed until the end of 2018 and a different chart for awards booked starting in 2019. The program also has a separate award chart for partners (WARNING: PDF link) like Delta and other SkyTeam airlines. Just note that Alitalia adds fuel surcharges to many awards.
Upgrade awards for Alitalia operated flights are also available, with the amount of miles required depending on the fare class of the paid ticket.
Best Uses for Alitalia MilleMiglia Miles
Awards on Alitalia-operated flights and their partners can be booked online. In fact, its website shows award availability and fuel surcharges without having to create an account or login.
Let’s say you had the 56,250 miles you could earn from the Capital One Venture card’s 75,000 mile sign-up bonus, or perhaps the 63,750 miles you’d have by the time you spend the $5,000 necessary to earn the bonus. Here are the best options for redeeming those miles with Alitalia:
1. Visit anywhere in Italy. While Alitalia’s partner award chart is not that great, awards on it’s own flights can be pretty reasonable. For example, awards from North America to any Italian destination are just 30,000 miles each way in economy class. This could get you from as far away as Los Angeles to many small cities that you can only reach after connecting in Rome.
2. Take a side trip to Italy, in business class. If you are already visiting Europe or even the Middle East, then you can use your Alitalia miles to take a side trip to Italy in business class. Award flights from most of Europe will cost 20,000 miles each way, while flights from Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia and Ukraine are 25,000 miles, according to the program’s 2019 award chart. And remember, you can connect in Rome or Milan to one of the many far flung airports in Italy that Alitalia serves.
3. Visit Hawaii. Alitalia’s partner award chart lists Hawaii within a zone that includes Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. Awards from the rest of North America to that zone are 40,000 miles, round-trip. This is a fairly reasonable award price, especially without fuel surcharges.
4. Upgrade awards. Upgrade awards can be a good use of Alitalia miles, depending on your paid ticket’s booking class. For example, if you have an economy ticket from North America in booking classes Y, B, M or H, then you can upgrade to business class for just 25,000 miles each way. Upgrading Alitalia tickets from Economy to Premium Economy and from Premium Economy to Business are just 12,500 to 17,500 miles each way, depending on the booking class.
5. Flights around Italy. Italy is slightly larger than the state of Arizona, and there are vast distances and mountainous terrain between some cities, not to mention the large islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Thankfully, domestic flight awards within Italy are a mere 10,000 miles each way in economy, and just 15,000 in business class. Granted, you’ll really just get the equivalent of economy comfort on these flights, but you’ll receive priority service and a higher baggage allowance. It would be easy to redeem 50,000 or 60,000 miles for a multi-stop tour to visit the breadth of Italy.
The Alitaltia MilleMiglia program has suddenly been thrust more into the limelight with the addition of transfer partners to numerous Capital One cards. While it may not be the most rewarding SkyTeam carrier out there when it comes to award flights, there are a few spots that can get you a solid value. Hopefully this analysis has given you some additional guidance on how to do this with a program that hasn’t been at the forefront of many people’s minds (outside of Italy, at least).
Featured image by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy.
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