File this under “niche, but interesting”. This past week, One Mile at a Time reported that Air Canada Aeroplan added a partnership with Italian airline Air Dolomiti. Note that Air Dolomiti is a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, but it flies a number of routes that Lufthansa does not, including some intra-Italy routes that could be decent values with Aeroplan miles for someone looking to travel around Italy.
Air Dolomiti is apparently a small leisure-focused airline that operates primarily out of Frankfurt and Munich to smaller Italian cities like Ancona, Verona, Pisa, Cagliari, and Bari. They also fly to a few destinations in Germany and Austria. See a full list at Wikipedia.
The nice thing is that as Prince of Travel points out, they fly some routes wholly within Italy. Given that all of their routes are short, one-way flights (less than 1,000 miles) would cost 7,500 miles without a stopover — or add a stopover for 12,500 miles (since Aeroplan allows a stopover on a one-way award for 5K miles).
I think this is a nice little value-add for people looking to get off the more typical Rome-Florence-Venice tourist tract. There certainly isn’t anything at all wrong with those cities — I love each of them. But I think back to fun times I had driving around Sardinia and being fascinated by its ancient ruins and Mediterranean culture and I’m glad that I braved Ryanair — I’d be glad to have another option to get there.
Overall, it’s great to see Air Canada continue to expand partnerships and provide more ways than ever to redeem Aeroplan miles. I believe this is the sixth airline partner they’ve added since the pandemic began. If expansion is this aggressive at a time when few people are paying attention, I am excited to see what’s in store when travel picks back up.