You Can Now Redeem Alaska Miles On Finnair

Alaska Mileage Plan is one of my favorite frequent flyer programs, thanks to the unique array of airline partners that they have. Unfortunately the program has lost some value the past couple of years, as we’ve seen some partnerships be cut.

The good news is that Alaska Mileage Plan has been adding new partners. Since last year they’ve added partnerships with Aer Lingus, Finnair, and Singapore Airlines.

The catch is that while they’ve enabled mileage earning on all these airlines, they’ve been slow to add mileage redemptions. They’ve actually done a pretty lousy job managing expectations. For example, Alaska’s partnership with Finnair launched in May 2017, and they promised they’d add award redemptions by late 2017. However, up until now that hasn’t happened, even though we’re more than halfway through 2018.

There’s some good news on that front.

You can now redeem Alaska miles on Finnair

You can now redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles on Finnair. Alaska hasn’t actually updated their partner award page (redemptions on Finnair still show as “not available”), but redemptions are now possible when you do award searches.

While there’s no published award chart yet, it looks like there are quite a few award options available. The good news is that there are no carrier imposed surcharges, and as usual, Alaska allows stopovers even on one-way awards.

Alaska’s award pricing on Finnair

What are the award possibilities, and how is the pricing?

You can fly one-way between the US and Europe for 30,000 miles in economy or 70,000 miles in business class.

Or you can fly one-way within Europe for 12,500 miles in economy or 20,000 miles in business class.

You can even book an award exclusively between Europe and Asia for 32,500 miles in economy or 60,000 miles in business class one-way.

Awards between Europe and India are a bit cheaper, at 25,000 miles one-way in economy or 45,000 miles in business class.

There are some slight discounts if traveling from the US to Asia. For example, if you booked New York to Helsinki and Helsinki to Beijing separately you’d pay 130,000 miles in business class, while Alaska charges 125,000 miles if booked together.

The same 5,000 mile discount applies between the US and India, as you’d pay 105,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket.

These are perfectly okay redemption rates, though historically Alaska has industry leading redemption rates, and these rates are just average. In many ways that’s disappointing, since many of us value Alaska miles significantly higher than other currencies, which means we’d never consider this type of redemption.

Finnair isn’t all that generous with award availability, so you’ll have to work hard to find space. My recommendation for searching Finnair award availability is to use aa.com. Just select the route you want to fly, and then select “nonstop flights only.” That will give you a good calendar overview of availability, which can be tough to come by.

Do note that some (but not all) Finnair award availability that shows on aa.com is actually phantom space.

Where does Finnair fly?

Finnair’s only year-round US destination is New York JFK, and then they offer seasonal flights to Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco.

Finnair’s longhaul flights are operated by a mix of A330s and A350s. Finnair’s A350s feature reverse herringbone seats in business class, and are a very nice way to fly.

Meanwhile they exclusively use A330s for their US routes, and those planes feature staggered seats in business class, which aren’t quite as good.

A majority of Finnair’s longhaul route network is to Asia, as they fly to over a dozen destinations there.

Bottom line

Finnair is a solid airline, and it’s nice to see that you can now redeem Alaska miles for travel on them. Unfortunately these redemptions rates aren’t quite as good as the ones we’re used to from Alaska.

For example, it costs 70,000 miles to fly one-way business class between the US and Europe, which is the same price you’d pay between the US and Asia in Cathay Pacific first class.

Nonetheless more options are always a good thing, especially another option between the US and Europe that doesn’t come with surcharges. You can always potentially get outsized value with Alaska miles by doing stopovers.

Does anyone plan on redeeming Alaska miles on Finnair?

Comments

  1. Wait I thought it wasn’t possible to redeem Alaska miles, unless the flight origin/destination was the US. Am I mixing up something?

  2. Man…I was all excited for great redemption rates. Looks like Asia Miles are still better between Europe and Asia, and American miles or Asia Miles still the better option from the US for business class.

  3. 60K between Europe and Asia is steep given they only charge 42,500 miles between Europe and Hong Kong on Cathay. But then again it’s always nice to have more choice.

  4. I would just use AA miles for any trans-atlantic awards on FI. AS miles would be better used elsewhere, so this adds close to no value.

