While there are continuing questions about the future of Alitalia, Meridiana airlines has announced plans to take the name Air Italy. Story from the Local. They will build up operations at a Milan Malpensa hub.
One Mile at a Time story: the Air Italy name is in operation for New York-Milan flights, and their flights are bookable as rewards using British Airways Avios, including on ba.com (although I'm running into problems in my first search). That blogger says it should also work with Iberia Avios, but it isn't showing on their site.
Under certain circumstances (mainly having a balance in both programs) one can transfer points between BA and Iberia. There are differences in the programs, notably that BA charges a high amount in "carrier fees" on transatlantic award flights (I think that depends on the operating airline rather than the FF program). Often they're best used on American Airlines domestic flights. Both BA and Iberia have similar opening bonus offers on Chase credit cards in the U.S., and I'm trying to decide which one to go for.
I’d love to hear from someone who flies with them.
Air Italy will be acquiring a lot of long-haul planes in the next two years, thanks to the infusion of cash from Qatar Air in exchange for their 49% ownership interest. They intend to expand aggressively, whether or not Alitalia survives the current bankruptcy. One rumor is that they will join the Oneworld alliance.
I’m hoping they add a nonstop from Logan or, even better, TF Green here in Rhode Island. (Suddenly, there are now several international options from Green.). We did well and enjoyed our Alitalia flights, but it has not been a great option for several years. We were able to use AMEX membership rewards several times, but not recently, to fly business on Alitalia for 80,000 points and modest fees - better than just about any other option.
It was a pain. You had to call and reserve the seats. Some agents were not very helpful about searching alternate dates. Then, you went to AMEX to transfer the points, the easy part. Finally, you had to call Alitalia again and hoped they had received and processed them within the time limit for the transfer.
Several years ago Alitalia business award availability stopped showing up on Expert Flyer, making this even harder. They also do not fly in and out of Boston from November through some time in March, I think. Worse, their current rewards program has new rates - 70,000 miles one way for business class. Even if it weren’t for the uncertainty regarding the bankruptcy that is just the last straw.
Our last two trips to Italia were on Swiss, via Zurich, booked on Air Canada/Aeroplan since you can’t transfer points directly from AMEX to Swiss. We are doing the same for our October trip.
So, that is the long winded reason I’m hoping for another option from Air Italy.
Well, frankly, when it gets as confusing as you explain, I'd rather not spend my time, just spend the $ and fly when and where I wish to go.......Good info, thank you!
LOL. Alitalia was more frustrating than confusing.
The process with Air Canada/Aeroplan was comparable to a regular ticket purchase. Login to your frequent flyer account, search for availability, transfer points from Amex to your account, complete the transaction. Granted, this was a simple itinerary (Boston to Milan) and Swiss had a lot of award seat availability in our desired travel window. Less than 10 minutes start to finish, including a discussion with my wife about which dates we wanted.
If you have rewards points, redemption for award seats gives the best value for your points. Sites such as The Points Guy and One Mile At A Time give very detailed instructions about how to do this. If my explanation was confusing I apologize. I would not want to dissuade anyone from trying to use their points. I struggled my first time and eventually gave up, using one of the services to book a trip a few years ago. It was well worth the modest fee, especially since it gave me a better sense of how the process works.