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Bits: Finnair restricts Avios reward bookings, a (pricey) Hilton / McLaren factory visit, see Morrissey with IHG

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News in brief:

Finnair restricts Avios business class availability

One Mile at a Time is reporting that Finnair has started to block its business class availability for partner airline award redemptions beyond 60 days in advance.

This means you will no longer be able to book Avios tickets on Finnair as soon as flights are released. Other oneworld and Finnair partners face the same restrictions.

Whilst this is annoying, Finnair is not the first airline to do so. Lufthansa, SWISS and Singapore all restrict First Class availability to their top frequent flyer members up until a few weeks before departure (or, in the case of SWISS, never offer it at all).

It looks like Finnair may be limiting availability for all but its top tier Platinum and Platinum Lumos members.  Unfortunately there is no formal announcement of these changes that clarify the exact restrictions that have been imposed.

Economy does not appear to be affected by this change – these appear available beyond 60 days in advance.

Here is an example – Helsinki to London is available for 22nd March in Business Class:

Finnair Avios availability

…… but not 23rd March, or any day thereafter:

Finnair Avios availability

Hilton launches another McLaren Technology Centre tour – but pricey

Hilton Honors has arranged another tour of the McLaren F1 factory at the Norman Foster-designed McLaren Technology Centre in Woking.

The date is Thursday 19th March.  The cost is 130,000 Hilton Honors points for two people and includes a buffet.  There were four packages left at 10pm last night.

No time is given, annoyingly.

The factory is not normally open to the public so this is a rare opportunity to take a look inside.

Note the price, which is now getting a little steep in my view.  These packages were originally 50,000 points, then 75,000 points and then 100,000.  Given my 0.33p valuation for a Hilton Honors point, you are effectively trading off £430 of free hotel stays by going.

You can redeem your points for a pair of tickets here.

Hilton Honors McLaren Factory Tour trip

See Morrissey with IHG Rewards Club

Finally, if Morrissey’s recent political proclamations have not put you off him, IHG Rewards Club is offering tickets to his SSE Arena (Wembley) concert on 14th March.

The cost is 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points for two general admission tickets.  Given my 0.4p valuation, you are effectively ‘paying’ £80 for the pair.

This is a ‘buy it now’ deal which you can get here.

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  1. I LOVE TO HATE says:

    Finnair only losers travel with them.
    The only thing good about them is their glasses.

    • Su Pollard says:

      Is that you Morrissey?

      • Bigmouth strikes again.

        • OT @Cat, might have missed it but did you manage to solve the whisky Christmas gift problem to the satisfaction of your OH?

          • Yes, sorry, I should have given an update! I got a bottle each of the Yamazaki 12yo, the Hakushu 12yo from Loch Fyne whiskies, getting about 1400 Avios on Voldeportal) and the Smokehead at a dramatically reduced rate on Amazon!
            They went down a treat (and are now being consumed at an alarming rate!). The Yamazaki is the favourite.
            Thanks for the advice all!

          • Great result, especially getting the few avios on top too 🙂

          • Shoestring says:

            nice one 🙂

            update on the £600 of Xmas Radley handbags that I got for £150! my wife liked 2 of them so I’m selling the other one on the usual marketplace, given the offers I’ve had should get back £100 making £400 of handbags for £50, I have right-sized Xmas pressies at last lol

          • Harry – have you ever considered a side gig as a personal shopper? You could take a % cut from the money you save people. You’d make a fortune in the run up to Xmas! 😉
            I’ll keep an eye out for similar deals next year!

    • As a BA gold card holder I get nothing in economy short haul travelling on BA – not even a glass of water. Finnair are giving everyone tea/coffee/juice and gold card holders an additional drink for free or a smoothie or even champagne. And 115e HEL-LHR return is pretty good (with one checked suitcase for free due to a BA gold card). BA do not give a free suitcase on HBO fares for gold card holders, unlike AY.
      The glasses on finnair are nice though, i have fruit bowls and dessert bowls at home in the same pattern.

      • AY is excellent IMO. In the past the food got a lot of criticism but even that I found more suited to flying than the heavy greasy stuff offered on most other airlines.

        • The J meal on my last AY flight was almost all grease! But still reasonably tasty….

        • ankomonkey says:

          +1. AY have been great when I’ve used them recently.

        • I like Finn, but generally not the food. For completeness this is the food on the airline, not the country.

      • Riccatti says:

        Btw, as OW Sapphire/BA Gold — you will get free food box and drink on American Airlines domestic, and they address you by the name.

