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Finnair Snuggles Up Closer to IAG with Loyalty Program

A New Dawn for Finnair’s Loyalty Program: The Introduction of Avios

In a significant move to elevate its customer experience, Finnair is set to revamp its Finnair Plus loyalty program by ushering in Avios, the loyalty currency of IAG airlines, in early 2024.

By collaborating with IAG Loyalty, Finnair is poised to offer its existing and potential Finnair Plus members many new opportunities to earn and spend Avios currency. This strategic partnership marks a significant evolution in the loyalty program landscape.

In addition to this, the Finnair Plus program will transition to a spend-based platform, signaling a paradigm shift in how members earn and spend their loyalty points.

With an aim to celebrate the loyalty of its members, the program will introduce new milestone benefits. These benefits will allow members to unlock additional rewards, such as extra upgrade benefits, upon reaching specific point thresholds within their existing tier.

Finnair Upgrades Passenger Experience with Avios Adoption

To sweeten the deal, Finnair also offers complimentary internet access for messaging on its short-haul European flights operated with the narrow-body Airbus fleet to all Finnair Plus members, irrespective of their tier status. This adds a new dimension to the benefits of joining the Finnair Plus program.

Finnair Blue Lounge at Helsinki Airport

Moreover, in a bid to enhance its in-flight experience, Finnair plans to invest in new, more spacious lounge facilities at Helsinki Airport, Finnair’s home hub. Slated for a 2024 opening, the new lounge will house a dedicated area for top-tier members. Until then, the current Schengen lounge will continue to serve customers.

The Start of a New Era for Finnair

“2024 marks the start of a new era with our loyalty program, with new benefits and improved options for our members to use their earned Avios – both within Finnair and IAG Loyalty’s partner network. The move to a spend-based program rewards customers directly for their spend, just like many retail loyalty programs do. These moves allow us to leverage the full potential of our loyalty program and make it attractive to a wider audience.”

Ole Orvér, Finnair’s Chief Commercial Officer

“Finnair’s adoption of Avios is a recognition of the global significance of the currency, and the incredible value it has for members worldwide. They join a leading global network of airline partners, including British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling, and Qatar Airways. “We are excited to play a central role in Finnair’s new era for their loyalty program and for their members.”

Adam Daniels, CEO of IAG Loyalty
Finnair's new adaptable business class seat.

Finnair Adds More Award Seats Onboard

In line with changes, Finnair will increase the number of award seats, considered the most coveted reward by members. They are committed to ensuring a minimum of 4 award seats on their European flights and a guaranteed 8 on their long-haul services.

How will Finnair Plus Loyalty Members earn and spend Avios?

Finnair will add Avios as its loyalty currency starting in early 2024. The airline will share the exact date for the changes with Loyalty Program members later this year.

This strategic shift offers Finnair Plus members new opportunities to earn and spend their loyalty points across its partner airlines. Avios is the shared loyalty currency of Finnair’s oneworld partners’ loyalty programs, which include the British Airways Executive Club, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, and Iberia Plus.

Furthermore, these benefits extend to purchases made online from premier brands via shopping.ba.com and IAG Loyalty’s burgeoning list of international partners. Partnerships include globally recognized brands like BP, Nectar, and Uber in the UK, Areas airport retail in Spain, and Bilt in the US.

Conversion of Finnair Plus Award Points to Avios

Finnair Plus award points will undergo a conversion to Avios at a 3:2 ratio. Importantly, this change will not impact the purchasing power of the current points, as Avios prices will have the same 3:2 ratio.

Shift to Spend-Based Loyalty Program

The Finnair Plus loyalty program will transition from being contingent on the frequency of flights its members take to a more spend-based system. In this new plan, members will progress from one tier to another based primarily on the amount expended on Finnair’s flights and corresponding travel extras.

Moving Up the Tiers and Abandoning the Metric System

Finnair will update tier limits to reflect the switch to Avios and the new spend-based earning of tier points. Members will earn tier points and loyalty currency on partner-marketed or -operated flights. The points earned will still be based on the travel class, booking class, and distance flown. However, Finnair is stepping away from the reliable metric system. Finnair Plus members will collect points based on miles, not kilometers, flown.

Sometimes it takes a few years for notions to advance in aviation…

Finnair economy girl 02 Low
Finnair economy girl. Source: Finnair

A while back (2015), an article I wrote for Skift caused a furor. I hinted that there was an opportunity for British Airways to acquire Finnair.

This loyalty program partnership with IAG, British Airways’ parent company, brings these still very compatible airlines one step closer.

About Avios and IAG Loyalty

Avios is the global loyalty currency of the British Airways Executive Club, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, Iberia Plus, Aer Lingus AerClub, and Vueling Club. There are more than 35 million members worldwide, collecting in excess of 3000 Avios every second.

IAG Loyalty is committed to helping businesses transform relationships by maximizing the potential for loyalty. We create unparalleled and rewarding experiences for Avios collectors, including a broad range of flight and travel rewards.

Its parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), is one of the world’s largest airline groups. IAG flies 533 aircraft to 279 destinations, carrying around 118 million passengers yearly (pre-COVID). Its leading airlines in Spain, the UK, and Ireland include Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, and LEVEL.

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