Finnair Announces Adoption of Avios as Its Loyalty Currency
Finnish airline Finnair has announced some major changes to its loyalty program, including adopting a new point currency.
About the change:
Finnair has announced that, starting in early 2024, its Finnair Plus program will make Avios its official loyalty currency. In doing so, the airline will retire its current Finnair Plus points. As they explain, once the move is complete, customers will automatically see their Finnair Plus points converted to Avios at a ratio of 3:2 (with redemption prices also being adjusted at this ratio).
According to Finnair, the adoption will also bring new benefits for customers. For example, the airline notes new milestone benefits that will grant members extra rewards, such as additional upgrade benefits upon reaching certain point levels within their current tier. Plus, the airline announced that Finnair Plus members will now enjoy complimentary internet access for messaging. While this perk will be available to all tiers of Plus members, it will be limited to Finnair’s short-haul European flights operated with the narrow-body Airbus fleet.
Another big change that will accompany the conversion is a move to a spend-based program. Previously, Finnair Plus customers would move up loyalty tiers based on how many flights they took on the airline and the distance of those flights. Now, these tiers will be based on much they spend to fly the airline.
Avios is a loyalty currency currently used by British Airways, Aer Lingus, Qatar Airways, Iberia, and others. Not by coincidence, all of these airlines (as well as Finnair) are part of the OneWorld alliance. Once Finnair adopted Avios, customers will be able to transfer points to any of the other Avios programs at a rate of 1:1. Additionally, these points can be redeemed for flights on a number of partner airlines.
What they’re saying:
Announcing the updates, Finnair’s chief commercial officer Ole Orvér said, “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.” Orvér added, “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.”
Additionally, International Airlines Group Loyalty CEO Adam Daniels said of the move, “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.”
Although the average American consumer might not fly Finnair with much frequency, the airline’s adoption of Avios points is notable considering how many credit card customers currently have an opportunity to turn their earned points into Avios points. For example, American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Bilt Rewards are just three programs that count Avios-accepting airlines among their transfer partners. Therefore, once this conversion is complete, cardholders may well have another airline option to consider when looking at award redemptions. With that in mind, we’ll need to await more details on the transition as the new year approaches.