Redeeming Avios On Air Italy Just Got More Expensive

Air Italy is the Italian airline that’s 49% owned by Qatar Airways, which now operates flights from Milan to both Miami and New York. The airline used to be called Meridiana and have old planes, but with Qatar Airways’ investment, the airline is getting a makeover.

I flew Air Italy from New York to Milan just last week, and was very impressed by the product. While the seats are angled (though still very comfortable), the soft product was exceptional.

I had redeemed British Airways Avios for this flight, and had outlined in a post about what a great value it can be to redeem Avios on Air Italy. The pricing for Air Italy flights is as follows:

Zone // Flight DistanceEconomyBusiness
Zone 1
1-650 miles
Zone 2
651-1150 miles
Zone 3
1151-2000 miles
Zone 4
2001-3000 miles
Zone 5
3001-4000 miles
Zone 6
4001-5500 miles

So that means a flight between Milan and Miami/New York would cost 25,000 Avios in economy or 75,000 Avios in business class.

British Airways Executive Club typically has a policy of passing on whatever carrier imposed surcharges an airline would charge directly when booking awards.

As I wrote about at the time, Air Italy’s carrier imposed surcharges between the US and Milan were $127 one-way, regardless of whether booking economy or business class. That was reasonable.

Unfortunately it looks like in the past couple of days Air Italy has increased their carrier imposed surcharges for travel originating in the US, and as a result, British Airways is passing that increase on to those redeeming Avios.

Interestingly they’ve only made this change for tickets originating in the US.

Want to fly business class from the US to Milan?

That award ticket will now cost you 75,000 Avios plus $548, rather than the previous amount of $172.

If you book a roundtrip ticket from the US to Milan, that ticket will now cost you 150,000 Avios plus $1,136. Ouch.

The surcharges for travel originating in Europe are the same as before.

Want to fly one-way from Milan to New York in business class?

That will cost you just 75,000 Avios plus $214.

Even if you book a roundtrip, you’ll still only pay the lower/correct fees, for a total of 150,000 Avios plus $371.

Bottom line

Redeeming Avios on Air Italy can be a great value, and for a while it was a way to avoid hefty carrier imposed surcharges. Unfortunately with Air Italy increasing their carrier imposed surcharges for travel originating in the US, the value of redeeming Avios on them has decreased significantly.

If redeeming Avios on Air Italy, I recommend booking either one-ways or roundtrips originating in Italy, and you won’t have to pay the higher fees. I’d consider that to be a great use of Avios, especially if you can take advantage of the current Amex 40% transfer bonus.

(Tip of the hat to Kyle)


  1. BA has been doing this with different airlines !! even on AA flights where there are no fuel surcharges, they are charging slightly more than the original taxes and fees !

  2. Whats with the Shamrock on the picture…. is the portal perhaps glitched into pricing this is a Lingus flight with stopover in Dublin?

  3. @ Chris — I’m not sure, that’s a good question. I have a simple policy with Iberia Avios — if it requires calling, I don’t book it. 😉

  4. @ Lucky — I’ve seen Air Italy flights appear on the Iberia award search engine as recently as two weeks ago. I believe it still said “Meridiana” was the airline. I just checked NYC to Milan on Iberia for a slew of different dates and didn’t see anything.

  5. Andrew Philip Barron, you’ve been able to book aer Lingus flights with BA avios for years, the only issue is you needed to call BA to book. More recently you’ve been able to book online with an account (most people can set these up with a vueling or aer Lingus account), the problem is the taxes are higher booking this way and there’s often different availability to what the BA phone agents can see

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *