Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Amazingly, the old bmi credit cards just got better!

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If you hold one of the old BMI credit cards, you probably had a text message recently telling you that MBNA was writing to you with details of enhanced benefits on the cards.

You probably thought that this would relate to the improved mileage earnings on the bmi cards, which I wrote about here.

But you would be wrong!

Whilst the letters have not yet arrived, the details have been posted on the Diamond Club website here.

First, the cards have a funky new look:

Diamond Club cards

Secondly, the site confirms the increased mileage earning I wrote about before.  Amazingly, the MasterCard with the £60 annual fee now earns 2.5 Avios per £1, a frankly astounding rate for a non-Amex card.  The fee-paying Amex cards will also carry this rate.

Thirdly, it is confirmed that you will earn double Avios – so 5 Avios points per £1 on some cards! – when you buy BA flights using the card.

Fourth, though, is the real surprise:

You will receive a 10% discount on all British Airways flights paid for with some of the MBNA credit cards!

Now, this discount is only off the base fair, excluding taxes, so the net discount will be a long way short of 10%.  It is still serious money when booking long-haul premium tickets, though.

You can use the discount as many times as you like.    The only rules are that all flights must start in the UK and the cardholder must be one of the passengers.

So, oddly, if you have one of the old BMI credit cards it is now far superior to the British Airways Amex.

There is little sense continuing to use your BA Amex once you are past the £10,000 threshold for the 2-4-1 voucher, and if you have the 2.5 Avios per £1 MasterCard then you will be laughing very heartily this morning.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 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

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

If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

(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 (61)

  • JK says:

    I think I know the answer to this already, but I just have to ask… Is there NO WAY on earth for a new customer to sign up for one of these?! Surely, if the suspicion is that they’re re-vamping the product, surely they’d want lovely new customers like me!

    I’m gutted I don’t have one of these damn things! 5 Avios per £1 – Jesus H. Christ! That would net me well in excess of 1mm Avios per year!!

    I presume it’s illegal to sell on a credit card in your own name? (I kid, I kid…)

  • Steve C says:

    This just doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve had the BMI Mastercard 1.5 per £1 card for absolutely yonks now and applied for the American Airlines card a couple of years ago (and still have it). At the time my credit limit was split between the 2 cards, fair enough but wildly in favour of the American Airlines card. I phoned to get the limits re-allocated and was told no can do, and have been told so repeatedly by them, as MBNA were looking to sell their UK business, this was not possible and yet here we are with new AA cards still being issued and tweaks to the existing BMI set up! Has MBNA been acquired or am I likely to be able to finally get my limits reallocated?!?! Surely this is a way just to burn their pool of DC/Avios to give to customers and close the cards completely. Why would BA allow a non-branded card to give better points (2-4-1 excluded)?

    • Rob says:

      Sales of MBNA was abandoned, Bank of America is now keeping it, including the UK arm.

      BA allows the non-branded card to give more points because MBNA is paying for them! BA couldn’t give a monkeys if MBNA gave 10 Avios per £1, as long as BA got their 0.5p (or whatever) per point.

      As per other comments, this is all posturing by MBNA as they attempt to win the BA Amex deal from Amex. Remember that MBNA already gives 2 miles per £1 on the Virgin Black Amex, so they are happy to pay up in order to win the contracts.

  • simon says:

    I wish I had one of these – you lucky lucky sods.

    • Rob says:

      Ironically I’m not using mine at present because I have spend targets on new AA and Miles & More credit cards to hit!

      • simon says:

        Just got the AA card but have a stack of deposits to pay for work with airlines so I should be able to do it as quickly as I can clear it as they only gave me a 5k limit.

        Waiting a bit to get the SPG card as well as I really fancy a trip to the US asap 🙂 I think now I am in the points game the only thing holding me back is how quick I can get the cards without hurting my credit rating.

        Still waiting for a BA bonus for transfer at the moment. have 100k sat waiting to move over. Wish you could move AMEX to AA at 1:1 – gues you can go through SPG at 2:1

        • Rob says:

          Yes, Amex to SPG to AA is the best way to get them across. You can also go via Carlson or Hilton but the conversion rate is worse (a bit, with Carlson, a lot, with Hilton).

  • Susan says:

    Only have the free BMI cards but still might be time to buy stand alone travel insurance so don’t need to use the Amex Platinum card to pay for travel.

  • Chris Storrie says:

    Fairly new to this but do these BMI amex cards qualify for AMEX rewards? I’ve always had this BMI card to earn avios on my spend just trying to figure out if i’m also missing a trick with regards amex rewards

    • Sir Stamford says:

      These MBNA BMI AMEX cards DO NOT earn AMEX rewards.

      Only selected cards (such as Preferred Rewards Gold, Platinum) issued directly by American Express UK earn Membership Rewards points.

      Sir Stamford

  • Rob says:

    Yes, should be, it goes through your card as British Airways.

  • Sir Stamford says:

    I think you have just answered your own question.

    The AMEX Premium card provides a “2 for 1” voucher which could save you lots of Avios. For example, if you redeem the “2 for 1” voucher on a first class return BA flight to, say, SIN, you are potentially saving 210,000 Avios.

    Admittedly, you get a slightly better earn rate with the BMI card, but will you gain an extra 210,000 Avios?

    I concur with Raffles’ suggestion that you should consider spending the first £10k on the AMEX Premium card to trigger the 2 for 1 and then put all your subsequent spends to the BMI Amex card.

    Sir Stamford

  • Simon says:

    How I regret finding this blog 2 weeks after the BMI cards closed to new applicants, I still have the apply now page bookmarked and check it every so often in case it gets re-enabled.