How to fly to Dubai with Finnair with Avios for just £127 tax

Finnair announced on Thursday that it was removing fuel surcharges on redemption flights for travel in Europe, to Dubai and to Tel Aviv.

Why is this interesting?  Because Finnair is a member of the oneworld alliance, like British Airways, which means that you can use your Avios points to redeem with them.

Let’s take a look at the costs of flying London to Helsinki to Dubai in Economy:

British Airways – 40,000 Avios plus £328 per person, return

Finnair – 40,000 Avios plus £126 per person, return

This consists of 15,000 Avios + £35 to fly to Helsinki (using a British Airways Reward Flight Saver redemption) plus 25,000 Avios + £91 return for Helsinki to Dubai.  You need to book each flight separately on the outbound to avoid paying long-haul Air Passenger Duty.

This means an impressive saving of £200 per person.

Finnair A350 350

Whilst Finnair flies from Manchester, this would push up the cost and reduce the saving.  An Avios redemption on Finnair from Manchester to Helsinki does NOT qualify for Reward Flight Saver and costs 15,000 Avios + £93.  This means that the total cost of Manchester – Helsinki – Dubai in Economy would be 40,000 Avios + £184.  You still save £134 over flying on BA but the saving is less impressive – on the upside, you save the trouble of changing planes in Heathrow!

Note that Dubai is a seasonal route for Finnair.  Services will finish in late March and should restart in late October.

It is also worth mentioning that was behaving a little oddly when searching for Helsinki to Dubai.  Some searches would bring up flights, identical searches a few minutes later brought up nothing.  Occasionally it would refuse to price services that it found.

Similar pricing is available on Finnair to Tel Aviv.  However, there is no point in booking this.  As Tel Aviv is under 3,000 miles from London, the direct British Airways redemption is only 25,000 Avios points plus £164 return in economy.

In other fuel news ….

Qatar Airways has announced that it is cutting its fuel surcharges although it has not yet said when or by how much.  Qatar redemptions to Doha are already cheaper than British Airways redemptions due to a lower fuel surcharge so this would open up the gap even further.

Japan Airlines has also announced a reduction in fuel surcharges.  However, presumably because BA and JAL have a joint venture pricing agreement on flights to Japan, this does not seem to have lead to a reduction in taxes on JAL redemptions.  This is the same joint venture system that BA operates on flights to the US, where Avios redemptions on American Airlines incur a fuel surcharge even though American Airlines doesn’t have one – at all.

(PS.  For completeness, I should remind you that – if heading to the Middle East – there is an even cheaper option available than Finnair.  This involves flying to Berlin, Vienna or Stuttgart and connecting to the airberlin services to Abu Dhabi.  In economy this would cost 34,000 Avios and about £80 of tax, return, as long as you booked the long-haul leg separately to avoid Air Passenger Duty.

A friend of mine recently posted this very professional video review of his Berlin to Abu Dhabi business class flight starting with his free chauffeur transfer from the InterContinental in Berlin!)

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  1. sandgrounder says:

    if you are going for a full weekend before consider TLL as well. Great old town, good value, budget flights out there are often cheaper too. Then its a fast ferry tram and a bus and you are at HEL. Maybe not the best option from EDI but worth others considering.

    • James67 says:

      Thanks for tip Sandgrounder. I have been to Tallin and travelled through Estonia before so will give it a miss this time. However,like you, I would strongly endorse it to others; great place 🙂

  2. On the subject of 3Vs, has anyone seen any in Tesco recently?

  3. Do you think that Qatar cutting fuel surcharges will translate in refunds for pre-booked future cash tickets?

    • No. What is a “pre-booked future cash ticket” anyway? Aren’t all tickets pre-booked for travel in the future?

      I tried to get a refund of HK$40 when HK reduced their permissible fuel surcharges but was told that it was applicable to the time when the ticket was booked.

      • I thought so. I was referring to a ticket for a journey that will take place after the reduced fares have come into effect (to the best of my knowledge, even though Qatar has announced the reduction, it has still not trickled down to the booking systems)

  4. The problem is they use short haul aircraft with European seating.

  5. I thought the Air Belin option got you onto an Etihad aircraft?

    • TXL – AUH is on an air Berlin A330.

