Frequent flyers of two dozen top-tier airlines such as British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Lufthansa can grab a free status match to SkyTeam's Elite and ElitePlus tiers this month.
The airline offering the complimentary status match is newly-minted SkyTeam member ITA Airways, the Italian state-backed carrier which in October 2021 arose from the ashes of Alitalia (also a former SkyTeam alum).
Through its also-new Volare frequent flyer program, ITA is dangling the carrot of a full year of SkyTeam status, through to December 2022.
The list of airlines whose frequent flyers can apply for this status match are those which ITA appears to consider its main rivals on key routes across Europe and into the USA and Asia:
- Aerolíneas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France/KLM
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Czech Airline
- Delta Air Lines
- El Al
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Qatar Airlines
- Royal Jordanian
- Singapore Airlines
- Turkish Airways
- United Airlines
ITA's predecessor Alitalia it also included in the status match offer – a sensible move, considering that Alitalia MilleMiglia status now counts for naught.
(Note that ITA qualifies that status match is available only for travellers "belonging to premium tiers" in their current airline's loyalty program, compared to "tiers not accessible simply by signing up to the program.")
Why apply for an ITA Volare SkyTeam status match?
With Covid reshaping airlines and travel – some airlines have collapsed, others are restarting routes piecemeal, while some countries remain off-limits at least to Australians – 2022 could see some travellers temporarily forced to shift from their usual airline of choice, or even alliance of choice, depending on their destination.
This means it's the right time to have status in another set of airlines – those of SkyTeam – tucked away as your Plan B.
And SkyTeam enjoys a membership roster of almost 20 airlines with footprints in Asia, Europe and the USA.
Here's the list of airlines which will honour your ITA Volare status with everything from priority baggage, checkin and boarding to additional checked luggage allowance and of course airport lounge access.
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern
- Czech Airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- ITA Airways
- Kenya Airways
- Korean Air
- Vietnam Airlines
- Xiamen Air
How ITA Volare status lines up
ITA Airways's Volare rewards program will contain "four exclusive clubs" or tiers - Volare Smart, Volare Plus, Volare Premium and Volare Executive – when it officially kicks off on December 31, 2021.
As you'd imagine, Volare Smart will be the entry level for all members, with Volare Plus adding a priority waiting list and check-in at the business class counter.
Volare Premium is where practical benefits such as lounge access and priority boarding kick in, while Volare Executive tops out with "free food and drink" (presumably when flying in ITA Airways economy class with a 'buy on board' menu), lounge access for a guest, and "golf equipment" being included in your checked baggage allowance.
How those ITA Volare tiers line up against SkyTeam status hasn't been revealed, but with the SkyTeam alliance having only Elite and Elite Plus levels – and only Elite Plus eligible for airport lounge access – we'd suggest
- Volare Plus = SkyTeam Elite
- Volare Premium and Volare Executive = SkyTeam Elite Plus
The good news, then, is that even if ITA's status match for some reason matches your top-level status with one airline to its second-highest rung of Volare Premium, that'll still rate as SkyTeam's highest Elute Plus tier and deliver lounge access across all SkyTeam members.
How to apply for an ITA Volare SkyTeam status match
The process of using your current status with an eligible airline to get ITA Volare and SkyTeam status is pretty straightforward.
First, visit the ITA Airways Volare website and sign up to – or in ITA parlance, "subscribe to" – its Volare loyalty program.
- the email subject line should be your to-be-matched airline program and status, such as "Qatar Airways Privilege Club Platinum" or "Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Gold"
- the text of the email should include your given name, family name and the same airline program and status as in the subject line
- attach a legible copy of "your current valid frequent flyer program card (digital or physical)" and "a copy of your identity card (PDF, JPG format)"
ITA says that successful status matchers will be contact by email by December 31, 2021 – just in time for their 12 months of Volare Plus, Volare Premium or Volare Executive (and thus SkyTeam Elite or Elite Plus) to begin on January 1, 2022.