Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 18:10 UK

BA strike: BMI targets British Airways' frequent flyers

By Michael Millar
Business reporter, BBC News

British Airways planes
British Airways has said the latest four-day strike is costing 5.5m a day

BMI is offering perks to executive travellers switching to its flights from strike-hit British Airways.

It is hoping to tempt lucrative business class travellers away from its rival by offering to match any frequent flyer membership.

Travellers displaying BA silver or gold cards will be offered the BMI equivalents.

These offer benefits such as free upgrades and access to exclusive airport lounges.

Regular travellers hoping to earn a BMI gold card have to fly the equivalent of 38,000 miles - about one-and-a-half times the circumference of the earth - in order to qualify.

A BMI spokesman confirmed this was a direct response to the strikes at BA, and was being promoted on all its routes. He would not say how many people had taken up the offer.

"We don't have the profile or brand recognition that BA has, so this is an opportunity for us to show regular BA flyers what we can offer as an alternative," he said.

The spokesman said he was not aware of any complaints from regular customers who have had to earn their frequent flyer rewards.

BMI crew have been instructed to offer a special onboard welcome to customers who normally fly on BA, asking them to make themselves known to cabin staff if they have a BA frequent flyer card. They are then offered the BMI equivalent for a year.

British Airways cabin crew are currently in the final day of a four-day strike over pay and conditions. The airline has estimated that the first three-day strike cost it £7m a day and the latest one £5.5m a day.

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