On July 3rd, if all goes to plan, BA will launch the tool to allow you to transfer your BMI Diamond Club miles across into BAEC Avios. It will also allow you to transfer in the other direction, which will offer some very interesting opportunities if Virgin and Qatar are still Diamond Club partners on that date.
In advance of the tool going live, it is worth thinking about how you are going to use it. If more than one family member has a BAEC or BMI account, it is worth noting that the BD family account programme offers a unique opportunity to ‘manage’ how your miles are distributed when they go across to BA.
First, lets recap how family accounts work with BMI and BA. A BMI family account has a ‘head’ with other members sitting below it. Other members can transfer, instantly and for free online, some or all of their miles to the ‘head’. The head cannot transfer miles to other family account members. Other family account members cannot transfer to anyone else except the head. Each member of the family account can redeem for anyone, whether in the family account or not, and the miles come solely from their account.
A BAEC household account is different. You cannot transfer miles from one member to another (although BAEC does offer facility separately for a pricey fee). Any redemption is made pro-rata from all of the accounts in the household account, based on the current balance at the time of redemption, and you can only redeem for household account members.
So, lets look at some options using my own BMI account as an example. I have a family Diamond Club account with my Mum, wife, 4-year old daughter and myself in it, with myself as head.
My Mum has a handful of DC miles (she uses the credit card but spends only modestly) and a handful of Avios. Adding her DC miles to her BA account is pointless as the combined balance is still too small to do anything with. I have therefore moved all her DC miles to me as head of the family account and they will go into my BA account.
My daughter has no remaining DC miles. She got a few from a promotion a few years ago but I transferred those across to me ages ago.
My wife, on the other hand, has almost 50,000 DC miles. She also now has her own BA Amex card and will be generating a 2-4-1 voucher every year. My concern for her is that she need to earn enough Avios each year to make use of the 2-4-1’s. (She is not in a BA household account with me because we need to keep the option to redeem for other people like her parents who live in Europe.) I have therefore kept her DC miles in her own DC account (even though she in our family account) and I will move them to to her BAEC account.
You can even move part of someones miles inside a BMI family account. DC allows me, if I want, to move 20,000 of my wifes 50,000 to myself (and thus my BAEC account) whilst leaving the other 30,000 where it is and moving it to her BA account. This might be useful if someone has a few Avios and you want to transfer just enough to get to a redemption level (9,000, 50,000 etc) without leaving any spare.
What also interests me is that this strategy may even work BACKWARDS and thus allow me to fully empty my Mum’s semi-dormant BA account. Perhaps I will be able to move her BAEC miles to her Diamond Club account, then across to my Diamond Club account as I am head of family, and then into my BA account? If so, that would be a great result as it gets some orphan miles back into play.
Let’s see what happens on 3rd July.