With just under two weeks left to redeem Diamond Club miles for Star Alliance flights, bmi has sweetened the incentive to burn your points now with a 20% bonus on purchased miles. If you are just short of another award (like I was), take advantage of this offer. The miles posted in about six hours for me.
Next week I will do a final post on maximizing Star Alliance award redemptions on bmi, but for now let me share with you what I booked today to demonstrate how valuable this program remains. The 20% bonus offer runs through 30 June.
After completing all my bookings last month, I had 10,729 miles left. I still needed to get my brother to Europe this summer, and with bmi’s generous cash + points scheme, one last award was in reach. I purchased 7,000 miles (with a 1,400 miles bonus) for £99 (including a £15 service fee) to get up past 18,750 miles, the mileage amount required for a one-way cash + miles award to anywhere in Europe. As a side-note, I wish I just would have credited a recent United Airlines flight to bmi–consider doing that instead of purchasing miles if you are flying on UA or US soon, especially in a premium cabin.
Next, I had to find a good routing. By good, I mean a route that would minimize the fuel surcharge while still maximizing comfort and schedule. Although Lufthansa non-stop space from Los Angeles to Frankfurt was available in business class, Lufthansa family carriers (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and Brussels) are no longer bookable with bmi and even when they were, carried a high fuel surcharge. All other Star Alliance carriers can still be booked through the end of the month.
That left US Airways and TAM, the two Star Alliance carriers who do not separate fuel surcharge from the fare itself. Routing via São Paulo would have been fun, but bmi strictly enforces the MPM (maximum permitted mileage) on award travel, so that left only US Airways. Even United awards on bmi can add up to several hundred extra dollars thanks to their fuel surcharge.
The goal was to get from Los Angeles to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. My brother also wanted a day in Zagreb on the way. This was no easy task during the peak summer travel period, but I put together the following award (for early August travel):
- Los Angeles to Houston in United Airlines Business [757-300]
- Houston to Philadelphia in United Airlines Business [737-800]
- Philadelphia to Paris in US Airways Business [A330-200]
- 12 hour layover (my bro’s never been to Paris)
- Paris to Zagreb in Croatian Airlines Business [A320]
- overnight in Zagreb
- Zagreb to Sarajevo in Croatian Airlines Business [Q-400]
Next, I verified the routing using the MPM tool on ExpertFlyer. Although there were a lot of stops enroute, the routing had no backtracking and came in about 500 miles under the MPM limit of 7705 miles.
Finally, a call to bmi. I reached the Indian Call center where an agent insisted on trying to find routing himself before sheepishly coming back to me and asking what I had found. We built the itinerary flight-by-flight and soon he put me on hold to validate the routing and calculate the taxes.
I ended up paying 18,750 miles + £127.50 for the ticket and £88 in taxes–an incredible buy considering this is a one-way business class ticket to Eastern Europe and will feature all business class travel and an overnight flight on US Airways’ new business class seat.
Next week I will share about a couple other recent bmi redemptions. I am really going to miss this program!