bmi status matching – two years on

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  JohnHarper 19 May 2014
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  • Anonymous

    TominScotland
    Participant

    Two years ago, I was a bmi Gold Card holder of some years standing and made good use of the network, connecting to the Star Alliance partners via Heathrow and Copenhagen. This use, however, was already in decline as a result of bmi’s withdrawal from Glasgow and I was making more use of Emirates and had achieved Gold with them too. So, while I enjoyed bmi at their best, I did feel they had let us West of Scotland folk down badly and so was not, perhaps, in quite as deep mourning for them as some others. I should say that I also have my KLM Platinum for Life as a backup which I relatively rarely use.

    In April/ May 2012 (or around then) I obtained status matches with bmi from BA, Aer Lingus and Aegean. I know that many others did this too at the same time and wondered if/ how their travel patterns have altered over the past two years and what their experiences with these matches has been?

    I am prompted to ask because, later this month, I will clock up enough TPs to renew my BA Gold membership. Notwithstanding its fiercest critics on this Forum, BA suits my travel patterns from Glasgow and, as the nature of my client base is such that I rarely travel in premium cabins, I find their new WT+ as good as any in class and WT is satisfactory – you rarely can say much more about any airline. For me, European Avios redemption is best in class by a long mile and I have usually found what I want for longhaul redemption in both Business and Economy, albeit often with partner airlines (EI, MH, QF). So my BA status swop has really worked for me and has radically changed my travel patterns so that I use LHR and T5, specifically, for much of my travel and (touch wood) rarely have problems with the experience.

    My EI status match served me well for a couple of years but has now run its course. Having Lounge access in Dublin was great and my wife enjoyed her companion card for that reason too. However, my gripe with EI was that they give no miles or status for their regional flights on basic fares and there is no sense paying more than the minimum for a 40 minute Glasgow- Dublin hop!

    Aegean were by far the most generous, giving me four years of Gold status through to 2016 which, I am ashamed to say, I have not used to date as the solitary Star service into Glasgow (now that US has moved to oneworld) is LH to Dusseldorf. However, I will be changing all that in a couple of months and hope to make good use of the card (but not the airline) when flying with TK from Edinburgh to Ankara.

    Finally, I have lost status compltely with EK, despite their double daily out of Glasgow. Given my general class of travel, I have never found that they offer a particularly pleasent travel experience and service down the back of the bus is wildly hit and miss. Dubai without Lounge access is about as close to airport hell as I can imagine getting………

    So, I would be interested in hearing what has happened to other bmi ‘orphans’ and how their adoptive parents have treated them over the past two years?


    Slotski
    Participant

    I was also a former bmi Gold and acquired status matches with BA, Aegean and EI. Like TominScotland I have hardly utilised the latter two, except for the rare occasional lounge access. I also made BA my preferred airline, maintaining silver won’t be a problem, but Will struggle to keep Gold. I have been very impressed with BAEC, and have found upgrading mainly from WTP+ to CW) not too difficult. I really enjoy the BA lounges, unfortunately I was spoilt at the T5 and CX T3 First lounge and loosing Gold status was a bit of a come down. But overall I have been treated well by BA.


    goalie11
    Participant

    Hi Tom – interesting post.

    Like you I had Gold with bmi for many years, in fact got lifetime Gold two months before they were sold (lucky white heather).

    I also got status match with BA, EI and Aegean and also got, through having BA Gold, status with KLM and TK.

    To be honest I don’t like the BA product in any class and haven’t transferred my travel to them. I agree with you that Avios redemption on Euro flights in CW is pretty good, however, I can’t seem to get long haul flights that suit my travel patterns or needs and trying to use my Amex companion voucher long haul has been trying. My Gold runs out next year, I got an extra year because they made an error with my account, but will let it go.

    I have used Turkish and Aegean but I’ve moved away from Star, which was my preferred alliance, mainly for business reasons. Aside from sceduling, I stopped using Turkish from Edinburgh because they stopped using the 737-900 with good business class seating and have put on a 737-800 with normal seating and the middle seat free.

    Moving from Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi to work I have used mainly EY where the product in all classes far outstrips the competition on the route from there to the UK.

    BA, the Star airlines, LH and TK and KLM/AF only have one flight a day, which all leave around 0200 doesn’t offer the flexibility that EY with 3 flights to London, 2 to Manchester and 2 to Dublin. With a flight to Scotland coming soon, and from a selfish point of view I hope to EDI, they more than meet my needs. In addition, with their global codeshares and joint ventures I can get to almost everywhere I want to with them.

