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Star Alliance carrier bmi (British Midland International) has a pretty good frequent flyer program with a generous award chart. Specifically, I like the 45,000 mile coach awards from the US to Europe (see full award chart here), as well as the option to use cash and miles, which can be a great value. For example US to Europe in business class is only 37,500 miles and $341- thats cheaper in miles and taxes than a Flying Blue 50,000 mile economy ticket from the US to Europe!
They are currently offering 1,000 free miles just for signing up for an account (no activity or flight purchase required).
Then take this 2 minute survey for another 1,000 miles.
As Gary from View from the Wing reports, at some point in time it was speculated that bmi’s Diamond Club will become a part of Lufthansa’s Miles & More program (which is less generous), but it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon.
So now that you have 2,000 miles to start – let me help you strategize on getting your balance up to level where you can redeem for awards. As I actually just signed up for an account myself, I’m on a personal mission to whip it into shape, so I’ll continue to post tips as I figure them out.
1) Fly Star Alliance carriers and bank your points to your bmi account. I am not a Star Alliance frequent flyer, but when I do fly them I bank to my Continental account. Since I have a bunch of miles there already, I’ll start diverting miles to my bmi account
2) Buy up to 24,000 miles. There is currently a 20% bonus promotion on purchased miles, so 24,000 miles costs £ 255.00 GBP or $414 USD.
3) Have someone with a UK based Amex Membership Rewards account transfer you miles (bmi is not a transfer partner for US or Canada Membership Rewards)
4) Earn points when staying at Wyndham: Earn 1,000 Destinations Miles per night, with a maximum of 5,000 miles per stay regardless of the length of that eligible stay, when staying in a participating Wyndham Hotels and Resorts hotel. Earn 1,000 Destinations Miles per stay, regardless of the length of that eligible stay, when staying in a participating Ramada, Wingate by Wyndham hotel or Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham hotel. Earn 500 Destinations Miles per stay, regardless of the length of that eligible stay, when staying in a participating Days Inn, Baymont Inn & Suites, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Travelodge (US only), Microtel Inns and Suites or Knights Inn hotel.
5) Buying stuff from flybmi.com/shopping (though it looks UK based, so you may get hosed on shipping/foreign transaction fees), however it looks like you earn 3 miles per GBP spent at Itunes, so that may be worth a try.
6) UK Residents can get the credit card with 24,000 mile sign-up bonus.