British Midland doesn’t honor Silver status offer… sorry!

Since I’ve received over a dozen emails about it this morning alone, I suppose it’s worth a quick discussion.

Last week I posted about the offer for free British Midland Silver status just for signing up as a new member of Diamond Club. Given that this gives you free Star Alliance Silver perks, it’s quite a good deal, especially for those that don’t otherwise have status.

Unfortunately, everyone that signed up through the offer seems to have received the following email:

Dear _______

We’re pleased to see that you recently joined our Diamond Club frequent flyer programme. However, I’m writing to you because unfortunately the link you used to join was an exclusive by invitation only offer and as noted in our terms and conditions was non transferable.

Regrettably, we will not be honouring the Silver status, and over the next few days your account will be downgraded to Blue status. Our decision is final, and we won’t be entering into any further correspondence on this. On a positive note though, our frequent flyer programme is one of the most generous programmes around, and you only need to earn 16,000 membership status miles to earn a Silver membership. When you fly with us, or any of the Star Alliance airlines, you’ll reach Silver status in no time at all. You’ll also have access to all our offers and promotions, as well as being the first to hear about our great sale fares. We hope you’ll still enjoy the benefits of your Diamond Club membership.

Regards

First of all, that’s one harsh email, in my opinion. So it appears that this was an invitation only link, which seems strange to me. There was nothing indicating it was invitation only, but then again, British Midland’s IT isn’t known to be the best in the world. And frankly, the offer didn’t seem to be too far out of line. In the past, British Midland has offered sign-up bonuses of around 9,000 miles, so this doesn’t seem too far off either.

What I really wonder, however, is why they didn’t honor this. I mean, what’s the real cost to them of someone with Silver status? I can’t imagine they have to compensate an airline when they’re getting a free checked bag, and there aren’t many other benefits to Silver status.

So my apologies to those of you that signed up through this offer. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

Filed Under: bmi

Comments

  1. Shame on BMI poor marketing. I personally didn’t need this, but will be sure to avoid them and their partner LH whenever possible. So many other choices.

  2. *shrugs* I am fine with how they decided not to allow the Silver status to go ahead, but I agree, the letter itself is pretty harsh. I am trying to figure out why it needed to be, but I haven’t come up with anything.

  3. I’ve received several emails this morning on the same subject. I thought it was rather harshly worded myself and I agree–what does it cost them?

  4. And there goes my FB status match. What a bad CS, rather rude letter and pathetic excuse (or lack of excuse).

  5. Anyone have a valid email to contact them and ask them to delete your account? I can’t find any way to unsubscribe, and would just assume delete my account in protest of them not honoring a promo (also to stay eligible for future signup bonuses!)

  6. It’s Keeley Dowling that owes us an apology, not you, Lucky. I find it that the director of a *loyalty program* would send such rude correspondence.

    John, I had the same idea of contacting them to have my account deleted, making sure to mention that my decision is final, and I will not entertain any additional correspondence on this matter!

    BMI, your mistake of offering an open link to silver status is forgivable. Your arrogant tone and poor resolution of the error are not.

  7. Bummer!

    But last year, this was the same situation….it was invitiation-only for a specific group (I think a Jewish women’s social group? I cant remember). I had to make a few calls to DC and emails to their customer service before they gave me the status, which expires in June.

    It sucks though that the new sign-ups wont be honored ;(

  8. (and no, I do not belong to that Jewish women’s social group…. I guess I just happened to eventually talk to the right people who granted me the status after mentioning the promo)

  9. It was definitely handled poorly.

    >Anyone have a valid email to contact them and ask them to delete your account? I can’t find any way to unsubscribe

    I couldn’t find one either, so I mailed a letter to delete my account and included the following:
    “Please note that my decision is also final, and I do not wish further correspondence. Therefore, any emails received after April 10 I will be blocked and reported as spam.”

  10. BTW I contacted them multiple times by twitter and they said they ‘would feed complaints back internally’. Hm lets wait…
    They also offered the promo last year, and if it would really be targeted, why a link? Let the target persons send a letter, mail or sign-up form, but if you use a open link, don’t blame us!

  11. I must have a steelier constitution because I fail to see how or why the email is rude, harshly worded or arrogant? If BMI have made a final decision and don’t wish to enter into correspondence with you then (a) it’s better that they say so up front and (b) that they do so in clear language.

    To those who think it’s been handled poorly, how would you have contacted customers to tell them that they won’t be getting a Silver card if that had been your decision? As that is the decision, I’m not offended by the way that BMI have contacted customers.

    Many will believe that BMI should have just handed out thousands of Silver cards because they made an IT error. It’s entirely within BMI’s gift as to whether they honour this mistake. I doubt anyone has acted their own detriment or has suffered loss from this (aside from loss of a chance).

    What would it have cost them? Plainly something. Why not call your current *A carrier and ask them to gift you free *A silver status given that some believe the cost to be marginal.

    Goodwill? BMI won’t be loosing sleep about refusing a promotion to people to whom it wasn’t targeted, who don’t fly BMI and/or have another primary *A card and wanted this card to avoid baggage charges in the US.

