The news that Air Canada is restricting elite status to those who fly at least 10,000 miles on Air Canada metal got me thinking about my habit of crediting 38K miles each year to British Midland (bmi).
Even before Lufthansa (bmi’s parent company) announced plans to devalue its award chart, I figured that I’m probably wasting a lot of time and benefits just to save a few hundred dollars on domestic lounge access. The process of swapping out my Untied number for my BD number at the gate every week is enough to drive me crazy…
In terms of Star Alliance revenue flights, I’ve flown only United, Continental, and Lufthansa this year. On CO, UA, and transatlantic LH flights I receive double redeemable miles when I credit to to my Mileage Plus account. Because I usually buy cheap economy tickets, I only get a 25% RDM bonus on British Midland. That means in crediting 38K flight miles to bmi I only received 47.5K RDMs as opposed to the 76K I would have received on United. That’s a difference of 28.5K miles, which equates to a domestic economy award or nearly the difference between a business and first class ticket from North America to Europe.
On top of that, I missed out on about 25K United lifetime flight miles, which would have pushed me closer to my million mile lifetime flight mile goal on UA. Furthermore, US Airways lounge membership, which includes access to United and Continental lounges, was offered for $249 earlier this year. That’s quite a bargain and 28.5K RDMs are certainly worth more than $249 to me. And to rub salt in the wound, I missed out on two SWUs and the chance to nominate someone to Premier Executive status by crediting to bmi instead of hitting 150K then 175K EQMs on UA.
But this was my logic: I was already well-above 100,000 EQMs on United and I felt that crediting to British Midland would be worth if I get Senator status on Lufthansa for two years when Diamond Club mergers with Miles&More next spring. We still don’t know what will happen to the Diamond Club program, but I was simply allured by the possibility of becoming a LH Senator and figured that I might as well maintain my BD Gold status for another year. Plus, at least for now, BD has a generous award chart that I plan to take full advantage of before next spring before the LH chart takes over.
Looking back at my mileage crediting decision, this year, though, if I had to do it all over again I would have just stuck to crediting to Untied. My mileage balance is too low for my liking and I just hate the fact that I gave up those lifetime flight miles. It was one thing to qualify for BD Gold status on two ONT-TPA A fare trips with 300% EQMs, but I’ve done it through cheap(er) fares this year.
If LH grants Senator status to BD Gold members for the next two years, then all my miles wil be going to United next year. If not, then I’ll decide whether to credit to Turkish Airlines (40K miles required the first year for Star Gold status, then only 25K per year or 37.5K every two years to requalify), Aegean Airlines, (20K miles for one year of Star Gold status), or just buy a Red Carpet Club membership (which sadly will soon go up in price, again…).