Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get A350 Business Class to Dubai using Avios points for just £116 in taxes …. on Finnair

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Here is something I came across by accident this week when preparing an article on something else, but I thought it was worth mentioning in its own right.

Finnair runs a seasonal service to Dubai.  As a British Airways partner, you can earn and redeem Avios on this route.

What was VERY interesting is that Helsinki to Dubai is under 3,000 miles.  This means that it falls into a cheaper Avios pricing band than Dubai flights from London.

Finnair (Helsinki-Dubai) costs 75,000 Avios in Business Class, 365 days per year.  British Airways wants 120,000 Avios on peak dates and 100,000 Avios off-peak.

Finnair also has very low taxes.

You can fly Business Class from Helsinki to Dubai for 75,000 Avios and just £116 in charges, return.

Obviously you need to get to Helsinki in the first place, but Finnair has regular services from Manchester and Edinburgh (bookable on Avios or for cash) and both BA and Finnair fly from Heathrow.  There are presumably also low-cost options.

Remember that return cash tickets to Helsinki from the London earn 160 tier points in Business Class too!

Historically, there was a snag ….

Finnair used to run a short-haul A320 on this route which is why I never talked about it much.  It was pretty pointless going to Helsinki just to fly on a short-haul plane with a British Airways Club Europe-style seat for five hours.

This seems to have changed.  Whilst shows a blank when you select aircraft type for these services, a quick look at shows that they are now operated on some days by a brand new Airbus A350-900.

I have reviewed Finnair’s A350-900 in Business Class – click here – and it is an impressive service.

I have also reviewed the Hilton at Helsinki Airport (click here), if you are on the day flight to Dubai which leaves at 08.10.  There is also an overnight option, leaving at 20.40 from Helsinki, which could be done in the same day from London.

Here is Finnair’s A350 business class (click to enlarge) – you can find out more in my review:

Finnair A350 business class

Obviously this sort of routing is not for everyone, but if you are up for a bit of adventure and wouldn’t mind a quick look at Helsinki too then it is well worth a look.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2024)

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

30,000 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 £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

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

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel 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

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 sign-up 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 (68)

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

  • Jamesay says:

    Why would any civilised cultured person want to go to Dubai ? It’s a cultural desert – more culture in a pot of yoghurt. Their human rights record is shocking – a destination for materialistic aspirationionals.

    • Rob says:

      Get some kids 🙂

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Can you buy them there or do you have to take your own?

        • Arthur says:

          Make sure your wife drinks a glass of wine or two on the plane and then hide her passport. Problem = solved. 🙂

      • Marcw says:

        It seems having kids is an inconvenience for some. When I was a child, boy and teenager my parents took us on every holiday involved, 2 months camping road trip in the States, backpacking in Thailand, Bali, Japan, Europe rail trip… and me and my brother always enjoyed it. Once we went on a beach holiday in Lanzarote – and now, my brother and me never remember that trip, but all others with lots of joy. And we are very grateful that our parents planned more adventurous trips instead of just boring beach and aqua park trips (btw the best one is in Tenerife and not in Dubai).
        The other issue with UAE and alike is the human rights, and of course,… when women are seen as a material/animal, that’s a massive no. Hopefully that’s changes soon rather than late.

      • Frenzie says:

        Rob, try to take your kids into countries where human rights are respected.

        They will thank you for it later (or thank yourself for it later).

        • Rob says:

          That’ll be one where asylum seekers have to wait 20 YEARS to get application approved then ….

          Perhaps if the people working for peanuts in the UAE (but still more than they get at home) were allowed to work in Europe then they would be in a better position to demand better rights elsewhere. Time to write to your MP and demand that India, Pakistani, Bangladeshi labourers who are willing to leave their families to get a job be allowed into the UK to work.

        • Frenzie says:

          I am shocked on your answer.

          This is how you justify your actions – bringing your children on a holiday to a country where people are prisoned for no valid reason and where human rights are not respected.

          I know it is convenient and it seems you find a way to justify your decision. Well done.

          Those people in UAE could not demand anything my friend and you should know that.

          • Rob says:

            …. because they can’t come here to work so they have little choice if they want to make a better life for their families. Simple question – would you will be willing for the UK to allow unlimited numbers of unskilled workers from the Indian sub-continent into the UK? If the answer is ‘no’ then you’re part of the problem.

