Finnair Embraces Avios: A Dive into the Changes


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In a strategic and unexpected move that promises to realign the loyalty landscape in the airline industry, Finnair announced it will be adopting Avios as its loyalty currency. Scheduled to begin in early 2024, this change reflects a broader trend in the industry, symbolizing the growing importance of loyalty partnerships and collaboration among different airline brands.

Joining the likes of British Airways, Qatar Airways (who only joined last year), Iberia, Vueling, and Aer Lingus in the adoption of the currency, Finnair is set to change the way its loyalty program operates. The transition marks a new era for Finnair Plus, paving the way for more options and flexibility for its members.

The Shift to Avios

The decision to adopt Avios comes from a recognition of the global significance of the currency. With Finnair Plus being a smaller player compared to British Airways Executive Club and Qatar Privilege Club, this move aims to offer an enhanced value proposition for its members. Notably, the shift adds 10% to the total member base of Avios.

A significant aspect of the transition is the 3:2 conversion ratio of the Finnair Plus redemption chart. The revaluation signifies a critical juncture in Finnair Plus’s strategy to stay competitive. Keeping the loyalty program attractive to existing members and potential recruits is essential. The conversion also symbolizes the integration into a more extensive global system, making the Finnair Plus more attractive to potential customers.

The change to Avios is likely to have far-reaching implications for the members. While the existing Finnair Plus points will not lose their value and will be converted with a 3:2 ratio, the ability to interchange points with other Avios-using airlines offers a new level of flexibility. The value proposition of Avios, at $1.5 cents each, becomes an attractive proposition for members worldwide.

The shift to Avios extends beyond mere currency exchange and highlights the underlying strategic alignment with other major airlines. The adoption enables more opportunities for members to earn and redeem Avios on non-airline partners and enhances the prospects of upgrading flights using the shared currency.

Guaranteed Seats for Avios Redemption

In a move championed by British Airways, a significant highlight of this change is Finnair’s commitment to assuring seat availability for Avios redemptions. For passengers, this translates to:

  • A guarantee of 4-6 award seats on short-haul European flights, including two Business Class seats.
  • An assurance of eight award seats on long-haul voyages, diversified as two each in Business and Premium Economy, with the remainder in Economy.

Reward Based on Expenditure

In sync with modern loyalty program trends, Finnair Plus is transitioning to a spend-based model. While the specifics remain under wraps, what we do know is that the system will prioritize revenue over flight frequency. Not just mileage, but the actual expenditure on tickets will determine the Avios and elite status earned.

Further sweetening the pot, Finnair has introduced milestone benefits, offering members enticing rewards like additional upgrade opportunities upon reaching specified point thresholds within their membership tier. Moreover, to bolster its digital offerings, Finnair Plus members will also enjoy complimentary internet access for messaging on short-haul European journeys.

Helsinki Airport Welcomes a New Schengen Lounge

Beyond changes in its loyalty program, Finnair is making strides in enhancing passenger experience on the ground. 2024 will witness the unveiling of a spacious, new Schengen lounge at Helsinki Airport. Drawing away from the conventional high-gloss aesthetic, Finnair is veering towards a more organic look, emphasizing natural textures.

The forthcoming lounge is not merely an expansion; it also emphasizes exclusivity with a dedicated section for top-tier members – presumably the Finnair Plus Platinum echelon. Considering the changes, one would anticipate it to cater to the oneworld Emerald (BA Gold) clientele too.

In Conclusion

Finnair’s leap into the Avios sphere is more than just a change of loyalty currency; it’s a strategic move that aligns with the evolving dynamics of the airline industry. With more airlines emphasizing revenue over flight frequency, Finnair’s transition to a spend-based model appears timely. Moreover, the guaranteed seats for Avios redemptions and the upcoming Schengen lounge are clear indicators of the airline’s commitment to enhancing the member experience, both in the air and on the ground. It will be interesting to observe how these changes pan out for Finnair Plus members and the airline’s global standing.

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