Bits: Finnair Edinburgh service launched, I get a good value Marriott redemption, Euro 2016 travel guide

News in brief:

Finnair’s Edinburgh service launched yesterday

The new Finnair service from Edinburgh started yesterday.  This joins their recently added Dublin service as well as the established Manchester and London routes.  It will operate three times per week, stepping up to four times over the Summer, before pausing on 27th October.

Finnair is a oneworld partner which means you can earn and spend Avios, and earn BA tier points, when you fly with them.  Finnair has an excellent network of routes to Asia because it is ‘on the way’ when flying from Europe over the pole.

If you live in Scotland this is a good opportunity for:

a weekend away in Helsinki, on Avios points

an easy connection to a long-haul redemption on Finnair using Avios points

a chance to buy, for cash, a ticket to Asia on Finnair in one of their regular sales.  You should expect to pay around £1,299 return and will pick up a good pile of BA tier points in the process.  Keep an eye on HFP for news of the next Finnair sale. 

Many of the Asia routes are now flying, or soon will be flying, the new Airbus A350 XWB pictured below with its impressive 1-2-1 seating.  You can read my review of one of the Finnair A350 training flights here.  There is a special Finnair A350 website here.

Finnair A350

How I got a good value Marriott Rewards redemption

I am often a little hard on Marriott Rewards on Head for Points, so it is only fair that I tell you that I just secured an excellent redemption for my Mum.

She needs two nights in downtown Calgary in Canada in June.  Despite the oil slump Calgary hotel prices are still pretty crazy with the two best downtown options, the Hyatt and Marriott, both often $400.  Cheaper options like the Holiday Inn Express, where the reviews highlight the ‘interesting’ characters hanging around outside the doors at night, are still C$300.

I managed to get her two nights in the ‘just refurbished’ Calgary Marriott Downtown, photo below, which is well located, for 50,000 Marriott Rewards points.  (The refurbishment involved removing the desks – which regular readers know I find a stupid policy – but my Mum won’t care.)

A cash room for the same two nights would have totalled C$806 (£441).  It works out at 0.88p per Marriott point which is well above my notional value of 0.5p.

I am kicking myself for not booking on Sunday night when I first looked it up as the hotel had more expensive corner rooms up for redemption as well – those had gone by yesterday.

Calgary Marriott Downtown

Sixt’s Euro 2016 travel guide

Finally, if you are planning to drive to Euro 2016 this Summer, rental company Sixt has put together a guide to each of the major venues and how to get around.  You’ll find it here.

95 AwardWallet 6-month upgrade vouchers (worth $10 each) to give away today
Which loyalty credit cards are worth keeping for their benefits even if you don’t use them?
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  1. Anyone know if this is just a seasonal route? I was looking for flights Feb 16 and it appears you have to have another stop?

    • Seems to be a trial for the Summer, I would expect it to go year round if it works. As they can feed connecting Asian traffic they don’t need to sell out for it to be profitable. 27th October is the last flight.

  2. Interesting news on the Finnair links from Edinburgh, with that and the new BA INV-LHR route its good to see more opportunities opening up from north of the border.

  3. Somewhat off topic but are Finnair still operating any intra-Europe flights on the A350?

  4. How do you book a redemption for your mum..
    Is it through the second name.
    Can they check in on your behalf ??

    • Same surname so booked for 2 adults and added a note saying she would arrive first. No-one gives 74 year olds grief (hopefully).

  5. Do you know what aircraft they’re flying with on the EDI-HEL route? Hope it’s not E90 which they use on the DUB/MAN services.

  6. Very OT but I don’t know if you are aware of this:

    I wonder what the process for a refund is? It’s not of much use to me now and I suspect a load of other people.

    • This was mentioned on the Bits page from yesterday just now. Do we have a source for this information? If anyone could shed any light on this it’d be much appreciated. My card hasn’t yet been dispatched so might cancel if this is the case. Perhaps harry will have the last laugh after all…

      • Received response from Curve. This is not the case. Amex is still being accepted.

        • That’s good news! Just had an email confirming my Curve card has been dispatched – previously said it would be 27/4 so hopefully everyone will start getting theirs quicker too!

        • Looks VERY far from a certain outcome – I should hit the ATM machine the very day you get the card if I were you :)

          If Amex continues, I’d be thinking cash withdrawals (charged to Amex) will be a very temporary possibility

          • I would be ok with ATM withdrawals using our IHG and Hilton cards too. Although surely Amex can’t go back on a deal this early before the thing is properly launched. Fingers crossed it all works out.

            • Doesn’t sound like Amex welshing on a deal, more like the Curve people getting ahead of themselves

    • windscreen ice scraper?

  7. Lee-Anne says:

    It’s great to see more routes opening up for Edinburgh but would be better if for Asia the flights were year round. I’d want to fly to Thailand Jan-Mar for winter sun.

  8. Genghis says:

    OT – Raffles, I remember you saying that the car hire insurance with the Amex Plat is really good. I’m thinking of cancelling my Amex Plat but have some car hire coming up in the next few months. Do you think it would be worth keeping the Amex Plat for the car hire insurance alone?

  9. As someone who spent a lot of time in Marriotts when travelling for work (and worked over the weekend in the room) I think the removal of the desks to be a pretty idiotic idea.

    As for the redemption – I’m going to stand up for Marriott Rewards a little here. I ended up cashing in the last of my Marriott points the other day. 15k of them got me a night in the Marriott Dallas Quorum (now coming up as $349 for my date). 1.6 pence per point. I’ve also found Marriott rewards redemptions to be pretty decent for events such as Oktoberfest in Munich. That said, maybe I got lucky?

  10. What's the Point says:

    I used 30,000 Marriott points to book an airport hotel in Boston, USA this summer vs a cash rate of over $250.
    Very good value compared to what I could have got for them in the UK