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Old Oct 12, 17, 1:53 am   #1
Original Poster
  
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 2
New to points hobby, advice for an infrequent flyer

Hi all!

So I got Finnair Plus Gold as a gift from a Platinum-tier friend and would like to get the most out of the following year and hopefully find a strategy to maintain Gold next year also. I'm an infrequent flyer, don't need to fly in my current work so only recreational travel - but, my GF and I spend all our holidays travelling. Based in Finland, in 2017 my airtravel included:
  • 1 trip to Middle-East
  • 2 trips to Asia
  • 1 trip to central Europe
Until now, I've mostly been using SAS Eurobonus (because of one delayed flight awarded us with lots of points to use on SAS), but now really started to take an intrest in Finnair due to the generous gift I received.

So I have done the basic stuff in order to collect as much points as I can in my day-to-day life, including getting an FP-Mastercard and starting to use it for most of my purchases, focusing online shopping via akruu or other affiliated portal to get even more points. I still have a few questions regarding my strategy:
  1. I'm still a bit confused as to how the tier- and awardpoints work. Say I fly a Finnair oneway which provides me 15 000 points. Can I spend them right away for say an upgrade and it won't reset my evaluation period tier point counter, correct? Also, I probably won't be able to convert that 15 000 points I got from the flight to 5000 tierpoints later on if I'm short of an upgrade?
  2. IF I fly OneWorld, for example Quatar Business HEL-DOH, how much points would I get? Finnair states that Quatar Business is worth 125% tierpoints, but 125% of what? Can I use the Finnair-points table and make out that Middle-East Finnair flights accumulate 2000 points (@ 100%) and thus my Quatar Business flight to Middle-East gets me 2500 points, correct?
  3. Regarding hotel booking - is there a better way to collect points from hotels than using akruu to go to a booking site (...for example, hotels.com you get 7 points/€ AND still be able to use hotels.com reward nights program) and paying via the FP-master?
  4. If I upgrade both passengers on the same AY-reservation to business, and it costs me say 100 000 points (50k/person), do both passengers need to have 50k on their accounts or can one person with 100k points upgrade both?
  5. A business-upgrade made with points won't affect the amount of tier-points you'd have gotten without the upgrade, correct?

I realise that getting 80000 points trough 4-5 trips a year is a stretch, but I also got my first taste of an intercontinental Business-class flight last month on my trip to HongKong, and am willing to pay for more! So, say two round AY-business trips to Asia with Gold and the goal is not that far off.. So if I have the cash, it's best to fly business and fly Finnair. Thanks for reading!
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Old Oct 12, 17, 2:16 am   #2
  
Join Date: Jun 2015
Programs: AY+, SK EB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaff View Post
Hi all!

So I got Finnair Plus Gold as a gift from a Platinum-tier friend and would like to get the most out of the following year and hopefully find a strategy to maintain Gold next year also. I'm an infrequent flyer, don't need to fly in my current work so only recreational travel - but, my GF and I spend all our holidays travelling. Based in Finland, in 2017 my airtravel included:
  • 1 trip to Middle-East
  • 2 trips to Asia
  • 1 trip to central Europe
Until now, I've mostly been using SAS Eurobonus (because of one delayed flight awarded us with lots of points to use on SAS), but now really started to take an intrest in Finnair due to the generous gift I received.

So I have done the basic stuff in order to collect as much points as I can in my day-to-day life, including getting an FP-Mastercard and starting to use it for most of my purchases, focusing online shopping via akruu or other affiliated portal to get even more points. I still have a few questions regarding my strategy:
  1. I'm still a bit confused as to how the tier- and awardpoints work. Say I fly a Finnair oneway which provides me 15 000 points. Can I spend them right away for say an upgrade and it won't reset my evaluation period tier point counter, correct? Also, I probably won't be able to convert that 15 000 points I got from the flight to 5000 tierpoints later on if I'm short of an upgrade?
  1. In general you get the same amount of tier and award points for flying according to the earnings table. Only flying earns you tier points.

    The points do not post instantly but with some delay of a few days. You can use the award points as soon as they are in your account.