    There are 2 BA flights from DXB during the winter and 3 in the summer months but I object driving past Abu Dhabi airport to get to Dubai, which is on the other side of Dubai and means a tortuous drive along the Zayed highway. So unless things change dramatically I will stay with EY and use others as and when I need to but they won’t be first choice.


    seasonedtraveller
    Participant

    I was Gold with BMI for almost 10 years & was given a BA Gold card which I did not use at all so, after 1 year, I was dropped to Silver.
    I preffered to use Star Alliance to maintain my SAS & Lufthansa Gold status.
    Then, when BA re-instated the LBA to LHR shuttle & I decided to try a couple of transatlantic flights with them. I was impressed with the service & the schedule suited me so, in January 2014 I began the year as Silver & now have BA Gold once again (it took me 5 months to move up from Silver to Gold – we do not fly in Business or First).
    I have some gripes of course, I don’t like LHR terminal 5 for example & some of the 747’s have seen much better days but overall, I am pleased with the recognition afforded to Gold customers.

    My biggest gripe with BA Gold is that I will be 2,600 tier points after 6 months & by the end of June, I will be 3,600 but, BA don’t allow points to ‘roll over’ and the additional ‘rewards’ for going way above the required 1,500 are poor (with the exception of the key to the Concord room at 5,000 tier points which I will not reach).

    Upgrade voucher for 2 people is a complete waste for me, since I always travel alone – 2 singles would be better.

    So, it’s ok in One calendar year to gain double the required points BUT, the next year perhaps you miss the target by a single flight sector and they immediately downgrade you……

    Just seems a little ‘odd’ to me – to treat your customers like they are king’s one year but the next month (at Silver) you mean nothing to them at all……..


    DavidGordon10
    Participant

    I first met this forum when I was looking to see what would happen to my BMI gold card when BMI was sold to BA.

    I have my BA status match gold card but it will lapse this year. I use BA very little because it does not go on the routes that I need the most. I did not look for other status matches, but it did not take long for my Star Alliance flights – mosty on SAS – to win me the SAS Eurobonus gold card.

    I also have an AF/KLM gold card. and my pattern of travel should comfortably keep both the SAS and AF gold cards alive.

    I will not miss the BA card, notwithstanding the excellence of the BA gold card lounges in T5 and T3. My main use of BA has been to and from PRG, now that BA has a monopoly of flights to PRG from central London airports.

    An aside: I have just booked a three-way journey that needed three single flights, one SAS, one CSA and one BA. The experience of internet booking on BA is utterly dire compared with the other two – pages and pages of b*llsh*t to wade through. I should have my stopwatch out, but I reckon the BA booking took ~5 minutes, and the other two about a minute each. So if BA did not do the PRG-LHR run, it would be a complete goodbye to BA.


    TravelWise
    Participant

    I also had bmi gold for a number of years and utilised the route a lot. When they changed to BA, I was status matched but soon found that I never used the network. My major sector stayed bmi regional and our company changed the alliance to LH and Brussels Airlines.
    So I never really used BA and soon found myself back down to blue!!
    I continued with Star Alliance gold elsewhere for a while but again, due to swapping airlines and alliances a lot, my points got spread far and wide.

    Then, this year I started to fly a lot to Japan and found BA to be very cost competitive. I was impressed it only took one flight to be Bronze (we fly Club World) and the benefits that brought (bus class check in & priority boarding, 25% Avios bonus and slightly earlier seat choices).
    I have quickly moved to Silver and I am finding the service on BA quite enjoyable. I was flying a mix of JAL, Finair and ANA. I think BA beats them all and I prefer the food rather than LH.
    I quite like T5 although the lounge is hit & miss.
    I think the Silver benefits are good and beat some of the other alliances easily, especially as Silver already gives you an extra checked bag, fast track and lounges for you and a guest, plus double Avios and free seat choice). My wife flys a lot of short haul with LH and has reached Miles & More silver. It took something like 3,500 flights (actually around 30, if I remember correctly) and you still don’t get lounge access for yourself, let alone a friend! I might add that it also took 3 months for her card to arrive, whilst my BA card was on my desk in under 7 days of changing status.

    So I have to say that BA is working for me right now and I could be at Gold very soon.

