Alitalia MilleMiglia turns out to be overlooked generally, even though it is a 1:1 American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner and usually one of the better SkyTeam airlines frequent flyer programs, with helpful staff and good service.
However, the award chart has some pretty steep prices and fuel surcharges are high. There is also the not so small risk that Alitalia will crash and burn as a company (like Air Berlin did in 2017).
Here is the current MilleMiglia award chart (it keeps changing quickly).
It’s confusing that the rates are different by partner and fare (flex or saver).
Let’s assume that you have earned a sizable balance of miles in the program (or in American Express Membership Rewards). What are some great values?
How to book?
Keep in mind that awards can only be changed – but are non-refundable once booked. Generally, mixed itinerary flights are not allowed.
1) Use MilleMiglia miles on Delta for a domestic transcon or to Hawaii.
The MilleMiglia award chart calls for 20,000 miles one-way between anywhere in the US/Hawaii or northern South America in economy or 40,000 miles in business. This sounds like great value but it is Delta we are dealing with, which is never that easy.
Alitalia does not really give access to any transcon space in business and it will always show up with a co-payment of 3,000 EUR (!) Also, I have yet to find an award that puts me in a lie-flat Delta seat inside the US.
Here is an example of Los Angeles to New York in Delta First Class/One.
2) Use MilleMiglia miles on Delta internationally.
New York to Tel Aviv is one of the best value awards but finding that one seat that Delta makes available to partners isn’t easy.
Flights on Alitalia metal are a great deal too.
3) The African carousel (using Etihad)
Interesting things happen when you look for awards between two African cities (e.g. Nairobi to Johannesburg) that Etihad serves; you’ll get quite a carousel route that can be great value if you find long-haul equipment on your route.
Fuel surcharges on Etihad are generally small.
4) South America (using Delta).
Flights from Delta hubs to the northern part of South America (which stretches as far as Peru) are just 20,000 miles in economy and 40,000 in business.
Now Aerolineas Argentinas is a SkyTeam partner and if you fly Atlanta – Buenos Aires – Lima, you pay …. 40,000 miles! If you miss your second flight, you save yourself 20,000 miles, since Atlanta to Buenos Aires would be 60,000 miles in business class one-way.
Here is an example of Atlanta to Buenos Aires and Lima:
5) Maldives carousel (with Etihad or Jet Airways).
Here is an example of a flight from Colombo to the Maldives:
6) Europe on the expansion trail? (using KLM/Air France)
This can be great value if you find a long flight in-between two cities in one zone.