At least for US british midland members, the program will be ending tonight. And it will be ending as well for members in most of the world.
UK-based members may still maintain bmi Diamond Club accounts, since there are still credit cards that earn miles in the program, and that card was open only to UK residents (though those miles can only be spent by transferring them out to British Airways — and there’s no longer any reason at all not to do so).
Australia and New Zealand residents couldn’t join British Airways’ program, so their accounts are frozen. They can’t earn miles any longer, as there is no way to do so. And they can’t spend miles since they aren’t permitted to join the British Airways program where they can be spent.
Presumably once the British Airways-Qantas agreement expires which created this situation (and it will in a few months, the agreement won’t be renewed or extended as Qantas has struck a deal with Emirates leaving its joint venture with BA), then Australia and New Zealand residents can join the British Airways program and will be permitted to move over their bmi miles.
Head for Points is talking about the same thing today, and offering his reminiscences about the program and its amazing redemptions, as well as the basic reasons why bmi Diamond Club was better than British Airways Executive Club.
The bmi program wasn’t just a better than the one where miles are going into now. It was a great program by many standards.
The earning rates on premium cabin travel were wonderful — up to 625% flown miles for paid first class (including two cabin first class within the US on United and US Airways) for folks that had already re-qualified for Gold status for the year.
The redemption rates were great — a reasonable award chart, only a 50% premium over coach for business class (and double miles for first), cash and points awards which really stretched the points.
The only real downside was that the program added fuel surcharges to awards, but then most European programs do most of the time.
Status was also quite reasonable to earn and maintain. I originally status matched over to bmi (another benefit!) and then made a point of retaining the status. I’m now a Gold member in the British Airways program, the key benefit while that status lasts is access to American’s Flagship lounges and not just Admirals Clubs. But I will not maintain BA Gold.
Reader Jan sent me this morning a link to a video produced in 2011 about the restructuring vision for british midland. Instead, Lufthansa sold the carrier to British Airways. The primary bmi asset was slots at London’s Heathrow, which apparently BA valued much more highly than Lufthansa did. (And now Delta is paying a premium for a minority of Virgin Atlantic shares for the same reason.)
For bmi’s frequent flyer program, and for the airline (for US members, it’s worth remembering that this was an actual airline and not just a frequent flyer program), may she rest in peace.