Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Are you preparing for the BMI to British Airways miles transfer?

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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.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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