British Midland to leave Star Alliance around April 20

With the sale of British Midland to British Airways nearly complete, some details are emerging as to when British Midland will be leaving the Star Alliance. Per British Midland’s Facebook page.

Q. What happens once the sale completes?

It is the intention that bmi will begin to withdraw from Star Alliance at the date of completion of the sale, which we expect to be around 20 April, 2012.

bmi, Lufthansa and Star Alliance will be working together during the coming weeks to ensure bmi’s smooth exit from Star Alliance. We will update you as soon as more information becomes available.

So while it doesn’t seem like the dates are set in stone, the message is clear — burn your British Midland miles now, before they’re converted to British Airways Avios points.

In a twisted way I’m going to miss British Midland terribly. To me the airline itself has always been a bit like the Addams Family. They fly mostly out of London and serve Almaty, Kazakhstan, but not Paris or Frankfurt.

But the frequent flyer program is a completely different story. It’s awesome for a few reasons:

  • Their award chart is based on zones and they offer cash and points, so it’s easy to get a great deal without using many points. For example, a roundtrip ticket in business class between the US and South America cost only 60,000 miles, or alternatively 30,000 miles plus £210.
  • They offered one of the most attractive options for earning Star Alliance Gold status, at only 38,000 miles per year to requalify (which gets you lounge access with US airlines even when flying domestically).
  • They offered huge bonuses for premium cabin tickets, up to 3x miles, and even more points if you had already requalified for status for the year.

While British Midland does impose fuel surcharges for redemptions on most airlines, they’re quite a bit more reasonable than what British Airways charges. Furthermore, they don’t charge fuel surcharges on US Airways and TAP, last I checked.

But the other awesome feature of British Midland miles is that they could be used to book Singapore Airlines award space that other Star Alliance airlines didn’t have access to. You can see a FlyerTalk thread listing experiences on that here. I have about 100,000 British Midland miles and should probably decide how to use them sooner rather than later.

Anyone else have British Midland miles to burn and not sure what to do with them?

(Tip of the hat to Gary)

Filed Under: Awards, bmi
  1. I still have a hefty balance, though I wanna use them, I wonder if I should wait till the miles become avios.

    Last month I redeemed 2 tickets with TG in F from CDG to SIN for my parents to visit me. Total paid : 2300 e !!!

    Do you have an idea where to go ?

  2. You sure its 60,000 from the US to SA. The chart shows Zone 3 (USA) to Zone 6 (SA) at 100,000 miles for economy.

  3. Any suggestions for exotic/interesting redemptions for 29000 (let’s say 30K as I’d buy the difference) DC miles Ben? Be nice to blow them on something good, am prepared to stump up a wad of cash too. Any way to avoid APD if starting in Norway?

  4. @ Thomas — I wouldn’t wait. Where are you originating and how many miles do you have?

    @ Andy — Originating in Norway? That’s a toughie. If you can buy up some miles I’d consider South America for 37,500 miles in business class through cash and points.

  5. I have more than 400k, tks to x6 in F after the 55k threshold.

    Living both in SIN and CDG and often LAX, I thought flying to either SYD or LHR with my wife and friends but snagging 4 seats in F, it’s not easy.

    Anyway I have 2 weeks to go to figure out where to go.


    What about you ? when you wanna go ?

  6. I have a little over 75,000 diamond club miles. What I’d like to do is book two O/W awards between somewhere in Europe and South America (Iguassu Falls and Rio), with a US stopover each way that lasts as long as possible. Preferably my home in San Francisco. Do you think it would be possible? Looking at the *A website, the farthest west USA connection I’m finding on Europe-SA journeys is Houston, on something like FRA-IAH-EZE.

  7. @ Thomas — Four seats anywhere, especially on a decent airline, would be tough. I’d say your next best option would be to go after Singapore business, as they release a fare amount to British Midland members.

    @ Arun — Ultimately it all comes down to the bmi agent you get (since they’re pretty incompetent), though they do require you to take the most direct routing. In this instance, that would mean the furthest west you could go in the US is Houston.

  8. Hi again Ben. Been investigating a bit more and your suggestions look good-but then I stumbled upon something very interesting. From my interpretation of the bmi Star Alliance chart I a return award trip on a *A airline from Zone 2 (Norway) to Zone 5 is 15,000 miles plus £100 cash. Business would thus be 22,500-which I already have. This would thus in theory allow an award flight from Trondheim-Oslo-Zurich_Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on Swiss for £100. Is this right? If so, I understand why people will miss Diamond Club…

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