Finnair to join Avios - what does this mean for you? - Which? News (2023)

Finnair has announced that it will adopt Avios as a loyalty program next year, so you can earn and spend Avios points on flights and upgrades.

The airline, based in Finland, offers flights to more than 180 destinations across Asia, Europe and North America via Helsinki. It will join Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Qatar Airways and Vueling, which all offer Avios as their primary reward currency.

Here, which one? explains what the changes mean for you and offers advice on how to increase your Avios points.

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What does change mean?

If you are a member of the existing rewards program called Finnair Plus, all your points will automatically convert to Avios at a 3:2 ratio.

This means that if you have 30,000 Finnair Plus points, they will be converted into 20,000 Avios.

However, Finnair said the "purchasing power of current points" would remain unchanged as redemption fees would be adjusted accordingly.

  • Learn more:how to save money on flights.

What else changes with Finnair Plus?

From spring 2024, the loyalty program will be based on spend. This means you'll level up and earn Avios based on how much you spend on flight purchases and extra travel.

Currently, you earn Finnair Plus points based on flight zone or distance and ticket type or booking class.

There will also be more benefits of joining, including free internet access for messaging on short-haul European flights.

Finnair will also increase the number of seats available to redeem Avios on each flight.

It will secure at least four to six "reward seats" on Finnair flights within Europe (two in Business where available and four in Economy) and eight seats on long-haul Finnair flights (two in Business, two in Premium and four in Premium Economy ).

  • Learn more:Which airline has the best economy class seats?

Is Finnair a good airline?

Finnair ranked third in our survey ofbest and worst airlineswith a customer rating of 75%.

Customers surveyed in October 2022 gave five stars for customer service and cabin cleanliness and four stars for value for money, cabin atmosphere, boarding and food and beverage. It received three stars for seat comfort.

However, it did not become Which? Recommended vendor due to no show clause.

  • Learn more:best and worst airlines for 2023.

What does this mean for British Airways Executive Club members?

Once the changes come into effect, you will be able to transfer Avios between Finnair Plus and British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 exchange rate.

You may want to do this because while both systems use Avios as the name for their mileage tokens, each will have a different redemption rate for the number of Avios points required for a flight.

So it can be useful to transfer Avios between programs to book flights where you'll get the best value. It also means BA Executive Club members can use Avios points to upgrade Finnair flights.

The new Avios redemption fee figures have not yet been published by Finnair.

What can you spend Avios on?

Avios points can be spent on reward flights, upgrades and hotels.

In most cases, points can only be redeemed against the cost of the flight, not taxes and fees. So even when you've earned enough points for a free flight, you'll still have to pay hundreds of pounds.

How to increase your Avios points

Here are three tips on how to boost your Avios balance.

1. Use an airline miles credit card

An airline miles credit card is a type of rewards card that allows you to collect points from the airline's rewards program for your everyday spending, and there are several providers that offer Avios points.

BothBritish AirwaysmBarclay Cardoffer competitive offers (one Avios point for every £1 spent).

The British Airways American Express Credit Card has no annual fee and a representative APR of 30% (credit subject to status and applicable terms).

New card members can get 5,000 Avios if they spend £1,000 in the first three months and a companion voucher if they spend £12,000 in a year.

Barclaycard Avios offers the same introductory bonus and also has no annual fee. It has a representative APR of 28.9% (credit subject to status and applicable terms).

If you spend £20,000 in the first year, you'll receive a cabin upgrade voucher or 7,000 bonus Avios.

  • Learn more:best airline miles credit cards.

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Finnair to join Avios - what does this mean for you? - Which? News (1)

Experian provides service to Who? readers to help you compare credit card offers from brands on your credit card.

When you enter your details, the results offered may differ from those presented in our guides, as not all suppliers and products are available from Experian.

Additionally, your results will be based on information you provide to Experian and your own eligibility calculations, so they may not include all available offers.

2. Use free rewards programs

Nectar points can be converted to Avios points and this can be done in the Nectar app or online.

Every 400 Nectar points can be converted into 250 Avios, which equates to one Nectar point worth 1.6 Avios.

You can also convert any BPme rewards if you have a BP rewards account into your fuel.

For every 40 BPme Rewards points you will receive 25 Avios.

  • Learn more:loyalty cards compared.

3. Check for retail partners

You can earn Avios points when you use the British Airways Executive Club shopping portal. It has over 1,500 retailers including Botts, Currys and M&S.

You can also link your Uber account to your British Airways Executive Club account to earn Avios on your travels. You can earn 1 Avios point for every £1 you spend with Uber.

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