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Finnair, the Oneworld alliance airline based in Helsinki, will switch its loyalty currency from Finnair Plus award points to Avios early next year.
As part of the changes, Finnair will also tie award prices more closely to the cost of ticket prices, meaning more expensive flights will likely cost more Avios. Spend-based rewards are becoming increasingly common in loyalty programs.
Finnair is also adding award space, particularly on long-haul international flights. This evolution of Finnair Plus, the airline’s loyalty program, should make it more useful to international travelers hoping to redeem credit card rewards, whether they’re headed to Finland, elsewhere in Europe or another part of the world.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
What will happen to Finnair Plus Award points?
Once the changes go live in the first few months of 2024, Finnair Plus award points will convert to Avios at a rate of 3:2. So, if you had 90,000 points in your Finnair Plus account, you would get some 60,000 Avios.
NerdWallet values Avios at 1 cent per point when you redeem them for economy award flights on British Airways, but you can transfer Avios to any of the airline loyalty programs that use them.
Airlines that use Avios
Perhaps the biggest impact of Finnair’s shift to Avios for U.S. travelers is the ability to earn and redeem Avios on a wider range of international airlines.
Avios used to exclusively be the currency of International Airlines Group, the European conglomerate of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and other carriers. But now, the points are used by a half-dozen carriers, including a handful of prominent Oneworld Alliance airlines.
Upon Finnair’s adoption of Avios, the currency will be used by the following carriers:
Aer Lingus (based in Dublin).
British Airways (based in London; Oneworld Alliance partner).
Finnair (based in Helsinki; Oneworld Alliance partner).
Iberia (based in Madrid; Oneworld Alliance partner).
Qatar Airways (based in Doha, Qatar; Oneworld Alliance partner).
Vueling (low-cost carrier based in Barcelona, Spain).
» Learn more: Oneworld alliance pros and cons
Increased award availability on Finnair
The airline also plans to increase the number of award seats available on a flight, providing customers with more space to redeem Avios for a trip to Europe or within the continent. It will guarantee at least four seats bookable on points for flights within Europe, and at least eight on long-haul flights.
Finnair flies nonstop to Helsinki from a handful of U.S. airports including Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Diego and Seattle.
Avios is becoming even more flexible
Finnair’s upcoming shift to Avios is just the latest example of an international airline adopting the loyalty currency.
For U.S. customers considering converting credit card rewards into Avios, the currency will now be usable on a longer — and growing — list of international carriers in Europe and beyond.
(Top photo courtesy of Finnair)
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card