ITA Airways is the modern flag carrier of Italy, and is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. ITA Airways is the successor of the now-defunct Alitalia, and is currently in the process of being integrated into the Lufthansa Group.
Fortunately, passengers are now able to use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to make award bookings with ITA Airways, which provides another option for booking flights between Europe and North America.
ITA Airways Now Bookable with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Flights with ITA Airways are now bookable via Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. This development provides passengers with access to a greater set of direct flights between Europe and North America, and to connect to the rest of the airline’s network.
This is a particularly interesting development, especially since Lufthansa acquired a minority stake in the airline during the month of May. It’s possible that this redemption opportunity will change once Lufthansa has completed its integration.
Either way, as it stands currently, passengers are able to use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for flights on ITA Airways.
Booking ITA Airways is subject to a distance-based chart.
Unfortunately, ITA Airways doesn’t serve any Canadian cities, so you’d have to reposition to a hub in the US to take advantage of the new partnership.
A flight between Rome and West Coast cities such as San Francisco or Los Angeles should cost 37,000 Flying Club miles in economy or 100,000 Flying Club miles in business class.
From the East Coast, a flight to or from Rome should cost 25,500 Flying Club miles in economy or 75,000 Flying Club miles in business class.
Generally speaking, availability looks to be fairly open at the moment, especially for the last quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.
Heading into the spring months of 2024, there’s still availability to be found if you look diligently.
The redemption rates aren’t necessarily the most competitive for flying between North America and Europe.
For example, it’s possible to find flights for around half of the cost using a Promo Reward with Air France/KLM Flying Blue. Using Aeroplan, a one-way flight between North America and Italy can cost around 70,000 points in business class with partner airlines.
However, it’s always a positive to have more options, and this is especially beneficial for travellers who value flying direct to Italy.
It’s worth noting that there are somewhat frequent transfer bonuses from American Express US Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Chase Ultimate Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, with bonuses of up to 30%.
A 30% transfer bonus would effectively reduce the cost of a business class ticket from the West Coast to 76,923 Amex US MR, and from the East Coast to 57,692 Amex US MR.
At those levels, the pricing is quite competitive, and would be very much worth considering with the low amounts of taxes and fees.
How Is Flying with ITA Airways?
ITA Airways is based out of its hub in Rome (FCO), and flies to six destinations across the United States, as well as a number of destinations in Europe, South America, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.
On the West Coast of North America, ITA Airways flies to both Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). On the East Coast, ITA Airways services Miami (MIA), Washington (IAD), New York (JFK), and Boston (BOS), all from Rome (FCO).
It also operates a lone route from Milan (MXP) to New York (JFK).
ITA Airways’s best business class product is onboard the Airbus A350-900, which has 33 reverse herringbone seats.
ITA Airways has business class seats that convert into a fully lie-flat bed, and offer every passenger direct aisle access.
The rest of the onboard experience is reported to be quite pleasant, with very high praise for the onboard catering offered on flights departing from Rome or from an outstation.
In addition, the flight attendants are reported to provide attentive and mindful service.
Knowing that ITA Airways offers a competitive overall product for transatlantic options, it’s worth considering if you can connect onwards to other destinations as well, such as Cairo or Malé.
Flights with ITA Airways are now bookable via Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. While it may not be the cheapest option for a transatlantic flight, ITA Airways offers a compelling reason for travellers who wish to fly direct to Italy from US hubs, or continue onwards to the airline’s other destinations.
With decent award availability, low surcharges, and consistent transfer bonuses from American Express US Membership Rewards, be sure to keep ITA Airways on your radar when planning your next trip to Europe.