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In mid-June, Finnair made some rather undesirable changes to its Finnair Plus frequent flyer program. Effective June 15th, most award redemptions increased, with some flights seeing an increase of 33% in points needed to travel. Not only did we see a devaluation of Finnair Plus award redemptions, the airline also introduced new carrier-imposed fees.
Here's what travelers should know about these negative changes to the Finnair Plus program.
Finnair Plus Devaluation: Awards Now 8% to 33% More Expensive
The most significant of Finnair's recent changes to its frequent flyer program is a rather hefty increase in the number of points travelers need to book award travel. The only good news is that economy class awards between Northern Europe and long-haul destinations remain unchanged.
Aside from long-haul routes in economy, all other regions now require 8% to 33% more points for award travel. Here's a breakdown of the changes made to Finnair Plus award redemptions, effective June 15, 2023:
|Zone||Economy Award (Previous Cost)||Premium Economy Award (Previous Cost)||Business Award (Previous Cost)|
|Within Northern Europe||10,000 (7,500)||-||15,000 (12,500)|
|Within the rest of Europe||20,000 (15,000)||-||30,000 (25,000)|
|To Asia, North America, Doha, Dubai||45,000 (45,000)||65,000 (60,000)||95,000 (80,000)|
It's never good to see an airline devalue awards. What's worse is when a devaluation is coupled with new carrier-imposed fees. Finnair has done just that.
New Carrier-Imposed Fees on All Finnair Award Tickets
While new fees or surcharges are never good news, there is a bit of a silver lining. These new carrier-imposed fees are relatively modest when compared to the fees imposed by other carriers.
Finnair Plus award redemptions will now come with €10 (~$11.17) to €120 (~$134) in carrier-imposed fees. This amount varies depending on the route. Additionally, connecting segments will also come with additional surcharges.
Here's a breakdown of these new carrier-imposed fees:
|Finland||€10 (~$11.17)||-||€10 (~$11.17)|
|Rest of Europe, excl. Iceland, Israel and Canary Islands||€15 (~$16.77)||-||€15 (~$16.77)|
|Iceland, Israel, and Canary Islands||€30 (~$33.54)||-||€30 (~$33.54)|
|Doha, Dubai, and India||€30 (~$33.54)||€35 (~$39.14)||€40 (~$44.73)|
|North America||€30 (~$33.54)||€50 (~$56)||€80 (~$89.45)|
|Rest of Asia||€45 (~$50.32)||€75 (~$84)||€120 (~$134.18)|
|Connecting segment||+€10 (~$11.17)||+€10 (~$11.17)||+€20 (~$22.36)|
Connecting segments have additional fees. For example, if you book New York (JFK) to Doha (DOH) via Helsinki (HEL) in economy, you'll be required to pay a total of €40 one-way (€30 for JFK to HEL + €10 for the onward segment to DOH).
Again, this is not great news for Finnair Plus members. However, considering British Airways is known to charge an additional $750+ in fees and surcharges, this is a drop in the bucket. That comparison may be of little comfort, though, since it's still more than what Finnair charged previously: nothing.
The Bottom Line
Program devaluations are never good news for travelers. A recent devaluation of Finnair Plus saw award costs increase by 8% to 33%. Additionally, the carrier added new fees on all award redemptions. This is not ideal, and there are better ways to book Finnair award flights. For example, you will likely get more value by booking Finnair flights using Alaska Airlines miles or even British Airways Avios.
What do you make of these changes? What is your go-to method to book Finnair award flights?
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