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NEW: book ITA Airways flights using Virgin Points – good long-haul options

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Four months after Virgin Atlantic joined the SkyTeam airline alliance, it is now possible to book ITA Airways flights using Virgin Points via Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

(Take a look at this article about how to spend Virgin Points on other SkyTeam carriers.)

ITA Airways is the rising phoenix of Alitalia, the former Italian flag carrier. Having been through numerous bailouts, at huge cost to Italian taxpayers, ITA was launched as a smaller airline without the legacy costs of Alitalia. The ploy worked, and Lufthansa is now in line to purchase ITA and add it to its growing European network.

For now, however, ITA remains part of the SkyTeam alliance which Virgin Atlantic also joined earlier this year.

Unfortunately ITA was one of the few airlines where the IT integration had not been finished, and points redemptions were not immediately possible.

Thit has now changed and it appears to be possible to book ITA Airways flights using your Virgin Points.

Where does ITA fly?

ITA remains a significantly smaller airline than Alitalia was before it collapsed, although it is growing at a rapid pace.

From the UK, ITA flies from London Heathrow to Rome and Milan; and from London City to Milan.

There is, of course, a large network of domestic connections with flights to 23 Italian cities as well as 30+ European cities.

On the long haul side of things, ITA currently flies to 12 destinations from Rome:

  • Boston
  • Buenos Aires
  • Los Angeles
  • Malé (from 16th December)
  • Miami
  • New Delhi
  • New York JFK (also from Milan)
  • Rio de Janeiro (from 29th October)
  • San Francisco
  • Sao Paulo
  • Tokyo
  • Washington

How many points will I need for an ITA redemption?

ITA redemptions are priced under Virgin Atlantic’s SkyTeam partner chart below. Pricing is per sector if you have connecting flights and is one-way: double the numbers for a return flight.

0 – 500 miles5,5009,00014,500
501 – 1,000 miles7,00012,50015,500
1,001 – 1,500 miles10,00016,00021,500
1,501 – 2,250 miles11,50022,00035,000
2,251 – 3,000 miles15,50026,50040,000
3,001 – 4,000 miles20,50037,50060,000
4,001 – 5,000 miles25,50047,50075,000
5,001 – 6,000 miles31,00057,50085,000
6,001 – 7,000 miles37,00070,000100,000
7,001 – 12,000 miles50,00095,000140,000

Infants under two are charged at 1,000 / 2,000 / 5,000 points

London Heathrow to Rome is 899 miles so you can expect to to pay 14,000 Virgin Points return in economy and 31,000 Virgin Points in business class.

London City to Milan is substantially less, at 595 miles, but not enough to price in the lowest price category.

I was able to find decent availability from London to Rome in economy from November, with taxes and fees coming in at £62.58:

book ITA Airways flights using Virgin Points

Business class appears to be sold out consistently – in fact, there seems to be no availability at all at this stage so perhaps it is not fully integrated yet.

I did manage to find some business class availability from Rome to New York:

book ITA Airways flights using Virgin Points

As you can see, this is priced at 123,500 Virgin Points + €348.90. This compares favourably to the 95,000 points + £998 Virgin charges on its own metal from Heathrow.

Part of the cash saving is eaten up by the additional points and the requirement to get to Rome in the first place, but you should still come out on top.

Interestingly, the cheapest points option is by connecting on KLM through Amsterdam: this is available from 97,000 points and €605.

Of course, it makes little sense to fly all the way to Rome only to backtrack to New York. You are better off flying south or east to destinations such as Malé or Tokyo. Malé flights don’t seem to be available for redemption at the moment, however.

What can you expect flying ITA Airways?

Whilst we have yet to fly ITA Airways, feedback has been positive.

This is no doubt aided by the relatively young fleet that ITA operates. This includes the latest A220 and A320neo jets on short haul routes (the A220 will soon operate flights to London City) and A350 and A330neo for long haul routes, plus a number of older A330s and A320s.

The A350s feature an older version of the British Airways Club Suite without doors.

On the A330neos, the first of which arrived in May, ITA has installed its own, fully customised business class cabin. Seats are a variant of the Thomson Vantage XL seat also used by Virgin Atlantic on its A330neos, albeit without doors.

book ITA Airways flights using Virgin Points

ITA has 18 A330neos on order. These will gradually replace older A330 aircraft which will all be phased out by 2025, with the neos becoming the backbone of ITA’s long-haul fleet.

Instead of the bright colours of its livery, ITA has opted for “blue and sand” in business class. Looking at the image above, it looks extremely classy and ties into Italy’s rich heritage of luxury brands.


It is now possible to use Virgin Points to book ITA Airways flights, adding an additional redemption option when it comes to airline partners.

Whilst we have yet to experience ITA for ourselves, so far the airline appears to be succeeding where Alitalia failed. Lufthansa’s decision to purchase the airline suggests it feels the same way.

Redemptions appear to be decent value, particularly compared to Virgin Atlantic’s astronomical taxes and fees on long haul sectors. You’ll also be able to enjoy ITA’s impressive new business class which gives Virgin’s own A330neos a run for their money!

Given that backtracking via Rome makes the North America routes a bit of faff, you are most likely to consider ITA Airways to fly to:

  • Buenos Aires
  • Malé
  • New Delhi
  • Sao Paulo
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Tokyo

Flights are bookable now on the Virgin Atlantic website. If you see availability but get a ‘sold out’ error message when trying to pay, this is unlikely to be true – give the call centre a ring.

PS. Whilst ITA stands for Italia Trasporto Aereo, it is pronounced as in the Italian pronunciation of ‘italy’, ie ‘eeh-ta’. It’s not ‘I-T-A’, like ‘B-A’. Just in case you were wondering ….

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (38)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Hamish says:

    Is there any airline that flys to Canada and can use points for booking? I know KLM do but not bookable online yet.

  • ChasP says:

    Interesting was thinking of a cheap flight to Rome, couple of days there and then
    Rome – Delhi return business class 120k points +£53
    while economy is 37.5k +£173
    & the Virgin site doesnt have any cash availability

  • Eli says:

    If only the virgin app would catch up one day

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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