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Finnair Overhauls Loyalty Programme, Switches To Avios

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Immanuel Debeer | 17/08/2023

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In a recent announcement, Finnair divulged its plans to switch-up its loyalty programme, Finnair Plus, by integrating with Avios. Set to roll out in early 2024, the integration marks a strategic move to expand member benefits and streamline its offerings. Avios is the common rewards currency from British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and more recently Qatar Airways. Here’s what the changes entail:

Conversion to Avios

Starting 2024, Finnair Plus award points will undergo a conversion to Avios at a 3:2 ratio. This transformation, designed to be seamless for users, ensures that the value of points remains consistent with the new Avios pricing also set at the same 3:2 rate.

Earning and Spending Avios

Members can accrue Avios by purchasing flights and travel extras, using Finnair Plus credit cards, and availing services of Finnair Plus partners. The use of Avios extends to flight purchases, upgrading travel classes, and availing products and services from Finnair Plus affiliates. In Australia, we can now earn Avios thanks to the American Express Membership Rewards and Qatar Airways Avios partnership.

Spring 2024 is set to herald a vast expansion in terms of Avios utility. Members can freely transfer Avios between Finnair Plus and British Airways Executive Club accounts at a 1:1 ratio and from British Airways, members can also transfer points to Qatar Airways Privilege Club at a 1:1 ratio. This will open up access to the extensive British Airways Executive Club rewards and partnerships, which encompasses an expansive array of travel experiences and online shopping brands.

For those with a British Airways Executive Club account, linking with Finnair Plus will soon be an option. This addition amplifies Avios collection and usage opportunities. Members can also link British Airways Executive Club accounts with either Qatar Airways Privilege Club or Iberia Plus, further expanding their Avios benefits horizon.

Shift to Spend-Based System

Post-2024, the Finnair Plus programme will transition to a spend-based system. Loyalty tier and Avios collection will depend on the amount expended on flight and travel extras. The change simplifies the process by eliminating the need to consider flight distance or booking class, focusing solely on the spend amount.

Finnair Flights and Extras

Avios and tier points accrual will only exclude taxes, fees, and other service charges. The new mechanism will be applicable for bookings made post the introduction of the spend-based system in 2024.

Existing Bookings

For Finnair flights booked before the 2024 overhaul, tier points and loyalty currency based on ticket type, booking class, and region will be converted at the 3:2 ratio, post the changes.

Partner Flights

Despite the spend-based shift, partner-marketed or -operated flights will maintain their loyalty collection based on travel class, booking class, and distance flown. However, this distance will transition from kilometres to miles.

New Milestones

Finnair Plus plans to introduce milestones for Platinum members, with additional upgrade benefits on achieving specific tier point thresholds.

Streamlined Upgrades

Upgrade benefits are set to become more flexible, allowing members to easily choose between long-haul or European flights. The revamped system will necessitate fewer benefits for Premium Economy to Business Class upgrades.

Enhanced Award Flights Availability

Finnair has committed to increasing the number of Classic Award seats, guaranteeing a minimum of 4 award seats on European flights and 8 on long-haul flights.

Complimentary Internet & Enhanced Streaming

All Finnair Plus members are in for a treat with complimentary internet for messaging on European flights operated with Airbus narrow-body aircraft. Additionally, the current 30-minute Browse package will be enhanced to the Stream package, suitable for web browsing, streaming, and VPN usage.

This strategic overhaul is indicative of Finnair’s commitment to enhancing customer loyalty benefits and adapting to the evolving travel landscape. More updates on the tier point limits and the new price table are anticipated later this year.

Summing Up

Although Finniar doesn’t fly to Australia, they do offer excellent connection opportunities from Asia to Europe and beyond that are very favourable to us here in Australia. The new Finniar A350 offers a fantastic business class seat and award pricing and surcharges are also very favourable. It will be interesting to see if this will be a net positive for the Avios program in the long term; for now, I’m definitely optimistic about the partnership although under the current Qatar Airways Avios award chart you’d be looking at 120,000 Avios for a one way business class flight from Singapore to Europe, which isn’t cheap!

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Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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