    Your tier point counter is only reset when you new qualification period starts.
    Quote:
  2. IF I fly OneWorld, for example Quatar Business HEL-DOH, how much points would I get? Finnair states that Quatar Business is worth 125% tierpoints, but 125% of what? Can I use the Finnair-points table and make out that Middle-East Finnair flights accumulate 2000 points (@ 100%) and thus my Quatar Business flight to Middle-East gets me 2500 points, correct?
  3. 125% of the distance. If you want to fly other OW Airlines like Qatar in business you should maybe also consider BA's program.
    Quote:
  4. Regarding hotel booking - is there a better way to collect points from hotels than using akruu to go to a booking site (...for example, hotels.com you get 7 points/€ AND still be able to use hotels.com reward nights program) and paying via the FP-master?
  5. Some chains offer 500 points per stay or night. You can do the maths.
    Quote:
  6. If I upgrade both passengers on the same AY-reservation to business, and it costs me say 100 000 points (50k/person), do both passengers need to have 50k on their accounts or can one person with 100k points upgrade both?
  7. You can do it both ways.
    Quote:
  8. A business-upgrade made with points won't affect the amount of tier-points you'd have gotten without the upgrade, correct?
  9. Correct.
Quote:
I realise that getting 80000 points trough 4-5 trips a year is a stretch, but I also got my first taste of an intercontinental Business-class flight last month on my trip to HongKong, and am willing to pay for more! So, say two round AY-business trips to Asia with Gold and the goal is not that far off.. So if I have the cash, it's best to fly business and fly Finnair. Thanks for reading!
2 business returns on Finnair (AY) and some breadcrumbs will keep you on Gold. Changing reward points to status points is also a good way to get the missing points.

Currently there is an AY promotion for AY+ members that brings you from 1099€ to China or 1199€ to Bangkok/Goa in business class. That earns 36800 points.

P.S.: you can exchange your 4 upgrade vouchers to one long haul voucher. That "saves" you 10k points.

Last edited by Jainzar; Oct 12, 17 at 2:25 am
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Old Oct 12, 17, 8:00 am   #3
  
Join Date: Jun 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jainzar View Post
125% of the distance. If you want to fly other OW Airlines like Qatar in business you should maybe also consider BA's program.
Just to complement the above: 125% of kilometers flown (most programs are based on miles flown). You can calculate the distance using Finnair's own calculator or www.gcmap.com
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Old Oct 13, 17, 5:06 am   #4
  
Join Date: Aug 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jainzar View Post
2 business returns on Finnair (AY) and some breadcrumbs will keep you on Gold. Changing reward points to status points is also a good way to get the missing points.

Currently there is an AY promotion for AY+ members that brings you from 1099€ to China or 1199€ to Bangkok/Goa in business class. That earns 36800 points.
You're absolutely right about the tier points earned with these flights in Business Class.

By trying to address the question 'When is the best time to visit [...]' for each of the destinations in China, I figured out that Xi is the best in spring, whereas Guangzhou is better in autumn.

Kaff, you could benefit from the Ascension Day on Thursday, May 10, as it is a public holiday in most of the countries in Europe (at least, in Finland) and for instance departing on Wednesday, May 9 and returning on Saturday, May 12.

I am AY+ Silver and my goal is also to become Gold next year. Currently at 6600 tier points (TP) / 38000 Awards points, and only the following short-haul flights booked in Economy before the end of my tracking period (August 2018), I am considering this option.

3x HEL-CDG, Value (R, Z) fare ticket
1x HEL-TFS, Basic (A) fare ticket via aurinkomatkat
1x HEL-BIQ, Value (R, Z) fare ticket

The question I ask you and myself: Is it worth it? Money-wise, Time-wise.

Because you are Helsinki-based, consider applying for the Finnair Diners Club and MasterCard credit cards (EUR 25 each the first year), enabling you to convert your collected award points (1 euro paid = 2,5 points earned as Gold) to tier points in a 3:1 ratio, in case you don't reach the needed 80000 tier-limit to maintain Gold.
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Last edited by frha01; Oct 13, 17 at 1:27 pm Reason: Additional information
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Old Oct 13, 17, 7:23 am   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2017
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Thanks Jainzar, deissi and frha01 for your tips!

