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Why Transferring AMEX Points to ITA Airways Volare Isn’t a Good Idea

In early April I wrote a post in which I covered the news regarding the AMEX ITA Airways points-miles conversion agreement. In today’s post I’ll explain why, at the moment, it isn’t a good idea to convert your Membership Rewards points into Volare miles. Here are my top 3 reasons that I’d like to share with you.

In this post:

  1. No Clear Reward Flight Cost Chart With ITA Airways Volare
  2. You Can’t Book Reward Flight On Other Airlines
  3. The ITA Star Alliance Switch

1. No Clear Reward Flight Cost Chart With ITA Airways Volare

Although ITA Airways’ Volare has a great conversions rate with AMEX Membership Rewards points, 1 to 1, the frequent flyer programme has more than one problem. The first problem is that that means is that there are no prices in terms of miles of what a full ticket costs on ITA. You can use your miles only in a Cash+Miles usage to reduce the overall cost of your ticket.

An ITA Airways Airbus A350-900 which operates long range routes for the airline. ITA is now AMEX partner and you can transfer points, but is it Good Idea?

2.You Can’t Book Reward Flight On Other Airlines

That’s right, at the moment, you can only use your miles on ITA Airways flights. Therefore if you plan to travel on ITA Airways, go ahead and convert your American Express points to Volare miles. However I’d advise to transfer only the amount needed. Because there is no other way to use them if not travelling with the Italian Flag Carrier.

This is a quite unique way of running a frequent flyer programme which doesn’t particularly incentivise travellers to use the programme in my opinion. Even more if you think that you can only build up milage flying ITA, Korean Air and Virgin Atlantic. Not many options for miles that so far don’t seem all that useful.

3.The ITA Star Alliance Switch

Last reason is something that affects mainly SkyTeam frequent flyers. If you are a Skyteam frequent flyer don’t hold your breath for reward flights to be bookable via ITA Airways’ Volare programme. It’s not going to happen. The Italian ministry of finance is in talks to sell first a minority stake in the airline to the Lufthansa Group. A stake that will eventually become for the majority of the airline. With the airline moving into the Lufthansa family, ITA will jump ship from its current Skyteam member status and enter Star Alliance.

If you convert your AMEX rewards points to ITA Airways’ Volare programme and are a Skyteam frequent flyer you might find your self with some useless point not too far down the road.

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