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ITA is still offering a status match to its new loyalty/rewards program and despite the fact that this offer has been available for at least a couple of months, it’s one that I hadn’t remembered to act upon until recently. When I finally got around to submitting my details, I fully expected to have to wait weeks (possibly months) before I heard back but much to my surprise, it looks like ITA is taking this promotion seriously.
ITA Airways is the latest attempt by Italy to operate a national airline and, in effect, is little more than the reincarnation of Alitalia. Since the middle of October, ITA has been offering flyers with elite status in one of over twenty airline loyalty programs the opportunity to status match across to its new ‘Volare’ program.
The benefits associated with the Volare program don’t appear to have been fully firmed up yet but with ITA now confirmed as a member of SkyTeam (the alliance that includes Delta, Air France/KLM, and Korean Air), there is genuine potential for Volare elite status to be useful. That’s why I finally found the 2 minutes of time that it takes to submit a status match request.
Who can request a Volare status match?
Flyers with elite status in any of the following airline programs can request a status match:
- Aeroflot – Aeroflot Bonus
- Aerolíneas Argentinas – Aerolíneas Plus
- Air Europa – Suma
- Alitalia – Millemiglia
- Air France/KLM – Flying Blue
- American Airlines – AAdvantage
- ANA – Mileage club
- British Airways – Executive Club
- Czech Airlines – OK Plus
- Delta Airlines – SkyMiles
- Emirates – Skywards
- Iberia – Iberia Plus
- Korean Air – SKYPASS
- Lufthansa – Miles and More
- Middle East Airlines – Cedar Miles
- Qatar Airlines – Privilege Club
- Royal Jordanian – Royal Club
- Saudia – Alfursan
- Singapore Airlines – KrisFlyer
- Swiss Air – Miles & More
- TAP – Miles & Go
- Tarom – Sky Team
- Turkish Airways – Miles & Smile
- United Airlines – Mileage plus
All errors and typos courtesy of ITA and Volare!
How to status match to Volare
- Sign up for a Volare account (here)
- By 31 December 2021, send an email to [email protected] with the following characteristics:
- Email subject: “program of origin” – “status of origin”
- Body text: Name; Surname; “program of origin”; “status of origin”
- Attach a legible copy of your current valid Frequent Flyer Card (digital or physical) and a copy of your ID card in pdf or jpg format (a copy of your passport’s photo page or a driving license will work)
If your request to status match is accepted, you will be sent an email to confirm that your status has been recognized by 31 December 2021 and the new ITA Volare status will be valid for the 2022 calendar year.
Volare is rolling out in phases
Members who join the Program by 15 November 2021 will be entitled to a welcome bonus of 10,000 Points (“Welcome Bonus”) to be used within the Program once the usage features are active (Phase II). In particular, the welcome bonus will be credited to the Member’s Points balance by 28 February 2022 provided that the Member has purchased a return flight or two one-way flights to be made by 31 December 2021.
These Points can be used starting from 1 March 2022 above (see Phase II, paragraph b)).
During Phase I, each Member will be able to view the history of the ITA flights purchased that will entitle the accumulation of Points starting from 28 February 2022.
Starting from 28 February 2022, the Member will receive the Volare Code corresponding to their “Volare” account. Using the Volare Code in their reserved area, the Member can:
- access their points portfolio;
- receive in real time the points accrued as a result of each flight made by the Member and each purchase that gives the right to accumulate points
- receive the credit of the points accrued for ITA flights carried out from 15 October 2021 to 28 February 2022 (previously only tracked in the Member’s personal area).
ITA will issue ‘points’ based on what a flyer spends (1 euro = 1 Point) but points will not be usable until 1 March 2022.
Further details covering the Volare program can be found via this link (which leads to a page where all the information in this section came from).
My surprisingly good ITA status match experience
Anyone who has had dealings with Alitalia or any of Italy’s many bureaucratic systems will be able to tell you that things don’t move quickly over there. I love just about everything to do with Italy from the people to the food to the amazing scenery that the country offers (it’s a truly fantastic place to visit) but while style, history, and beautiful views are all synonymous with Italy, efficiency is not.