Quote:
Originally Posted by frha01 View Post
Kaff, you could benefit from the Ascension Day on Thursday, May 10, as it is a public holiday in most of the countries in Europe (at least, in Finland) and for instance departing on Wednesday, May 9 and returning on Saturday, May 12.
I agree, public holidays are very convinient time to take holidays, Easter is next on my radar as it has two weekday public holidays close to each other. I'm starting off at zero tier points as I've flown mainly SAS the past couple of years, and I only have an S-class AY round trip to Japan planned, which will grant me 9200 points to start off the year. I might snag one of the business-class deals they currently offer for next spring to help me out even more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frha01 View Post
The question I ask you and myself: Is it worth it? Money-wise, Time-wise.

Because you are Helsinki-based, consider applying for the Finnair Diners Club and MasterCard credit cards (EUR 25 each the first year), enabling you to convert your collected award points (1 euro paid = 2,5 points earned as Gold) to tier points in a 3:1 ratio, in case you don't reach the needed 80000 tier-limit to maintain Gold.
I already have the MasterCard (opted for it instead of Diners because of better acceptability online and abroad), which I use for my daily purchases. Is trying to hang on to Gold worth it money wise - probably not. But my travelling habits have evolved into wanting a bit more comfort throughout the trip and Gold grants many useful perks in that aspect. Also I'm willing to spend a bit more these days to my holidays so might as well include a bit of strategy in there.

I've tried looking around FlyerTalk for useful threads on AY / OneWorld deals, but couldn't find much, if you can point out any useful threads or sites to find deals please feel free to share! I'm currently only using www.lentodiilit.fi, a finnish travel deal-site which has proven very useful in the past.

I use Skyscanner also, but only when I know where I wan't to go and when.
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Old Oct 13, 17, 7:43 am   #6
  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Helsinki, Finland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frha01 View Post
By trying to address the question 'When is the best time to visit [...]' for each of the destinations in China, I figured out that Xi is the best in spring, whereas Guangzhou is better in autumn.
And there's always the possibility of flying further on a separate ticket. E.g. BKK is quite good in this aspect as there are a lot of onward connections available and also a good number of AY flights: you can arrive in the morning and continue during the same day, then on the way back you can take a day flight to BKK and continue on the overnight flight to HEL.
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Old Oct 13, 17, 12:16 pm   #7
  
Join Date: Aug 2017
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Originally Posted by r2d2 View Post
And there's always the possibility of flying further on a separate ticket. E.g. BKK is quite good in this aspect as there are a lot of onward connections available and also a good number of AY flights: you can arrive in the morning and continue during the same day, then on the way back you can take a day flight to BKK and continue on the overnight flight to HEL.
Thanks for your additional information. Could you please provide more details on that possibility and how to proceed ? It looks an interesting way to optimize earnings and time.
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Old Oct 13, 17, 12:35 pm   #8
  
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Ex-BKK you have several OW airlines you could continue on:

- MH via KUL to their whole network
- CX to SIN and via HKG to their whole network
- JL to Japan and onwards
- BA to SYD
- QF to Ozzie
- UL to CAN, HKG and via Sri Lanka to their whole network
- QR to HAN and via DOH to their whole network
- RJ to HKG and KUL and via AMM to their whole network

Pick your destination and make sure you have enough time to connect - in BKK I would not take anything less than 3 hrs after the ETA of AY.
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Old Oct 13, 17, 1:27 pm   #9
  
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Originally Posted by frha01 View Post
Thanks for your additional information. Could you please provide more details on that possibility and how to proceed ? It looks an interesting way to optimize earnings and time.
Finnair has a sale on business class tickets to Bangkok until Monday, 1199 € for return. As a sidenote: when I tried booking using the standard booking engine, I didn't get the fare (which is only for Finnair Plus members). When I went to the offers page and chose the 1199 € fare there I was able to book it.

