Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Finnair will open a HUGE number of Avios seats this week, many with NO surcharges

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Back in August, in an unexpected move, Finnair announced it will be adopting Avios as its loyalty currency from early 2024.

It joins British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus in adopting Avios.

The first benefit of this partnership will go live on Wednesday. Finnair will open up its promised level of guaranteed Avios availability on virtually ALL flights from 1st February.

This offers a rare opportunity to book key cities in Asia, such as Tokyo, Osaka and Bangkok, for virtually the date of your choice.

Wednesday edit: flights are starting to appear and I have updated the article with some ‘taxes and charges’ examples for Osaka. Edinburgh to Helsinki flights are not, and never have been, bookable online because they are operated by the Norra joint venture but these can be booked if you call BA.

Finnair will join Avios - what does it mean for you?

With ‘just’ 4 million members, Finnair Plus is a minnow compared to British Airways Executive Club and Qatar Privilege Club, adding just 10% to the total member base. However, it brings new options to earn and redeem Avios on non-airline partners, as well as letting BA members use Avios to upgrade Finnair flights.

If you want to learn about how Finnair Plus will work when it adopts Avios, you should read our article here.

Let’s get on to the important news.

Finnair will guarantee between four and eight award seats

As we told you back in August, Finnair will guarantee a minimum number of seats for Avios redemption on almost all flights from 1st February. This should make it significantly easier to redeem Avios for Finnair flights.

Finnair is promising:

  • 4-6 award seats on shorthaul European flights (two in Business where it exists, four in Economy)
  • eight award seats on long haul flights (two in Business, two in Premium Economy and four in Economy)

NEW: These seats will be bookable on Wednesday

Finnair has quietly dropped the following announcement onto the Avios page of its website:

We will increase the number of Classic award seats and guarantee at least 4 award seats on Finnair flights within Europe and 8 on Finnair long-haul flights*, so you will have better possibilities to use your Avios for award flights.

The increased number of award seats will be available for booking from 1 November 2023 onwards for flights departing on or after 1 February 2024.

So, Wednesday is the day. Finnair will unleash Avios seats across its entire network.

Will seats be available on all flights?

There is one thing we don’t know. Where Finnair has already made Avios seats available on a flight from 1st February 2024 onwards, which have been booked, will these be deducted from the seats released tomorrow?

For example, if two Business Class seats have already been released and booked for the Tokyo flight on 1st March 2024, will more be released as part of the ‘guaranteed’ availability?

We don’t know. However, Finnair has historically been quite tight with Business Class reward availability on long haul, so I would expect a LOT of seats to open up.

Where does Finnair fly long haul?

As a member of the British Airways / American Airlines / Iberia / Aer Lingus transatlantic cartel joint venture, Finnair’s network is strong on the United States.

Frankly, this isn’t a lot of use to HfP readers in the UK. Business Class availablility to the US from London on BA isn’t bad and it’s a long detour to go via Helsinki.

Asia is a different matter.

Finnair has a strong Asian network, whilst British Airways currently has an exceptionally poor one. Avios availability on BA is also very poor in Business Class.

It is less of a detour to go via Helsinki to Asia than it is to the USA, although the closure of Russian airspace has impacted flight times.

Here are, I think, the current Finnair long haul destinations from Helsinki:


  • Bangkok
  • Hong Kong
  • Osaka
  • Phuket (seasonal)
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo Haneda / Narita

North America

  • Chicago (seasonal)
  • Dallas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami (seasonal)
  • New York
  • Seattle

Middle East and India

  • Delhi
  • Doha
  • Dubai
  • Mumbai (resumes March 2024)

Note that:

  • Finnair flights which do not touch Helsinki will NOT have guaranteed Avios availability
  • flights to Doha are excluded, even those from Helsinki (flights from Stockholm and Copenhagen to Doha would be excluded anyway under the above rule)
Finnair Schengen lounge

How can you book these flights?

From February 2024, when Finnair adopts Avios, you will have the choice of booking Finnair flights via or via, using ‘Combine My Avios’ to move your points across.

Until then, you have to book via

Remember that you cannot use an American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher or Barclaycard Upgrade Voucher on Finnair.

Here is the Finnair redemption chart:

Avios partner airline redemption chart

You need to remember that pricing is leg by leg, so you will pay the Avios price for your long haul flight plus the cost of the London / Manchester / Edinburgh / Dublin to Helsinki connecting flight.

If you book each leg separately on the outbound, you won’t need to pay long haul Air Passenger Duty which will bring down your costs considerably.

Let’s talk about taxes and charges

The exceptionally good news is that Finnair does not add surcharges to its redemptions.

