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British Airways to Purchase BMI: What To Do With Those Diamond Club Miles?

The parents company of British Airways and Iberia (International Airline Group) will purchase struggling BMI from Lufthansa with a March 2012 target date for the deal to be completed. They’re just buying BMI, not BMI Regional in Britain nor BMI Baby. BA basically wants BMI’s slots at Heathrow.

You’ll note that British Airways is a Oneworld carrier, which means BMI will leave Star Alliance next spring.

This is an especially big deal to folks who have some BMI miles because BMI’s award chart is, in some cases, extremely generous. How generous? Flights within or between UK, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland could be yours for just 4500 miles plus a GBP 40 Co-pay (that’s about $60). The chart is full of little gems. US to Argentina in business class? 60,000 miles (or 30k miles plus about $300).

Yes, they charged a fuel surcharge even when the airline you’re actually flying on did not charge one (see my chart of airlines that charge fuel surcharges for details). That was annoying. But especially on intra-Europe trips, the surcharges were low (say, about $80) and still made those flights a good deal.

Anyway, those will likely be gone when they join the BA family. Well, the fuel surcharges will stay, but I can’t imagine they leave that chart untouched. That’s a shame – I always found it useful when I was over in Europe for business and wanted to tack on a trip within Europe.

BMI also had a deal or two along the way where you could get Silver status just by signing up, which was great because you then got free checked bags on Star Alliance flights for the year.

This would be good, though, if you had status on BMI and did not have it on a Oneworld airline, as it’s likely that status will transfer over to BA. So on some level, I guess I’ll benefit from this as I’ll now get free checked bags on American, an airline I never fly.

It’s all about me…

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