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Finnair slashes taxes to £30 in Business on many long-haul Avios redemptions

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Finnair, as a oneworld alliance member, is a British Airways Executive Club partner. This means that you can earn and spend Avios on Finnair flights.

Finnair is more useful than you might think. Helsinki is ‘on the way’ to Asia from much of Europe, meaning that a connection there is not a lot slower than flying direct.

The airline also has a decent Business Class seat which is better than ‘old’ Club World, and is on a par with Club Suite. Here’s the A350 seat:

Use Avios on Finnair

We reviewed Finnair A350 business class here.

Over the Summer, Finnair removed ‘carrier surcharges’ from its long haul flights. A couple of weeks ago it also removed them from European flights.

The latter doesn’t make a lot of difference, but stripping out surcharges from long-haul Business Class flights makes then exceptional value.

How good are the deals?

Here is an example, from Helsinki to Singapore in Business Class.

Using Avios and booked at ba.com, this is what it costs:

Book Finnair business class with Avios

Yes, just £44 of taxes plus 185,500 Avios.

Let’s compare that to a British Airways flight from London to Singapore on a peak day:

Book Finnair business class with Avios

The taxes and charges are a crazy £607 and you need more Avios – 210,000 in total. This is because the flight is longer from London and it pushes it into a higher Avios pricing band than Helsinki to Singapore.

This is a big saving

If you are a solo traveller or a couple without a 2-4-1 voucher, the saving here is huge. The Finnair flight requires 24,500 fewer Avios and £563 less tax per person!

There are snags, of course:

  • the Avios difference would change if your BA flights were on an off-peak day (cost falls from 210,000 to 175,000) although the huge tax saving would remain
  • you need to get to Helsinki, which will cost you in cash or Avios (BA has dropped it but Finnair flies from Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh, various low cost carriers also fly it)
  • because your flight to Helsinki would need to be on a separate ticket, you will need to build in a big gap to ensure you don’t miss your connection
  • you can’t use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher on Finnair
Finnair business class Avios

This doesn’t work on all routes

Finnair operates a number of joint ventures. It is, for example, part of the British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia joint venture across the Atlantic. These JVs restrict its ability to remove surcharges.

You will not find deals as good as Singapore on routes to:

  • North America
  • China
  • Japan

Your best bets, based on routes that Finnair is currently selling, are:

  • Singapore
  • Seoul (now dropped by BA)
  • Phuket (not a BA route)
  • Bangkok
  • Krabi (not a BA route)
  • Hong Kong
  • Dubai

Here is Seoul:

Book Finnair business class with Avios

Yes, just £30 of taxes in Business Class.

Here is Bangkok:

Booking Finnair business class with Avios

Again, just £30 of taxes in Business Class.

Conclusion

Finnair is now exceptional value for anyone looking to redeem Avios for long haul business class flights to much of Asia.

You will have to jump some hurdles – availability is patchy and you need to get yourself to Helsinki – but if you can get over this you will get a good quality seat and an exceptionally good value deal.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (November 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

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:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (62)

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    What do you get with a Finnair redemption? Is it the unbundled Business Light conditions, or the traditional business product?

    • Andrew says:

      But if you’ve got One World status you get the lounge anyway so doesn’t matter.

    • marcw says:

      Traditional business product.

    • Rob says:

      Standard inc lounge etc

      • riku says:

        When I flew HEL-MAN last month my boarding pass had the wonderful “No lounge access. This invitation is for 2 persons”. Supposedly the non-schengen business lounge is now open 1200-1800 although I will have to see if my next boarding pass has the same nonsense printed on it.

  • Nick says:

    Slashing taxes? No, Finnair are slashing fees.

    The split of BA’s taxes and fees when travelling long-haul (i.e. the split between what they pay to others and what they keep themselves) is huge, choosing just to call it ‘taxes’ rather than ‘fees’ risks suggesting it isn’t properly understood.

    • Andrew says:

      Indeed – only governments have the ability to “slash” taxes – not airlines.

  • Peter says:

    Hmm, I would still take the £1500 Nectar voucher and pay £500 to fly non-stop in economy. Not worth paying £1000 on top to have to change on both legs just to get a flat bed.

    • Qrfan says:

      You’re on the wrong website then! I’d take the £1500 and buy an exEU flight that earned elite status and miles. Probably Qatar with an extra stop, but BA exEU via London with a dropped leg on the way back is also more attractive than this.

      • Ben says:

        And for those of us based outside of London, we have to change somewhere…

    • Rob says:

      What on earth… it most definitely is worth it!

      ‘Just’ getting a flat bed is the raison d’etre of this any many other miles and points sites!

    • Rhys says:

      Helsinki-Singapore is still an 11+ hour flight!

      • Andrew says:

        Didn’t you go to Sydney in economy though?

