Booking Alitalia award space just got a lot easier using Delta Skymiles with the rollout of online booking at delta.com.
Even yesterday I had to call Delta to book an Alitalia award and let me tell you–it was never an easy process. For whatever reason, Delta telephone agents cannot see Alitalia award seats–they had to be requested manually and many agents either did not know how to do this or just plain refused. Hopefully all of this is behind us now.
Alitalia is not one of the world’s leading carriers, but it does offer an exceptional onboard cuisine (a pasta course with every dinner in Magnifica class!) and its A330 lie-flat business class seats are very well received by my clients. Longhaul business class award availability is not great–and it will be more competitive now with space displaying on delta.com–but you’ll find a number of flights with two or three seats available if you book early. Most flights only have one seat available if any at all. I find that unlike many carriers who release unsold seats as the departure date draws near, space dries up close-in on Alitalia longhaul flights. Intra-Europe business class space and economy class space is generally good.
An economy class ticket from the continental USA to Europe is 60K r/t while business class is 100K r/t. Delta levies no fuel surcharges for trips originating in the U.S. so you’re looking at taxes of about $50 for a r/t to Rome–a very good deal.
If you originate in Europe, though–you’ll be hit with taxes and fuel surcharges approximating $300 each way. Intra-Europe flights also carriers a fuel surcharge if originating in Europe.
Keep in mind that in addition to Delta you can book Alitalia space using the Air France/KLM Flying Blue program (be warned if going to Africa), meaning your AMEX points are particularly valuable for Alitalia. If you do not have an American Express card, the best non-targeted offer available now is the The Platinum Card® from American Express.
With Air France and KLM no longer a viable Skymiles option, Alitalia is one of the few remaining carriers to secure award space to Europe for a reasonable amount of Skymiles. With Korean Airlines and now Alitalia award space available for online booking at delta.com, Delta is at least making it somewhat easier to deal with an award program that could never be defined as user friendly.