Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

You can, effectively, buy British Airways Gold and Silver status from Finnair – is it worth it?

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I am deliberately not making a big song and dance about this offer because I do not have a great understand of Finnair’s Finnair Plus loyalty programme.

Because I don’t know all of the intricacies over redemptions costs, taxes, expiry policies etc I don’t want to be seen to be recommending this deal, because I’m not. I’m just laying out some facts and pointing you towards some sources of further information.

Here’s the offer. You can currently buy Finnair Plus Platinum status (which gets you virtually the same benefits as British Airways Gold status) and Finnair Plus Gold status (which gets you virtually the same benefits as British Airways Silver status).

Finnair A350

How can you earn de facto British Airways status buying Finnair points?

Here is a quick summary of how it works:

  • Finnair is running a 100% bonus when you buy 150,000+ Finnair Plus points – click here
  • For every redeemable point you buy, including the bonus, you also receive 0.25 tier points
  • You can buy up to 200,000 points, which means that you end up with 400,000 redeemable points with the bonus as well as 100,000 tier points
  • 80,000 tier points is enough for Finnair Plus Gold status, which is equivalent to British Airways Silver (gets you into BA lounges, gets you free BA seat selection etc)
  • You can swap Finnair redeemable points into tier points at a 3:1 ratio, so you can trade off 150,000 of the redeemable points you have just bought for an extra 50,000 status points
  • You would then have 150,000 tier points, which makes you Finnair Plus Platinum – this is equivalent to British Airways Gold

What will this cost you?

There are various options for making this work. At the top end, you spend €2,575 (£2,200) and end up with either:

  • 400,000 redeemable Finnair Plus points plus Finnair Plus Gold status (equivalent to BA Silver), or if you do the swap I mentioned above ….
  • 250,000 redeemable Finnair Plus points plus Finnair Plus Platinum status (equivalent to BA Gold)
Finnair A350 business class

You could spend less. If you only wanted Finnair Gold, you’d get it by just buying 320,000 Finnair Plus points to trigger the necessary 80,000 tier points. You spend even less than that if you bought fewer miles but converted all of them to status points to top up the status points you’d receive directly.

I can confirm, from a reader email, that everything works OK as it is explained here. What I can’t advise on is whether the value stacks up – in particular, whether you can get value from the Finnair Plus points.

Do your research first

Here are two lengthy articles from other sites which explain the deal in more detail – see here (the author is Finnish so knows what he is writing) and here.

Finnair ran an identical offer last year, so it knows that it is doing. It won’t pull the offer and it isn’t a mistake.

Let me repeat that I am not giving an opinion either way on whether this is a good deal, given the amount of money involved. Spend some time doing the necessary research. In particular:

  • There are also minor differences to having BA vs the equivalent Finnair status. You won’t get an Avios status bonus on cash BA flights, for example, although if you flew enough for this to matter you’d have BA status already. Finnair Platinum can’t access Gold Priority Rewards, although the value in those is now nil in most cases following recent changes, or the extra Avios seats which open up in Economy.

The offer runs to 27th December.

You can buy Finnair Plus points, and find the official details, here.

PS. Remember that BA Holidays is still offering double tier points when you book with them. If you aren’t bothered about also having a pile of Finnair Plus points along with your status, booking yourself a BA Holidays package is a cheaper way to status – and you get a holiday thrown in.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year 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.

Comments (118)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • riku says:

    you are really stretching the headlines here (as normal) because it’s not BA status at all. The redemptions are different, there is no Amex 2-4-1, there is no bonus avios etc etc. You are getting One World status but is it not BA silver/gold.

    • R01 says:

      There is no Amex 2-4-1 with BA status either – that’s just with a BA credit card. You could get as well as having status with finnair

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      The headline is fine in my eyes as it means readers who might be interested in BA status benefits but didn’t realise Finnair is in oneworld (newbies also venture here) will take a look. Many years ago I purchased a Qantas Club card back when they allowed access to the BA lounges because it got me access until I got status.

      I do think the main text in the article should state ‘almost’ the same benefits as BA silver or gold because there’s still some things being a proper BA silver or gold get us. As well as the benefits you mention there’s also gold priority reward as well as BA are more likely to look after their own elites first during disruption if people need moved to a different flight.

      Then there’s also the convenience aspect, if you want to collect Avios rather than Finnair points you have to mess with the membership number in your booking. Set it to Finnair for the seat selection, but change it to BA for the points earning and hope that it posts to the right one.

      If it makes any difference to the value calculations then you’d also be able to status match this card to top tier on ITA (the Alitalia replacement) which is in SkyTeam and there’s probably a Star Alliance status match running somewhere too.

    • Barraclough says:

      Stating “you are really stretching the headlines here (as normal)” is an unjustified dig at HfP. I don’t sense that headlines are stretched at all, let alone “as normal”. Even if in retrospect this particular headline might have said “potentially” the number of times in the article there are caveats to do one’s own research I think, with respect, shows that HfP does publish with care.

    • VerdantBacon says:

      People will really moan about absolutely anything here won’t they.

  • Dubious says:

    Does anyone know if Finnair do soft-landings from Platinum to Gold?

    As appealing as this offer sounds, it’s hard to value status benefits at the moment, particularly OneWorld Emerald given the lack of First Class lounges in the network that are actually operating.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      From LHR the main benefit being the First Wing in T5. I don’t know if Finnair have reopened their own premium lounges in HEL yet but they’re worth a visit.

