Today I got an email from Finnair that made me really upset. Finnair will make Finnair Plus tier earning based on euros instead of points determined by the fare class. This only affects Finnair marketed flights, and flights with other oneworld airlines will still earn you points based on the fare class and distance (in miles instead of kilometers). In this post, I will go through the main changes and also take a look at how Finnair has been downgrading their services during the past two years down the line. 🧐
Changes in Finnair Plus
You will earn Avios, which immediately means one thing: it is very unlikely you can convert Avios into tier points in the future. Up until now, Finnair has had this unique feature of converting award points into tier points so you can push your status up and qualify even if you were a bit short (or a lot short, like 75 000 tier points short).
Another thing a transition to Avios is pointing at, is that Finnair will probably be sold to IAG Group (the parent company of British Airways and Iberia). IAG Group airlines use Avios, so it is a good indication. Also the Finnish government, who is the major shareholder of Finnair, is broke and they have planned on selling Finnair to Lufthansa or IAG before behind the scenes.
It is very difficult to earn enough points to get Finnair Plus status without flying Finnair to begin with, so Finnair’s own flights have always been the only way for Finnair Plus status holders. Just think about it, economy classic ticket to Dubai and back for around 300-400€ earns you 16 000 points (out of 80 000 required for Gold or 150 000 for Platinum). This hack has made it ridiculously easy to get a Finnair Plus status, and it is clear it is unsustainable, but still forcing people to spend an X amount of money will definitely make the status unattainable for most of the current members.
Nobody knows how many euros one has to spend yet, whether there will be multipliers based on travel class and what the future limits for tiers will be.
You can no longer get the status by the number of flights. I have never even been close to getting my status by the number of flights, because points require less travelling. However, this has probably been very important for people who don’t live in Helsinki, because they essentially need to fly to Helsinki first, which means an additional leg for each flight.
What are the alternatives to Finnair Plus?
I think that now it is the time to leave the sinking ship while we can. Earlier, I have done an extensive research on which oneworld airline gives you the status the easiest. My recommendation is British Airways especially if you fly in business class a lot. British Airways also has very cheap business class deals, so getting the status will be easy. British Airways requires you to fly them 4 times a year, but given how important Heathrow is for connections, it won’t be a problem.
If you mostly fly in economy class, Malaysia Airlines looks like a solid choice. I like Malaysia Airlines in particular because the number of status points does not depend on how cheap of a fare you book, but just the cabin class. This means that Finnair superlight ticket will earn just as many status points as Finnair economy classic.
I would try to ask for a status match, if possible. Next year, we will have Oman Air joining oneworld, but currently it is too early to tell what their requirements will be and how many tier points one might get for oneworld flights.
How Finnair has downgraded their service
In European economy class, Finnair has reduced the complementary service to water and blueberry juice. In business class, you will only have one option of meal – you used to have two options. The food is crap in European business class to boot, so there is really no real reason to fly in business class anymore. Finnair has also reduced the food and drinks they serve in their European lounge.
I used to enjoy flying Finnair on inter-continental flights. The economy class seats were spacious, you got a pillow, you got super good food, you got to have some wine. All that is long gone. Finnair has more seats than ever before, so there is less space for each passenger. The food is garbage and there is only one option of it. You can have one bottle of complimentary wine – a second bottle comes with a bill. And now, there is even no pillow anymore. Like the food is so bad I started to laugh the first time I saw the reduced service – the pasta dish looked like cow’s vomit and it was more of a let’s throw a bit of pasta and cheap tomato sauce together.
What bothers me the most is that Finnair introduced Premium Economy. This is *hit. There is nothing premium about it. This is exactly how Finnair economy class used to be two years ago – the only difference is that now you can drink as much alcohol as you want. Finnair reduced their economy class service to a ridiculously low level and they have the nerve to sell the old economy class as premium.
Finnair’s long-distance business class is the only product that does not smell like garbage from miles away, but looking at the current pace, Finnair will probably make it way worse as well. Finnair Platinum Wing lounge is nice, but it has seen better days as well.
Finnair has been getting worse and worse year after year. This move will definitely make frequent flyers run away. Yeah, Finnair has too many Golds and Platinums (judging by the lounges), but how about make it more difficult to get the status rather than turn the whole thing spending based? In addition, Finnair charges premium while their service is that of a low-cost airline (or at least getting there). KLM and Lufthansa both sell a lot cheaper flights to almost all destinations from Helsinki than Finnair. Why wouldn’t I start flying them more frequently? I mean, Finnair just literally stabbed me in the back today… After all these years.