In this article we’ll look at how you can earn Avios and British Airways tier points by flying with Finnair and whether it’s worth it compared to flying British Airways.
It is possible to earn Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points on Finnair and its subsidiaries instead of Finnair Award Points. This is because they both belong to the oneworld alliance.
When you book or manage your flights with Finnair, you will be able to add your British Airways Executive Club number. Upon completion of your flights you will automatically be credited the correct Avios.
However, you will earn a different amount of Avios on Finnair compared to if you fly British Airways. This is because they have different earning rates. On Finnair, you will earn Avios at a maximum of 150% of miles flown if you fly first class. On British Airways flights, however, first class fares can come with 300% of miles flown – so double what you’d expect to earn on Finnair.
How many Avios do you earn flying with Finnair?
Here is the full chart of earning rates, sourced from the partners page of the British Airways website.
We are comparing the earnings when you take a flight on Finnair compared to taking a flight on British Airways.
Economy lowest – 25% on both airlines
Economy low – 50% on both airlines
Economy flexible – 70%-100% vs 100% on British Airways
Premium Economy – Finnair does not operate a premium economy cabin. 110% vs 150% on British Airways
Business – 125% vs 150%-250% on British Airways
First – Finnair does not operate a first class cabin. 250%-300% on British Airways
As you can see, even economy earning rates vary from British Airways on Finnair. Flights in business suffers more severe losses, earning up to half less on Finnair than you would on a British Airways flight. Additionally, with no first class cabin, it becomes impossible to achieve the 300% earning rate for Avios when flying First on British Airways.
You are also NOT eligible for the usual 25%, 50% or 100% tier bonus if you hold a Bronze, Silver or Gold Executive Club status card, further cutting into your earnings on Finnair. Purely on the basis of Avios, it makes more sense to fly British Airways where possible.
(This is somewhat of a moot point, however, since BA dropped flights to Helsinki during the pandemic and has shown no signs so far of bringing them back.)
When it comes to tier points, however, you are better off flying with Finnair than British Airways if your trip involves a connection. This is because tier points are earned per flight, so connecting in Helsinki to your final destination (Finnair has a lot of routes to Asia) will earn more tier points than taking a direct flight on British Airways from London.
You can work out how many tier points you will earn on the BA tier point calculator here. Remember to search leg by leg if you are connecting. You will see, for example, that London – Helsinki – Tokyo is a lot more lucrative, in terms of tier points, than London – Tokyo direct.
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 2.3 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories, click here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.