If you’ve been sleeping on Alitalia MilleMiglia, perhaps it’s time to wake up…
When you hear Alitalia mentioned in the news, it’s probably about its ongoing financial problems. Fun stuff, right? Well, while all that is going, you might have forgotten about the Alitalia MilleMiglia program. While steep surcharges were once tacked onto award tickets, that’s no longer the case and that creates some great opportunities to book flights between the US and Europe.
Of course, the fact that Alitalia miles expire at the end of each “edition” of the program just adds an annoying layer of complexity. However, if you’re transferring points to Alitalia and you see award space on the dates you want, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.
Let’s take a look at how you can get your hands on some Alitalia miles and how you to book a round-trip business class ticket to Europe for 80,000 miles.
How To Earn Alitalia Miles
Perhaps surprisingly, Alitalia miles are pretty easy to earn. You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Alitalia at a 1:1 ratio and Capital One miles at a 2:1.5 ratio. Additionally, Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred at 3:1 ratio and you’ll receive a 5,000-mile bonus when you transfer 60,000 points for a total of 25,000 miles.
Some of the best cards to earn Capital One miles and Amex Membership Rewards points include:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (Learn More)
- Capital One Spark Miles for Business (Learn More)
- American Express Gold Card (Learn More)
- American Express Business Gold Card (Learn More)
- Blue Business Plus Card from American Express (Learn More)
For our friends in the UK, you can also transfer points from the UK version of the Membership Rewards program. The transfer ratio is also 1:1 just like the US version.
Of course, you can credit your cash flight bookings on SkyTeam partners to Alitalia is you really want but transferring points is probably going to be the easiest option for most people.
Check out our other favorite ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points and Capital One miles.
A Great Alitalia Sweet Spot
If you want to book a round-trip business class ticket between the US and Europe, how does 80,000 Alitalia miles + ~$350 to Italy sound to you? Personally, I’m a fan. To get this deal, you need to fly Alitalia rather than one of its SkyTeam partners which means you’ll need to fly out of Boston (BOS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK) or Washington Dulles (IAD).
For a one-way ticket on Alitalia, you’ll need 48,000 miles for a business class ticket. Unfortunately, it’s not half the cost of a round-trip ticket but it’s still a very good deal when you compare it to what other airline programs would charge for this route.
If you have Amex Membership Rewards points, you can simply transfer 80,000 or 48,000 points to Alitalia for a round-trip or one way, respectively. You’ll need 107,000 or 64,000 Capital One miles, respectively.
Just consider how many miles you’d need with other programs.
Let’s take Alitalia’s SkyTeam partners Air France and KLM as an example. Their Flying Blue program would require 106,000 miles for a round-trip business class ticket on either Air France or KLM. That’s 26,000 more miles than what Alitalia requires. Not to mention, the taxes/fees on Air France or KLM would be ~$500.
You could avoid surcharges by booking a round-trip ticket on Star Alliance partners with 140,000 United miles. Depending on the partner airline you fly, you could also avoid the surcharges by using 110,000 Aeroplan miles. Either way, you’re going to need a lot more miles to fly business class to Europe. Wouldn’t you prefer to save some points so you can book another trip?
How To Book With Alitalia
Using Alitalia miles to book an award ticket on one of its own flights is actually quite simple. Simply use Alitalia’s online search to select the dates you want to travel, class of service and the number of passengers. Of course, you’ll also need to have an Alitalia MilleMiglia account set up so you can transfer Amex points or Capital One miles. Fortunately, transfers from Amex and Capital One should process just about instantly so you don’t have to worry about losing the award space.
If you want to be sure that the award space doesn’t get snapped up by someone else, you can call Alitalia to put a ticket on hold. Data points suggest that holds are only consistently available on Alitalia flights. However, this shouldn’t be an issue if you’re booking the sweet spot we discussed.
Don’t assume that there isn’t space if you’ve searched with Air France, Delta or KLM as Alitalia releases some award space exclusively to its own program. Knowing this could be the difference in booking a trip to Europe and staying home when award space is sparse.
Award Chart Changes Are Coming In Early 2020
The sad part of this is that the Alitalia MilleMiglia award chart is changing as of February 1, 2020. On this date, the award rates will change. Instead of 80,000 miles for a round-trip business class ticket between the US and Europe, you’ll need 140,000 miles round-trip. Ugh! One-way business class award tickets will require 70,000 miles.
Alitalia might have financial issues, but this is still a great option between the US and Europe. In business class, you’ll get a lie-flat seat with direct aisle access and the food has actually received some solid reviews. Considering the value, I’m seriously thinking about using Alitalia miles to try its business class the next time I need — well, want — to go to Europe. If you’d like to do the same, just remember to book before February 1, 2020 so you can save a ton of Amex Membership Rewards points or Capital One miles.
Finally, this booking option can serve as a great reminder not to skip over programs that don’t have widespread usefulness. You might not regularly use Alitalia but you might as well make use of the program when the chance presents itself. It’s certainly not the only program that’s like this, either. I recently booked El Al business class with 78,000 Qantas points — and took advantage of a 20% transfer bonus from Amex. The opportunities are out there. It just takes a little curiosity.