Will the British Midland Diamond Club Be Folded into Miles & More… on May 16?

For almost two years there’s been speculation that the bmi program would be ending, folded into Lufthansa. It’s seen some changes, like increases in the cost of first class awards and a premium for first class on Lufthansa (likely because Lufthansa First was so darned available).

The speculation really heated up of late, although it was mostly centered on increased costs for the award chart.

But today there’s a fast-moving Flyertalk thread which caused me to log into my own (elite) bmi account.

When I log into my bmi Diamond Club account, there’s a link on the left hand navigation that says “Miles and More” — click on it and the text reads:

Thank you for registering for the status match and miles transfer offer, from the Diamond Club frequent flyer programme to the Miles & More frequent flyer programme.
 
Whilst the membership account transfer process is in progress, your Diamond Club account will be suspended and from 16 May 2010 you will not be able to earn or redeem miles against this account. When the miles transfer and status match is complete, your Diamond Club membership will cease to exist and you will no longer be able to access your old membership information via flybmi.com.

Please ensure you now begin to use your Miles & More membership number against all future flight bookings and for all other miles earning and redemption activities.

So it looks pretty darn likely that – while there’s been no other communication of late — that the IT folks have let slip that bmi members are being migrated over to Miles & More. Presumably this means the end of the separate Diamond Club program. A sad day, indeed.

Now, as a bmi elite member I rather like the idea of a status match into Miles & More. If I’m given new Senator status now, the hope is that it lasts for two years (as is the norm), expiring February 2013, with a soft landing to two years at the Frequent Traveller (Star Alliance Silver) level if I do not requalify for Senator.

Of course when programs combine, your balances that used to be in separate accounts can get combined, and that’ll be helpful to some that are saving for awards.

One strong benefit of Lufthansa Senator is the 50% off redemption for a companion on the same award. That’s not matched by bmi’s offerings.

But bmi Diamond Club was otherwise so much more valuable, in particular the items that will be missed:

  • The Cash and Points award chart that really stretched the value of miles.
  • One-way redemptions at no mileage premium.
  • Better award chart
  • Better partner earning with Hilton (I earn 1000 bmi miles per night up to 3000 per stay when I double dip with bmi)
  • Less draconian mileage expiration rules
  • The recently introduced family accounts (which were especially great for signing up family with signup bonuses, even if those family members never flew, just for the free miles you could use)

  • It had to happen eventually, the bmi program was a scrappy little value-creation machine, especially for elite members flying paid premium class fares and redeeming for premium cabin international travel.

    And I’ve certainly valued my complimentary lounge access when flying domestically in the US as a result of bmi status as well.So assuming this isn’t all some giant hoax by the Diamond Club IT staff, it marks a sad end to a great program.

    (Hat tip Stevenshev)

    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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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    Comments

    1. @Chris, not sure I understand, a match to bmi status to get Miles & More status? bmi has historically matched but got tougher of late, requiring actual bmi flying. If they’re in transition they may be unwilling to match.

      Or do you mean getting the match from bmi to Miles & More? I assume that’ll be automatic.

    2. Gary,

      Could you please provide your insight on the following doubts/queries?
      I signed up my sister,gf and myself recently for free silver status and 2000 signup miles.
      Should I convert our individual membership to family account and consolidate those miles into one account?
      Is it possible?
      Will we still keep our individual silver status?

    3. That’s odd. I logged in, and didn’t see such a message. Any general ideas about M&M redemptions?

      Thanks!

    4. This is not true – DC remains – there was an IT cock-up when they allowed some material for a target migration to M&M for members in the Netherlands, Ukraine and Israel (which bmi have dropped recently) to go live.

    5. I have my account in Israel, but it’s weird that whenever I check my edit address link it never shows a country in it, and I try and update it but it always goes back to select when I try to update again? I haven’t seen a link yet either on my page, so guess I have to hope for an email

    6. have been trying for weeks to register for miles and More and have failed- the call operators in india tell me its a fault with the system but due to be up and running from yesterday 9may3rd!!Well from Israel it is not and faxes e-mail to DC go unanswered
      Guess they dont want to deal with human beings

    7. This BMI Diamond Club transfer has not been done properly. They have not trasfered balances or met any of their proposed dates. I have called them 4 times – but this has changed nothing. BMI is professionally a joke. If BMI is not going to support it’s services it shouldn’t pretend to provide them

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