      I am guessing that Finnair use a short haul aircraft from HEL- DXB which is probably why Raffles hasn’t commented about a business class redemption on this route.

      Good to see some airlines responding to lower fuel prices.

      • James67 says:

        Probably because his focus was on impact of AY scrapping fuel surcharges on y flights.

  6. What's the Point says:

    We are flying LHR – TXL – AUH in April this year. Business on the leg that counts. Then flying back DXB-LHR in CW.
    Bit of hassle, but a bargain on the Avios and surcharges paid.

  7. Should I be able to find the reward availability on for the likes of AY’s HEL-DXB or QR’s LHR or MAN or EDI-DOH?
    I ask purely because every time I look for something akin to that I find nothing, or am forced to fly BA via LHR. I’m just never sure if the search I’m doing is “faulty”, if the BA site is playing up or if there’s just no redemption seats available!

    • James67 says:

      You should see what is available. QR seems to go from having huge chunks of availability at all three UK airports to none very quickly so best to look regularly over wide range of dates if you have the flexibility. If you are searching an itinerary that comprises more than two sectors it will not show so you need to break journey down to check availability for each sector then call to book. On itineraries via London you can get it to show more than two sectors by selecting the stopover option. Note that you can any same date for arrival and departure flights with stopover option thus allowing you to book three sector itineraries online.

  8. I’ve flown this route before DXB – HEL and used the BA lounge in Dubai which was far from where the Finnair flight departed. Was very disappointed with the on board service, paid drinks (even soft drinks) although you do get complimentary food and the plane is in an entire economy configuration.

    Anyone looking for a bit of luxury the. I’d suggest Qatar or BA… Also don’t forget about the Air Berlin service to Abu Dhabi from Berlin which is a good value redemption.

  9. Am I missing something here?

    If I value AVIOS at 1p each then the Finnair flight is still £526 each-which is about the price of an economy retunr LHR-DXB on BA-and I would earn AVIOS.

    • Yes ba often have dubai flighs for sub £400, infact they are currently £360. i certainly wouldnt waste 40,000 avios and £126 on economy flight to dubai. plus the cash fight would earn over 13,000avios

    • No, you’re not missing anything – but some people are Avios-rich and cash-poor, or want to cheaply gift flights to other people. Dubai at peak periods will also be a lot higher. Do your own maths as usual!

      • That’s a relief.
        I’m Avios poor and Cash poor so no value for me.
        Qatar or Ethiad are about £350 for when I want to go.

  10. Andi Hawes says:

    If I wanted to look at Avios Finn Air bookings, do I look on BA or on Finn Airs site? If Finn Air, do I need to sign up to Finn Air? Or One World? And somehow link my Avios/ BA account?

    • No you just book through BA’s site, as you’re wanting to use their ‘currency’ (Avios)

  11. If you’re looking at Business or First redemption to DXB from London, it’s always worth looking at going via KWI.
    The reason is that the mileage sits in a different zone, so only 50k return in Business, with decent availability in my experience.
    Economy is great value at 25k return too.
    Plenty of cheap flights between KWI and DXB with the likes of FlyDubai, as well as possible redemptions with QR via DOH.
    Just another option, rather than the 40k Avios in Economy direct.
    Downside is just one flight a day, late in the evening from LHR.

  12. We’re booked to Abu Dhabi via Berlin for a total of £168 each plus a net avios outlay of just under 49,000 with the TXL-AUH return legs in business class. That includes a car to take us to/from anywhere in the UAE.

    In economy it would have been £143 plus 24,000 avios albeit without the car or potentially £60 plus 40,000 avios to do the LHR-TXL leg as a redemption.

    • Hi Mark. I’m a bit confused where you’re getting these figures from, but probably because I misunderstood your route.

      I’m looking to take advantage of the TXL-AUH route return (business) for two of us. This would be 100,000 avios and total of £98. How does yours come to £168 plus 49000 miles? Or is it because you are paying part avios/part money?

