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BMI to BA miles transfers – cometh the day ….

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… cometh the surprise.

July 3rd is the big day, the day that BA promised that we would be able to transfer BMI Diamond Club miles into British Airways Executive Club Avios, and vice versa.

Surprise No. 1 is that the tool launched a day early, and was operational by Monday afternoon.

Surprise No. 2 is less pleasant.  Despite what was promised in the original FAQ when the BA takeover of BMI was announced, you cannot transfer into Diamond Club.  Only out.

This is despite the fact that, on 20th April, BA sent BAEC members an email including the following paragraph:

You will also be able to transfer your destinations miles to Executive Club Avios points at a rate of 1:1. British Airways will also be offering Executive Club customers the ability to transfer from Executive Club Avios points into destinations miles at a rate of 1:1. For example 100 destinations miles could be transferred into 100 Avios points and vice versa.

The reason for this seems obvious.  We all assumed that Virgin Atlantic would stop being a BMI Diamond Club partner by the day that BA started allowing two-way transfers.  However, July 3rd is here and Virgin is still a Diamond Club partner, along with Qatar, Jet (of India) and Russia’s Transaero. 

BA was probably faced with two options, assuming that Virgin et al have solid contracts with Diamond Club – either a) allow two-way transfers and be in the embarrassing position of BAEC customers using their miles to fly on Virgin Atlantic, or b) restrict transfers to one-ways out of Diamond Club only.  You can’t blame BA for choosing route b).

Diamond Club home page

However, this leads to my rather surprising conclusion – do not transfer your miles out of Diamond Club to British Airways Executive Club yet.  Or, to be more exact, do not do it if you have at least 45,000 miles in your account, because this is the minimum amount needed for a Virgin Atlantic redemption, in this case an economy return to New York. 

(If you refuse to redeem for anything less than Business Class, then you’d need a minimum of 90,000 for a Virgin Atlantic Upper Class return ticket, as BMI does not allow one-way redemptions on partner airlines.)

After all, imagine that you transfer 200,000 Avios today from Diamond Club to BAEC.  And then, in two weeks time, your partner says that they fancy a week in San Francisco in October.  If you had left your miles in Diamond Club, you would be able to choose between a Virgin Atlantic Upper Class redemption or (after confirming availability) moving them across for a BA Club World or American Airlines redemption.  If, however, you had already moved your miles across, you would only be able to go with BA or AA – the Virgin route would be blocked.

There is a risk, of course, that BA pulls the transfer tool without any notice.  This is very unlikely, however.  Remember that BMI is still promoting the MBNA credit card, so those miles will need to be transferable every month until the card is scrapped.  And, for a year after the last BMI redemption booking is made, there will be people cancelling redemptions and having having miles credited back to their DC accounts.  The miles transfer facility isn’t going away in a hurry.

PS. A further note to this story.  You cannot transfer from BMI to avios.com, if you were planning to try that.  It needs to be a two-step process going BMI to British Airways Executive Club and then BAEC to avios.com.  As with all transfers in or out of avios.com, your avios.com account cannot be in a family account.  BA or BMI household accounts have no special restrictions on transfers.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2021)

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

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (2)

  • Paul says:

    The email from BMI says “Transfers can be made between individual accounts, but unfortunately transfers into Household Account balances are not possible”. This appears not to be correct as I have just transferred into my account which is part of an HHA

    • Raffles says:

      As have I. I have no idea why this is in the rules, especially as it was both in the early FAQ published weeks ago and in the email from BA this week.

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