Alitalia now using Etihad lounge in T4 – get free status with your BA Silver or Gold card!

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.

The scheme

The Alitalia frequent flyer scheme is called MilleMiglia.  There are four elite levels which are outlined 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.

Alitalia card

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:

  • Aeroflot
  • AerolineasArgentinas
  • AeroMexico
  • AirEuropa
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Delta
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • MEA
  • Saudia
  • Tarom
  • 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.

  • Etihad
  • Jet Airways
  • airberlin
  • 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

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  1. I am Aleta Plus and wish I wasnt! Every interaction with Alitalia is a nightmare – Every flight, wrong points, wrong info, website non-functional, reserved seats cancelled. I have found the Alitalia customer service to be so poor that I have given up chasing the status. 90% of the emails go unanswered and phone calls are ‘Say one thing, do another’.

    Honestly, I am completely avoiding them.

    My 2 cents.

  2. Peter Taysum says:

    I got Miles for my Elata Plus matched from BA Gold flying GIG to IGU but not lounge access/Seats, but I was able to get exit row (as were the students so unless they were very rich students I dont think it was my card)!

    I also matched to Turkish Airlines, for Star Alliance, but they only matched me to middle tier. Not sure how to get them to see Gold BA as Top Tier.

    The Al Italia card for friend is available when youI log in on the Al Italia site. I’m interested to do this my my regular Travel Partner to get her up to Emerald with Air Berlin. She’s become used to lounge acces with me, and I don’t like her not having it when not travelling with me 🙂

    My Elata Plus card is black ;-p

    PS Iberia didn’t get my bags to me in Rio, didn’t make the connection in Madrid. Any advice on applying for compensation? Never done it before, but I had to buy clothes, etc… Ta

  3. Anthony Dunn says:

    A query: do you have to be flying on AZ/KL/AF in order to be able to access an Alitalia lounge? After the May 2015 fire at FCO, the BA lounge burned down (not such a bad thing, some might say!) and there is no replacement offering pro tem. So, could one use one’s Freccia Alata card to obtain lounge use even if on a BA flight?

    • You need to be on an international SkyTeam flight I believe. Only BA ever let Golds use lounges without flying with them or a partner airline – was called ‘Open Doors’ and stopped a few years ago now!

  4. dirtyneedlebluesky says:

    I initially applied about 3-4 weeks ago knowing I had a trip planned today.

    Knowing there was no response I called up. The first call seemed pretty useless but not long after I received an email to say the evidence was in the format they required (it was). I then provided more evidence.

    A week went by and still nothing. I called again. A very helpful call this time and I waited until yesterday.

    Another call (thank goodness they have now got rid of the 0871 number – you can now use 03335665544 ). This time I was advised to send an email again.

    That I did stressing I was fling today. Amazingly I logged in this morning to see I had been matched 🙂

    Now I’m looking forward to using the Etihad lounge…. Maybe gaining access to that will be a different story

  5. sent them an email almost 3 weeks ago, with a copy of my BA silver card
    After 10 days or so I got a reply saying that i didn’t provide enough evidence and that i should re send the card in a format that they can open (I sent a pdf file..)
    I re sent the evidence, and 9 days later I got the exact same reply, asking for a copy of the card again.
    Ant advice how should I take it from here? Am about to book 3 cross Atlantic trips and was looking forward to ditch BA>