So go and check travel dates that have the 1199 € fare available (to Bangkok, it is only available on departures from Monday to Thursday). The offer is valid until the end of June 2018, so you can book it even for the beginning of next year's summer holiday season (that's what I did).

Then pick a destination in Southeast Asia or Ocenia where you would like to go. Use a search engine to search for flights between Bangkok and your selected destination. Like WilcoRoger said, you can accumulate more points and enjoy your OneWold Sapphire privileges on another OneWorld airline by booking a ticket at one of them. You can also book tickets on one of the Asian low cost carriers.

I booked the outbound flight on AY 141 (arrival time 7:15) and the inbound flight on AY 144 (departure time 23:35) next June for myself and my wife. If the volcano at Bali will settle, I'm planning to book AirAsia flights to Bali (onward flight at 12:00 from Don Mueang Airport, on the day of departure arrival from Denpasar at 15:15) for 250 € including baggage. If it looks like there would be mayhem at Bali in June I can pick another destination before booking my onward flights.
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Old Oct 13, 17, 11:38 pm   #10
  
Join Date: Jan 2008
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We went BKK-KUL-DPS on MH, using AA miles for Y redemption (but AY points work, too) and then bidding 50$ for upgrade that was accepted. Not too shabby Also, no BKK-DMK transfers

But yes, if you include AirAsia, you have again huge number of places to go (and then there's of course TG)
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Old Oct 14, 17, 12:45 am   #11
  
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And when talking about OW connections beyond BKK please note, that MH has one of their endless J class sales ongoing with very decent prices BKK-KUL-DPS and beyond their whole network.
365 return and wide availability. Only ~8000 AY tier points and their 737's are nothing to write home about but decent product in this price category if planning a Malesian vacation. KUL is very convenient for changing planes.
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Old Oct 14, 17, 12:07 pm   #12
  
Join Date: Aug 2017
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Originally Posted by r2d2 View Post
So go and check travel dates that have the 1199 fare available (to Bangkok, it is only available on departures from Monday to Thursday). The offer is valid until the end of June 2018, so you can book it even for the beginning of next year's summer holiday season (that's what I did).

Then pick a destination in Southeast Asia or Ocenia where you would like to go. Use a search engine to search for flights between Bangkok and your selected destination.
Brillant! Your explanation made me consider another option: picking a separate ticket from Guangzhou (CAN) to Hong Kong (HKG) via Cathaypacific.

Finnair flight departs from Helsinki (HEL) on May 9 at 16:50 and arrives at 07:30 +1. Cathaypacific offers two departure flights from CAN : 1/ 09:55, 2/ 22:20.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WilcoRoger View Post
Pick your destination and make sure you have enough time to connect - in BKK I would not take anything less than 3 hrs after the ETA of AY.
Is it the minimum time you would spare for any connecting flight booked on a separate ticket, or is it specific to BKK ? Flying with or without checked-in luggage(s) ?

Anyone with an experience from the custom and security at CAN ?

Many thanks guys for all you help, you make this discussion forum incredibly addictive!
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Old Oct 14, 17, 2:03 pm   #13
  
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If you want to go to HK via CAN, you should probably consider visa-free transit, and forget about safe connection times altogether. There are a few interesting sights in Canton, and (depending on your citizenship) you might be eligible for 72h transit w/o visa (been there done that).

It is actually possible to buy HEL-CAN-HKG as interline ticket from AY, but I guess it's not compatible with the campaign fare rules.
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Old Oct 14, 17, 11:56 pm   #14
  
Join Date: Feb 2001
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The distance between Guangzhou and Hong Kong is roughly the same as between Helsinki and Tampere. Unless you really want to fly, you can just take the train.
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Old Oct 15, 17, 1:01 am   #15
  
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Originally Posted by r2d2 View Post
The distance between Guangzhou and Hong Kong is roughly the same as between Helsinki and Tampere. Unless you really want to fly, you can just take the train.
Yeah, one-way KA CAN-HKG ticket must have been the ticket with the highest price-to-distance ratio that I ever bought. It really hurts if you buy it stand-alone.

But the train is not eligible for 72h visa-free transit.
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