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Alitalia issuing restrictive coronavirus waivers, says #dontstopflying despite travel advisories

March 07, 2020
2 min read
Alitalia issuing restrictive coronavirus waivers, says #dontstopflying despite travel advisories
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Alitalia isn't doing much to endear itself to passengers these days.

Italy has been a coronavirus hot spot in Europe, but the Italian flag carrier is being relatively inflexible when it comes to letting travelers rebook their tickets.

The airline will let passengers traveling to airports in Northern Italy whose original travel dates were between Feb. 23 and March 8 rebook their tickets, so long as the new travel begins by March 31, according to Alitalia's website. That means if you're planning a vacation in Italy, your trip is only covered if your departure is sometime this weekend.

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The CDC has issued a Level 3 warning to avoid nonessential travel to Italy, as well as China, Iran and South Korea.

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Passengers to and from the U.S. and a few other countries can also reroute their trips to other destinations the airline serves.

In comparison, many U.S. airlines have issued wide-ranging waivers that allow passengers much more flexibility to rebook their travel, even if their destination hasn't had any identified cases of coronavirus. (Though, even those waivers exclude some existing itineraries.)

Related: The most up-to-date information on U.S. airlines' coronavirus waivers, cuts and suspensions.

In an interview with TPG on March 4, Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and president of Atmosphere Research suggested that airlines are choosing the wrong tactic if they opt for a hard-line approach to rebooking policies amid coronavirus fears, as Alitalia has.

“People are scared, they’re scared to travel, and airlines need to show compassion and humanity to travelers during this very unusual period," he said. Harteveldt added such compassion is especially important these days, "in the age of social media when anyone can vent their rage."

Related: Everything you need to know about traveling during the coronavirus outbreak.

As if to prove his point, Alitalia's Facebook page is practically a case study in online rage-venting.

A video the airline posted March 2 with the caption "Are you sure you want to miss out on all of this? #dontstopflying" has more than 300 comments (including replies), many of which come from irritated customers struggling to rebook their tickets.

Featured image by Alberto Riva

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases