Bye bye, bmi!

As reported by Musings of the Global Traveller, bmi’s Diamond Club program will be merging into Lufthansa Miles & More by mid-2011 at the latest.

For those of you not familiar with bmi, they’re a great airline to credit miles to, even if you never fly them. They offer double miles (both redeemable and elite qualifying) for most Star Alliance paid business class itineraries, and triple miles for first class itineraries, which is very generous. Beyond that, they have some very low Star Gold qualification and requalification levels (just 38,000 status miles to requalify). And they also have great redemption opportunities.

The good news is that bmi Gold status will likely be converted into Lufthansa Senator status. The thing that’s really valuable there is that as a Senator, you get 50% off a companion award reservation (including first and business class). Still, their award prices are much higher otherwise. Though you just know you want to walk into the Senator lounge at Dulles airport with your Senator card, for once, instead of sending United the bill. 😉

The real losers, though, are those that were going for lifetime status with bmi. If you’re a bmi Gold for ten years in a row, you get that status for life. While Lufthansa has a similar lifetime status program, you have to be at least 60 to be given lifetime Senator status. So to the 30 year olds that have been bmi Gold for seven or eight years, tough luck, it would seem.

The one other thing worth discussing is how to burn those bmi miles, now that their program is going away. They do have a cash and points option, whereby you can use fewer miles and pay a cash supplement, which is tempting, though I don’t like spending $1,000+ on a pair of award tickets, so I’m shying away from it. bmi also charges fuel surcharges, which is the only reason to fly US Airways — they’re the one airline that doesn’t charge fuel surcharges. So if you were to book an award ticket on US Airways using bmi miles, you wouldn’t be charged a fuel surcharge — and their new Envoy Suites available on select routes do look nice. Maybe it’s time to fly a US Airways A330-200 to somewhere?

Comments

  1. Aside from the generous redemption table, what I’m going to miss most is the relationship with Qatar. Diamond club offered an amazing number of miles for flights in Qatar’s (fantastic and often amazingly cheap) business class. The only other Star Alliance program I can find with such a comprehensive relationship with Qatar is ANA, but the award and redemption rates are meagre.

    Miles & More has a limited arrangement (I think only on flights between Doha and Germany), perhaps it’ll be expanded in light of this development.

  2. Should had come to http://www.ghettoife.com/2010/06/analysis-diamond-club-upcoming-changes.html, and it’s confirmed in a very long thread on http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/bmi-diamond-club/1100408-prock-schauer-roadmap-integration-diamond-club-m-m-agreed.html
    😉

    It’s sad, but hey. Time to burn those miles, and have a party with them.

    Qualification will be the interesting part and how they migrate the BD*S/*G’s over to FTL and SEN respectively.

    Lets put it like this: I’m keeping earning on BMI for the remainder of the year, but will be looking for a new home for my miles the moment I retain Gold…

  3. Ben,

    Where is it written that the 50% off Companion Award is limited to once per year? From lufthansa.com, it appears to be once per award ticket:

    “A maximum of one Companion Award may be booked per HON Circle or Senator award ticket as long as the cardholder has sufficient accumulated miles.”

    Somehow I suspect you are correct (you usually are), but I hope you aren’t this time!

  4. @ Ben — Awesome! As a huge fun of LH and LX first, I am pretty excited about the prospect of becoming a SEN and using those miles for the Companion Awards.

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