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This status match opportunity could get you SkyTeam benefits

March 21 2022
5 min read
SkyPriority sign at JFK airport's Terminal 4
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A new status match opportunity could make it easier for you to earn SkyPriority benefits on SkyTeam alliance flights.

Italy-based carrier ITA Airways, which took over operations from former Italian national carrier Alitalia last fall, is offering a status match to elite status members on two dozen airlines, including fellow SkyTeam carrier Delta Air Lines.

The promotion started March 15 and you have until April 15 to submit a request for ITA Airways to recognize the same elite status in its Volare frequent flyer program that you enjoy on another eligible airline. The carrier plans to let customers know if they qualified for elite status by May 15.

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(Photo courtesy of ITA Airways)

A new airline

Based in Rome, ITA Airways is owned by the Italian government. It began service in October after replacing Alitalia, which had been in bankruptcy since 2017, and was later nationalized by the Italian government early in the COVID-19 pandemic. ITA took over Alitalia’s brand and livery, and planned to employ fewer workers than Alitalia did.

The airline is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, and in December announced codeshare agreements with several major international airlines, including Delta Air Lines and Air France.

ITA Airways operates direct flights in its own livery between Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO) and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The airline is also planning flights between JFK and Milan.

The status match initiative

On March 15, ITA Airways invited elite status members of 24 other airlines to apply for a potential status match in its frequent flyer program. The eligibility applies to elite status members of SkyTeam and non-SkyTeam partners, including major U.S. programs like American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus.

The status match promotion requires that elite members sign up for Volare and complete a status match request form where they upload proof of their status on another airline. If the status match is approved, ITA said it plans to recognize membership at that status level for one year.

Related: Current airline elite status match and challenge options

ITA’s elite levels 

ITA has four levels within its Volare frequent flyer program, although the initial Club Smart is just entry-level. The Club Plus level is where SkyPriority benefits through SkyTeam begin to kick in. Members of Club Plus get priority boarding and baggage delivery, additional baggage allowance and check-in privileges at airport business-class counters.

Above Club Plus is Club Premium, and then Club Executive, which is where lounge access comes in. Each level earns the member an increasingly higher number of reward points.

SkyTeam benefits

A big reason this status match initiative will be intriguing for customers of other airlines, especially in the U.S., is the opportunity to use the status match at ITA Airways to gain SkyTeam elite status. As a reminder, SkyTeam has two status levels: SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus. ITA’s site did not have specific details on which status levels would correspond to particular SkyTeam status levels.

Related: Best websites for searching SkyTeam award availability

However, in the Volare section of ITA's website there is a note that says, "SkyPriority services are recognized only on flights operated by ITA Airways; Club Plus Members will soon be able to enjoy the benefits reserved for ElitePlus Members on SkyTeam alliance flights."

SkyTeam’s website says that once a flyer earns elite status in one member airline’s program, you then become a SkyTeam Elite member, which is recognized across all 20 carriers in the alliance. That makes this initiative a unique opportunity for elite members of other airlines' frequent flyer programs to gain elite benefits when flying on SkyTeam flights, including Delta.

What this means for lounge access

ITA Airways operates its own lounges in Rome and Milan, which it opens to business-class passengers, as well as Premium and Executive members of the Volare program. SkyTeam Elite Plus members also have access.

Additionally, ITA’s website specifies the airport lounges that its members can access, including multiple Delta and Air France lounges in the U.S. and Europe. Generally, SkyTeam first-class, business-class and Elite Plus members traveling internationally have lounge access if they’re flying on an airline that’s a member of the alliance.

The Delta Sky Club at JFK's Terminal 4. (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

If ITA Airways does grant you a status match through this initiative, you will still have to earn enough points through its Volare program to maintain that status beyond one year.

But for elite members at two dozen airlines — including major airlines in the U.S. — this could be a good opportunity to gain elite benefits while flying on SkyTeam airlines.

Featured photo by (Photo by Andrew Kunesh / 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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Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
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  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
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