Finnair is to adopt Avios as its rewards currency from early 2024, the Helsinki-based carrier announced on Wednesday. Avios is already used by British Airways and Iberia, as well as Aer Lingus and Spanish low-cost airline Vueling. Qatar Airways also adopted Avios as its rewards currency last year.
Announcing the change, Finnair said members of its Finnair Plus loyalty program will have any old points converted to Avios at a 3:2 ratio. The purchasing power of existing points will remain unchanged, with Avios prices reflecting the 3:2 ratio.
As part of the transition to adopting Avios, Finnair also said the Finnair Plus program would become a spend-based platform in which Avios points will be awarded based on how much customers spend with the airline rather than on how far they fly.
Tier limits to acquire elite status will also become spend-based, although collecting tier points and Avios when flying on a partner airline will continue to be awarded travel class, booking class, and distance flown.
Although the switch to a revenue-based loyalty program will be seen as a negative change by many frequent flyers, Finnair is attempting to sweeten the deal with a number of program improvements, including:
- Finnair Plus members will receive free messaging WiFi access on short-haul flights, regardless of tier status.
- The number of award seats will increase with a guarantee of at least 4 award seats on Finnair flights within Europe and 8 on Finnair long-haul flights.
- A new and improved Schengen lounge at Finnair’s hub at Helsinki Airport for elite status holders is due to open next year.
“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,” commented Finnair’s chief operating officer, Ole Orvér.
“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.”
Iberia made the switch to a spend-based or revenue-based loyalty program late last year, while British Airways will start transitioning to spend-based Avios earning later this year. For the time being, at least, British Airways will continue to award Tier Points based on distance travelled and booking class rather than spend.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.