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Interview: ITA Airways Celebrates Anniversary of its Volare Frequent Flyer Program

The airline's Chief Commercial Officer, Emiliana Limosani, recently shared insights into the program's success at a tourism event in Milan

by Matteo Legnani

February 23, 2024

Photo: Emiliana Limosani, Chief Commercial Officer, ITA Airways

Volare, the frequent flyer program of ITA Airways—the Italian flag carrier that succeeded Alitalia—is about to celebrate its second anniversary. 

This relatively new program allows customers to earn points each time they buy a flight ticket or purchase with any of the program’s more than 20 commercial partners.

Photo: Courtesy of ITA Airways

Currently, ITA Airways is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. The airline flies to 57 destinations in 22 countries, with a strong fleet of 83 aircraft.

The program has four levels of membership: Club Smart (entry-level), Club Plus, Club Premium, and Club Executive, each offering different benefits, such as extra baggage allowance, priority boarding and check-in, and dedicated customer service. 

The highest level of membership, Club Executive, provides the most benefits, including lounge access, fast-track security, and a welcome kit. 

Photo: Economy Class seat, ITA Airways, Airbus A330neo. Courtesy of ITA Airways.

The airline’s Chief Commercial Officer, Emiliana Limosani, spoke to Business Traveler about Volare’s success in the past two years and plans for the future at a tourism event in Milan.

ITA Airways offered a gift to all members of Volare in 2024

Yes! At the end of last year, just as we did at the end of 2022, we rewarded our members’ loyalty by automatically renewing their status, regardless of their flying activity with us or the points they gained during 2023.

We have also rewarded frequent flyers who naturally maintained their Tier by awarding them 10,000 non-qualifying points.

Can you provide us with key numbers about the program?

We ended the year 2023 with 1.6 million enrolled members, and as of mid-February, we have reached almost 1.8 million. Of these, 95% are enrolled at the entry-level, known as Smart, while 5% hold a Plus, Premium, or Executive status.

We anticipate reaching our goal of 2 million members within the next two months and reaching 2.6 million by the end of the year.

How can you enhance customer loyalty to achieve these ambitious goals?

In a few weeks, Volare membership will be opened to children as young as two years old. Currently, the minimum age for enrollment is 16 years, but this will soon change.

Photo: Fantasia Lounge for unaccompanied minors. Courtesy of ITA Airways

Additionally, we will be introducing an improved point transfer system for families. It will allow one adult and one child—16 or younger—or two adults and six children to transfer their points with each other.

This new function will be available on our website and help them book flights or services with our partners.

What is the breakdown of your membership between domestic and international? 

Today, 63% of Volare cards are held by Italians and 37% by foreigners.

The Volare card is particularly popular in the USA, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain and Japan. One of our medium-term goals is to balance domestic and international membership by launching loyalty campaigns that accelerate the accumulation of points in our most important foreign markets. 

Photo: Business Class seat, ITA Airways, Airbus A330neo. Courtesy of ITA Airways.

For instance, we have recently launched and activated the ‘triple points awarded’ on Milan Linate-New York JFK and backward via our hub in Rome-Fiumicino to encourage more membership in our foreign markets.

How many of your foreign Volare frequent flyers are based in the U.S.?

The United States is the first foreign market regarding the number of members for Volare. In fact, it represents about 10% of the Volare members abroad, with numbers continuing to grow. 

Who is your top-seeded member?

Our top Club Executive member is an Italian passenger who flew on ITA Airways’ aircraft 305 times and earned 387,000 points since Volare was born.

Photo: ITA Airways, Airbus A330-900neo. Courtesy of ITA Airways.

ITA Airways is waiting for a green light from the European Commission to confirm its adherence to the Lufthansa Group. Until then, the airline will continue to operate under the SkyTeam umbrella, providing its passengers with a seamless experience across its airports, lounges, and aircraft.

Once the European Commission approves the Italian carrier’s membership in the Lufthansa Group, Volare is expected to become part of the Miles & More scheme operated by the German airline group.