If you’ve been looking to redeem miles on Finnair, there’s some bad news…
Airlines are changing how they release award availability
Different frequent flyer programs take different approaches to releasing award availability. Back in the day, most airlines made the same “saver” award seats available to members of their own frequent flyer program as they did to members of partner frequent flyer programs.
However, over time that has changed, probably due to the degree to which some airlines have started monetizing their frequent flyer programs, and essentially have made their mileage programs premium cabin consolidators for member airlines.
As a result, increasingly there are some discrepancies in this regard, and this comes in all kinds of different forms:
- SWISS first class awards can only be book by Miles & More HON Circle and Senator members
- Lufthansa first class awards can only be booked through members of partner frequent flyer programs at most 15 days in advance
- As a general rule of thumb, Singapore Airlines only makes premium cabin long haul award seats available to members of their own KrisFlyer program, though there are some exceptions
All of this doesn’t even factor in the variable pricing that frequent flyer programs increasingly have for their own flights, whether that comes in the form of award sales or “standard” awards at higher costs.
Finnair starts restricting business class awards
The latest airline to add major restrictions to award availability is Finnair. It would appear that Finnair now only makes business class award seats available to members of partner frequent flyer programs at most 60 days in advance.
Finnair A350 business class
You’ll notice this pattern across the board, and when looking through partner programs you won’t see any business class awards on short haul or long haul flights further out than that.
For example, looking at the Helsinki to Frankfurt route, you’ll notice that award availability suddenly drops off around March 22… 60 days from today.
Not only that, but it would appear that Finnair Plus may even be limiting award availability to members of their own frequent flyer program outside of that period. Instead, it would appear that they’re only making most award seats available to their Finnair Plus Platinum and Platinum Lumo members further in advance.
As of now it seems like Finnair is restricting business class awards through partner programs more than 60 days in advance. This does seem to be consistently applied as of now, though it’s anyone’s guess if this policy sticks around long term.
It’s a shame to see this restriction. While Finnair has never been generous with long haul award availability to & from the US, the airline was useful for flights through Northern Europe, and when booking through many programs there have been no carrier surcharges for these flights.
(Tip of the hat to Daniel from Finland)