Bits: Groupon / Priority Pass deal, Finnair formalises A350 on Heathrow to Helsinki

News in brief:

Groupon offering 50% off a Priority Pass

If you have been thinking of purchasing a Priority Pass airport lounge access card, Groupon is running a deal at the moment.  You will find it here.

It is a little fiddly.  You pay Groupon £6 for a voucher.  The voucher entitles you to:

  • 50% discount on Standard Membership (usually £69, pay £15 per visit)
  • 50% discount on Standard Membership with first visit included (not advertised online!)
  • 25% discount on Standard Plus Membership with ten visits included (usually £159)

The discount is clearly not 50% since you are also paying £6 for the voucher.  You will make a saving, however.  This is one way of keeping hold of a Priority Pass if you are cancelling your American Express Platinum charge card, which comes with two free Priority Pass cards.  None of the cash versions are actually as good as the Amex version, oddly, which gives unlimited free visits for the cardholder and a guest.

The Groupon link is here.

Finnair A350 350

Finnair to fly the A350 from London to Helsinki

Regular readers will know that I flew Finnair’s new A350 in Business Class earlier in the year.   Finnair is the first European airline to fly this plane and it was testing out new aircraft on the short hop to London.

You can read my Finnair A350 review here.

Finnair has now decided to roster an A350 permanently on the London to Helsinki route.  This is primarily for cargo purposes and is part of a new cargo venture that the airline has launched with British Airways.  A350 or other long haul Finnair aircraft have been flying into Heathrow for some time already but it was never formally promoted.  The dates, times and aircraft type (ie A350) are now firm.

An A350 will operate on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 5th October.  It will fly the 10.20 from Heathrow, arriving at 15.15.  The return is less convenient, departing Helsinki at 08.00 and landing in London at 09.10.

You can now redeem your Avios points for a fully flat bed in business class between London and Helsinki!  It is 30,000 points per person.  If you were inspired by our recent trip to Tallinn in Estonia, via Helsinki, this is a good chance to give it a try.

You even get free wi-fi in business class and, according to the press release I saw, in economy class if you show your British Airways Silver or Gold card or similar oneworld card.

The downside of redeeming Avios on Finnair to Helsinki is that you don’t get the £50 Reward Flight Saver taxes cap.  You will have to pay the full taxes of £126.  Given that you will get a flat bed on a new A350, however, it is well worth the extra.

It is also worth checking out cash prices on – you would earn Avios and BA tier points for the trip and, with the extra capacity offered by the A350, prices may soften a bit.

BOOKABLE NOW: New IHG PointBreaks list of 135 x 5,000 point hotels, including Paris
(Now fixed) Tesco glitch - 3,600 Avios or 3,750 Virgin miles for £60 LEGO spend!
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  1. “Finnair has now decided to roster an A350 permanently on the London to Heathrow route.”

    That is a short hop :-)

  2. Curiously ITA Matrix does not list any YQ for the bank coded flight so only shows taxes of £55. Same flight coded Finn Air has ~£30 but is still well under £126.

    Any idea what gives?

    • Sorry, auto complete turned ba into bank

    • Dunno what you’re looking at;

      These are the charges shown on and ITA
      GBP1.00 XUAV Finland Air Transport Supervision Charge
      GBP29.81 UB Passenger Service Charge – United Kingdom
      GBP26.00 GB Air Passenger Duty – United Kingdom
      GBP7.40 FI Passenger Fee (International) – Finland
      GBP4.20 DQ Security Charge – Finland
      GBP58.00 YR Carrier imposed charge

    • Raffles says:

      You aren’t even getting out of Heathrow for £30! That is the PSC alone.

  3. Hmm, 30000 avios + £126 versus 15000 avios + £35 leaving £180 more to spend on hotels and food, I know which one I’d pick.

    I’ll try AY J to Asia when they have a sale.

  4. Lounge coverage/choices: Anyone have views or experience on Priority Pass vs. say Dragon Pass (as that’s available to me free)? Am thinking maybe Dragon has a lot fewer / less handy / less high end lounges in its portfolio perhaps?

    • Correct. You should really focus on your major airports though. For eg PP has the T5 Aspire lounge. Dragonpass has the Regus business centre in T5 arrivals.

      • Thanks Raffles – sounds like a “you gets what you pays for” thing then – shame for me though, since I’d only pay the £16.50pp entry with Dragon and no join/annual fee.

    • DP gets you into No1 T3 (& the other No1s afaik)

  5. O/T lounge report SWISSPORT LHR T3

    Seeing as people avoid this in favour of any other alternative, I thought I’d give it a go on Thursday to see if it’s as bad as they say. The desk agent was actually a very pleasant woman and you can’t even argue she was happy to finally see someone that day, as the lounge was nearly 3/4 fullish with about 30 or so people. Wish I had some photographic evidence – luckily they did all disappear after about an hour, so I guess they were all on the same flight. (No1 didn’t look rammed so it wasn’t that.)

    Anyway, my chat with the agent did establish that Swissport is moving to new premises on September 1st I think she said, unfortunately my breaking news got upstaged by another poster here but the new lounge might be worth a look. It couldn’t really be much worse in terms of the food offering – nothing fresh apart from some apples. A cake offering that was not readily identifiable. Crisp selection. The mushroom soup looked disgusting, probably sat there several hours. They don’t bring out the cheese & biscuits until 4pm so I missed that. If you arrive feeling peckish, you’ll leave feeling ravenous.