      What are the requirements for AA Flagship lounges? I thought they were international first class and Emerald (BA Gold) only, but I saw a sign in MIA that said international business class, OW sapphire (BA Silver) or above.

  • Jon says:

    Very interesting. If I’ve got the maths right, at the top end, you’d basically be paying roughly the cash cost of 1.5x return business class fare between, say, LHR-BKK, but you’d be getting enough miles to redeem the same flights (160k return + 80k one-way) and then getting Platinum/Emerald status (150k converted to tier points) effectively for free. Add in the value of 2x long-haul and 4x short-haul economy to business upgrade vouchers, 25% extra earning, and 12+ months of free seat selection on BA, First lounge access etc etc…

    Does Finnair require a given number of flights on their own metal to qualify for status, as with BA? (As far as I can tell, no.) And does anyone known if Finnair does a soft landing from Platinum to Gold? Anyone got any experience of Finnair long-haul reward availability?

    If I didn’t already have Emerald for next year, and if I were looking to pay cash for a J return on a long-haul route served by Finnair that had good reward availability, I think I’d be *very* tempted by this…

    • Dubious says:

      It does appear to be the case that you have to fly at least four Finnair operated flights during a membership year:
      “Finnair Plus cards are for different tiers and entitle their holders to different kinds of benefits. The number of tier points and tier flights (of which at least four must be operated by Finnair) collected during the tracking period affects the tier.”

      Another watch-out:
      “Unused award points will expire and get cancelled automatically if there is no point activity within an 18-month period.”…”Transferring points between accounts do not affect the point expiry date.”

      And something to bear in mind:
      “In the event of force majeure, such as cancellation of a flight due to weather conditions or for other reasons beyond the control of Finnair, no points are granted. Neither are points granted when a rerouting has occurred due to force majeure or for other reasons beyond the control of Finnair.”

      One the plus side – if this promotion runs for the next 30-years and someone was so-inclined, they could eventually reach Lifetime status:

      “You’ll reach the Finnair Plus Lifetime Gold tier with 3,000,000 Lifetime tier points, and the Finnair Plus Lifetime Platinum tier with 5,000,000 Lifetime tier points.”

      • Dubious says:

        I think the “at least four must be operated by Finnair” only relates to status obtained by ‘Tier Flights’ alone but not by if obtaining status from tier points.

  • PinguDunc says:

    I’ve just done a 1 week all inclusive BA Holidays trip to Zanzibar via Doha for £2,700. You earn 34k avios and 1120 TP (with the double TP promo). Surely a simpler and enjoyable way to a Gold Card (assuming you can find a way to the extra 5TP needed)

    • Amy C says:

      You managed to find Zanzibar on a BA holiday deal? I must be missing something. I can’t even get them to add a hotel in Egypt!

    • Paasan69 says:

      I queried BAH back in August when for a trip to Zanzibar to utilise the double promo. Not possible they said as they had no hotel or car rental partnerships on the island. IRCC, it was also a matter of not being a BA/BAH destination. So shelved that idea. Did a Barbados trip in October instead.

  • Sam says:

    In response to soft landings, apparently yes, there are

    See the latter part of the thread for more musings

  • ChrisC says:

    Complicated this one isn’t it and I can see why Rob is hesitant to recommend rather than merely inform us of this offer.

    Buying status with miles plus having 250k points to buy flights with as well (if you bought the 400k that is)

    Will need some careful checking on how many finnair points are needed for a flight and then what fees and taxes they charge for those flights.

    Plus a calculation on what the benefits are worth. How much would you pay for first wing access at LHR or AA flagship checkin at JFK for example

  • Alan says:

    An interesting offer but in the present climate I’d find it difficult to make use of. Only have a couple of things planned so far for next year, all on points so cancellable and all in Club/Upper Class so already get the majority of benefits.

    • ms says:

      Absolutely this.
      This morning I had to cancel my plans to fly into Berlin next week because of the new restrictions.
      It won’t be soon when I’d be able use all these perks.
      For redemption it’s only US, as I’m sure the restrictions in Asia will stay for longer. I don’t plan to take 15 tests during holidays….

  • Kishan Majithia says:

    What would be beneficial to the readership is an article that compares what you get with BAGold that OneWorld Emerald does not provide. Given many of us care about BAEC, I do think it is misleading to suggest this gives you BA gold as it won’t allow you to crack open reward seats for double the Avios as an example and given that is one benefit Rob talks about, it is important to state.

    • Rob says:

      That perk is pretty much dead. Are there any others?

      • Kai says:

        Extra reward seat in economy class

        • Rob says:

          Unlikely to popular with our readership but will add in 🙂

          • Kishan Majithia says:

            At the very least, you need to amend this sentence which is factually incorrect, even if you think the additional perks are ‘dead’:

            “You can currently buy Finnair Plus Platinum status (which gets you the same benefits as British Airways Gold status) and Finnair Plus Gold status (which gets you the same benefits as British Airways Silver status)”.

          • Stu N says:

            It’s one I really value – be fantastic on short haul and a lifesaver for redemptions with a connection.

      • Lawro says:

        @Rob – It’s not dead – I’ve booked 3x GPR in the last few weeks, taking care to explicitly ask for the old pricing each time and had no issues or pushback. These do seem to require manual ticketing which is the one caveat.

        • Rob says:

          Thanks. Sean Doyle did actually say this as well but, frankly, I didn’t trust him to know 🙂

          However, various other readers have been refused, appealed to managers and been refused by a manager. YMMV.

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