    Also @seasonedtraveller, you mention that you don’t like the upgrade for two voucher at 2,500 TPs but you will reach 3,600 and so I guess you know that at 3,500 you get your upgrades as two singles. Do your other alliances give you gold single upgrades? like the old bmi days?
    Although, I have to say that in my time with bmi, I found it almost impossible to use those gold upgrade vouchers. I still have about 30 in my drawer.

    So, BA is working for me right now but things can change quickly, especially as we are so price sensitive right now.


    cityprofessional
    Participant

    Good idea for a thread! And it looks like everyone has taken a different route, which is interesting in itself

    What’s interesting for me is what I had expected to do vs. what I actually did:
    I was massively loyal to bmi in Europe and Star Alliance long haul, and had racked up 9.5 years of Gold by the time BA took over. So I had originally planned to status match to TK and keep flying Star – a lot of my long haul travel is West-East to SE Asia and once a year to Australia/New Zealand, and Star historically covered this ground best, both in terms of route coverage, reasonably-priced premium fares, good onboard and ground service, and decent redemption availability. I had already written off Skyteam, because I had previously status matched to Flying Blue, and frankly the product and route coverage of the various ST airlines was pretty underwhelming

    So what eventually happened:
    My first year of travel was almost exclusively bmi redemptions, with judicious timing of status match allowing me to keep BA Gold. TK never made good on the status match despite much to-ing and fro-ing, and I never bothered to chase it further (but do have a bunch of orphan miles in there, from Star trips booked pre-takeover – any idea what to do with them?)
    Meanwhile my experience on BA has been pretty meh, and bordering on woeful during IRROPS (i.e. during winter) – but their monopoly on many short haul routes ex-LHR means no choice. My one recent long haul experience ranks up there with Aeroflot and Biman; I’ve definitely had better flights in UA Y class… and I was in the front row of (old) WTP
    However, OW integrated both MH and QR making travel to and within SE Asia so much easier, so it actually looks like I’m staying OW after all…

    My question to you folks is:
    (1) Is it worth going out of my way to maintain BA Gold? Silver is no problem, but I wonder if Gold is worth it? As far as I can see, the main advantages are nice lounges (but then again, the business lounges are ok too), and marginally better seat selection (but on a European hop, that doesn’t make a huge difference – and there is no way I’m doing longhaul BA again if I can avoid it). The originally generous perk of no Avios cancellation fees has gone
    (2) Is there a more practical OW FFP than BAEC, given that I only fly BA when I have to – i.e. when it has an EU-endorsed monopoly, which is quite a lot on heavily business-oriented short haul trunk routes? (e.g. are UK residents allowed to sign up with QF, which would give benefits on EK too; is the AB programme any good, as it gives benefits on Etihad, etc)

    Any thoughts welcome!


    TerryBuchanan
    Participant

    It will be very interesting to see if BMaka bmiregional will take back a proportion of their lost clientele and offer status match rematches !


    seasonedtraveller
    Participant

    Cityprofessional

    In response to your questions:
    I found that BA Silver was a serious step down from Gold (although BA now allow ‘Fast track’ boarding to all tier levels which kind of dilutes Gold a bit) – The Gold lounges are better & you get access to First lounges which can be excellent.

    The biggest thing for me is that, as a Gold card holder, I am in line (with other GC holders) for cabin upgrades & this has happened twice during April – nice.

    The downside for me is simply LHR terminal 5 where so called ‘Fast Track’ security is a complete joke, the line often being longer when you get up the escalator, than the standard line – this is a royal pain in the neck when you have a short (1 hour) connection time.


    WillieWelsh
    Participant

    BD Gold to BA Gold and A3 Gold. Most travel starts in EDI.

    I wasn’t impressed with BA but started using LH, KL and more recently TK from EDI but little choice about who to use to LHR as the train takes a bit too long.

    I’m now a BA Bronze, LH G (SEN) and KL Platinum, the A3 G is still alive too and may be brought back into use for *A travel since LH have cut the status earning on TK by 75%.


    JohnHarper
    Participant

    I maintained BD gold as it was the first programme I belonged to but I was also in the later years an LH SEN.

    I was comped to BA gold but I just let it run down as I was also a QR and QF Platinum and there was no point in having another. I’ve let QF run down now too as QR are in OW.

    So the current array is QR platinum, LH SEN and AF gold.

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