Etihad took pseudo control of struggling Italian flag carrier Alitalia earlier this year.
If you need to fly to Italy on a regular basis, the good news is that from 1st December you can now use the Etihad lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4.
I reviewed the Etihad Heathrow lounge here. It isn’t as good as the Qatar Airways lounge but it certainly isn’t bad (I am back there next week as it happens). For a short-haul lounge, it will be fantastic. You will be getting very high quality food, served at your table, as well as access to free treatments at the Six Senses Spa.
It isn’t yet clear exactly who gets access and who will be remaining in the SkyTeam lounge. Freccia Alata Plus members are definitely getting in. It is not clear if Freccia Alata (middle tier) or general Alitalia business class customers can also use the Etihad facilities.
Don’t forget your Alitalia status match
The reason I mentioned this story is that, in case you haven’t done it yet, Alitalia is currently offering a status match to British Airways Executive Club Gold and Silver members as well as other top-tier and middle-tier status holders with other airlines.
Full details can be found on the Alitalia website here.
As a British Airways Gold, you will be matched to Freccia Alata Plus. This level is equivalent to SkyTeam Elite Plus which is the equivalent of oneworld Emerald.
As a British Airways Silver, you will be matched to Freccia Alata. This is ALSO considered to be SkyTeam Elite Plus. This means that you would get worldwide lounge access with SkyTeam except on US domestic flights with Delta. It isn’t yet clear if it gets you into the Etihad lounge when flying on Alitalia. It does get you in when flying on Etihad.
Why you should do this even if you never fly Alitalia
Alitalia is now a member of two airline alliances.
The formal membership is with SkyTeam. Your Freccia Alata Plus card would get you top tier privileges, including lounge access (except on domestic Delta flights in the US, I think), with the following airlines:
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern
- China Southern
- Czech Airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Kenya Airways
- Korean Air
- Vietnam Airlines
- Xiamen Air
Alitalia is also a member of Etihad Airways Partners. This is not yet finalised, but the eventual plan is that a status holder with any of the following airlines – all of which have received equity investment from Etihad – will have reciprocal privileges with the others.
- Jet Airways
- Air Serbia
- Air Seychelles
- Etihad Regional
Alitalia also has partnerships with GOL, Malaysia and Qantas but I’m not sure if they offer any benefits for Alitalia top tier cardholders.
There is another reason to get a match. You never know when there might be an opportunity to match your Alitalia status to a different Star Alliance or oneworld airline!
How do I get a status match?
You need to email a scan of your British Airways Gold card and your MilleMiglia account number (so you need to open an account first) to [email protected]
Here are the rules:
You have until 31st December 2015 to ask for a match
The match will last until March 2016 UNLESS your existing status card shows an expiry date beyond March 2016. If it does, your matched card will be issued until March 2017.
ANY elite status card from an airline which is not part of the SkyTeam alliance will be accepted