Alitalia American Express by First Bankcard Credit Card Review

Alitalia American Express by First Bankcard Credit Card Review

Who is the Alitalia American Express by First Bankcard Good For?

The Alitalia American Express card is a great option for earning some extra miles with the airline’s generous loyalty program, MilleMiglia. The card also offers some nice perks to cardholders who often fly on Alitalia, including two free checked bags, two lounge passes a year and a $50 annual coupon.

Although the card has an $89 annual fee, it’s waived for the first year. Plus, if you buy a ticket on Alitalia, the $50 statement credit takes a big chunk out of the fee.

Alitalia has two U.S.-based transfer partners, American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. Between earning miles using the card and the ability to transfer miles, you’ll be able to load up your MilleMiglia balance easily. That’s good news, given the redemption deals the program offers.

Sign-Up Bonus:

The regular sign-up bonus for this card is only 5,000 miles after you spend $20,000 in the first year. However, in the past there have been special offers for three times that amount. When it’s available, you’ll get 10,000 miles after the first purchase, plus the standard 5,000 miles after spending $20,000. This is not a huge bonus, but it’s good, particularly considering the other benefits the card comes with, like free bags, lounge passes and credit towards purchases.

Miles Earned:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on Alitalia
  • 1 mile per dollar for everything else

The Alitalia Amex card
The Alitalia Amex card

What Do Your Miles Get You?

Alitalia is a SkyTeam member, so you can use your miles to fly anywhere in the world. The airline also has a number of partners outside of the alliance:

MilleMiglia has some outstanding redemption rates, particularly on partner airlines that do not have fuel surcharges. However, there are a few issues. Booking can be tricky, because the Alitalia website is a little confusing and sometimes buggy. The airline also adds fuel surcharges to its own flights, as well as to some of its partners.

Usage Perks:

  • Low cancellation and change fees: 5,000 miles or 55 euros
  • Stopovers allowed on partner flights
  • Some excellent award redemptions
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Free lounge passes

Alitalia Amex cardholder benefits
Alitalia Amex cardholder benefits

Usage Quirks:

  • Low sign-up bonus
  • Fuel surcharges on many award flights
  • No stopovers on Alitalia flights
  • One-way tickets on Alitalia cost 60 percent of a roundtrip
  • No one-way redemptions on partner airlines

How Far Do Your Miles Go?

Alitalia has a generous award chart, but it adds prohibitively high fuel surcharges to some of its flights. You’ll pay up to $500 in economy and $800 or more in business between North America and Europe.

Alitalia’s partner award charts also have some generous redemptions, and not all partners add fees to awards. So try to book with the carriers that have minimal or no fuel surcharges.

A business class seat on a flight in North America costs 40,000 MilleMiglia miles each way, but 50,000 miles with any domestic loyalty program. That means you can save 10,000 miles on a transcontinental business class flight just by using MilleMiglia miles. And if you book on Delta, you won’t have to pay any fees, since the airline does not levy fuel surcharges.

Another fantastic redemption is for flights between North America and Europe, North Africa or parts of Asia. Although Alitalia divides these regions into three zones, it charges the same amount for each. Round-trip flights to Israel, Tunisia, Turkey and western Russia are only 50,000 miles in economy, and 80,000 miles in business.

Additional Cardholder Benefits:

  • Free FICO Score
  • Zero liability guarantee
  • Extended warranty
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • First Guard identity theft protection
  • No foreign transaction fees
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