Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways makes a positive about-turn on BMI redemption refunds

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

A month ago I wrote this piece about the launch of, the new website that BA has set up.  It is there to allow former bmi Diamond Club members to check their Diamond Club mileage balance, and to move those miles across to Avios (they now have no other use).

When we saw this site, a lot of people were pretty shocked by this wording:

I made a booking using my destinations miles for travel after 31 December 2012, will this booking be protected?

Yes. Any flight bookings made using destinations miles will be honoured but changes or refunds are not permitted.

This was a complete about-turn from what British Airways had originally promised, which was:

  • UK members – you can cancel flights after 31 December and get all your miles and all your taxes back, less a £25 per person fee
  • Rest of the World – you can cancel flights after 31 December and get your taxes back, less a £25 per person fee, but not your miles (as all Diamond Club accounts for non-UK residents are being closed on 31 December)

The position BA adopted on the Diamond Club website was appalling.  For a start, cancellation is often outside your control.

Ex-bmi Diamond Club members will have booked redemption flights up to the end of August 2013, but airlines will not confirm their Summer timetables until nearer March 2013.  The idea that an airline cancels a route and you lose all your miles AND all your taxes was preposterous – and probably illegal as well.

Anyway, the good news is that BA has backtracked.  In fact, they have actually improved their original position.

Now, wherever you live in the world, you will be able to refund a Diamond Club redemption booking at any time.  You need to call the Executive Club to cancel and to give them an Avios account number where the miles can be redeposited.

The text on the website that I highlighted has still not been updated.  This is a poor show, frankly, since it is a couple of weeks now since this u-turn was first announced.

Here is one upside.  BA is paying taxes back in the form of bank transfers or cheques, not credit card refunds.  This means that you will retain the miles you earned from your credit card payment when you booked the original ticket.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2022)

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:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 long list of travel benefits 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.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.