Customers flying with ITA and having purchased their ticket from the Italian airline will now be able to credit their flights to Flying Blue. It remains to be seen for how long.
ITA and Skyteam: the end of the scam?
Up until now, ITA’s membership of Skyteam has been nothing short of a scam: among the many stumbling blocks we listed at the time was the impossibility of earning miles on flights sold and operated by ITA.
Although a member of Skyteam, the Italian airline only recognized two partner airlines: Korean Air and Virgin Atlantic, whose members could credit flights sold and operated by the Italian airline.
For members of other frequent flyer programs, including Flying Blue, earning miles on flights operated by ITA was only possible if the ticket had been sold by the airline that owns their program. In the case of Flying Blue, this meant Air France or KLM.
ITA expands its list of partner airlines
As of two days ago, it is now possible for Flying Blue members to earn miles and XPs on ITA flights marketed by ITA, as displayed on the website.
The scheme is quite attractive, although it should be noted that some booking classes are excluded.
This is part of a wider effort to normalize relations between ITA and Skyteam member airlines, or at least some of them. The list of partners has indeed grown since our previous article.
Remember that reciprocal mileage gains are not automatic as a result of belonging to the same alliance, but require bilateral negotiation on an airline-by-airline basis.
Earning miles by flying on ITA: for how long?
This is good news, and seems to point in the direction of a normal integration of ITA into Skyteam, rather than what looked more like a limited participation. But for how long?
Europe is slow to give the green light to the Lufthansa Group’s acquisition of ITA, but once it does it won’t be long, in our view, before its Volare program is replaced by Miles&More and, more importantly, it leaves Skyteam to join Star Alliance.
This will in no way prevent it from maintaining non-alliance partnerships, but given Lufthansa’s policy in this area, it is more than unlikely that the situation will persist.
Surprisingly, ITA is strengthening its ties with a number of Skyteam member airlines, even though it is probably only a few months away from leaving the alliance. Meanwhile, Fling Blue members will earn miles and XPs by flying on ITA even if the ticket is not sold by Air France and KLM.