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Alitalia MilleMiglia, an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner, is updating its award chart effective November 15.
And like so many airlines before it this year, the prices of Business Class awards are going up.
For trips starting in the U.S., Business Class awards to Europe will increase from 80,000 miles roundtrip to 100,000 miles.
For European fliers, the changes are more widespread, with nearly every Business Class award from or within Europe increasing in price. Flights to Asia and South America are hardest hit with 40,000 mile increases to 160,000 miles roundtrip.
Should you book an award now?
80,000 miles in Business Class on Alitalia or its SkyTeam partners sounds like a great deal.
Delta and Air France charge 125,000 miles for the same award, though like Air France, Alitalia levies fuel surcharges on awards when airlines assess them. That means most flights from the U.S., except for Delta flights, will incur extra fees.
The good news is they’re not terrible.
A roundtrip to Paris will set you back about $400 in fees, versus about $150 if you use Delta miles.
So you’re paying about $300 to save 45,000 miles versus booking with Delta miles – a trade most of us are willing to make.
And availability on Alitalia’s own flights is actually quite good.
How can you book?
Here’s the hard part.
Alitalia isn’t a well known program for a reason.
It’s not easy to use.
While it has an award booking tool for its own flights, it’s essentially useless, and you’ll need to call Alitalia’s phone agents to book most awards.
Unfortunately its phone agents are also pretty useless.
You’ll find that they….
It’s like negotiating at a sketchy car dealer where the salesperson has to go back to ‘the manager’ every time something changes.
But if you’re patient it’s not impossible to price something out and get good value.
Are there other good uses of MilleMiglia miles?
There are, and they’re not changing November 15.
Upgrades from Premium Economy are good deal. Availability is generous, and you only need 12,500 points to upgrade, though the minimum fare bucket usually ends up costing about $2,500.
Delta flights to Hawaii. Like AirFrance Flying Blue, they are available for just 30,000 miles roundtrip in Economy. Not quite as good as Korean SkyPass’ recently introduced 25,000 mile award, but decent none the less.
Asia Business Class for 90-95,000 miles. Unfortunately SkyTeam award space to Asia is very hard to find, but you’ll pay only 90 – 95,000 miles roundtrip in Business Class, compared to 140,000 miles with Delta. India is only 100,000 miles.
South America Business Class for 75,000 miles. Again, almost impossible to find the space, but 75,000 miles roundtrip to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile in Business Class is a steal compared to 125,000 miles using Delta SkyMiles. And there are no surcharges.
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