Alitalia (1,000 Miles)
- Product Code: Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Availability: In Stock
Alitalia is a SkyTeam carrier that doesn’t really get that much attention. This is primarily because their website and call center are
Italian challenging to navigate, but the MilleMiglia program is worth knowing about for a few reasons.
However, Alitalia is also an Italian airline. And I say that as someone who loves Italy. But if you’ve spent any time there, you know what I mean.
So there are a lot of quirks to the MilleMiglia program.
The rates for business travel are very good — 80,000 miles roundtrip between Europe and North America is a bargain, even with the fuel surcharges.
Alitalia Magnifica business class
A few things to note about the award charts:
In terms of the routing rules, Alitalia doesn’t allow a lot of creativity. However, since they also don’t have a huge route network, this isn’t that much of a limitation in practice.
It’s also worth noting that mixed-cabin awards will price as two one-ways on the website, so you’ll pay more miles. However, if you want to book business class for the outbound and premium economy for the return, the call center can correctly price this at the round trip rates.
Alitalia levies fuel surcharges on award tickets. For a roundtrip between North America and Europe, these are generally about ~$850 for business class and ~$500 for economy or premium economy.
Alitalia business class fuel surcharges
Alitalia economy and premium economy fuel surcharges
Not cheap by any means, but better than what we see from other European carriers, and there are of course ways to lessen the economic impact.
Alitalia MilleMiglia has a separate chart for SkyTeam partner airlines, and there are some very tempting redemption options:
In nearly all cases, these are lower than what Delta or Air France would charge. However, the award charts are set to be updated next year (or last Saturday, according to their Greek language website), so I wouldn’t count on these prices sticking around.
Alitalia also levies fuel surcharges on partner award tickets. These aren’t as onerous as Air France or British Airways, and in many markets are similar to what Delta would charge. So you can save quite a few Membership Rewards points by booking through Alitalia, with an equivalent cash outlay.
In terms of routing rules, there are a few things worth noting:
Furthermore, keep in mind that partner reservations have to be made by phone, and like all SkyTeam airlines, the call center is an adventure.
The easiest way to search Alitalia award availability is via ExpertFlyer.
Award availability in advance is very good, and it’s not unusual to see three business class seats on a single flight. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen more than three business class seats on a longhaul, so groups of four will need to split across multiple cabins or flights.
Even competitive routes like Los Angeles to Rome have great space in advance
Three flights a day between New York and Rome means there’s often space if you can split your group
In general, Delta typically has access to the “Z” and “U” fare buckets, so you can also use delta.com to search for space, which might theoretically be easier now they’ve fixed their award search calendar.
Actually, you should really be using alitalia.it and translating through Chrome. Many of the Alitalia-provided translations don’t quite work, so seat assignments and fare classes don’t translate well. Prices on revenue flights are also often lower through the Italian site, for what it’s worth.
One of the other “fun” aspects of Alitalia is that once you have miles in your account, their website is less of a pile, and you have some enhanced features. So once your account is fully “active,” you can search for award availability online.
You’ll want to click on “request your award” under the “redeem miles” tab in order to get to the booking engine.
The website isn’t very robust, so in most cases you’re still going to be better off using ExpertFlyer to confirm availability. You can use the Alitalia site to price out simple awards, but for anything complex you’ll need to call.
And there are other benefits to calling, which I’ll get to below.
If you don’t have any Alitalia miles, you have a few options:
For partner awards on airlines other than Air France/KLM, Alitalia should have access to the same award space that FlyingBlue has, so the FlyingBlue site is a great tool to use there.
For AirFrance/KLM awards, I’d probably just use the Alaska website to check availability prior to calling Alitalia.
As I mentioned above, the trick to booking Alitalia awards is to have some miles in your account. Once your account is considered “active” you can hold Alitalia-only awards for about two weeks.
And the key word there is really “about.” Remember this is an Italian airline, and your Italian experience begins the moment you start booking your trip. You may have an agent tell you they are busy, and will call you backdomani. (They won’t actually call back, just FYI.) Selecting English on the phone menu may transfer you to whomever is working who happens to speak English, even if they work in cargo. You never really know, because:Italian. So just be patient, and know that many things (such as the length of an award hold), are agent-dependent.
And regardless, it’s waaaaaay better than calling FlyingBlue, so there’s that.
Despite that, the best strategy here is:
The US phone number for Alitalia is (800) 223-5730.
However, if you have Google Voice, you’re probably better off calling the Italian number +39 066 5649, as those agents seem a bit better trained.