There is one big exception though. Booking through, as you will be, surcharges ARE added when you book a route where Finnair is part of a joint venture deal with British Airways.

You will NOT find mega-cheap taxes and charges deals on Finnair flights to:

  • North America
  • China
  • Japan

For the other routes, you’re laughing.

Here is an example redemption using Business Class from Helsinki to Seoul.

A return flight (Helsinki to Seoul) costs 154,500 Avios + £58 in taxes and charges. This is what you’d expect from the chart above, ie 77,250 Avios each way for a flight in the 4,001 to 5,500 miles band.

Finnair redemptions using Avios points

Here is an example to Osaka where you DO have to pay surcharges due to the joint venture agreement. The number is modest though at £390:

Finnair Avios taxes to Osaka

Adding a London connection would cost 18,000 Avios in Economy or 33,000 Avios in Business, plus taxes.

If you book both flights on the same booking, the taxes figure will jump sharply due to UK long haul premium level Air Passenger Duty.

Here is the same Osaka flight but booked with a Business Class connection from Heathrow. Note the sharp jump in charges, mainly from long haul premium cabin Air Passenger Duty:

Finnair to Oskaka flights on Avios


Finnair long haul redemptions have always offered great value on those routes with no surcharges. The problem has been availability. Even when does levy surcharges, the total is manageable if you go to Helsinki on a separate ticket to avoid APD.

From Wednesday, this problem should be gone. With two Business Class seats available per flight, and with virtually all flights from 1st February 2024 being opened up, this is a great time to jump in.

Helsinki is also a lovely city. Do think about breaking your stay outbound or inbound for 24 hours to take a look.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable 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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus 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.

  • Gavin says:

    Nothing showing on BA site for bkk to lhr or bkk to helsinki for february

  • Steven says:

    Apologies for the basic question but never booked a flight using avios points before. If you are combining one reward ticket with cash tickets for additional passengers, do you need to call up to do this or can you do this online also? Many thanks.

    • Rob says:

      Can’t be done on the same booking, online or by phone.

      • Steven says:

        Many thanks Rob – so just have to accept the risk that if either of the multiple cash tickets or the single reward ticket gets cancelled, that the family needs to travel separately?

    • BJ says:

      If this is because you have insufficient avios and you’re trying to book AY to Asia then consider booking outbound one-way for all pax with avios, and book a seperate one way revenue ticket back to UK. Prices of such from Asia can be decent. It also maximises flexibility.

  • Jordan says:

    Might be me being a newbie to this but I’m seeing reward availability on Finnair (can’t book with avios as said in the article) but it’s not reflected on the site – HEL-HND in April. Is this a case of phoning BA?

    • Rob says:

      You could try, but it’s more likely that Finnair has not made the seat available to partners – although historically I didn’t think they did this.

  • Mr. AC says:

    Nabbed 2 return business class to Japan for next year, almost entirely clearing out my Avios account in the process. Really happy, thank you Rob and HfP!

    I couldn’t book an economy redemption to Helsinki online in one go together with the onward ticket, so I have 4 reservations now. Is it possible to call and “merge” them somehow? Fine if it’s separate for the outbound and inbound, but would really prefer to have a single LON-HEL-TOK ticket and vise-versa.

    • Mr. AC says:

      Actually, a more general question – is it possible to book a economy one leg, business another leg redemption with or over the phone? I know Iberia allows this, but doesn’t seem like it’s possible with BA online.

      • Stu says:

        Pretty much nothing seems to be possible with BA online! There are many Avios options that show up where there’s a mix of carriers, for example, BA to India and onwards with CX, but when you select them for redemption, the system shows not possible to book online, and the thought of having to ring them, well …

  • Stu says:

    We managed to bag LHR-HEL-BKK, HKT-HEL-LHR in biz for February … 3 separate bookings. Emptied our Avios account bar 900 Avios but happy nonetheless!

    • CB says:

      What dates did you find HEL-BKK in business in February, Stu? Been looking for similar but found nothing the whole month, no matter what tricks used.

      Infuriating as there seems to be six seats a flight free in economy!

      • Stu says:

        I think I got the last two seats on the earlier of the two flights on 14th Feb. I tried several dates either side but couldn’t find anything. So we only have 9 nights in Thailand but for an unplanned trip, it’s better than nothing!

      • Stu says:

        PS: I booked LHR-HEL-LHR on one booking, then HEL-BKK and HKT-HEL on two other separate bookings.

  • Richard King says:

    Helsinki to Seoul tickets booked! Thanks for the tip HfP!

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

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