Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Aggressive British Airways business class fares from Finland to the US

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HfP reader Ziggy, who runs Vacation Smarter, alerted me via his site to some aggressive business class fares that British Airways is offering from Helsinki to the West Coast of the US for Summer 2015.

If you are looking to maximise your British Airways tier points, starting a trip in Helsinki has an added benefit.  It is one of the few British Airways European routes that offers 80 tier points each-way in Club Europe as opposed to the standard 40.

A standard Helsinki – London – Los Angeles trip in Club Europe / Club World would therefore earn 440 tier points return (80 + 140 x 2).

If you can force a suitable routing with a change of plane somewhere in the US, you can increase that considerably.  Helsinki to London to New York to Los Angeles, for example, would earn 80 + 140 + 140 * 2 = 720 tier points.  This only works if the internal US flight is over 2,000 miles, otherwise you will receive just 40 tier points for the 2nd flight.

You can increase that even more:

If you can force a routing that puts you onto the London City flights to New York, instead of the Heathrow flights, you will earn 210 tier points each way for that leg.  (As a marketing tool, BA treats the London City flights as First Class – even though they are sold as Club World – and so you get 210 tier points each way.)

Secondly, any internal business class flights on a two-class plane in the US will (if booked on, does also do this?) book into a First Class ticket bucket instead of what BA sees as a business class ticket bucket.

In theory, you could actually earn:

Helsinki to London – 80 tier points

London to New York on the London City flights – 210 tier points

New York to Los Angeles on AA – 210 tier points

x 2 for a return trip – 500

Total – 1,000 tier points

The prices for July and August come out at around €1,775 from Helsinki to Los Angeles or San Francisco, so roughly £1,400.  You can test out pricing via but also look at as you may get different routing options.  No stopovers are allowed on the way.

If you are looking for a trip to the East Coast, Helsinki to Boston in Club World for Summer 2015 is €1,500, so £1,185.  That is a great price for Club World.

You are, of course, locking in a ticket now for a long time in the future.  For a lot of people this will not be sensible or realistic.  I would not recommend booking one of the more complex itineraries without learning more about the various ticketing and routing options – the best place to start is the Flyertalk thread on maximising British Airways tier points.  I do not hold myself up to be an expert on this aspect of the Executive Club.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (13)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • James says:

    The ex CPH fares are still available too, With that it’s possible to get to LAX for under £1200 in business which is absolutely astounding!

    • Alexis says:

      Agree, exCPH is cheaper than this, so £1649 to HNL/OGG for 1500 TPs going on babybus out and back, and going via HEL out and back.

      exCPH to NYC is around £1050, bit more if you add HEL in as a connection as well.

  • Polly says:

    This is even better than Aer Lingus return to the east coast on biz….from Dublin

  • Kipto says:

    You can use Avios on finnair as well can’t you ? although they only fly direct to New York I believe.

  • Alan says:

    Even better route NYC-MIA-LAX to get another 60 TP each way 😉

    You need to make sure you book the AA numbered flights for your internal US ones though to ensure you get the F TPs – either book on or over the phone with BA, specifically asking for the AA flight numbers.

  • Paul says:

    Thanks for this really helpful. Just need to be careful about JFK LAX on AA. They use a small Airbus but it has 3 classes so many flights are genuinely business class and only deliver 140 points. You only get 210 if holding a real First ticket.
    I find calling BA or buying at the airport ticket desk also helps especially if trying to maximise Avios via the x3 deal on BAPP. You can also route via BA flight nets but on AA 777-300 which is an altogether better experience for the money

    • Dwadda says:

      All the direct AA JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO flights are now 3-class A320 Sharklets.and yes you get 140TPs. However, if you fly with a stopover and a 2-class 737 in F you only get 2×60=120 TP because the legs are shorter than 2000m generally (ORD, DFW etc). I think the only exceptions are Charlotte and Boston. The former being US Airways.

      • Alan says:

        Or as I mentioned above, if you want to stick with AA then Miami is a good option. However it depends how desperate you are for TPs, as given how old and bad some of planes are with domestic First you’d have a more comfortable seat in business on a 3-class modern service!

  • Lady London says:

    Long may new airline Norwegian continue then 🙂

  • Simon Barry says:

    I presume the prices quoted above for AY flights to US are Business Saver fares? Do these attract full Avios points?

    • Rob says:

      Because of the joint venture that BA, Finnair, AA etc have signed, the price is effectively the same (less some jiggling for taxes) whoever you fly with. will offer you options involving all three airlines – potentially four if there is a US Airways option.

      You would get tier points with Finnair using the same rules as BA.

  • Riku says:

    I have been watching these fares from Finland as well (and last year did HEL-LHR-LCY-JFK return for 1600e). One bizarre thing about the prices is that they are actually CHEAPER during holiday times (over christmas/new year and july-august). Cheaper means there are two fares for the same booking class, a cheaper one with start/end dates covering the holidays and a more expensive one for other times.

    When collecting Avios it’s important to book the prices from Finland with a BA flight number (even if flying finnair). I booked HEL-JFK (finnair flight) in economy with a BA flight number instead of AY flight number for this reason. This gets about 8x the avios points (AY discount economy earns 25% miles and no gold bonus, BA earns 100% miles and 100% gold bonus).

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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