One of Qantas’ smaller and often underestimated partners is Finnair. Finnair is Finland’s national airline, and they’ve spent a lot of money trying to optimise their network to connect flights between Asia and Europe. While this plan has been thrown somewhat into disarray with the closure of Russian airspace, several great redemption options remain available for very low taxes and good upgrade availability. To top it all off, Finnair’s new planes have a novel and very comfortable business class seat worth trying. Using these tips you fly on Finnair with Qantas points and experience the product for yourself.
How to find Finnair flights on Qantas
One of the reasons why few people redeem points with Finnair is they can be difficult to find on Qantas’ website. Once you know how to look for them, you’ll be able to find any available seats to reach your destination. Finnair does not fly to Australia (unless you count Qantas’ leasing of Finnair planes). This means that by default if you search for flights from Australia to Europe on Qantas’ website, you will not see them.
The best way to find Finnair flights is to know their route map well. It’s essential to pick airports you can reach relatively easily from Australia, as this will help you find your connecting flight. My choices are Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo and Hong Kong. The advantage of flying through Singapore is they offer a very smooth transit process, even if you change airlines. This avoids an immigration crossing purely to check your bags in, saving you the hassle and minimising your required transit time. If you search for flights originating from your port of choice to your destination, you will likely see any available Finnair flights. Remember to click the “Classic Rewards” toggle; otherwise, they won’t appear.
Unfortunately, Qantas’ booking engine can be troublesome to negotiate, and even here, you may not see any flights that may be available. If you are stuck, I find the best option here to troubleshoot is to use the British Airways website and search for Avios reward seats. This tends to be much more reliable in showing Oneworld partner flights and should give you all available options. In addition, it will tell you how many seats are available in each class. You can then go back to Qantas’ website, search for each leg individually, e.g. SIN-HEL and HEL-LHR, and book them separately. Don’t worry; you can still check the bags through and connect them to a single booking later. Calling Qantas is your best bet if you still can’t find them on the booking engine.
Why book a two-stop flight to Europe
You will undoubtedly ask why you would book a two-stop flight when you could book it as a one-stop. There are a couple of reasons. Firstly, Finnair has extremely low taxes on their reward seats. While you will pay between $2-300 for flying on Qantas, you pay $100 on Finnair. This means the cash you’re laying out for the redemptions is much lower than you would otherwise pay.
Secondly, Helsinki is a small but very efficient airport. If you book the flight from Singapore to London, you will most likely be flying on the same plane the whole way to London. The brief stop in Helsinki involves a quick security check (which is honestly seamless with their CT Scanners), and you can get back onto the plane. The connection times can be as short as 45 minutes without any issues. Given the significant cost savings and the smooth transfer, the hassle of a two-stop flight is vastly minimised.
Upgrade to Finnair Business easily
Another pro for booking Finnair reward flights using your Qantas points is the ability to get upgrades to business class, even if you don’t have status and even if you’re on an award ticket. While not advertised widely, Finnair offers fixed-price upgrades to business class if there are available seats on their flights. For the Singapore-Helsinki leg at the time of writing, an upgrade cost around $900. Which isn’t bad if you’ve managed to get the economy ticket for free!
Finnair’s new business class is one of the most novel experiences you will have. The seat on their A350 aircraft is brand new and is more like a giant sofa than a typical business class seat. It doesn’t recline but lets you lie completely flat across it once the footrest is raised. The seat position, along with the cushions you are given, allows you to find a comfortable position relatively quickly. Think about sitting on your living room sofa watching TV. On top of this, the seat features wireless charging, USB-C ports and soothing lighting. For those interested, this is a great way to experience the seat for minimal cost. Another plus is access to the Qantas Singapore Lounge once you upgrade to business, allowing you to shower before heading off on your flight.
Finnair is one of the lesser-known Qantas partners, and reward seats can be tricky to find, but they have a comprehensive European network and a great product overall. If you’re willing to work to secure a seat, it’s worth giving it a try and can save you money on your next European trip.