Finnair launches Sapporo (bookable on Avios)

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Finnair, a British Airways partner in the oneworld alliance, will launch flights to Sapporo in Japan this Winter.  It becomes the first European airline to fly to the city since KLM dropped the route back in 2002.

The service will only operate for a short period between 15th December and 27th March 2020.  Flights will depart from Helsinki on Thursdays and Sundays.

Sapporo will be the 5th Finnair destination in Japan following Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.  The direct route from the UK to Japan takes you over Scandinavia which is why the flight time from Helsinki to Sapporo is only 8hr 55 min.

Booked with Avios, Economy seats are 50,000 points + £254.  Business Class is 150,000 Avios + £362.

Finnair appears to have released two Economy and two Business Class seats per flight, and availability was good when I looked yesterday.

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  1. O/T. Just had a ‘friendly’ reminder from IHG that 1,500 points are about to expire. No idea how I got them as I don’t stay at IHG hotels but is there anything I can do with these instead of leaving them?

    • Probably on that Iberia Plus – IHG promo… you had to choose 500 Avios or 1500 IHG points. Maybe get some magazine in their shop.

    • Lady London says:

      They have books and things that you can download apparently.
      According to your status you get a certain number per year.

      • Yes, IIRC it’s 3 as Spire? Bit of a fiddly process and not a great selection but free I guess!

  2. Markpeterboro says:

    O/T : if anyone is considering booking an IHG for New Year’s Eve, bookings are now open. Some reward night availability for London and Edinburgh available. Six years ago I stayed in the Crowne Plaza London City and felt very smug having the five minute walk home after watching the fireworks.

  3. On the subject of purchasing points, is the IHG bonus normally an annual event and if so what time of year is it normally run?

  4. Doog1000 says:

    Re the SPG card, has anyone noticed a stealth devaluation on the retention offer – it usually used to be one extra SPG point for 3 months, effectively doubling the return.
    Now it seems to be one extra Marriott point for 3 months, so just a 1/3 extra.
    Anyone else experienced this?

    • How does one get a retention offer? Call in and try to cancel?

      • Genghis says:

        Indeed. And ask them for one.

      • Yep, I’ve found chat never offer anything. Mind you I’ve also found that SPG card is one of the few they’ll even make a retention offer on, most Amex cards I’ve found there’s no offer (although haven’t tried closing Plat as keep it long term).

    • New Card says:

      I recall someone complained about this and got the extra 2 Marriott points per £1 added retrospectively on the basis that (a) the phone offer was for “double” points, i.e. 6 per £1 not 4 per £1; and (b) the Amex site refers to the bonus as 1 additional bonus “Starpoint” per £1 (i.e. 3 Marriott points). I think they also got some compensation.

      • Doog1000 says:

        my offer was specifically for 1 extra point which is what it had been in past years so no chance for making the case for double points
        just wondered if post merger anyone had received a double points retention offer since one marriott point is just a third of an spg point
        on BA and plat an extra point is typically offered

  5. OT: DragonPass lounge access with Red by Dufry/World Duty Free, no subscription required

    Use your RED app to gain exclusive discounted access to hundreds of airport lounges worldwide. Enjoy the very best hospitality at the airport, including the fantastic new outdoor terrace at Gatwick South, from only $10 per entry. With unlimited WiFi, seasonal food, quality newspapers, and charging points as standard, travel in style at your convenience at one of 900 Dragon Pass lounges across the world.
    RED members exclusively pay:
    $10 USD – Platinum members
    $20 USD – Gold members
    $25 USD – Silver members,62JLO,1IEICH,NTTCV,1

    Seems useful for Platinum members. Less useful for me as a Silver member. (I rarely buy duty free.)

    • Can also get free lounge access at certain airports with 150 euro spend.

      Priority pass: Airport VIP lounge
      Get free access with purchases above 150€ in our Duty Free stores. Available at Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona-El Prat, Bilbao, Valencia and Seville airports. Access to VIP lounge at the airport where the purchase is made.

    • Scottydogg says:

      So if you signed up for this , you could get lounge access , would you start on ‘Silver member’
      How do you progress to Gold and Platinum ?

    • Thanks for that. Saved me $99! I was about to buy a new membership so as to carry over two outstanding visits from my old membership so that’s really helpful as I don’t have other lounge membership at present. DragonPass people assured me they can transfer over visits to new cards.

  6. Mark1980 says:

    OT has anyone any experience with booking Melia or Iberostar hotels with Avios? I know Rob ran an article about a reader (Waribai?) booking Iberostar in the past. The T’s and C’s say for 2 adults so I was wondering if anyone had any success in booking for a room accommodating children aswell? Thanks.

    • Peter K says:

      I looked at this last year. If your contact the hotel you want to stay at directly they can get you the price per night to upgrade on top of the avios cost. Eg we looked at star prestige rooms rather than the standard ones booked on avios and it was €86 per night half board.

  7. Brighton Belle says:

    Where do you lookup and buy Finnair flights with Avios?

  8. Optimus Prime says:

    BTW if you add a supplementary card to those they give a £5 bonus.

  9. Do hilton definitely status match ihg plat to diamond?

    • Yes

      • Lady London says:

        Is that a straight match without any further requirements, or is every match from Hilton now a status match challenge i.e. Might Hilton match immediately, but require x nights in y period in order to keep the match?

        When do Hilton years end? is it calendar, or anniversary?

  10. Yes, I have both types in my account with no issues…

  11. O/T following on from my question yesterday about booking return 241 flights. I called the USA line at 11.40 and was on hold throughout. I ended up booking as one ways in the end. I called this morning and was told off🙄 by the agent for doing this! She said I should call at 10pm just before they close. I tried explaining about the 12am release but she wasn’t having it!

    In the end, she ended up combining my two bookings and refunding my Avios although I’m paying about £20 in extra tax at the moment. I probably will need to call back, because I’m not very confident that it will all go through properly!

    Incidentally, these were seats back from Dubai, and it was amazing how quickly all the seats including economy went. It really is a case of fastest finger first!

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