BMI Program To Shut Down 12/31/2012
This past week, I received a stack of 8 envelopes from British Midland International (BMI) informing me they were shutting down their Diamond Club Loyalty Program for people that live outside of UK, Australia, or New Zealand come December 31, 2012.
In laymen terms, if you have BMI Miles and live in the United States, you need to move them to British Airways or you will lose them!
Now if many of you are wondering why anyone in the US would even have a BMI Account, I would first double check to see if you have an old BMI Account, because they were a very popular program back in the day.
For those of you that are old enough to remember ; ) , British Midlands use to be a Star Alliance Partner.
I never flew on them but way back in 2009 they offered 5,000 BMI Miles to sign up for a new account, so I did just that.
The reason I did this is because they use to have a great Cash & Mile options for intra-Europe flights. So for 5,000 Miles + $45 – $90 you could basically get anywhere in Europe! I never took advantage of that deal, but to this day, I still have 2 BMI accounts with 5,000 Miles in each.
Well last year British Airways bought British Midland. Most people anticipated this, so they begun stock piling their BMI miles since they figured their BMI Miles would eventually turn into Avios.
I got in on the fun and took advantage of a 2,000 Mile Sign Up Bonus for new accounts that BMI was offering, and opened a couple more accounts. Hence why I received 8 BMI envelopes. Many were for accounts I completely forgot about…
Anyways, I had forgotten that you now had the ability to move your BMI Miles into British Airway Avios, so thanks to BMI’s letter, I finally got around to moving the miles.
If you don’t move your BMI Miles before December 31st, 2012, you will lose them!
The process to move the miles is very simple and almost identical to the Continental / United merger.
The only thing is that British Airways doesn’t really make it easy to find the page to do the transfer, so I thought I would provide instructions.
How To Move Your BMI Miles to British Airways Avios
Technically if you have a BA or BMI Family Account, you aren’t suppose to be able to transfer the miles without de-coupling the Family Accounts. However I have a BA Family Account and didn’t have any issues moving the miles. You do however have to log into each person’s BA account and move over the miles. You can’t do it all from the main person’s BA Family Account.
Also when I was doing this transfer, I kept having trouble with Firefox. It kept timing out the session on BritishAirways.com. A Reader just emailed me and told me she was having the same issues with Safari, so I suggest using Chrome or Internet Explorer.
Finally, if you don’t see an option to Combine Avios after completing all the steps, it may be because you didn’t fill in your birthday on BA.com, therefore they think you are under 18. This happened to my friend because he never filled in his birthday. So fill in all your personal info and see if the option to Combine Avios appears.
1. Find Your British Airways & BMI Account Numbers & Passwords
This is really where AwardWallet comes in handy. I haven’t accessed my BMI Account in 3 years, so I have no clue what the password or log-in is. However with AwardWallet, I simply log into my AwardWallet account, click on edit for BMI and it will show me my BMI Account Number and password!
For those of you that don’t use AwardWallet or aren’t certain if you have a BMI Account, try searching your email for the word “BMI” to get your Account Number. Once you have that, you can try and log into BMI, or worst case, you can have them send you a new password.
2. Log Onto BMI
If you don’t have any Miles with BMI, then you might as well save yourself the time and figure this out before you go through all the steps.
To log into BMI, simply go to DiamondClub.org and click on My Account.
If you go to BritishMidland.com, it will take you to BritishAirways.com, so go to DiamondClub.org.
Once you log in via the My Account tab, you will see your BMI Number as well as how many BMI Miles you have.
I already transferred my BMI Miles, but it should look like this.
To make sure the Transfer Process goes smoothly, on the Update My Details tab, make sure that your Email and Home Address match what is under your British Airways profile. If it doesn’t match, you will get an error. If some of the other information is wrong, it should still go through, as I am fairly certain it is just the Email that has to be exact.
3. Go to BritishAirways.com
Go to BritishAirways.com and log-in.
Once you are logged in, click on the tab on the left that says, Manage My Account.
Under Manage My Account, you will see a header that says My Options. Under My Options, you will see a link to Combine My Avios. Click on that.
On the next page it will give you a run down of what is about to happen, simply click on the Combine My Avios button again.
Next, it will ask you to select a program, so select Diamond Club. Remember that you can also transfer Avios between British Airways and Iberia, which can be useful to avoid BA fuel surcharges. Only thing is your Iberia frequent flyer account has to be open for over 3 months and have “qualifying activity” before doing the transfer.
After you have chosen Diamond Club, enter your Diamond Club account number and password, agree to the terms, and hit continue.
Once it validates you, it will ask you how many BMI Miles you want to transfer, I would suggest moving all of them.
If for some reason you get an error when it tries to validate you, it is because your personal information isn’t lining up. So go back to BMI and British Airways and make sure your personal information in your profile matches.
Once you hit submit, you will get 2 email confirmations. My transfer to British Airways was instant.
All in all, of my 8 accounts, not all of the BMI Enrollment Bonuses posted. 2 accounts had 5,000 BMI Miles in them from 2009, and then 2 of the accounts got 1,000 BMI Miles from the Enrollment Bonus.
So in total, I had 12,000 BMI Miles which turned into 12,000 Avios.
Although it isn’t a windfall by any means, I have enough Avios in the bank from the British Airways 100,000 Avios Offer, that this is just icing on the cake.
Since British Airways operates a distance based Award Chart, 15,000 Avios is enough for a free round-trip flight to Montreal, so I am only 3,000 Avios short which is pretty amazing!
Although it took 3 years to redeem my measly 5,000 BMI Miles, they have finally turned into something valuable!
It just goes to show that these stupid sign up for Airline programs you have never heard of and have no intention of actually flying (like Aegean), may some day down the line turn out to be really useful.
I had no idea when I signed up for 5,000 BMI Miles in 2009, that they would become 5,000 Avios in 3 years. However they did and now I can use them for an almost free flight to Montreal in January!
So if you see some random Airline Program offering a sign up bonus, don’t write it off because it could be useful down the line and make sure you add the account number and password to AwardWallet!
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