      I’m probably gonna use reward flight saver for LHR-TXL to get to Berlin, which would mean in total i’m using 118,000 avios and £168 for trip. Seems like a good deal, unless I’m missing something. If only they were doing the £1 reward flght saver offer this year!

  13. Off Topic says:

    Slightly Off Topic. Question

    I have £130 in clubcard vouchers I need to transfer to Avios by end of march. Do I do it now or wait and see if there is any bonus on the next qtr clubcard…does anybody know when the next statement is due out?

    • I think next expiry is the end of February. Next statement is due early February.

    • Janeyferr says:

      Next cut off date for collection is 21st January, points are posted online 1-2 weeks after that.

      Do you actually need the avios now or do you just have vouchers running out? If it is just vouchers expiring then use a small amount from each voucher to exchange, the rest of the voucher will be refunded to your club card account with a fresh expiration date.

    • Guesswho2000 says:

      21 Jan is the end of the current collection period, so statement will be early Feb.

      Nobody knows if there’ll be a bonus, however if you have vouchers which will expire, use £2.50 to buy Avios and the remainder will be re credited to your Clubcard account as points to be reissued at the next statement (with a new 2x year expiry). Depends on the size of the vouchers you’ve been issued (more hassle if you’ve been given lots of small value ones, but Tesco have been issuing me with £50 and £35 Clubcard vouchers recently, so a single £2.50 purchase would re credit £47.50).

      • Blenz101 says:

        Worth also considering there is a small risk of a devaluation from the current 600 per £2.50 given Tescos current cost cutting drive.

        Even if they did give some notice if your vouchers are trapped waiting to be reissued as change in the next quarter you may loose out.

        Whilst this is probably a small risk it is worth taking into consideration for anyone stock piling large amounts of vouchers.

  14. Good information – thanks! The video is also good but a few things were surprising:

    1. The Terraces lounge. Every time I have flown from Tegel on EY to AUH or air Berkin to JFK, they always send me to the dreadful Priority Pass lounge. Absolutely horrible. I’m a CX Emerald member and have been rejected from the BA lounge. My boarding pass usually has that Air Berlin stamp on it.

    2. Thought that Air Berlin was supposed to be changing their interiors to match Etihad’s? Doesn’t look like it.

    3. That sandwich at about 10min 50 sec looks so unappetising. The bread looks stale – hopefully it tastes better than the picture!

  15. It is time British Airways removes their own fuel surcharges after the sharp drop in aviation fuel prices.

  16. Phillip says:

    I found that whenever plays up after displaying the cost, the actual tax is higher than quoted when I end up having to call BA to book.

    Regarding Air Berlin’s service to AUH – I was very impressed. Nothing extraordinary but a good solid product and service! And for 25k Avios in Business each way with minimal taxes, it’s top value!

  17. This article is quite wrong and misleading.

    If Finnair removes their carrier surcharge from its own redemption flights, that only applies for redemptions with Finnair miles.

    BA levies the revenue fare carrier surcharge as well as taxes/fees. So for the 25,000 Avios + £91 for a HEL-DXB award, the £91 includes the Finnair carrier surcharge.

    Unless Finnair removes the carrier surcharge completely from revenue fares, then the cash component BA levies on Finnair redemptions remains unchanged.

    • This is probably correct and it crossed my mind when I wrote the article. The problem with Finnair Plus is that you cannot get through to the detailed taxes page without having enough miles in your Finnair Plus account to book the ticket in question. Since my Finnair Plus account has zero miles in it I could not get to the detailed YQ numbers to compare with ITA and BA’s tax figure.

      However, it makes no real difference to the point of the article, which is that Finnair offers a cheap redemption route down to Dubai.

  18. The Finnair HEL-DXB sector seems to be operated by an Airbus 320, so if any business cabin is offered (?) it will presumably be short-haul configuration even though the flight is 6-7 hours..

    And I’m guessing that would also mean no personal IFE in economy and paid-for food?

    • James67 says:

      No special seats for J on a320s but they do leave the middle seat empty. As far as they go though I rather like AY a320 interiors and seats, moreso than BA.