Alaska Airlines & Finnair Announce New Partnership

Alaska Airlines has added Helsinki-based Finnair as a new Mileage Plan partner. As is somewhat typical when Alaska adds a partnership, mileage accrual begins immediately, while mileage redemption won’t start until later this year.

The Mileage Plan earning rates for Finnair are as follows:

While we won’t know the redemption rates for a few months still, it’s nice to see the addition of another European partner to the Mileage Plan program.

Air France and KLM make very little space available to partners these days, and American’s award space has been nonexistent. British Airways and Icelandair both have fuel surcharges that make redeeming miles through Alaska a poor value.

That had (ironically) left Delta as the best Mileage Plan partner for European awards, and when that partnership ended earlier this month it became much more difficult to use Alaska miles to Europe.

Finnair doesn’t release a tremendous amount of award space either, but more options are always better. I would expect to see minor fuel surcharges of maybe ~$100 or so, but they shouldn’t be too high. I am curious as to what regions Alaska will allow for Finnair redemptions — Mileage Plan has separate redemption rules for every partner, so it will be interesting to see if awards are limited to Europe, or if other Finnair destinations are included as well.

Finnair Plus

Meanwhile, if you collect miles with Finnair, you can earn and redeem on Alaska effective immediately. The earnings rates are as follows:

And the redemption rates are here:

I’m honestly not familiar enough with the Finnair program to know if those represent good redemption values, but given how poor American’s award availability is, it will be nice for Finnair members to at least potentially be able to use their miles in North America.

Finnair and Helsinki

Finnair serves a handful of U.S. cities from their hub in Helsinki:

  • Chicago
  • New York JFK
  • Miami
  • San Francisco (3x weekly seasonal service starts 6/1/17)

The Helsinki airport is a dream to transit (the Finnair lounge even has a sauna), and the connections are timed for easy onward journeys to Europe.

While it might seem like Finland is “out of the way,” in practice the overall travel time can be much shorter than when traversing a larger European hub.

Bottom line

Finnair doesn’t have a ton of capacity to the U.S., but it’s nice to see Alaska expanding their international partnerships. I look forward to having another option for redeeming Mileage Plan miles to Europe as well.

(h/t View from the Wing)

Comments

  1. This is great news for accrual but redemption availability on Finnair is almost as mythical as AF/KL – lots of phantom space on AA, if even shown.

  2. Is it just me or is Finnair’s US-Hawaii redemption on AS priced kind of high for First Class? AS’s
    Hawaii flights all originate on the west coast and is on a 737 with recliners

  3. AY earns kilometers, not miles. So, divide by 1.6. For economy, return, continental US/Canada 45,000 kms = 28,125 miles. Not a superb value, but not horrible either.

  4. If the goal is FC US to/from Europe or Asia, (and not wanting to fly B/A) is there any use for Alaska miles anymore. Almost no availability on Emirates and 180K miles one way. AF/KL have “limited availability, Cathy is equally bad, at least for advance bookings.

    So is JAL the only option left?

  5. I would love to see this evolve into a more complete partnership, with Finnair making the SFO flight 7x/week and the two airlines feeding each other traffic on the west coast. As it is, the idea is nice but most Alaska flyers are well west of Chicago, New York and Miami.

  6. Nope, not JAL either. Working back two weeks from the end of booking, there is daily J availability for LAV-NRT. But for FC? Nada…..

    At least when checking on the BA website. Checking on the Alaska site, most of even that j availability doesn’t show up. So I’m sure if its phantom, or Alaska just doesn’t show it.

    Sigh…

  7. Yay! I’m calling Iberia or airberlin as the next AS oneworld partners.. but even Srilankan might be next at this rate.

  8. Booked Finair (Business) using JAL miles award redemption, award space was though to found not non- existent. Following are some interesting AAdvantage redemptions available now. From milevalue and viewfromthewing, American Airlines has released a batch of Business Class award space to London (some totally lie-flat seats, some angled lie-flat) from many cities, January 2018 through the end of the calendar (April).

    https://www.milevalue.com/act-now-american-airlines-business-class-award-space-open-to-europe/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+milevalue+%28milevalue.com%29

    Hurry: Book Your American AAdvantage Awards to Europe, Brief Availability Floodgates Opened
    http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2017/05/20/hurry-book-american-aadvantage-awards-europe-brief-availability-floodgates-opened/

  9. For clarity, the lounge picture is from the Almost@Home lounge, which is not a Finnair lounge but still a decent PP-lounge in the non-schengen area of T2.

    HEL is indeed a great airport.

  10. Well, even if Finnair has space, getting from Seattle to NY or ORD would most likely involve a paid repositioning flight. I think AS allows only the lowest mileage fare bucket for these connecting flights. SFO would be my choice
    Maybe they should hook up with Alitalia while they are at it

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