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£440 for top-tier elite status with an airline that uses Avios as its ‘currency’ and partners with Qatar Airways and BA? Sounds good – but there’s a catch…
…It’s Air Italy. The airline formerly known as Meridiana is offering the chance to purchase Gold status in its “@MyAirItalyClub loyalty programme for just 500 Euros (~£440). Silver status can be bought for as little as 200 Euros (~£177).
These seem like tremendous prices, and are certainly the cheapest elite status offers that I can remember an airline providing directly. Unfortunately, unless you happen to fly with Air Italy a lot, there’s not too much to get excited about here. Despite partnering with both BA and Qatar, @MyAirItalyClub elites can only access the benefits of membership when flying with Air Italy.
What are the benefits?
Passengers holding @MyAirItalyClub Gold and @MyAirItalyClub Silver, at all the major Italian airports, can access special check-in desks, where they can collect their boarding card thus avoiding queues and lengthy waiting times.
No more queues at security checks. @MyAirItalyClub Silver holders are reserved rapid access to the security checks through the “Fast Track” gates to make a business trip or a holiday increasingly comfortable. The service, completely free for holders of the @MyAirItalyClub Silver and Gold is active at all major Italian airports.
Flight advance during the day. With the @MyAirItalyClub Silver, if your business meeting finishes earlier, you don’t have to waste time: take an earlier return flight. Where the company offers several flights a day, return home sooner with the earlier flight simply by presenting at the relevant check-in desk the @MyAirItalyClub Silver at least an hour before departure.
Priority Boarding at gates .The card includes priority of boarding the flight through tunnel or with loading bridge.
In addition, members with Gold status receive:
- Dedicated phone number
- “Allocation of on board seating”
- VIP Lounge access
- Priority baggage collection.
Although Air Italy status seems pretty niche at the moment, given their partnerships with oneworld airlines (and the fact Qatar owns 49%), I wonder if the value of that status might increase substantially in the future if the partnerships were developed further. I’m certainly not willing to stake 500 Euros on it, but if you think you’d benefit from @MyAirItalyClub status anyway, then with a bit of luck you might end up getting even more for your money eventually.