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Finnair restricts Avios flight reward bookings in business class

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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

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Comments (215)

  • Nick says:

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

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

    • John says:

      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

  • C says:

    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

  • Marcw says:

    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.

  • Steve says:

    Seems fine for Finnair to do this, and BA should also restrict all Oneworld partner airlines so availability is easier for BAEC members. Which in reality is how it should work, prioritize your own members first.

    • Rob says:

      BA DOES do this to a certain extent, because some schemes (eg AA) only allow booking 330 days in advance. This means that you have a 25 day window as BA releases redemptions 355 days in advance.

      BA Gold also get extra Economy reward availability.

    • memesweeper says:

      maybe — but if none of the airlines prioritised their own members then the ‘network effect’ of their alliance is stronger. Conversely, if they only offer rewards to alliance members that are already proving hard to sell to their own members, the alliance is devalued.

  • oliver says:

    OT: virgin atlantic have sent me a message saying they will refund the cash advance fees from revolut. after telling me on the phone they wouldn’t refund. Good result.

    • Boi says:

      Those who contacted barclaycard, what exactly did you say for successful outcome? trying my luck this morning

      • Boi says:

        Update: barclaycard was painless! No fighting whatsoever.

        • Froggee says:

          Sounds positive! I’m confused at Creation. £1.45 interest on cash transactions but no cash advance fees on my statement. I’ve paid the full balance off to avoid incurring further interest. Assuming Revolut don’t change the coding, Creation would still be usable as long as they don’t mind being paid as and when I top up Revolut. I actually really like Revolut apart from the miles angle as it is so much easier to make payments than with HSBC so want to stick with them even if it is just debit card top ups from now on.

          • Anna says:

            I make payments to our IHG cards every few days to stay under the radar, never had any issues with doing it. The system can take a couple of days to update but that seems to be par for the course with Creation.

    • Stu says:

      How much were your fees please.

    • jc says:

      Those of you who have been hit with cash advances and have got them refunded: are they actually removing the “cash advance” status altogether, or just waiving/refunding the cash advance fee? Because if it’s the latter the cash advance amount will still be sent to your credit report. Might be worth getting clarification. Would be great if you could report back, too.

      Also – is it a one-off exception, or can you continue to top up rev and get it waived each time!??

      • Grant says:

        I put my request in writing to Virgin via secure message and asked for them to do both – refund the charge and remove any cash advance marker(s). I’ll report back.

        I’m not sure I am brave enough to push my luck and ask about continuing to top-up Revolut with the card.

        • Graeme says:

          If you don’t mind me asking Grant, what grounds did you cite to get the refund?

          • Grant says:

            Revolut made the change without prior notice. Other customers have reported VIrign refunding the charges as a gesture of goodwill.

            I’ve now had a response back from Virgin so kudos for getting back to me in less than 12 hours – it is normally a lot longer.

            Cash advance fees and any interest will be returned to my account – £130 plus a days interest in my case. They suggested I need to contact my Credit Agency about any markers on the file, which doesn’t really make sense.

            Interestingly, they also confirmed that recent changes between Mastercard and Revolut are the reason why the top-ups are being processed as cash advance transactions. Perhaps Mastercard were kicking off with Revolut?

            I also asked them to try and sort a pending transaction which is a duplicate for the top-up I made – it’s been stuck as pending since 17/01. They said they can’t do anything about it until it goes through properly and then they can invesitage it as a disputed transaction. I know a couple of others reported this yesterday so I would be interested for any updates on them.

          • Graeme says:

            Thanks Grant. I’ll get on that later.

      • MattB says:

        I really wouldn’t worry about a few cash txns on your credit file.

        • the_real_a says:

          Agreed. Although it is a negative, i have been doing this for about 10 years on the Halifax Clarity card for ATM cash. Never been turned down for credit. More important is the % Vs your income profile.

  • Matthew says:

    Talking about Japan. Any recommendations for hotels on points in Tokyo for 2 nights please? The Finnair restriction is a shame as was hoping to get something booked for Jan 2021 soon but will have to wait….

    • Craig says:

      Hilton Shinjuku was pretty good, decent lounge if you have diamond status. The Japanese speciality breakfast which we were allowed once per stay was superb.

      • idrive says:

        if anyone has got advice or suggested itineraries for Japan/Taiwan/Korea, please let me know! i am planning a trip at the end of March! thanks!

        • Genghis says:

          Most interesting parts of Japan (highly subjective):
          – Koyasan for overnight stay at temple
          – Jigokudani Monkey Park near Nagano
          – Kyushu for onsen: Kurosawa, Yufuin, Amagase, sand onsen at Ibusuki near Kagoshima

      • Matthew says:

        Great, will check it out thanks.

        • Craig says:

          Have a look at memory lane, aka ‘p**s alley’, it’s walking distance from the Hilton with reasonably priced food.

      • Lady London says:

        Mind if I ask what was in the Japanese breakfast. @Craig?

        • ankomonkey says:

          (Short grain) Rice Krispies?

        • Craig says:

          Sorry for the late reply LL, hope you see it. It was a speciality breakfast that we had to book, mostly pickles and fish. As with everything Japanese the presentation and theatre of the event was superb. I think it was possibly a diamond benefit, I think there were only about 8 of us and we had to book a time slot.

      • Tilly says:

        +1 for Hilton Shinjuku. Very convenient for the subway and the airport coach drops right outside the hotel lobby.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Hilton Shinjuku and Prince Sakura (Bonvoy) are good and conveniently located for a short stay close to major stations. Conrad is great too.