    However, the booze selection was fair enough, not much in the way of premium spirits but it’s self pour and a couple of generous G&Ts later I was jollying up after the motorway. Wines looked all right. OK here are a couple of positives – they have got chilled Tiger beer and Guinness in the widget cans!

    Ultimately a lounge so brown & tired you can see it’s on its way out. The toilets were dire, again nearly Seventies in colour scheme (surely the lounge isn’t that old?) all brown & broken tiles but clean enough. Struggling to find more positives. There was a TV with Sky News on at one end and BBC 24 News the other so once the lounge emptied I could relieve boredom & stave off deep vein thrombosis by strolling up & down catching items of news twice over. Good UK newspaper selection; poor magazine choice (didn’t see Hot Tub but there were similar giveaways and the polite reminder said it all: ‘Please don’t remove newspapers from the lounge but feel free to take a magazine’.) Oh yes: there were plenty of real windows, mostly looking out over flat roofs but at the far end you could just about see a runway.

    Conclusion: still to be avoided. If you have an expiring Lounge Pass in your wallet, there’s actually no other lounge you can use it in T3. Whilst I clearly saved a few quid on my G&Ts, Tiger & Guinnesses, this was not a very special lounge experience, the atmosphere is depressing & catering is poor.

    • flyforfun says:

      I was there earlier this year after being told the No 1 lounge wasn’t accepting PP cardholders at that time as they were full. There was a PP cardholder ahead of me in the queue with 3 guests. The lounge agent had to dissuade her from going in and facing at least £45 worth of charges for her guests (don’t think she realised guests costs). The lounge agent even said there wasn’t much in the way of food inside – which was true.

      Re the Groupon offer, it says new customers only. How likely are they to check?

      • They will take your money regardless I am sure – you just can’t renew a card with it.

      • Unlikely. The 25% discount on Standard Plus Membership with ten visits included (usually £159) deal isn’t so bad. £6 + £119.25/10 = £12.50 a visit.

        • But only £12.50 a visit if you use all 10.

          I can’t find the cost of the Standard membership with one free visit included – as Raffles says, it’s not advertised online – so how do we know what the cost/saving is?

    • Sounds about right! Interesting they are moving and not just refurbing. Perhaps No 1 will expand?

    • Billy Buzzjet says:

      O/T. Coming soon …… my review of the waiting room at Slough train station.

      • Lady London says:

        and mine of the men’s toilet on the 08.15 to Norwich

        Seriously Harry, thanks for the review.

  6. Andrew H says:

    Those two Finnair services are currently operated by an A340. Business Class is 15k avios one way and offers a similar long haul service. Is this new service 30k one way??

  7. Richard says:

    Business class on the wide body planes finnair is using HEL-LHR is split into two and sometimes they use the second business cabin for economy class pax. If you pay attention to the seat map you can get one of the business class seats this way (although economy service).

    • Interesting, I managed to do this on a BR 747 from TPE-HKG (EVA Air, which is sort of like the VS of Taiwan)

    • I used to use this years (decades !) ago on JAL who then ran 2 x 747s out of LHR into NRT. They had huge business classes back then and though flying in economy, if you booked the later flight (they were roughly 18:30 and 21:00) it was a fair chance you could wangle a business class seat albeit with economy service at check in.

      No internet then but JAL in London in Hanover Square were very good at putting you in the business class seats if you had even minimal loyalty.

      I used to wallow in the luxuriousness of the huge near flat bed seat and wonder, if only !

  8. The flight out of Heathrow in the morning looks to connect favourably with the Asian departures from Helsinki

  9. Genghis says:

    OT – the Tesco > BAEC conversion competition is back. For every £5 exchanged between 1 and 31 August, you receive an entry to win 1 million avios.

    For harry, that’d just be topping up his account…

    • sounds mean, I can’t be bothered to look but I bet it’s 2 entries for £5 if you auto convert

      did people check the results for the last competition?

      • How would you check the results? Are we sure the competition last month was for real, because the dates in the T&Cs were wrong and can’t find any info on it from google search. Also I didn’t receive an email for the last one but did for this one. I converted some points anyway so would be interested to see the results!

        • 16. The winners’ names can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed
          envelope, to Lindsay Burks at Avios Group (AGL) Limited, Astral Towers,
          Betts Way, London Road, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 9XY.

        • Sorry sunny – that’s for the conversion comp – if you were referring to the earlier BAEC conversion comp, there will be a similar contact – just ask them for it. By law they are obliged to do this.

          • glad I checked the a/cs – my Avios from Tesco 7/6/17 converted fine but my wife’s have disappeared into the ether, despite using this method/ a/c several times before & she got emailed as well

  10. dont foget avios shops click through for more miles with groupon

  11. Stuart h says:

    the better deal for the a350 flatbed is one way from HEL – LHR…. costs 15k miles and £46 tax

  12. What is a point in flatbed on 3 hour flight ??

  13. A bit OT
    On 9th September we are flying out of Gatwick from North Terminal taking off at 0650.
    We are going CE so presumably have access to No 1 lounge. Since I have Priority Pass would the Aspire Lounge be preferable from your experience please?

  14. Does anyone happen to know the cost of the PP with first visit included (referred to as not advertised in this post)?

    It isn’t on the website and when clicking through to the groupon PP page I can’t see the price that is discounted by 50% without actually having bought the groupon… unless I’m doing something wrong?

    Guidance much appreciated!