I’ve been collecting bmi miles here and there for quite a while now, and have amassed a total of about 90,000 miles. So far I haven’t had a need to use them, but with the recent bmi “scare” over their program potentially being merged into Miles & More, I started looking at options. Even when it turned out the “scare” was just a misunderstanding, there are still constant rumors of the award chart being devalued very soon.
There’s no doubt that they have a very generous award chart, especially if you take advantage of their “cash and points” option, which allows you to only pay about half the number of miles if you pay a cash supplement. But I’m looking to burn my miles without parting with too much cash. It just doesn’t feel like a “reward” ticket when you’re spending $1,000, in my opinion! Little did I realize how indecisive I am at planning awards when fuel surcharges are involved, which bmi makes passengers pay.
My first thought was that I’d go to Europe in business class. It’s a mere 67,500 miles per person, and I figured I’d visit some places I hadn’t seen and fly some airlines I hadn’t flown. Usually I shoot for first class, which is why I haven’t tried airlines like Austrian, Continental, LOT, SAS, etc. Besides, that would allow me to visit cities like Vienna, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Stockholm, etc., which I haven’t visited before. Then I realized that bmi doesn’t allow any stopovers within Europe, apparently, and that such an award would cost me quite a bit in fuel surcharges. Hmm, nevermind.
Then it was pointed out to me that US Airways doesn’t typically charge fuel surcharges. Now, while I usually wouldn’t fly US Airways, they do have their new “Envoy Suites” product which is installed on five of their seven A330-200 aircraft as of now, which means I’d have a pretty good shot at getting it. And it does look quite decent, so I might as well take a trip to Paris, a city that I always enjoy visiting (and with lots of free nights from Hyatt’s “Big Welcome Back,” an accompanying stay at the Park Hyatt Vendome wouldn’t be all that bad either).
But then bmi has that lovely rule whereby you essentially can’t fly domestic first class on United or US Airways on a business class award. Since those cabins are technically “tagged” as first class (as opposed to “business class,” like Continental and any every foreign airline does), you’d have to pay the three cabin first class price to fly them through bmi. Now, do I really want to fly all the way to Philadelphia in coach?
At that point I go full circle and start over again. Isn’t it worth paying a fuel surcharge to fly Continental first class to Newark and then continue to Europe from there in BusinessFirst?
While I help a handful of people plan their award trips each week, I can’t plan my own, for the life of me!
And that’s only the beginning…