Finnair Plus Devaluation: Higher Award Costs & Surcharges
Finnair has had a rough few years, given that the carrier’s long haul route network historically consisted primarily of flights to Asia. Asia travel was hit especially hard during the pandemic (given for how long many countries in Asia stayed closed). Now with Russian airspace being closed, the airline is having to make some major detours for its flights to Asia, greatly increasing operating costs.
The airline has been doing significant cost cutting. Just recently, the Helsinki-based oneworld airline announced it would slash pillows and champagne. Now the airline is going after its frequent flyer program.
Finnair Plus changes coming June 2023
Major changes are coming to the Finnair Plus program as of June 2023. With this, we’re seeing the airline increase upgrade costs, increase award costs, and add surcharges to awards. On top of that, the airline is making some changes to its baggage policies.
These changes are negative across the board, though a couple of things to note:
- I appreciate that unlike other airlines, Finnair doesn’t spin negative changes as a positive; it’s amazing how many airlines will simply increase mileage requirements, and spin it as something that’s based on member feedback
- While these changes are bad, they could be worse
Anyway, let’s go over the details…
Finnair Plus increases award costs
As of June 15, 2023, Finnair Plus will be increasing the cost of award flights. You can find the new Finnair Plus award chart below.
You can find the old Finnair Plus award chart below.
In some cases, we’re seeing some pretty substantial increases. For example, one-way long haul awards are increasing in cost from 80,000 points to 95,000 points in business class, and from 60,000 points to 65,000 points in premium economy.
Finnair Plus adds award ticket surcharges
As of June 15, 2023, Finnair Plus will be introducing additional surcharges on award flights. This is what makes the award chart devaluation sting, since you’re not just seeing an increase in the number of points required, but also a cash co-pay.
You can find the new Finnair Plus award surcharges chart below. This pricing is per segment, so you can expect to pay anywhere from €10 for a domestic economy award to €120 for a long haul business class award.
Again, this stings, but at least it’s not the $800+ surcharges we see on some other airlines.
Finnair Plus increases upgrade costs
As of June 15, 2023, Finnair Plus will be increasing the number of points required to upgrade flights. You can find the new Finnair Plus upgrade chart below.
You can find the old Finnair Plus upgrade chart below.
As you can see, one-way upgrade costs are increasing by 2,500 points on flights within Northern Europe, by 5,000 points on other flights within Europe, and by 10,000 points on long haul flights.
Finnair Plus baggage benefit changes
While I’d consider these changes to be minor compared to the new upgrade and award costs, there are also a bunch of changes coming to baggage policies as of June 1, 2023:
- Finnair Plus Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Lumo members will receive one free carry-on bag on short haul flights when traveling on an Economy Superlight ticket
- Finnair Plus Silver members will no longer receive an additional extra checked bag, but can purchase one for a 50% discount
- Finnair Plus Gold members will no longer receive a complimentary checked piece of sports equipment
- Finnair Plus Platinum and Platinum Lumo members will no longer be able to take a heavy or oversized bag with them free of charge; bags weighing 23-32kg will be subject to a heavy or oversized bag charge
My take on these Finnair Plus changes
There are no two ways about it, these Finnair Plus changes are negative across the board. For award flights, not only are we seeing points costs increase, but we’re also seeing surcharges increase. Upgrade costs are also going up.
Then you have baggage changes, which seem downright cheap. For example, Platinum Lumo is basically Finnair’s equivalent of Lufthansa HON Circle, and it is very hard to qualify for. Now the airline will charge those passengers if they have a bag weighing over 23kg? That seems excessive.
Finnair has been aggressively cost cutting, and the airline seems to think that’s what’s required to return to profitability. I’m a little more skeptical about this strategy, but I guess time will tell how it works out.
In fairness, I at least appreciate that some advance notice is being provided of these changes, and it’s also not the most obscene frequent flyer program devaluation we’ve ever seen (in some other situations we’ve seen airlines increase award costs by 50%+).
Major changes are coming to the Finnair Plus program as of June 2023, as part of the carrier’s cost cutting initiative. Finnair Plus will be increasing award costs, adding surcharges to award flights, and increasing upgrade costs. On top of that, the program will be eliminating many elite baggage perks.
If you have any Finnair Plus points, I’d definitely recommend trying to redeem them in the coming weeks.
What do you make of these Finnair Plus changes?