British Midland makes everyone lifetime elite (and simultaneously takes away everyone’s lifetime elite status)!

Don’t worry British Midland, the irony isn’t lost on me!

British Midland just updated their membership benefits page to add the following:

Please note, we are implementing a “status freeze”, which means that until further notice no Diamond Club members will be downgraded from their tier level as at 14 June 2012.

Cool, so basically everyone’s British Midland status stays intact until the program dies, which is probably pretty soon. Admittedly this isn’t especially useful since Diamond Club is more or less a dead program given that they don’t presently belong to any “alliance.”

At the same time British Midland made the following announcement:

British Airways does not currently offer a lifetime status or set of lifetime benefits for their Gold customers and as such, Diamond Club Lifetime Gold members will be tier matched at Executive Club Gold for a minimum of one year.

So those that did earn lifetime status by maintaining top tier status with British Midland for 10 consecutive years get… nothing.

Even though I’m young, this is exactly the reason I stopped caring about lifetime status a long time ago. If a company liquidates then sure, they don’t have to “honor” lifetime status, because there’s nothing to honor. But I’m rather sick of companies that are merging or being taken over for the purpose of “maximizing shareholder value” not honoring benefits they promised their customers in exchange for a lot of loyalty. Sadly I suspect it’s a trend we’ll continue to see as more and more consolidation happens in the industry.

Comments

  1. Remember lifetime status, means your lifetime or the program’s lifetime whichever one is shorter. People should not count on any company particularly an airline being around more than 5-10 years into the future.

  2. “But I’m rather sick of companies that are merging or being taken over for the purpose of “maximizing shareholder value” not honoring benefits they promised their customers in exchange for a lot of loyalty.”

    But British Airways didn’t promise you anything, BMI did. And pretty soon BMI won’t exist.

  3. British airways is treating bmi customers like crap,well i just hope they continue their descent into more loss,i used to be a loyal ba customers and i stopped years ago,they off loaded me from the flight because i didnt pass the security lane 35 min before departure!!!this is their stupid policy,but you can cross the security hours before and getying busy while they board so no problem!!

  4. @Dave & Brian: I understand that you’re not concerned about losing lifetime status for ten or more years of continuous loyalty, but is there anything else that you feel a customer DOES have a right to expect? Just curious is all.

  5. @Dax – I’m curious why you feel British Airways should be bound by promises they did not make.

    In this case, customers do have the right to expect things – from BMI. British Airways owes them nothing.

  6. @ Brian

    IMO, British Airways did make the promise the minute they decided to merge with/buy bmi. It isn’t like they can decide to disregard other liabilities that bmi held.

  7. @Dax the sad fact is that companies go out of business all the time so it makes no sense to depend on them for any lifetime benefits. While they are business companies should deliver what you pay for. Almost every frequent flyer program says the airline can change the rules at any time for any reason. No legal liability is really created and if it were they could evade them by structuring the deal as an asset sale. Just a fact of life in business.

  8. @Brian: Do you have a high-spend/low-expectation travel blog? Because I’ve always wondered what it would be like to read one.

    @Daves: If BMI was being liquidated or being absorbed by something other than another airline then I think most folks would agree with you. But they’re simply merging with BA, which is a bit of a grey area in my view. Not in a legal sense, but just a “good business” sense, if you follow my meaning.

  9. I think there is a better chance with hotels for lifetime status. They are profitable. There is too much volatility with the airlines. I am lifetime plat with aa. My expectation is it won’t mean much inthe future. I’m just hoping my miles don’t significantly devalue.

  10. Does anyone know if its still possible to get BMI silver status? I was a few 100 miles off it and am waiting for the 4,000 to come from my BMI plus card (any day now hopefully) so I can get silver. But the airline seems to be dragging its heels at giving me the status points, have had the card for over 35 days now….so just wondered if the delay was because its not possible to get a status upgrade now.

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