ITA Airways joins SkyTeam alliance
SkyTeam CEO Kristin Colvile and ITA Airways Executive Chairman Alfredo Altavilla announce the onboarding of ITA into the alliance. Photo: SkyTeam.

Italy’s new flag carrier ITA Airways has joined the SkyTeam alliance, replacing the void left by the exit of its predecessor Alitalia.

ITA Airways took over operations from Alitalia on 15 October 2021. At the time, it wasn’t yet clear whether ITA Airways would take Alitalia’s place in the SkyTeam alliance. But it was widely expected that this could happen, so this announcement didn’t come as a surprise to many people.

“Joining SkyTeam is a natural step, enabling us to continue to deliver a global network and seamless experience that customers flying to and from Italy expect. We look forward to close cooperation with our SkyTeam partners to support the start-up of our company, the Italian flag carrier,” ITA Airways Executive Chairman Alfredo Altavilla said.

Although Alitalia has ceased operations, it seems Alitalia’s MilleMiglia frequent flyer program continues to exist (albeit with a new website). At this stage, the only way to redeem MilleMiglia miles appears to be for Lastminute.com vouchers. However, the press release from SkyTeam made the following interesting comment:

SkyTeam has agreed with Alitalia Loyalty to continue the partnership that will enable the six million members of the MilleMiglia frequent flyer program to earn and redeem miles on selected SkyTeam members’ flights, offering a wealth of opportunities and exclusive services.

The SkyTeam alliance now has 19 member airlines including Delta, Vietnam Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, Kenya Airways, Air France and KLM.

Given ITA Airways has already launched its own new loyalty program, Volare, it’s not entirely clear where this leaves MilleMiglia. Due to European Union bankruptcy rules, ITA Airways is not allowed to buy MilleMiglia directly from the estate of Alitalia. However, a third party could purchase what’s left of MilleMiglia and then on-sell that to ITA Airways. Perhaps this is the long-term plan for ITA Airways, and the Volare program could eventually be merged with a rehashed MilleMiglia program – the latter of which still has six million members.

Although ITA Airways is now joining the SkyTeam alliance, it doesn’t look like Virgin Australia has any plans to resurrect its partnership with the Italian flag carrier.

SkyTeam status match opportunity with ITA Airways

The announcement of ITA Airways joining the SkyTeam alliance makes the current ITA Airways Volare status match considerably more interesting.

From 15 October until 30 November 2021, eligible frequent flyers who currently hold status with 24 other airlines (including quite a few other SkyTeam airlines, bizarrely) can request an ITA Airways status match. If approved, the status will be valid until 31 December 2022.

While this may have seemed like a relatively pointless status match a few weeks ago, ITA’s SkyTeam membership now makes it much more interesting because ITA Volare members will enjoy reciprocal SkyTeam Elite or Elite Plus benefits on all 18 of the other SkyTeam member airlines.

Anyone who has existing elite status with any of the following frequent flyer programs can apply for an ITA Airways status match:

  • Aeroflot Bonus (new)
  • Aerolineas Argentinas Plus (new)
  • Air Europa Suma (new)
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • ANA Mileage Club (new)
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Czech Airlines OK Plus (new)
  • Delta Airlines SkyMiles
  • El Al Matmid Club (new)
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Plus
  • Korean Air SKYPASS (new)
  • Lufthansa Miles&More
  • Middle East Airlines Cedar Miles (new)
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Royal Jordanian Royal Club (new)
  • Saudia Alfursan (new)
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • TAP Miles&Go (new)
  • TAROM Airlines (new)
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • United Airlines MileagePlus

To apply for an ITA Airways Volare status match, send an email to [email protected] containing the following:

  • Email subject: “program of origin” – “status of origin” (e.g. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – Gold)
  • Text of email: First name, surname; “program of origin” – “status of origin” (e.g. Joe Bloggs; Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – Gold)
  • Attach a copy of your current physical or digital frequent flyer card and a copy of your passport photo page or identity card (in pdf or jpg format)

Numerous AFF members have already applied and received a response within around 24 hours.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: SkyTeam Status Match – ITA Airways

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]