bmi Diamond Club is increasing the cost of first class award redemptions by 25% effective May 1.
|First Class award flights||Miles only||Miles plus Cash|
|Current||x 2||Miles x2 Cash x2|
|From 1 May 2009||x 2.5||Miles x2.5 Cash x2.5|
In addition to charging 2.5 times the miles (instead of double) for first class compared to coach, whether for an all-miles or a cash and points award, they are also imposing a 10,000 mile surcharge each way for Lufthansa First Class.
It’s not 100% clear whether this applies to both all-miles itineraries or to cash and points itineraries as well. If the latter that would actually be an improvement, because currently cash and points awards cannot include Lufthansa First Class.
My assumption is that there’s too much availability in Lufthansa first, the it’s especially convenient for British-based bmi flyers, and that the first class redemptions on cash and points were just bleeding bmi’s bottom-line and so they closed off those redemptions. A 10,000-mile surcharge on those awards each way would at least mean bringing back Lufthansa first class redemptions on cash and points!
But it’s not as though the quality of Lufthansa First Class is 20,000 miles roundtrip better than other Star Alliance first class products, in fact other than Air China and the US-based airlines it’s probably towards the bottom of the pack among those carriers offering first class service.
The move to increase the number of miles for first class awards isn’t surprising, this program has just been too generous for too long, and the truly modest premium for first class awards made them too easy to redeem. Now business class awards will represent a better value for many.
The nice thing is that at least the change has been announced with a couple of months’ notice, so folks can get their redemptions in before the change.