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Alitalia, as an airline, may be officially dead, but its spirit is very much alive within the newest Italian flag carrier ITA Airways. Over the weekend, news emerged that ITA is offering an elite status match to just about anyone and on the face of things, this looks like a pretty pointless status match (I’ll explain why in a moment). Having thought this offer though a bit more, however, I’m starting to think that it may have its uses.
ITA Airways Volare program
The frequent flyer program for ITA Airways is called Volare and will have 4 elite status tiers – Smart, Plus, Premium, and Executive and that’s just about all we know about it. The name of the program and the names of the tiers are all that ITA appears to have shared so we don’t know what benefits the program will offer, what its mileage accrual policy will look like, or who the program’s partners will be, and that makes it impossible to know how good, bad or terrible the program will be.
You could take the fact that ITA Airways has said that it plans to join SkyTeam as something positive, but there are no signs that a SkyTeam membership is imminent or even that it’s likely, so the status of that relationship remains an unknown as well.
Based on the above, spending time applying for a status match to Volare (even the small amount of time that it will take) can seem like a wasted effort, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go ahead anyway. Status matching to Volare may turn out to be worthwhile.
Volare may turn out to be useful
It should be safe to assume that if you have top-tier status with a program that Volare is matching from (more on that later), you’ll end up with top-tier status with Volare and that if you have mid-tier status with another program you have a good chance of ending up with mid-tier status with Volare (I would expect the top two tiers of all 4-tier programs to be matched to the top two tiers of Volare. It’s less obvious how 3-tier programs will be treated). Anything else would make the people running Volare look more than a little foolish.
This means two things:
Firstly, if ITA Airways does, somehow, manage to join SkyTeam in the next year, a lot of people who matched their mid-tier (or higher) status to Volare should will now, probably, have SkyTeam Elite or SkyTeam Elite Plus status, and that will be status that can be put to good use on airlines like Delta, Air France, and KLM.
SkyTeam Elites get preferred seating, access to priority check-in counters, priority boarding, and an extra baggage allowance while SkyTeam Elite Plus members also get access to lounges worldwide (regardless of their travel class) and priority baggage handling upon arrival.
Those could be very useful benefits to have if you find yourself flying with a SkyTeam airline and they would more than pay you back for the small amount of time that it took you to request a status match.
As I’ve already said, however, there’s no guarantee that ITA will join SkyTeam before the end of 2022 (when the newly matched elite status will expire) so that’s not the main reason I think people should go for the status match.
The main reason to apply for a status match is that you never know what that new status will be matchable to in the year ahead.
This is especially true for anyone reading this who looks like they may struggle to keep their current elite status past the end of this year. Matching to Volare now would give such a person Volare elite status through to the end of 2022 and even if that status turns out to not very useful, there may be opportunities to match Volare status to a program with a lot more uses. The few moments taken to apply for the status match would then look like time very well spent.
Elite statuses offered by these airlines are valid for a Volare 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 spelling errors and thank typos courtesy of ITA and Volare!
How to status match to Volare
- Sign up for a Volare account (here)
- By 30 November 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, presumably work too)
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 (so ITA has no plans to process the requests swiftly!) and the new ITA Volare status will be valid for the 2022 calendar year.
ITA Airways is currently offering a free status match to members of 24 frequent flyer programs. The status match is free and although we know just about nothing about the new ITA Volare frequent flyer program (and therefore have no idea how useful Volare status will be), there are still reasons for readers to take advantage of this offer if they can – I’ll be applying at some point today so I’ll report back with how things progress.