        • Frenzie says:

          Oh stop it!
          With all due respect (and I have a lot of it towards you), I am surprised and disappointed on your answer.
          In an ideal world we would all earn the same money, we would be all have equal opportunities in life.
          We don’t.
          But you can’t use this to justify your visits to a country where a gay person can be imprisoned, where a woman treated as an object, a property, where people treated as slaves.

          But you know what, keep telling this to yourself if it helps you sleep better,
          In the meantime I will support countries that have more respect towards humans, and I will show to the next generation that this is how they should be too.

        • Callum says:

          Slave labour in the UAE is ok because the UK doesn’t allow unlimited immigration? I must say that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that bizarre justification!

          Not that I think that should necessarily stop you going.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          In fairness, what has Rob’s choice of holiday destination got to do with anything? It’s not like he’s the only person on earth to go and visit the UAE. Yes there’s a lot of things wrong with the place, and westerners working there are disproportionately favoured (compared to those from Asia, who are treated like slave labour, I believe).

          However, those being treated like slaves are still better off than they would be in their own country. That’s why they’ve gone there. Immigration is a hot topic, obviously, and there isn’t a perfect solution, but that’s not a reason to judge someone’s holiday destination.

          As Rob’s said, he has kids, the UAE offer luxury resorts which cater to all that malarkey, and it’s also easy to get to from the UK, one flight, so he’s much less likely to want to take a connecting flight to somewhere similar amenities might be available. Fiji springs to mind, not nearly the same as the UAE, but the locals get paid peanuts, and there are specific luxury resort areas perfect for families (which the country relies on from tourist income (largely from Aus/NZ I expect)), these would be ideal, but think about how much you’d love to make that journey from the UK…

    • QFX says:

      There are some well good shopping malls.

    • Mikeact says:

      ‘Horses for courses’ ….we’re not interested in Dubai… trips were enough for me. And when you think of the numerous other worldwide destinations etc.

      • Russ says:

        Dubai’s still useful if you’re just transiting to pick up a cheap Asian award flight. SQ’s Spontaneous Escapes springs to mind.

    • Yuff says:

      Having been to plenty of places that cater for children, as far as I am concerned from a parents point of view you can’t beat, guaranteed weather, great hotel and a water park.
      Admittedly some of the guests aren’t to my taste but since certain currencies crashed it has improved.
      A £1600 saving for a family of 4 is not to be sniffed at and getting 4 seats in F using a 241 has got a lot harder over the last few years although I have got 250k Etihad Miles expiring next year which I suspect I’ll need to use up first.

    • David says:

      Agree with you Jamesay regarding the human rights. There are a lot of us who will not be setting foot in the place for reasons of conscience. And I’m pleased to an increasing number of travel policies I’ve seen support this – or even fully embrace it – without a showdown. No visit – and no transit.

      Yet you still come across some people who are amazed there are people who refuse to set foot or have any issues with the place. Almost as if there is a Dubai bubble for some.

      • David says:

        To clarify, I’m not criticising the article. Everyone will have their own red lines.

        I just wanted to make the point about the Dubai bubble – people who seem amazed that others have a significat/absolute rejection of visiting.

        • Alex Sm says:

          I think almost every destination in the world is like this – various people have their own pet peeve prejudices against travelling to Israel, the US, China, Russia, the UK, Japan, even Singapore etc etc – you name it

        • BJ says:

          Agree with what Alex says. It is important we rise above the politics and remember the people. One thing I have learned from my decades of travel is that people the world over, regardless of politics, race, religion or wealth are generally friendly, welcoming and hospitable at the individual and community level. When we make political stands such as refusing to visit a country for one reason or another it is these people we risk hurting most. All countries have their own internal organisations supporting human rights, if we feel strongly it is much better we go visit these place and take time to show our support to these local organisations, simply by visiting them or through donations or voluntary assistance.

        • David says:

          BJ – while I agree with many of the thrusts of your comment, I don’t come to quite the same ultimate conclusion.
          There are some red lines that are so fundamental that setting foot is an absolute no. Not in my name, I’m not going to lent any legitimacy too or help support any such country that does so.
          But that does not mean you can not also support the people living under such regimes in other ways.

