Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Italy has incredible food, welcoming people, and important historical artifacts almost everywhere. The country’s capital, Rome, is known for the Vatican and the Colosseum. Florence is home to Michelangelo’s David, Venice has its famous canals, and Milan is a world fashion capital. In addition to these cities, Italy’s got Cinque Terre, the Italian Alps, Tuscany, Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Sicily, all of which can’t be missed.
As with any popular destination, though, flights to Italy can be expensive. Fortunately, getting to Italy can be easy, thanks to points and miles.
In this guide, we look at some of the best programs you can use to book award flights to Italy, how to book these award flights, and how to earn enough miles for your next redemption.
Fortunately, there are plenty of programs to utilize when it comes to award travel to Italy (or Europe in general). Best of all, the programs we look at cover all 3 of the major airline alliances. With these airline alliances, you can use an airline’s program to book award travel on one of their partner airlines.
It’s important to note that award space in premium cabins on certain routes to Italy can be tough to find. Typically, you want to search either close in (meaning close to the date of travel) or far out in the award calendar (10 or 11 months ahead of travel). It is important to be flexible with your travel dates.
The first program to look at for award flights between the U.S. and Italy is the ANA Mileage Club. The program offers some of the best rates and has plenty of partner airlines, as it is a member of the Star Alliance.
If you are looking to use the fewest miles possible on an award flight between the U.S. and Italy, ANA is likely your best bet. For partner award redemptions, ANA Mileage Club uses a published zone-based award chart. The mileage required for an award ticket depends on the departure and destination zones and the class of service.
It’s important to note that ANA Mileage Club does not allow for one-way award redemptions. You can only book round-trip awards with the program, but it allows for open-jaw bookings. Mileage Club also allows for stopovers on its award tickets, which is a great way to visit 2 destinations for the price of 1.
Here is the round-trip partner award pricing for flights between the U.S. and Italy:
|Class of Service
ANA charges 88,000 miles for round-trip awards between Italy and the U.S., which is less than some programs charge for just one-way.
ANA does pass along fuel surcharges, but they vary significantly depending on which partner airline you fly. Fuel surcharges are lower for United-operated flights than they would be with many other Star Alliance partners.Hot Tip:
ANA Mileage Club offers some of the best rates on many awards. Check out our guide to some of the best ways you can redeem ANA Mileage Club miles for max value.
ANA Mileage Club is a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. Amex points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio. You also get 5,000 extra ANA miles if you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at once, meaning you end up with 25,000 ANA miles overall.
Another excellent program for Star Alliance partner awards is with Turkish Airlines. The program also offers incredible award rates for a fraction of what other programs charge for the same flights.
Turkish Airlines publishes a zone-based award chart for both its own flights and its partner airline flights. The program has 2 distinctive award charts: 1 for promotional award tickets and 1 for regular award redemptions.
For award redemptions, focus on the promotional award chart. These rates are considered Saver-level awards and provide the best redemption rates. According to its award chart, flights between the U.S. and Italy (and the rest of Europe) can be booked for 30,000 miles one-way in economy or 45,000 miles one-way in business class.
Although the pricing is slightly more than what ANA charges, Turkish allows for one-way bookings, which allow for more redemption opportunities.
Like ANA Mileage Club, Turkish Airlines also passes along carrier-imposed surcharges on award redemptions, though they are reasonable in most cases. Of course, they vary depending on which airline you are flying.
Earning Turkish Miles&Smiles miles is relatively easy, as the program is a transfer partner of major transferrable points programs. Turkish Airlines is a transfer partner of Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Bilt Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Bilt, Capital One, and Citi transfer at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers from Marriott Bonvoy occur at a 3:1 ratio, and you get a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer.
The last Star Alliance program we’re looking at is with Avianca LifeMiles. The LifeMiles program offers a ton of value thanks to its numerous partners, lack of fuel surcharges, and the ability to book mixed-cabin awards.
LifeMiles uses a standard zone-based award chart for most flights. Here is the award pricing based on which class you are flying:
LifeMiles’ award pricing between the U.S. and Europe is competitive, especially in business and first class. Best of all, you can use LifeMiles to fly on partner airlines such as Lufthansa and Swiss and not have to worry about exorbitantly high cash fees, as LifeMiles does not pass along fuel surcharges.
Avianca LifeMiles are some of the easiest points to earn, as the program is transfer partners with many transferrable points programs. Avianca LifeMiles is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Brex Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
All the programs transfer to Avianca LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio, except for Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Avianca LifeMiles at a 3:1 ratio.
Avianca also offers frequent bonuses, sometimes as high as 200%, when purchasing LifeMiles. Although buying points and miles should not be a priority, buying LifeMiles can make for some cheap first class and business class award redemptions.
Another excellent option for business class flights to Italy is with the Air France-KLM Flying Blue program. Air France-KLM is a part of the SkyTeam Alliance, which includes airlines such as Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic, and ITA Airways, the national carrier of Italy.
Although the Flying Blue program has been devalued over the years, award flights between North America and Europe are still an amazing deal. The lowest available rates can be hard to find at times, but award availability is among the best.
Flying Blue does have an award chart, but it only applies to flights operated by Air France or KLM and not its partner airlines. Although there is an award chart, pricing is not fixed, because Air France-KLM uses dynamic pricing. This means that the pricing of an award ticket can vary significantly.Hot Tip:
Check out our guide on the best ways to Redeem Flying Blue Miles (Air France-KLM) for maximum value.
