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ITA Airways drops SkyTeam partner airlines from status match initiative

March 25, 2022
4 min read
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Italian carrier ITA Airways appears to have dropped nine airlines from its ongoing status match initiative. However, it shouldn't have a major impact on any frequent flyers looking to use the initiative to gain SkyTeam status because all of the airlines dropped were SkyTeam partner airlines.

TPG first reported on the initiative on March 21. As of March 15, ITA Airways has been offering elite members of other airlines the opportunity to get elite status on ITA. The Rome-based carrier is accepting applications through April 15 for a status match into its new, four-tiered frequent flyer program called Volare. The airline will let applicants know whether they were granted a status match by May 15.

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ITA Airways is the Italian government-owned carrier that took the place of Alitalia, which shut down in October 2021 after spending several years in bankruptcy. ITA recently became a member of the SkyTeam alliance, which means this status match initiative is a unique opportunity for frequent flyers hoping to get easy status on Delta Air Lines, Air France and other SkyTeam carriers.

Related: Current airline elite status match and challenge options

From 24 options down to 15

As of Monday, when TPG first published our story about the status match initiative at ITA Airways, the airline was offering a status match to elite members at 24 different airlines. This included non-SkyTeam carriers American Airlines, United Airlines, and British Airways, as well as numerous other international carriers.

ITA also extended the offer to elite members of SkyTeam carriers Delta, Air France and seven others.

(Photo courtesy of ITA Airways)

After TPG’s story went live, though, I started hearing from Delta elite status members who read our story and attempted to submit a status match application with ITA, only to find out their airline was not, in fact, eligible for a status match.

“I am a Delta Medallion member. I joined ITA’s Volare program in order to Status Match. Delta is not listed as one of the included airlines,” one TPG reader, Linda, wrote in an email. “Did something change?” she asked.

We checked back on ITA’s website, and sure enough, something did change.

As of Friday, the carrier lists a total of 15 carriers as eligible for the initiative. American, United and British Airways are all still listed. In fact, the only ones removed appear to be SkyTeam alliance partner airlines, including Delta.

TPG reached out to ITA Airways early Friday for a comment on the change. So far, we have not heard back.

Good news, Delta flyers: you shouldn’t need to match anyway

While it might be surprising for flyers like Linda to find they are no longer eligible for the status match initiative, the good news is that she and other SkyTeam elite members shouldn’t need to take part in the status match initiative anyway.

A Delta 767-400ER in SkyTeam livery landing in New York. (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

SkyTeam’s website indicates that once a flyer earns elite status in one member airline’s program, they become a SkyTeam Elite member across all 20 carriers in the alliance -- which is why this status match opportunity would be of interest even to flyers who have no plans to travel on ITA Airways in the near future.

Related: Best websites for searching SkyTeam award availability

ITA Airways confirmed to TPG this week that members of the Premium and Executive club levels in its Volare frequent flyer program (its two highest levels) translate to SkyTeam Elite Plus, the alliance’s top loyalty level, which gets flyers a host of SkyPriority benefits, including lounge access.

ITA Airways further confirmed status in its Plus Club, which is one level above its baseline, entry-level club, translates to SkyTeam Elite. That classification across the alliance gets travelers a shorter list of SkyPriority benefits, with no lounge access.

Takeaways

This change should have little to no effect on frequent travelers hoping to gain SkyTeam elite status. Elite members of major, non-SkyTeam U.S. airlines are still eligible for the status match initiative. Elite members of Delta and other SkyTeam airlines should already have the status when they fly ITA, and likely would not have much to gain through this initiative anyway.

Featured image by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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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

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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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