bmi’s Exit from Star Alliance and Transferring Points and Status with British Airways

All pretty much as expected:

  • bmi is no longer a member of the Star Alliance.
  • Star Alliance benefits such as lounge access continue through May 31.
  • Star Alliance earn and burn (excluding Lufthansa group airlines) continues through May 31.
  • Can credit British Airways flights to bmi accounts effective today. Redemption on BA will come soon. BA lounge access for bmi elites starts today.
  • On May 1, bmi elites will be offered equivalent elite status with British Airways. I’ll become a British Airways Gold member, which will get me access to American’s Flagship lounges regardless of class of service when flying domestically in the U.S.
  • bmi miles will transfer 1:1 into British Airways Avios, and points can be moved back and forth between the two programs online effective July 3. Assuming the bmi award chart doesn’t change, there will be a great limited time opportunity to use BA points much more effectively for premium cabin long-haul, since the bmi chart (and cash and points award chart) is much more generous. Developing…

Seriously we’ll have to wait to see what changes are made between now and July 3 when points transfers both ways between British Airways and bmi are expected to go into effect.

But I can’t wait to move British Airways points over to bmi, to redeem flights on British Airways using the bmi award chart. Think one-way business class from the U.S. to South Africa (e.g. Los Angeles – London – Johannesburg) for 37,500 miles and 255 British pounds as a cash and points redemption, plus taxes and fuel surcharges.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Gary, the email stated that you won’t be able to transfer Avios to your DC account until July 3, 2012.
    This is unfortunetly after May 31, 2012 when the ability to redeem for *A (-LH Group) airlines ends.

  2. LOL I read this email probably exactly the way you did! Yadda, yadda, yadda, ooooh!? I was about to go look at the BMI chart and thought to myself, the full lowdown will be up in seconds, and analyzed better.
    And here we are! Thanks Gary.

  3. @Marwan that’s why I said “But I can’t wait to move British Airways points over to bmi, to redeem flights on British Airways using the bmi award chart.” You can’t use BA miles transferred to bmi to redeem on Star, but you will be able to use BA transferred to bmi to redeem on BA. And if they don’t gut the bmi award chart before July 3, you will be able to do so with better redemption pricing through bmi 🙂

  4. I can’t imagine they’ll leave BMI’s chart intact, but if they do…a very nice Avios enhancement in the short term.

  5. Let’s see how things look on July 3rd. But there is a decent chance other BMI partners will remain intact for at least a short while after. So maybe the ability to do USA-Maldives for 160k Avios in business using Qatar? Or even using Avios to redeem on Virgin Atlantic!?

  6. That’s some deal on cash and miles. On BA, it’s 90k miles plus around $1600 in YQ and APD (including a stopover in LHR).

  7. I think they will be idiots if they will leave significant arbitrage opportunities like different award charts, although of course anything can happen.

  8. As you said, Gary, BMI has always had tasty redemptions – it was getting the miles that was the hard part since they are not partners with either AMEX or SPG.

    To be able to go NYC to Australia for 60,000 RT in Business or 100,000 RT in First (+ cash portion ranging from 410 tp 540 Pounds) is very tempting!

    Thanks for the heads-up. My sense is there will be much talk about this at FFU!

  9. Gary.

    You are making an assumption that the Star Alliance redemption chart will be applied to BA redemptions through Diamond Club. BA will be a partner, not a *A partner and as such will have a partner redemption table.

    Expect the redemption costs to mirror those of BAEC in terms of required mileage for BA flights via Diamond Club.

  10. re: Steve Schwartz

    Diamond Club is a partner of AMEX in parts of Europe at least. Also, they are quite possibly the best mileage earning partner via Hilton HHonors. 1,000 miles per night up to 3,000 miles / 3 nights at Hilton family properties. A very good way to keep topping up the miles whilst you can.

  11. A rookie question, I am interested in RT ORD_TGU, in business, on partner AA, and paying cash and points. This seems a better redemption than BA’s per segment policy.
    I have Avios, would like to transfer.
    Both ORD and TGU are in Zone 3.
    Am I correct that miles and cash RT area 15,000X1.5=22,5000 PLUS GBP100X1.5=150

    I have AVIOS, so do I transfer to BMI and then call BMI? Or keep in BA and then call BA


  12. May I suggest a blog gag order on discussing the possibilities until July 3? Doing the math publically now will just give BA a blueprint of the holes to patch before it goes live. At least make them figure it out themselves, maybe they’ll miss some. Unless they purposely leave them open.. call me cynical, I don’t see that as highly likely.

  13. I wonder what s gonna happen for elite with both airlines.

    I’m BA Gold and DC Gold, my BA TP card have been reset to zero for another year, Will BA offer me a free Gold year ?

    Will see, but it’s a good news for us.

    I made a try to purchase BMI miles and it’s no longer available… smart from them..


  14. Gary do you know when BMI will be switching terminals at LHR?

    I’m on a BMI-AC flight in late June and hope I won’t be doing a 20 minute bus ride!

  15. What is the chance that BA leaves the BMI chart intact for us to swoop on cheap premium seats?

  16. Personally I am not happy at all. I will not fly BA down to a number of bad incidents I’ve had with their staff. As a result, I have always flown Star Alliance (I.e. United, US airways, Asiana etc). Now I will lose my status with SA to go over to One World. The points isn’t the issue here, it’s the status I lose with SA. Ashame it’s not transferable to another airline in the Alliance.

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