For the second time, Finnair launched a buy miles (calls them points) offer (read more here) that allowed members to earn elite qualifying points in the process that ended yesterday.
The piece that I wrote then covers the various tiers and benefits Finnair has. I wasn’t sure at first whether I wanted to partake in this, but I eventually decided to pull the plug and spend 2,575 euros, and here’s how all went.
I had some activity with Finnair Plus back in the 1990s (I have been around for a while), but my original account must have expired a decade or so ago. I had opened an account in the 2010s, but it had never had any activity.
Points.com handles these purchases on Finnair’s behalf like they do with many airline and hotel loyalty programs.
The receipt indicated that the purchase might take some time to complete, but it was instantaneous.
Finnair Plus Gold (Oneworld Sapphire)
The purchase credited 100,000 elite qualifying points with the 400,000 miles (points). This made the account Gold with Finnair Plus that maps to Oneworld Sapphire.
I would need an additional 50,000 Finnair Plus points to reach Platinum status with more short and long-haul upgrade vouchers.
It is a bit confusing, but Finnair Plus has its points to elite points conversion packages available on the airline’s shop.
Finnair allows members to convert miles to elite points at a 3:1 ratio.
There’s a maximum conversion of 45,000 elite qualifying points (135K points) per transaction.
There is a warning that you can only do one online conversion per elite year, but it is not valid.
I made a second conversion of 15,000 points to 5,000 elite qualifying points that was enough to nudge the tier to Platinum (Oneworld Emerald).
The only drawback is that you need to pay the 10 euro transaction fee twice, but I rather do that than call the customer service.
Finnair Plus Platinum
The status was instantaneously upgraded from Gold (Oneworld Sapphire) to Platinum (Oneworld Emerald).
I had to sacrifice 150,000 Finnair Plus points but earned another four short-haul (plus another four when the account drops to Gold) and two long-haul upgrades + the ability to gift Gold status for a member that also comes with another four short-haul upgrades.
If I don’t qualify for Platinum in the next 24 months, my account is downgraded to Gold which triggers another four short-haul upgrades.
You end up earning, with the companion, 16 short-haul upgrades (you can convert them to long-haul ones at 4:1 ratio) plus two long-haul ones. In addition, upgrade vouchers can be applied for award flights if they are issued using Finnair Plus points.
The Points Purchase and the Point Purchase Bonus triggered the intended tier points bonus. The account statement also shows the conversion of award points to tier ones.
I already made two ticket purchases on Finnair; one award and one economy light.
As long as business award inventory exists, these short-haul vouchers are easy to use.
Both Barcelona – Helsinki, and Helsinki – Stockholm had upgrade inventory available but only upgraded the flight from Barcelona, operated by Iberia for Finnair.
Luggage allowance before upgrade:
Luggage allowance after upgrade:
Pros & Cons of Emerald Purchase
- Platinum (Oneworld Emerald) status for two years
- Gold (Oneworld Sapphire) status for a year
- Ability to gift Gold (Oneworld Sapphire)
- 16 short-haul upgrades
- 2 long-haul upgrades
- Can upgrade award tickets
- Works best if you need to fly to/from/via Finland or live in the Nordics
- Finland’s government owns the majority (won’t go under)
- Domestic lounge access when flying within the United States (AA and AS elite members need to pay) for a minimum of three years
- All status benefits with Oneworld partner airlines (lounge, baggage, and airport priority services)
- Award inventory that is used for upgrades can be spotty
- The number of miles used for awards can change
- Only select partner awards can be booked online
- Some confusion because Finnair uses kilometers instead of miles for earning and redeeming miles
- You need to pay close to 2,600 euros, although you don’t need to buy the maximum package if you don’t need any award miles
- Coronavirus can throw more travel restrictions, and it is unclear what Asian routes the airline will serve in 2022/2023
A partial reason why I purchased this package was that I like to cover programs with which I am familiar when it comes to earning and redeeming (hotels, airlines, and card programs) + all the other potential obstacles.
I’ll probably enter or transit through Finland half a dozen times a year (I am a Finnish national), and using the upgrade certificates should be easy. Also, Finnair’s awards are very competitively priced for intra-Europe, including Tel Aviv and Dubai.
I would say that the value of a short-haul upgrade voucher is 50 to 100 euros each, and long haul ones from 300 to 500 euros each. These alone can cover the purchase price of this package. Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire tiers can be very valuable, but I have a lifetime Sapphire with AA and Emeral tier with BA, which eventually will be a lifetime.
How many readers purchased this package, and how were you able or not rationalize it?