a white airplane in the sky

Helsinki is not just a city with over 1,000,000 saunas (that’s a fact, by the way). It’s a place where British Airways Avios holders can extract excellent value for their points, especially those hoping to visit Asia. In addition to slashing the amount of points you’ll need, you’ll save cash in the process and find generally fantastic availability. Here’s why British Airways Avios points holders should pay extra attention to Helsinki…

a city with a church and buildingsGC Map

It’s extremely hard to find flights from Western Europe to Asia under 5,000 miles one way, except if you venture over to Helsinki. Flights generally follow a “great circle” path, which is a fascinating way to look at the earth, and if you check out the GC Map, you’ll actually see that Helsinki cuts off a whole lot of distance compared to any other city. Why do you care? For this reason: you’ll pay fewer miles. Partner flights on Finnair or JAL require only 75,000 points on all dates, and taxes and surcharges are less than half what British Airways charges; JAL surcharges to Tokyo run just £70 per passenger one way! That’s a tax and surcharge savings of £300 per person. Flights on British Airways partners, or on British Airways during peak dates would cost 90,000 points one way from virtually any other city. Finnair serves Hong Kong, Shanghai, Osaka, Tokyo and Bangkok direct, just to name a few spots under 5,000 miles.

Tier Points

Flights from London and nearby to Helsinki in business class are often super discounted and earn 80 tier points each way. Further onward flights to Tallinn, Estonia earn an additional 40 tier points in business. Other random cities can yield even more tier points. These flights can be under £235 return in business class, and some feature Finnair’s long haul flat beds, offering an economical, comfortable and fast route to elite British Airways Executive Club status. Finnair also has many routes over 2,000 miles, such as Helsinki to Lisbon, which earn 140 tier points each way for business class, the same you’d earn for flying to New York. Again, many of these deals can be incredibly affordable, in terms of cost per tier points – relatively speaking.

Excellent Lounges And Availability

Helsinki is a world class airport, with exceptionally good (and quirky) lounges. Furthermore, availability using points is excellent. I recently needed to book a last minute, mid summer getaway to Asia and found myself with abundant options, even for peak summer travel. Finnair also flies the outstanding Airbus A350 to many long haul destinations, offering one of the best seats you can fly to Asia and beyond. Plus, it’s known to reduce jet lag. Is it starting to feel like Helsinki is a magic city for Avios fans? Thought so.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. last paragraph first sentence, I think you meant closing paren to follow “quirky” and not “lounges”.

    Fix it and delete my comment, please.

  2. Actually..its a total savings of more like 470 pp. As the BA taxes and fees surcharges etc out of LHR are around 550 pp J and F. And less miles. If you didn’t have a 241 voucher earned. Handy from Scotland too. And you get to visit HEL.

  3. I have tried to find any flights from LON or nearby European cities that are even close to £235 from LON. Using Google Flights for OW carriers. The cheapest I can find for LON-HEL is £396 through to the end of 2018 that’s £2.47 per TP. As for LIS-HEL then £692 is cheapest looking out over next 8 months. Other nearby cities:
    DUB-HEL £389
    AMS-HEL £549
    CDG-HEL £614
    MAD-HEL £671
    BRU-HEL £588
    These are hardly bargains like last years LHR-HEL-TLL and the article is misleading in suggesting that cheap flights to HEL are generally available

    1. You goofed at misleading. That’s not ok. Airfares change every day. A flight for £3000 today can be £300 tomorrow. Just because you searched ONE DAY IN HISTORY and didn’t find the cookie jar doesn’t mean the information is wrong. It means you are whining about not getting what you wanted on the first try. The information is crystal clear, does not purport that there’s a current sale on and offers a wealth of information as to a gem of a spot for both deals and Avios redemptions. Now carry on…

  4. Gib,

    Is this to say that on JAL, but booking with Avios, a one-way flight from Tokyo–Helsinki would be 35,000 Avios and £70.00 in taxes?

    I just wanted to see if my math was correct from your excellent article?



  5. Brilliant again Luigi… I can finally burn my Avios mountain without having to deal with the Waterside shower

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