bmi – reluctantly Star Alliance?Back to Forum
Anonymous18 Feb 2010
I use bmi frequently, often transitting at LHR en route elsewhere on the Star Alliance. I am continually frustrated by little things which suggest that their integration into the Star Alliance is, at best, inefficient and maybe somewhat reluctant!!
One area is in relation to recording miles earned via partner airlines. bmi flight credit appears overnight but whether other airlines miles appear seems to be a matter of chance. Recently, an NZ flight was credited to my account very quickly but both SQ and LX did not appear at all and it required me to send in boarding passes etc some considerable time after the flights to get credit.
I also have had problems through checking luggage from Glasgow to partner destinations. A couple of weeks ago, bmi flatly refused to do so for a SQ destination (although SQ had no problems doing so for the reverse itinerary on my return) and the combination of BD and SQ on the ticket blocked my on-line check-in options from the UK (or so I was told) – again, not the reverse.
Online booking options to Star Alliance partner destinations are also very restricted, meaning you often have to book via a travel agent or telephone – both inconvenient options. Where options are available, they are strange – GLA to EWR (served direct by CO from GLA) is only offered via LHR, ironically using CO from London to EWR. Maybe this is a timelag thing as CO is a new Star member but it also strikes me as a further example of bmi dislocation from its alliance.
I wonder if others have these sort of frustrations?18 Feb 2010
I know what you mean Tom – I often imagine Bmi’s back-end systems to be a mixture of hamsters and abacuses, they’re that slow. Diamond Club especially seems very steam driven, nothing seems to happen without several calls to India to sort out, I too have had missing miles with SQ.
The Bmi website is probably of most annoyance to me, you log into your Diamond Club, click through to look at your statement and it logs you out, I think it’s probably one of the worst websites I’ve ever used, and I sometimes wonder if they are even aware of this!
That said, Diamond Club, when you can find availability for redemptions, is ridiculously generous so I don’t complain, Bmi is like the little village shop that hasn’t put its prices up in years but doesn’t take credit cards!18 Feb 2010
I’m glad it’s not only me! I have just filled an envelope with boarding passes from flights with LX that haven’t been credited despite my Diamond Club number being given at the time of booking and again at Check-in, just to make sure.
It is very frustrating and although the generosity of the scheme is fantastic, the sooner Diamond Club is integrated into Miles & More, then better as far as I am concerned.
I had to phone the call centre to change my email address last week, which is most frustrating. I should be able to do these things on line…it’s 2010 after all.18 Feb 2010
I do worry that once it does become M&M, the miles plus cash option will go which does make your miles go so much futher for a couple of hundred quid – just booked a J class return to LA with NZ for 37,500 miles and £429 including tax – don’t think VS or BA could beat that in a million years.18 Feb 2010
In an attempt to be as charitable as possible, through-ticketing can be a huge challenge for alliance airlines. From the customer’s point-of-view, it shouldn’t be, but it often is and it’s governed by all sorts of multi-lateral agreements. Code-shares, which you’d think would be more straight-forward are often anything but, especially when they are themselves connections. They rely on the operating airline releasing specific fare buckets to the selling airline, which can be patchy, and only certain buckets are eligible for combining with the directly-sold and operated sector.
This is why, at least for the moment, there’s still such a market for agents – both on and offline. Opodo, the partly BA-owned website, for example, has no trouble ticketing oneworld connections on a single PNR that ba.com simply cannot (at present). The same goes for Expedia, and the irony is that the tickets will be issued on BA stock. It’s to be hoped that the ongoing consolidation of the airline industry will remove many of these anomalies and give passengers the greatest choice of purchasing options.
The one area that I’ve long thought BD has sailed close to the wind on, specifically with reference to its *A membership, is its latter-day refusal to through-check bags on to other *A carriers. The official policy is that they will through-check if it’s a single PNR, but agents regularly adopt the ban as blanket.
Back to being charitable, however, it’d be interesting to learn others’ experiences of SQ and LX miles posting to other *A carriers’ programmes. My recent CO and UA flights posted within 48 hours to my BD account, perhaps suggesting that the initial failures to post that TomBaum has experienced might be due to SQ and LX systems, rather than BD?18 Feb 2010
I like the “little village shop” analogy.
Sure, it’s not as functional as other websites, but if you get know the quirks and foibles of Diamond Club, then it is without doubt one of the best Frequent Flying schemes out there.
Do remember that the airlines do read forums such as these.
Anecdotally, since the Lufthansa acquisition, Diamond Club has suspended and zeroed out miles in accounts in which it believes fraudulent transactions have been posted.
Suspensions have occurred in cases even when no such “fraud” occured, and errors were entirely down to bmi’s own poor processes and controls.18 Feb 2010
PS with an Amex 2for1 voucher, BA can almost approach that bmi Miles plus Cash redemption value.
Assuming two passengers travelling, and using your Amex Companion Voucher, a return LHR-LAX in http://www.newclubworld.com costs 50k BA Miles plus £340 in taxes and fees per person.
So, 12,500 more miles, but almost £100 less in cash and three flights a day from which to choose, plus you can book online without hassle.18 Feb 2010
Good point VK, thanks, have edited my post. Since the little village shop is in the process of being turned into a Tesco Metro, one should be careful!
And yes, with Amex 2for1 BA can just about match Diamond Club but that’s assuming you’ve spent enough money on your Amex card and you’re travelling in pairs – Diamond Club would still be less miles and not have such stipulations.18 Feb 2010
I see the Diamond Club website is down again “due to maintenance”. Maybe when they get through all this, there will be some sort of explanation and, perhaps, an apology forthcoming???18 Feb 2010
Have been many posts about the difficulties of BMI redemptions on here in the las 2 years, as well as missing miles.
I also had miles not credited from SQ in September 09, even faxing them from Australia…didn’t even get a reply or acknowledgement!
So i have done the same to my account back, i contacted Virgin & SQ, & they were happy to credit my miles to the Silver VS account thus giving me the Gold card.
Whilst BMI part miles cash has been generous, their own routes are being withdrawn, calling India needs you to do your homework on all possible connections on the SA site, as they don’t suggest them. multi sectors UK-Oz for eg can be a nightmare to get from them.
They also WILL Not allocate seats on Air Canada YVR -SYD, despite them being available with other SA carriers you cant redeem on SQ new cabins. they seem to push you to poorer quality airlines, like Turkish or Air China! They wont allocate expensive routes on partner airlines.
BMI has faded sadly, & DC is going the same way. They simply don’t match the quality of the other member Airlines anymore, & no one has heard of them in Australia!
Holding onto Miles & not disposing of them whilst you can, would not be advisable with the direction they are going… pleased i am finished with them, & that the other Gold FFp’s KLM, VS, Etihad, never have such redemption problems, remote poor service, or earning delays.
They indeed were good in their day, but their day has passed.18 Feb 2010
I have said this before and I’ll say it again, Star has just become too big. There are too many airlines, with different products, different strategies, different services levels and different systems.
Getting all of that to join up is never going to happen and hence I now only spend the accrued DC miles I have. The rest of my flights are now with Oneworld or Sky team where quality definately beats quantity19 Feb 2010