According to the Flying Blue award chart, you can book an award ticket between the U.S. and Italy starting at the following rates: 15,000 miles in economy, 30,000 miles in premium economy, or 55,000 miles in business class. All prices are for one-way awards on Air France-KLM operated flights.
Flying Blue does pass along carrier-imposed surcharges on its award tickets, but they are reasonable for flights between the U.S. and Italy. You can expect to pay around $200 for a one-way flight between the U.S. and Europe.
Another perk of the Flying Blue loyalty program is its Flying Blue Promo Rewards. Each month, Flying Blue discounts select routes up to 50% off normal award rates, including many routes between the U.S. and Europe. Although you must book and fly between a specific travel period, you can book these awards for significantly less than what they normally go for.
Flying Blue miles are relatively easy to earn thanks to transfer partnerships. The Flying Blue program is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Citi ThankYou Points. All these points transfer to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio.
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.
This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.
With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.
There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.
Business owner? See our list of the best Amex business credit cards.
Despite numerous devaluations to Virgin Atlantic’s partner award charts over the years, the program still offers some great rates for award flights between the U.S. and Europe. However, the program also charges extremely high fees, at least on particular routes.
Flying Club has distance-based award charts for SkyTeam partner redemptions. However, the program also has unique award charts for each partner airline, and pricing depends on where you are flying.
For flights operated by Delta, you can fly nonstop between U.S. cities and Italy for 30,000 points in economy or 50,000 points in Delta One business class. Best of all, taxes and fees are minimal on these awards. Delta typically charges more than 300,000 SkyMiles to fly Delta One between the U.S. and Europe, so you’re saving a ton of miles utilizing Flying Club.
You can also use Flying Club points on flights operated on Air France or KLM. Award rates can be quite competitive, but taxes and fees are much higher.
Lastly, Flying Club has a separate award chart for flights operated by ITA Airways, the national carrier of Italy. Nonstop flights between U.S. cities and Europe start at just 25,500 points each way in economy or 75,000 miles in ITA Airways business class.
Earning Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points is quite easy, thanks to the program being a transfer partner of nearly every major transferrable currency. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles (via Virgin Red), Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Marriott Bonvoy.
All the programs transfer to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio except Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio. If you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at once, you will receive 5,000 additional Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points.
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.
The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options. Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.
Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!
Are you a business owner? Check out our list of the best Chase business cards.
American Airlines AAdvantage is another solid option for award travel between the U.S. and Italy. American Airlines is part of the Oneworld Alliance with British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qatar Airways, among others.
The program has undergone major devaluations over the years, but it still provides a ton of value, particularly on partner airlines. However, some partners are better than others when it comes to award redemptions.
For American-operated flights, American Airlines uses a dynamic pricing method. This makes it extremely hard to determine how many miles you need for an award redemption as prices vary, resulting in the need for an exorbitant number of miles. Occasionally, you can find deals on American flights, but don’t expect this to be the norm.
Fortunately, the award redemptions are different when you’re flying on partner airlines. American Airlines has an award chart for partner redemptions. This, however, can also be a problem, as certain partners, namely British Airways, charge a ton in surcharges that can be more than $700 one-way between the U.S. and Europe.
According to American’s partner award chart, you can fly between the U.S. and Italy (and Europe) for 30,000 miles one-way in economy, 40,000 miles one-way in premium economy, 57,500 miles one-way in business class, and 85,000 miles one-way in first class. American also has special pricing for Main Cabin off-peak fares, which can be booked for 22,500 miles one-way.
When looking at partner airlines, choose carefully, as some partners have high surcharges.
It is relatively easy to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles, as there are several co-branded American Airlines credit cards issued by Citi and Barclays.
American AAdvantage is also a transfer partner of Bilt Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. Bilt Rewards is a 1:1 transfer partner, and Marriott Bonvoy is a 3:1 transfer partner.
Italy has a rich history and offers tons of diverse experiences. From the mountainous regions in the north to the vineyards in Tuscany to the beautiful coastal cities in the south, Italy has something to offer to everyone.
The key to getting to experience the country is knowing how to leverage your points and miles with the programs that offer the best redemptions. Fortunately, there is an endless list of programs you can utilize for award tickets to Italy.
It’s important to look at award programs carefully. Some programs may charge significantly fewer miles for an award ticket but may pass on fuel surcharges that can make it more expensive.
What you may notice is absent from this article is flying on an award ticket from the U.S. to Europe and then buying a ticket on a low-cost carrier from that city to Italy. This is certainly an option, too — and one that we recommend if you don’t mind a connection and spending a small amount of cash on a cheap flight.
Yes, you can use the Turkish Miles&Smiles program for award flights between the U.S. and Italy on Turkish Airlines or its Star Alliance partners.
For flights between the U.S. and Europe, Avianca LifeMiles charges 63,000 miles one-way in business class.
ANA Mileage Club offers excellent round-trip award rates between the U.S. and Italy. ANA charges 55,000 miles in economy and 88,000 miles in business class for round-trip award tickets.
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Ehsan is an avid traveler who has traveled to 100 countries, diligently using points and miles to fund his journeys. Currently, he holds 32 active credit cards and earns over a million points and miles annually, primarily using them for luxury hotels and long-haul premium cabins.
UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.