      • Shoestring says:

        if the glasses are that nice I imagine quite a few people have glasses at home in the same pattern 🙂

    • They sent us two free glasses for Christmas!

  2. “JAL only releases domestic tickets in its network to partners 60 days in advance”

    No longer true. Think this changed in September 2019. You can now book domestic JAL redemptions through BA up to (about) a year in advance. (Only in Y though.)

  3. Shoestring says:
  4. Simon D says:

    O/T Am I right in thinking that I won’t get any status benefits with IHG if I book with Amex travel? Thanks

    • You shouldn’t but generally down to the hotel. After booking call or email the hotel to add your IHG number, or just try your luck at check in. The benefit from the amex offer is very likely to outweigh losses from IGLHG rewards unless you miss out on a generous future accelerate promotion.

  5. Thanks for the info on Finnair as I had been contemplating transferring points from Bonvoy to Alaska MP and buying more miles in a sale to redeem on AY J. I always search AY options on BA and had noticed something odd going on. BKK, KBV and HKT have all but disappeared, HKG is rare but TYO was still there for next December as little as a week ago. It may since have gone depending on whether this is going to be a general or managed rule. Routings to Japan and Asia from Helsinki on JAL via TYO is excellent although redemption rates are no
    longer so attract7ve as they once were before BA devalued its partner chart. Readers should however be reminded that many Asian destination exHelsinki fall into one zone lower than they do from the UK so that helps. Regarding JAL, an easy way to get round the domestic restriction for those with time and flexibility on their hands is to consider Japan-Korea-Japan routing and enjoy a short break in Seoul.

    • What domestic (JAL) restriction?

      • Release of seats, but after posting this I saw your earlier comment so added to that too.

    • BJ, Alaska often seem to have more limited availabilty in J and F on partner airlines, so it is worth checking to get a feel for this before transferring or buying their miles.

      Having said that, I don’t know if Finnair flights show up when searching on the Alaska web-site. I do know it is the case for Qantas flights for example, which do show up on their web-site, but with less availability than booking via either BA or Qantas.

      • In light of this news today I’m not sure I will trust anything I see anyway so this option will go on the back burner for now. I am not in any immediate need anyway.

  6. OT: Received an email from Virgin Atlantic flying club (as I’m sure many of us did) highlighting new perks one of which was triple miles with Virgin for renting from Hertz. Nothing further when clicking on the link, no mention of having to use any certain CDP codes or booking from a certain page.

  7. I can never get a business reward seat on American domestics either, only economy which books into the lowest hand baggage only fare. Not sure if the same rules apply as has happened here with Finnair. Example, Miami Cancun.

    • A while since I flew domestic on AA but unless something has changed I think the premium cabin is First so you need to search First availability?

    • Nick Burch says:

      Some regional AA jets don’t have a first cabin, so can’t be booked.

      Otherwise, it’ll show up for booking if the AA Saver seats are available for AA redemptions. If it’s only the more expensive AA Anytime miles seats available, you can’t book those with Avios. You can book AA domestic first on avios, I did so a few weeks ago when they had no economy redemptions left just first!

    • Miami – Cancun is not a domestic route! But AA First is very peasant indeed, much better than Club Europe.

  8. Air France also restrict awards in First Class, not on a timing basis but only available to their Gold and Platinum status holders.

  9. When does the Lloyds avios MasterCard apply any cash advance fees?

    Once the transaction clears? Or only just before the monthly statement is generated. ?

    • I withdrew cash on curve / lloyds avios mc, and got charged interest which didn’t appear until the next statement.

      But no cash advance fees. They refunded the interest. It was certainly the 3 curve transactions which triggered the interest based on logical deduction (won’t go into detail here) although Lloyds agreed they had been coded as purchase

  10. OT but one of the above comments reminded me. When renting a car from Hertz (not in the US) do you only get the ‘free additional partner/spouse driver’ benefit when booking through them direct? I’m currently booked through a third party but would it work to present Hertz Gold number at check in and get a free driver? Have read past articles on this but can’t see it mentioned specifically. Thanks

  11. But this restriction on Finnair rewards is not just a restriction for partner airlines. Their own members are restricted as well.

    Their own members are the biggest losers…. Since they can only be put on waitlist when they want to upgrade with their voucher or points. Eventually their upgrade will clear at 60 days out (or maybe not!).

    I see it as a way of protecting their revenue.

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