    • Londoner says:

      Stayed at Hyatt Regency Tokyo (just next to the Hilton) which is only Cat 3, so 12.000 points for a standard room or 20.000 for a suite. We tried both and the Atrium Suite was a steal at 20.000. You can often purchase the points with a 40 % bonus making it a reasonable option (around 160 gbp for a standard room and 260 or so for the suites).

    • riku2 says:

      western brands like hilton and sheraton are expensive and a waste of time in a city like tokyo where most people will be out enjoying the city all day. I always stay at a japanese business hotel with a room not much larger than the bed for 60e/night – but i’m only sleeping in the room not spending time during the day in it.

      • Nick_C says:

        Completely agree.

        I looked at the Tokyo Hilton for my stay in December because I have Hilton Gold status at present. Would have been £160 a night. I stayed at the nearby Knot for £80 a night for a 20 Sq M room.

  • Axel says:

    OT Lloyds Avios Voucher. I’ve got an email from a few months ago confirming the voucher. BA are refusing to acknowledge or process and suggest I phone lloyds to book my tickets! See below. Anyone got an idea how to use the Lloyd’s voucher these days?

    Dear Mr xxx

    Thank you for contacting us about your Executive Club account.

    This is with reference to your email to claim Upgrade Voucher issued by Lloyds Bank.

    Do apologize for a delayed response. As the upgrade voucher is offered by Lloyds Bank, you will have to contact on 0344 493 3349 mentioned in the email received by you and they will be able to process the Upgrade Voucher.

    Nxx Rxx
    Executive Club,
    British Airways,
    http://www.britishairways.com

    • koroleon says:

      Yes – you cannot see the voucher in your BA Avios account and you need to call a separate team to make a booking with it. No surprise there.

    • paulm says:

      The number they have given you is the correct one to call.

    • Mikeact says:

      It’s not that difficult to pick up the phone and call. I booked another one yesterday, very helpful as usual…albeit I was on hold for about 15 minutes .

    • xcalx says:

      I had a lot of problems trying to get to the right department via BA . A BA agent then gave me this number which gets you straight to the Lloyds booking team.
      01925848693

      • the_real_a says:

        Thanks xcalc. Got straight through to a knowledgeable agent! Everyone should bookmark this number.

        I have a voucher expiring at the end of the month, so need to come up with some strategy to book something on my normal routes and then do a date change at a later date. The agent explained that we have 12 months from the date of booking to make any changes (date, destination in same zone) before the flight must be flown.

        • Mikeact says:

          And that is a great no brainer option to save losing the voucher….with a minimal amount to change. We always extend if as far out as possible before making a final decision, and being flexible helps with seat availability.

          • Axel says:

            Thanks xcalcx

            Glad I posted the query. As I’ve now changed my strategy for using it now there is an extension possibility.

    • Anna says:

      The confusion here is that the number is for Avios.com, Lloyds would not be able to make the booking.
      However, I and other people have used our upgrade vouchers by calling BA, it seems to depend very much on who you get through to.

    • Matthew says:

      I used that 0344 number this morning to book flights using my last Lloyds upgrade voucher. Was on hold for an hour yesterday with no luck but this morning at 8.30am I got straight through. The lady I spoke to was very knowledgeable. BA will not normally deal with the Lloyds vouchers and Avios.com will temporarily open up your old account to use the voucher, transfer Avios from BA, book then close again.

      • Anna says:

        This just isn’t true, BA booked my last upgrade to VIE after my Avios.com account was closed.

        • jc says:

          What Matthew said is absolutely true. Your single data point doesn’t change the fact that “BA will not normally deal with” these bookings. They occasionally will

        • xcalx says:

          If you called BA they put you through to Avois who inturn have a team that deals with Lloyds bookings, based in Warrington. Far easier to call them direct.

          • Mikeact says:

            Absolutely, and a very helpful team as well in my experience.

          • Anna says:

            No they didn’t, the agent who answered the phone made the booking for me. Several people on HFP have reported being able to do the same thing.

      • Doug M says:

        I think it’s quite a tedious process for them. I’ve used my last one now, and the operator seemed very competent but still took a while. The confirmation emails quite slow too.

    • BJ says:

      OT @Axel, what’s this about an Edinburgh meeting? I saw your comments a few days late sorry.

      • Harry T says:

        x2, I’m also interested in a meeting.

        • Axel says:

          Hi BJ

          Wash bar on the Mound will give us a room for 30 with IT stuff, poofes and tables for a couple of hours.

          I can sponsor the pizzas and snacks.

          Someone else suggested we arrange the numbers through meetup.com.

          Anyone interested?

          • Shoestring says:

            I’m not saying nuffin! 🙂

          • BJ says:

            Yay, that could work, the Wash Bar is a decent place with a good ambiance, not at all stuffy or pretentious. I’m up for it if the date suits. I wouldn’t worry to much about organising over and above the date and time as I’m sure most of us would just be happy with the the opportunity to get together. I wonder about the numbers though, if most of us come along +1 then that’s only 15 HFPers. Might be about right, who knows?

          • Rob says:

            If you wait until the Clubrooms lounge opens and we review it, Rhys or I will come along.

          • BJ says:

            @Rob, can you tell from IP addresses roughly how many regular readers you have in Edinburgh or even central Scotland?

          • Andrew M says:

            I’s definitely be interested. It might be worth getting an idea of the numbers before choosing a venue. A venue for 30 may not be enough once word gets out about the free pizza! I hope it’s not too soon as I’ve got a fair but of traveling coming up next month (thanks to HFP).

          • Gerry says:

            Yes. Interested.

          • EwanG says:

            Yeah I’ll come along if the date/time suits!

  • mvcvz says:

    How many IHG points are required to guarantee never having to see or hear Morrissey? 20 000 would seem like a very good deal on that.