Up until a couple of days ago, the prospect of an ITA status match had completely slipped my mind but when I finally remembered about it and gave myself the short amount of time that it takes to submit a status match request, I emailed the airline with the evidence of my current elite status as required.
I was 100% sure that after emailing ITA with a screenshot of my BA Gold card and an image of my driving license I could forget all about the status match and then re-engage with the airline a few months down the road when a reply finally came back…and I wouldn’t have been surprised if that reply had asked for the same information all over again.
As it turns out, I was wrong to be so pessimistic because someone at ITA is taking this status match promotion quite seriously.
In a very un-Italian way, I had confirmation that my British Airways Gold status had been matched to Volare ‘Executive’ status within 24 hours of my submission, and even by Japanese standards, that sort of speed is impressive. By Italian standards, it’s both stunning and unprecedented 🙂
This is the body of the email that I received:
“We are pleased to inform you that your request for Status Match to the Volare loyalty program by ITA Airways has been accepted and, from now on, you have joined the Club as an Executive Member.
You can start to immediately accumulate points on all ITA Airways flights by purchasing your tickets on the following sales channels:
1) the website ita-airways.com and ITA Airways app;
2) Customer Center at 89 34 90 49 (special tariff number);
3) travel agent.
Independently of the purchase channel you have chosen, do not forget to enter/communicate to the operator your credentials including the email used to register in the program.
Points will be credited to you by December 31, 2021 and you can start spending them from March 1, 2022 onwards.
In the coming weeks, we will inform you of all the details of the program. In the meantime you can start taking advantage of special SKYPRIORITY services offered to Executive Members:
• check-in at the Business Class desks;
• Fast Track at the security gates in Rome Fiumicino and Milan Linate;
• priority boarding;
• priority baggage drop-off.
Thank you for joining the Volare program and we look forward to seeing you soon on board ITA Airways flights!“
Leaving aside the small matter that I haven’t yet been given a membership number (that won’t come until after February 2022) and the fact that the phrase “In the coming weeks, we will inform you of all the details of the program” would appear to confirm that the program’s rules and all of the benefits haven’t yet been decided, this is an unexpected sign of efficiency from ITA. Kudos to whoever is running the status match program.
Volare elite status
Volare will have four elite status tiers:
- Smart Level
- Plus Level
- Premium Level
- Executive Level
Per ITA, this is what those status tiers offer (this information may change):
- Earn and burn points with ITA
The benefits of Smart Level and:
- Priority on wait lists
- Free ancillary services (no details have been provided to say what these services are)
- Dedicated customer service
- Access to business check-in
The benefits of Plus Level and:
- Lounge access (it’s not clear if this is access to ITA lounges or access to lounges operated by other SkyTeam airlines as well)
- 24/7 dedicated customer service (presumably customer service for lower levels is not 24/7)
- Priority boarding
- Dedicated onboard reception (I have no idea what this involves)
The benefits of Premium Level and:
- Free golf equipment allowance
- Lounge access with guesting privileges
- 24/7 dedicated customer service (presumably this is a different priority line to the one offered at Premium Level)
- Free food and drink (I’m assuming that this relates to flights in short-haul Economy Class but I can’t be sure).
- Invitations to exclusive events
- Dedicated reception (I still have no idea what this means)
Some of these benefits can be genuinely useful (especially lounge access) but as most people who read this article and request a status match probably won’t be doing much flying with ITA, it’s the benefits that Volare will offer when status holders fly with other SkyTeam airlines that are probably going to be more relevant.
To that effect, this is what the SkyTeam website has to say about the benefits flyers can expect:
If you already have top-tier status with a valid loyalty program you can probably expect to match to Volare Executive status and that, in turn, should give you the benefits associated with ‘SkyTeam Elite Plus’. Mid-tier elite status holders can probably expect SkyTeam Elite benefits although some of the higher mid-tier statuses (e.g. AAdvantage Platinum Pro) may also get matched to a status level that offers SkyTeam Elite Plus benefits.
ITA is still offering status matches but you have just days left to request one if you haven’t done so already (unless ITA decides to extend the promotion for a second time).
Based solely on my own experience, requesting a status match is simple and ITA seems to be processing the matches quickly so with the airline now officially a member of SkyTeam, this is probably a promotion that most people reading this (and with elite status) should be considering.