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I’m a big fan of magic. Having someone turn a quarter into a ping pong ball in broad day light only inches from your eyes with no smoke or mirrors is pretty cool. Having someone make all of your miles disappear in night, day or anytime is really… less cool. For their final act, Alitalia will make all existing miles vanish. Seriously. If you have any miles saved up you have until June 30, 2016 to use them before they go…. poof. Literally.

Magnifica, the name of Alitalia’s attractive business class product is not the thought that comes to mind. The airline offers one of the most obscure frequent flier programs in the world. For starters, it starts and ends virtually every two years. Indeed, under the program you were able to begin earning miles in 2013, are able to earn miles through to the end of 2015 and must use all of your miles by the end of June in 2016 or they will expire when the newly established, yet to be seen program kicks in. Unlike most point programs featuring expiration dates which can be pushed back by completing any mundane task, these miles would have no chance of being extended without following a yet to be seen presumably complicated request from Alitalia. Even if you happen to find the email with extention details in your junk mail, you’d extending your hard earned miles into a program virtually impossible to speculate on! This isn’t a new game but one that is indeed fascinating. Oh yes, I forgot, you want tips. If I had a stack of Alitalia miles today I would look to book their business class round trip for only 80,000 miles or look to upgrade a paid premium economy ticket to business class for only 15,000 miles each way, a tremendous offer!

For most of us this is more cause for amusement than panic. Alitalia has great value for certain “free flight” mileage redemptions and offers a great service, especially up front. You can create Alitalia miles by transferring American Express Membership Rewards points or a variety of hotel points, not to mention flying. As for loyalty? I’d keep my elite status somewhere less obscure, unless of course you got it for free by following this blog and getting status matched into their program all the way to 2017, as many have! Congrats.

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