My bmi Gold status was valid through December, but no longer a member of the Star Alliance it was not going to be useful to me — no more Star Alliance redemptions, no more cash and points redemptions on partners (there are fewer and fewer bmi flights and I don’t need to redeem on those), no more lounge access for domestic United flying.
Here’s what I get out of Turkish:
- Turkish status lasts two years and they give you two years to re-qualify. Since I do not live in Turkey, the rules are 25,000 Status Miles in year one or 37,500 Status Miles in two years to requalify, and they will let you purchase 10,000 towards the 37,500.
- Turkish offers 100% mileage earning on all United flights, with 500 mile minimums. Discount US Airways fares, though, don’t earn 100% or minimum miles.
- Award ticket rules do have some quirks. Awards are roundtrip only, no one-ways. There’s an 8 segment maximum. Star Alliance awards may not be re-routed once issued. One open jaw is permitted, and one stopover is permitted although stopover rules are more restrictive when awards are on US Airways (they really don’t like US Airways!).
- There are some interesting values on the Star Alliance award chart, such as business class between North America and “Europe and Africa 1″ for 105,000 miles roundtrip, this includes for instance Russia, the Ukraine, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
- Flying Turkish metal is often cheaper, e.g. from the US to the Middle East is 90,000 miles roundtrip in business. From the U.S. to domestic Turkish destinations is only 70,000 miles roundtrip business class. Not bad for Los Angeles – Istanbul and back, for instance. Flights on Turkish are available for redemption without capacity controls for additional miles.
After getting this match, I learned that Aegean was status matching as well, and while I don’t usually chase matches especially for airlines I won’t fly frequently, this Star Aliance Gold status was really appealing to me.
- Earning is generous on premium cabin fares, with 150% or 200% bonuses for business class and 300% for paid first. While some discount United fares accrue only 50% miles (although they award 500 miles minimum), US Airways fares all earn 100% – a nice counterpoint to Turkish at least. There’s no elite status bonus.
- The award chart has some values, like US to Europe and North Africa for 90,000 miles in business class, and they allow one-way awards for half the miles. But no changes are permitted to awards once ticketed, and cancellations forfeit half the miles, also no stopovers and only one connection each way, rules which are pretty draconian.
- Status doesn’t expire as long as your account remains active. At least unless Aegean changes the terms and conditions.
- You earn status based on miles earned on a rolling 12 month basis. Once you hit 4000 miles earned, including the 1000 mile signup bonus, you’re “Blue” which is Star Alliance silver. (Aegean Visa cardholders automatically get Blue status.) That’s enough for a free checked bag on United and US Airways domestically at least.
- Gold status is 16,000 miles earned within a 12 month period after having earned 4000.
I don’t actually believe I’ve received lifetime Star Alliance Gold status, but for now it’s Star Gold for an indefinite period of time.
Through July 15, Air Canada will match bmi Silvers to Air Canada Prestige and bmi Golds to Air Canada Elite. Status lasts through February 2013 with no accelerated requalification offer.
How to request your Air Canada Top Tier status match:
- Submit your request between June 15 to July 15 2012, by email with the following information:
- Your full name
- Your current Diamond Club membership number
- Your Aeroplan number. Don’t have one? Sign up now.
- A scanned copy of your current bmi Diamond Club membership card. Please make sure the name, status and expiry date are clearly visible.
- Your consent to the Terms and Conditions related to this offer./li>
The only thing I find interesting about this offer is that in the past I’ve only ever seen Air Canada participate in Star Alliance-wide matching offers, but I haven’t seen them initiate anything themselves. And bmi was a small carrier in the Star Alliance, based in Europe, I wonder whether they are expecting to pick up European members of the UK-based carrier or whether they see the cult following the program had in North America and hope to pick up those customers?
Since it’s only about 8 months of status, I’m not especially interested. This would be useful for folks who actually do fly Air Canada regularly, though. Although many of those people are already Air Canada elites.
Clearly the Turkish and Aegean offers are more lucrative in terms of offering ongoing Star Alliance Gold status.