  12. I sent the following message to Diamond Club

    Please delete my membership in “Diamond Club” (more like lump of coal club) immediately. I expect no further communication from you unless you wish to reconsider the message in your e-mail, as I do not plan to consider BMI in my future travel plans.

  13. Comment got uct off sorry. I don’t mind them not honouring this, not that as you mention it costs them anything really, but I think the entire email was absolutely ridiculous and uncalled for.

  14. Stop with all the whining! I think that was a great letter. For all of you who are up in arms–if you’re willing to write and have your account deleted in protest, then it obviously wasn’t worth much to you to begin with, so chill out. To those who said you’ll stop flying them because of this…seriously? Get a grip.

    Sometimes you get what you pay for in life–in this case, you paid free and got nothing…the world moves on.

  15. Not seeing how this is handled poorly. Umm.. maybe I just have different expectations when it comes to targeted promos?

  16. Unfortunately, Andrew, we didn’t actually get anything for free. We traded our personal information, including the right to send email and snail mail, for a promotional offer. All that we’re asking is if they’re not going to fulfill their end of the bargain, they shouldn’t be allowed to retain, sell, or trade our information. Seems fair to me.

  17. While I was not directly impacted by this I am shocked at the letter being sent by BMI. As I put together my summer travel plans I will not be including BMI as I have concerns on how they treat their customers.

  18. It is a very rude, but typical British corporate behavior. They should take a look at Hilton’s 10,000 point mistake last month and how they honored the offer. There was nothing in the BMI sign up page to notify the applicants that this was a targeted offer.

    Brits will not see anything wrong with this and will never understand because they are so used to being manipulated by their corporate society. The will think that we are just a bunch of whining Americans.

  19. Indeed a poorly handled situation. Don’t burn your bridges though – they offer some attractive redemption options (which may be available if you have hotel points to transfer).

  20. guys, you do realize that BMI is a UK bush-league airline, rite?

    British corporations typically have thicker skin than the rest of the world and they rarely gave in unless intense public (and UK gov’t) pressure is applied. I am not surprised BMI (or parent LH) doesn’t sell your information to ID thieves or RyanAir or easyJet to spam you up the Christmas Tree…

  21. Just because there’s a few entited flyer talkers doesn’t mean they should honor it. If only Fairmont had this kind of backbone.

  22. The letter was indeed rude by my standards. I run a business and I can’t imagine communicating with my clients or potential clients in this manner. Brits are just different. I have had similar impressions with BA. The message could have been conveyed in a more apologetic tone. As it is, I am left thinking…..why would I want to fly with these guys? When you leave that type of impression, your “incentives” program has shot itself in the foot.

  23. I signed up for this but BMI silver status doesn’t really help me with anything so I’m not that upset with them not honoring it. Plus, I agree with some of the posters above that there is no reason why BMI should honor it – It’s targeted so those who are not targeted (e.g. me) were kind of cheating so if we get caught, we deserve having the status taken away.

    Yet, for a loyalty program director so say something like “Our decision is final, and we won’t be entering into any further correspondence on this” is kind of offensive to me. I’m not a native speaker so maybe I misunderstand the sentence but the way she said it really annoyed me – It was like I asked my mom for a candy and she shouted at me “You shut up! I already said that I won’t give it to you. My decision is final and don’t you dare say another word to me!” She could have been nicer!

  24. Clearly none of you were ever going to fly bmi anyway, so why should they care if you’re upset about it?

  25. @Skitten: I flew with BMI three times in the last 1 year and will be flying again with them the day after tomorrow. I’m an elite member of Skyteam so I was actually hoping to use bmi business lounge using the silver status – Getting lounge access with them would have made me want to fly with them more in the future instead of those cheap european budget airlines.
    But that’s not the point anyway. What I was trying to say is that there is NO need for BMI to be that rude. How can they be sure if we would want to fly with them or not? They’re running a business so wouldn’t it be better for them to please everyone? Just put the letter in a more apologetic tone (which costs them NOTHING) and I’m sure everyone will be happy.

  26. Didn’t we do this in April last year with the JCWIZO Offer? 😉 Ah how we all soon forget.

    And BMI did clamp down on users who signed up for that offer too. Warnings from the past….

    Anyhoo.

    Whilst the language of the letter could be a bone of contention, there is one little line from the T&C’s that some people have missed

    “bmi reserves the right to refuse membership into the Diamond Club programme, and will not enter into correspondence relating to reasons for refusal”

    What do we learn here? Always read the T&C’s of an offer….

  27. I am disappointed that BMI didn’t word the FU more explicitly. I guess they are too polite. Love all those who tried to scam a free status now whine here.

  28. They need a better communications to help them with this mini crisis. PR fail. I was kind of pissed when I read the email as well because technically, the people who ‘cheated’ like myself are their clients already since we signed up for status.

  29. Funny enough I got my Diamond Club Silver Card today even though my status has been downgraded to Blue.

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