Alaska Announces Partnership with Finnair

Alaska Airlines just announced a new partnership with Finnair, a member of the oneworld alliance. If you’re not familiar with Alaska’a award program, Mileage Plan, it’s one of the best award programs due to solid redemption rates, flexible routing rules, and a number of quality partners that span across alliances.

Alaska Airlines is not a member in one of the major global alliances, although with so many oneworld partners, in practice, they just about are. Here’s a list of all the different partners that Alaska partners with:

  • Aeroméxico
  • Air France
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor Flugdienst
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • Japan Airlines
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • LATAM Chile
  • PenAir
  • Qantas
  • Ravn Alaska

You can already start crediting your Finnair flight to Alaska at the following rates:

It’s not exactly clear when you’ll be able to use your Alaska miles for Finnair just yet — we just know to expect that some time during the fall. When booking Finnair with American miles total fees are pretty minimal, so I’m hoping and expecting this will be the case for Alaska, too.

Finnair is already allowing its members to earn Finnair miles for Alaska flights and redeem those miles on Alaska. However, the Finnair award chart, which is airline specific for Alaska —  is pricey. Domestic roundtrips go for 45,000, which is 20,000 more miles than the standard. A round trip in business/first is 85,000 which is over 30,000 more miles than what you’d expect to pay for a domestic roundtrip in business/first.

Awards on Finnair

Finnair flies to the following US destinations form Helsinki:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • Miami
  • San Francisco (starting in June)

Back when I was booking my trip to Scandinavia I looked into flying with Finnair to get to to Tromsø, Norway, but ended up going with another airline (SAS using Aeroplan). However, during the search process, I found a lot of of award availability to Europe with Finnair.

The only problem is that I never double checked the availability with the British Airways Avios search engine and American is known to show phantom award space for Finnair. Many have complained about the lack of business class award seats open on Finnair, so the offerings in J class may not be as solid as I first imagined.

If you’re flying between Asia and Europe you may have better luck finding open seats, but given how Alaska restricts certain routes for award seats, I’m not sure you’ll be able to book these routes.

Overall, this is a nice move to see Alaska adding a trans-Atlantic partner that in my opinion they really needed, given the loss of Delta as a partner. Availability in business class may prove to be somewhat of an issue but at least there’s one more option for using your Alaska miles now available.