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Last month there was quite a scare when Alitalia appeared to have devalued their award chart overnight, with some award prices going up by over 100%. I considered it especially bad timing, because American Express was offering a 25% bonus for Membership Rewards transfers to Alitalia at the time. It turns out Alitalia was only increasing award pricing for partner redemptions, which was a big loss, though at least the program wasn’t totally gutted.
You can still redeem 80,000 Alitalia miles for a round-trip Business Class ticket from the US to Italy. One-way redemptions is at 60% of the round-trip price, so that’d be 48,000 Alitalia miles for a one-way ticket between the US and Italy. This is one of the better Business Class redemptions to Europe out there, and Alitalia has a pretty decent product. You can check out Adam’s review of Alitalia Business Class here.
Alitalia does levy fuel surcharges and taxes on award redemptions (and Gary from View from the Wing pointed out that they may have been overcharging them). However, they are not terrible, at around US$272 for a round-trip ticket from New York to Milan.
American Express is now offering a 40% bonus when you transfer Membership Rewards points to Alitalia miles. This means you can transfer just 58,000 MR points for a round-trip ticket to Italy! Alternatively, a one-way ticket would cost you 35,000 MR points.
I think American Express Membership Rewards has been losing its lead compared to competitors in recent years, though I consider transfers to Alitalia’s MIllemiglia to still be one of the sweet spots. You can earn MR points through spending on cards like the Platinum and American Express® Gold Card charge cards, or the EveryDay or EveryDay Preferred credit cards. Through the end of the year, you can also earn double points on small business purchases!
While this transfer is a good deal, I’d really only recommend it if you are planning a trip and have somewhat of an immediate use in mind. With the latest devaluation in October, I’m putting Alitalia on trust probation. Their current award chart is also only valid until December 31, 2016 (same as the transfer bonus), so definitely wouldn’t recommend transferring just to hoard these miles!
Do you plan on transferring MR points to Alitalia under this promotion?