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Delta miles are our favorite for getting to Europe in Business Class, and one of the great hidden gems of the SkyMiles program is Delta’s partnership with SkyTeam member Alitalia.
No airline more consistently releases nonstop award space to Italy than Alitalia, even hard to find Business Class seats.
And right now you can find award seats to Europe for 2 or more passengers almost every day next summer on at least one of Alitalia’s routes from the U.S. to Italy.
One reason is Delta’s award calendar still won’t display itineraries that involve a partner flight as ‘Saver’ level awards. So when you search for example JFK – Rome next June you’ll see this blanket of blue and yellow higher level ‘Standard’ and ‘Peak’ award prices, and none of us wants to pay 250,000 miles or more for a single Business Class ticket.
But if you click through on individual dates, you’ll see that hidden underneath are great ‘Saver’ price awards for just 125,000 miles roundtrip in Business Class and 60,000 miles in Economy Class.
This is a great deal for getting to Italy during peak season.
Right now flights to Rome cost over $1,600 in Economy Class, and $7,000 in Business Class, so these award prices give you a value of 2.5 – 5.6 cents per mile without jumping through hoops!
And Alitalia’s Business Class is one of the nicest in the sky. You’ll experience luxurious, private seats with a decadent meal service that will make the trip extra special. It’s one of those experiences that lives up to the advertising. And yes, we have regularly seen beautiful passengers like the woman above onboard.
You’re going to want to book now.
First, the obvious reason – always snatch up good peak time award space at low prices when you can.
Second, Etihad Airlines is taking a big ownership stake in Alitalia next year. While we don’t think that means they’ll leave SkyTeam and Delta anytime soon, it may mean the management of Etihad takes a harder look at Alitalia policies. This is Alitalia’s last great hope to be a viable enterprise, and while Etihad is committed to a quality product, we’re not so sure incredibly generous Summer month award space is part of that.
Third, Alitalia and Delta have proposed reducing the number of flights they operate from Rome to New York as part of an anti-trust investigation, and that could mean fewer options to redeem on Alitalia.
Where does Alitalia fly?
Alitalia flies the following routes to North America:
Your best bet is to go on Delta.com and do a search for each route, then click on each date you’re interested in to see if the low Alitalia price shows up.
Also note that some routes on Alitalia like Rome to Palermo, Sicily won’t show up at all on Delta.com. You’ll have to call in to book those.
Another option for advanced users is to subscribe to ExpertFlyer.com, which gives you direct access to Alitalia award inventory listings, which makes for a faster search process.
There are over 10 cards that earn SkyMiles or points you can transfer into SkyMiles, though be aware that starting next year Membership Rewards cards will be limited to 250,000 points a year in transfers to Delta.
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