          Yes there are other issues – which don’t cross absolutely fundamental red lines – where you can conclude engagement will encourage movement in the right direction.

          And I repeat again, as you acknowledge, everyone will have different red lines (different issues – and different points at which they become fundamental).

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I suspect their treatment of human rights is probably far better than in guantanamo.

        • David says:

          Doesn’t make it any more acceptable. (Although while a lot that went on a Guantanamo was unacceptable – most people conclude the Dubai regime is far worse in a human rights perspective. But both are wrong, neither is in any way more acceptable because of the other.)

          And many people also reject the USA in the same way. Again this might come as surprising to some people – but yes there are people for whom the USA, or aspects of it, or specific states cross their fundamental lines.

          Again, people have different red lines, very personal things. However much like Dubai, it is a shock to some people that there are actually quite a number of people who do adopt highly principled decisions about where they visit.
          And this a fully compatible with also visiting and exploring places around the the planet.

          Although red lines are personal things.

    • RussellH says:

      I too have no real interest in going to Dubai, but I do have a niece in Helsinki and keep meaning to go there. A reminder that I can, potentially, get there directly from Edinburgh on avios is really useful info for me!

    • Fadi says:

      @Jamesay born there, family live there…. the only thing uncivilised and uncultured here is your arrogance.

      • Callum says:

        Dubai is not a civilised place. Period.

        Like anywhere, it certainly does have some culture however. Though I’m not sure if many tourists ever experience it.

      • Alex Sm says:

        Fadi – Arrogance and deliberate ignorance are the two worst human sins many commentators of this blog (including those above and below in this thread) are proud to possess, unfortunately…

  • Paul Welch says:

    I’ve been on the DXB – HEL route when it was an A320. It was operated as all economy do let’s see if the route prospers with the A350. A great redemption and I spotted reference to it on here before.

    I’ve also flown HEL – BKK in business for what I thought was a good value redemption. I have friends in Helsinki so I can always catch up with them plus if you stay in one of the hotels on the Finnair bus route it’s a very easy one night stop over.

    Finland is the only country where I’ve used my credit card for everything. From the bus to buying some snacks I survived without cash!

  • Mo says:

    Would we be able to use the BA Amex 241 vouchers for this route?

  • Doog1000 says:

    Does anyone actually know the dates of this seasonal service?

    • Riku says:

      finnair will only fly twice a week (two out of seven flights) with A350.
      According to this story they have introduced the A350 in response to Fly Dubai operating a 737 with lie flat business class seats. Otherwise most of the passengers HEL-DXB were finnish holidaymakers (AY have the unusual concept of “leisure” flights which are a cross between a charter flight and a scheduled flight) and there was no need to offer any kind of comfort (this explains why HEL-DXB is buy onboard in economy even though you would not really consider it “short haul”).

  • Tony says:

    Rob’s excellent has prompted me to think about Helsinki and other destinations for a relative Avios steal — could anyone kindly confirm that my maths is correct when I say that Tokyo to Helsinki in J seems doable for 35,000 Avios and circa £70.00 in tax one-way? Thanks!

  • Tony says:

    Rob’s excellent article above has prompted me to think about Helsinki and other destinations for a relative Avios steal — could anyone kindly confirm that my maths is correct when I say that Tokyo to Helsinki in J seems doable for 35,000 Avios and circa £70.00 in tax one-way? Thanks!

    • Rob says:

      Use the Great Circle Mapper site to get the distance and then check it via the Avios price chart.

      Answer is 4877 miles.

      That is 150k Avios in Business.

  • Dave says:

    OT but has anyone ever made a ‘business’ transaction with Lloyds via their Curve card? If so how do you do it as I cannot do this online or over the phone.

    • Wally1976 says:

      If you’re referring to what I think you are, I don’t think it’s possible.

    • the_real_a says:

      There is no facility at llyods to accept any “business transactions” unfortunately.

  • Zumo says:

    A350 to HEL is nice hut hardly news.

    HEL-DXB is a good value redemption apart from the fact that you end up in Dubai, which Graham Greene would almost certainly have described as “a sunnier place full of even shadier people” !!!

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