        • Rhys says:

          On a £199 return ticket yes, and I made sure to get myself an entire row to myself! Hard to argue with that, though 🙂

          • Blindman says:

            Thought it was £100?

            I did the same!

          • Rich says:

            How did you ‘make sure’ to get a row to yourself Rhys? Inside help?

          • Mr(s) Entitled says:

            You had bad wind?

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            That’s what I wondered..
            Book 3 tickets for you and two invisible children? (hey why not it’s now £600 for a lie flat bed to Aus!)
            Body odour?
            Sudden conversion to very right wing political opinions and loudly share with anyone who dares sit in your row?

            I’ve been on the receiving end of the last two, so maybe they are common tactics…

  • Nick says:

    If you book from the UK on one ticket then taxes will be higher as you’ll be hit with APD. But a little known secret is that finnair will through check bags on separate itineraries as long as it’s AY-AY, so you shouldn’t need to land yourself. Not that it’s particularly onerous in HEL, but still a bonus.

  • John T says:

    I know this is a bit off-topic but I don’t know why BA don’t try Bali (DPS) from LGW with an older 777, three or four times weekly during the northern winter period. It’s not a business destination but super popular with leisure travellers and there’s no direct flights from the UK.

    If they persist with BKK, surely they could make DPS work? I was always surprised Norwegian didn’t try Bali, especially during the winter months when there’s less US demand.

    • Rhys says:

      BA clearly felt the aircraft/slots could be better utilised somewhere else. Could change now though although I would have expected a new route like that to have been launched by now, to give people time to book it for winter travel.

      • Nick says:

        DPS runway isn’t long enough for a fully laden 777 to take off and reach London. It’s a very long flight so fuel uplift is massive and creates a very heavy aircraft. That’s why Garuda had to stop in CGK/SIN on the way back – BA decided (rightly IMO) that passengers wouldn’t pay enough for a one-stop flight to make it worth it.

        • Rhys says:

          Learn something new every day! Thanks Nick. I assume it would be a struggle for 787 too as I believe the 777 has better performing engines vs its size?

    • Beardless Hipster says:

      Bali is in wet season during northern winter.

      • Sam G says:

        Yeh. It’s pretty busy briefly around Xmas but the best time to go is actually our summer time & that is when airlines are busy printing money over the Atlantic on much shorter flights. Most Brits I’ve met there have been on multi stop trip anyway so going via Dubai or Singapore etc is no big deal – BA has very limited options in Asia now so an open jaw with one of those carriers usually works out better

        • Sam G says:

          Funny story about the Garuda London flights actually – I booked a super cheap biz flight they were offering one year to get home to Singapore in a roundabout way from an Xmas trip home. They then cancelled the flight during one of their many reviews & booked me onto Singapore Airlines! So I just flew with my hand bags and missed the connection to Jakarta. Amazing.

          But the hilarious thing was they then reinstated the flight and we taxied out behind it at Heathrow …

  • lumma says:

    For those of us who don’t mind the occasional economy flight and like creative routings, the economy redemptions could be useful, especially when you only have enough points for business one way.

    I’m thinking, short break in Helsinki, economy to far east on Finnair (25,000-31,000 + £13 tax, although it’s better value taking the lower avios and more cash option if valuing avios at 0.8p-1p), regional redemptions on Cathay/Malaysian/JAL, then back to the UK on ANA using virgin miles or on BA or virgin from Hong Kong.

    • Lady London says:

      What a good idea Lumma.

      If this was Transatlantic you’d see me all over it

      Not sure how comfortable is the Finnair configuration of the A350 in Y though. I know I can do SQ to SIN in Y just about, and 1 or 2 other airlines only, not sure if I can add Finnair to that list.

      • lumma says:

        Agreed, I’d probably be looking at more Helsinki to Bangkok rather than Singapore if I tried this! I think over 10 hours is where economy starts to become uncomfortable.

        The couple of flights I priced up were departing HEL very late in the day, so could try getting on board completely exhausted…

  • AndrewM says:

    I currently hold the Amex free Rewards CC (had the Amex Gold 18 months ago) and hold the BA premium CC. My wife currently holds the Amex Gold Rewards card. She currently has the offer to refer someone and bag 18k points. Would she qualify if she refers me to the card (appreciate I wont qualify for the bonus)? We are currently looking at me referring her to the BA premium card.

  • PJJ says:

    Don’t forget Finnair charges 1.95% fee for use of Amex, I believe
    Small in context but know what a lot of readers are like
    Every penny counts !

    • Alastair says:

      Their website says that they do but I don’t think I’ve ever actually been charged it (personal Amex)

    • lostantipod says:

      1.95% is advertised on the Finnair site as the rate for corporate cards. The only personal credit card attracting this rate is JCB. I was just on the site now.

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