  5. Great post but it seems like searching AA.com for award space on Finnair isn’t the best idea since AA.com often shows phantom award space on that airline but I guess it’s a start. I bet it won’t be long before you see the little lawn chair mixed cabin icons on most of these flights.

  6. Alaska seems to be pegging their domestic miles redemptions on Alaska flights at about one cent per mile, maybe 1.1. Points prices closely track ticket prices on Alaska metal. (Don’t know why Delta gets all the bad press.) Guess I’ll have to figure out how to use those points internationally to get decent value.

  7. Doesn’t seem like a great way (configuration) or use of AS points to get to Europe.

    Fly AS SEA>JFK in “First” on AS metal, layover, then a very short tatl to HEL on FI? I’d almost rather just fly nonstop in Y.

    Does anyone know the ‘seasonality’ of the flights from SFO/ORD/MIA? There might be more value there.

    Alternatively, what is the best current redemption value to Europe in J using AS miles?

  8. Just tried, but couldn’t issue ticket though it shows u the award space at AS homepage. And talked with AS agent in telephone, but they told me it’s kind of system problem which means the ticket was already taken by someone else.

  9. This is terrible advice from a so-called expert.

    ALL Finnair inventory shown on AA.com is going to be “phantom” – always has been.

  10. Thanks Lucky, for completeness it would have been nice to see mention of the rates for Europe-Asia (given as you mention the majority of AY flights are to Asia from Europe! thanks to the person who answered my question anyway) Presumably you will know that you have a significant European audience, so a less-US centric view is appreciated, I guess that’s one reason you brought James onboard?
    FWIW the award chart on AY site still shows awards not yet available.

  11. Note that Alaska is one of the few airlines left to give miles for miles flown so they need to devalue on the earning or redemption side to keep up with the “race to the bottom” among the airlines.

  12. @Tiffany has there been a change with Alaska redemption T&Cs or does an award ticket have to still start/end in the US?

  13. Obviously there are some here who thinks everyone and everything must start or end in US, and nothing else matters.

    Partner Cathay Pacific already has redemption options that is non-US to begin with. It is good to see AY offering that.

    I am waiting for SQ redemption charts. It is long overdue.

  14. I am currently booked on the following non-US flights on AS miles

    – Perth-Melbourne
    – Denpassar-HKG-YVR

    and in the past

    – YVR-HKG-JNB and return

  15. @flyingfish Precisely my point.
    Also agree with you (and @Ed) it’s good to have options. At any rate 60,000 AS miles is probably better than redeeming 75,000 Avios (for AY HEL-Asia in J) via BA.

  16. FinnAir’s favorite Broadway musical is The PHANTOM of the Opera. It’s like a dog that earns a reward. So you dangle a earned reward in front of his nose and at the last second pull it away and say SORRY THIS TREAT IS NOW NOT AVAILABLE. PLEASE SELECT ANOTHER REWARD. Thus you prevent the dog from ever being paid. The dog then feels cheated. One day he will run away to another home.

    Good news on FinnAir. If you search from Helsinki to Asia, the phantom space on AA will award actually go through. Unless is it a further down the line jerk you around thing. Perhaps the same thing is true for Alaska.

    The partnership with Aer Lingus is the one that most excites me. Aer Lingus rocks!

  17. It’s 22.5K for economy and 40K for business from Europe to the Middle East. All right, since giving me the option of redeeming for Europe-Middle East with Alaska Airlines is progress.

    And 60K for Europe to Asia is great, since the Cathay partnership is only for Europe to Hong Kong. No connecting flights elsewhere. And Alaska doesn’t have access to all of Cathay’s availability.

  18. @flyingfish You shouldn’t hold your breath for SQ redemptions, especially for premium cabin. Krisflyer isn’t known to release its premium inventory on long-haul routes to its partners.

    At the very least, both airlines may be trying to work out how the award pricing would be given the region-based system Krisflyer’s own award chart uses.

  19. @Tiffany: While it’s not accurate to say that all AY award availability on AA.com is phantom, I don’t think it’s particularly accurate to say that it only happens sometimes, either – I think the prevailing opinion is that AY availability on the AA site is phantom more often than not, particularly for flights between the US and HEL.

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