This is the first post in a new series called Forum Buzz. Scanning the forums daily could easily consume an hour or two. I hope to distill the best deal(s) of the day that have the forums buzzing into a five-minute post. In the process, I’ll piece the disparate information together into a coherent narrative and add my own investigation.
According to this thread on FlyerTalk, Alitalia is currently offering 15% off all flights (except premium economy) booked on its site from now through 6 AM ET tomorrow (9/24).
This promotion includes all flights on the Alitalia network as well as any SkyTeam members that can be booked on alitalia.com like Delta and KLM. The discount is valid on travel from 10/1/12 to 3/31/13.
A review of some selected round trip US-Asia, US-Europe, US-Africa, and domestic flights showed that all qualified for a 15% savings that ranged from around $15 to $120 or more.
There is no need to sign up for a MilleMiglia account to take advantage of this promotion: simply go to http://alitalia.com and enter your travel dates and airport(s). I did a dummy booking for a round trip ATL-LAX in November that I’ll break down screen-by-screen.
On alitalia.com, there are two main search options. You can type a departure and return date and check the +/- 3 days box to get a grid you’ve probably seen on kayak.com or elsewhere.
Or you can click Advanced Search and choose a departure date and trip length and Alitalia will do a three-week search for you:
After you click Advanced Search, select Find Bargains to get a three-week search.
The three-week search results look like this–note the cheapest days are marked by a red triangle.
Again the cheapest flights are marked by a red triangle. The prices you see on the flight selection screen don’t include a 15% discount yet.
Once you’ve selected your flights, you’ll get to a screen that shows your selections and their prices. This is where you type the discount code WEEK15US into the E-COUPON box:
If you continue to the next screen, you will be prompted to enter your passenger information, including your frequent flyer program number. You have to check the box next to RESERVED FOR FREQUENT FLYER ACCOUNTS to be able to choose Delta (DL) from the dropdown menu.
Continuing, you’ll see it all come together on the payment screen!
This process is pretty simple, but I occasionally got this message–thankfully translated into English.
Siamo spiacenti,si è verificato un errore durante la prenotazione del tuo volo. Una o più tratte non sono diponibili nella classe selezionata. [Sorry, there was an error when booking your flight. One or more legs are not available in the selected class.]
Do not be alarmed. I found that changing the dates resulted in successful bookings.
I’m sure many people are excited to drop 15% off the price of SkyTeam flights for the next six months, but you may have some questions that I’ll try to answer.
Will I earn full mileage credit from Delta?
The answer appears to be a resounding yes! FlyerTalkers who have booked fares have reported that the flights have booked into Delta’s T, L, and U fare buckets. If you don’t know what a fare bucket is, check out this Hack My Trip post.
T, L, and U all earn 100% mileage credit–both redeemable and MQM–on Delta:
Are there fares suitable for mileage running?
There are some fares that are good enough to be considered mileage runs–flying just to earn the redeemable and status miles. Dan’s Deals is collecting some of the best fares, some of which work out to under 4 cpm.
I have status on Delta. Will I get my status benefits–like free checked bags and mileage bonuses–on these flights?
Sign into your Delta account, and locate your itinerary with the Alitalia confirmation number. Input your SkyMiles number to attach it to your account, and you’re all set.
Mille Miglia says I’ll earn 974 miles from ATL-LAX, but the flight is much longer. What’s up?
You will get the miles flown if you credit to your Delta SkyMiles account. To see how far your flights are, use gcmap.com as I described here.
Anything else I should know?
I’ve made a purchase through British Airways denominated in dollars that Citi considered a foreign transaction, dinging me 3%. I’m not sure whether purchasing through Alitalia will be considered a foreign transaction. Consider using a card without foreign transaction fees like the Chase Sapphire Preferred to protect yourself.
Some people have reported difficulty booking both domestic and transatlantic routes, but I have been able to do dummy bookings for all the following routes, so any problems seem to have been fixed:
LAX to Tokyo-HND
LAX to London-LHR
LAX to Paris-CDG
LAX to Nairobi
LAX to Lima
LAX to Sydney
LAX to New York-JFK
LAX to Honolulu
This deal is definitely available on domestic flights as well as flights to all other continents.
Alitalia is running a 15% off all flights promotion, which includes SkyTeam partners like Delta and KLM. To take advantage, book by 9/24 at 6 AM ET for travel between 10/1/12 and 3/31/13.
The discount is applied to the itinerary after entering code WEEK15US. The flights booked through this promotion appear to earn 100% redeemable and status miles on Delta, so there is no downside to using the code if you have an upcoming trip. Some deals may even qualify as mileage runs.
Full terms and conditions of the promotion can be found here.