(EXPIRED) Buy oneworld Emerald status through Finnair through 12/27

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About a week ago, One Mile at a Time flagged that Finnair is offering a promotion that I haven’t been able to fully analyze, but a number of readers have asked about it and I know that others may not have heard about it at all, so I wanted to write a post quickly recognizing that there is an opportunity to effectively buy oneworld elite status through a current Finnair bonus on purchased points (and the chance to buy enough points for a few cheap award tickets).

a seat in an airplane
Finnair business class looks pretty nice and you could buy the points to fly this transatlantic business class 5 times for less than $3K with this promotion.

The Deal

  • FinnairPlus is offering a bonus on points purchases as follows through 12/27 (note that this ends based on Finland’s time zone, so really Monday afternoon here):
    • Buy 5,000-49,000 points, get a 40% bonus
    • Buy 50,000-99,000 points, get a 60% bonus
    • Buy 100,000-149,000 points, get an 80% bonus
    • Buy 150,000-200,000 points, get a 100% bonus
  • Additionally, you will receive tier points equal to 25% of the number of points you purchase. This is based on the total number of points purchased including bonus points. For instance, if you purchase 200K points, you’ll get a 100% bonus in redeemable points (200K additional redeemable points) for a total of 400K redeemable points. Then you will also get a 25% bonus in tier points — i.e. 100K tier points (which are used for determining elite status)
  • You can also convert redeemable points to tier points at a ratio of 3 redeemable points to 1 tier point, which means you can end up with additional tier points (subject to a limit of 50% of the tier points for a required elite status level)
  • Direct link to this promotion

Key Terms

  • Transactions must be completed between 15 December (00:00:01 EET) and 27 December (23:59:59 EET) 2021 to receive the Finnair Plus points bonus. (Note the time zone — the promo is on until 4:59pm Eastern time on 12/27/21)
  • Finnair Plus award points bonus is only eligible on transactions of 5,000 points and above.
  • Whilst the promotion is active (15–27 December) The maximum amount of points Finnair Plus members can purchase for themselves or friends as a gift is 200,000 points. This limit is in addition to any points bought so far in the calendar year.
  • Finnair Plus bonus award and tier points will be awarded to the recipient instantly, at the time of transaction.
  • Tier points are valid until the end of your current tracking period.
  • All other Buy/Gift Finnair Plus points terms and conditions apply.

Quick Thoughts

The basics of the promotion are are as follows:

  • If you buy 200K points for $2,909, you’ll get a total of 400K redeemable points and 100K tier points, which is enough tier points for Finnair Gold / oneworld Sapphire status. That gets you American Airlines flagship lounge access even when traveling domestically.
  • You can then convert 150K of your redeemable points to 50K additional tier points. That would give you 150K total tier points, enough for Finnair Platinum / oneworld Emerald status (top tier). Finnair Platinum gets you two one-way upgrade vouchers for transatlantic travel.

The thing that makes this interesting is the ability to essentially buy oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status quite cheaply. The key AAdvantage of that is that oneworld Sapphire members who have status from a foreign program get access to American’s flagship lounges even when traveling domestically within the US. Those who go after oneworld Emerald will also enjoy oneworld first class lounge access.

One thing I’m not sure about is the official policy on lounge access when traveling on an AAdvantage award ticket. From comments I’ve read, it sounds like showing your oneworld Emerald status at the door may be enough to get you in to AA lounges, but I’m not sure if that’s on a case-by-case basis. If you are on a paid ticket, you could of course credit the flight to Finnair and associate your Finnair Plus number with your ticket and then I would expect lounge access to be automatic. However, I know that many of us are expecting to be very flush with American Airlines miles any day now and may be looking at more AA award bookings in the year to come.

Speaking of the year to come, from what Ben says, it sounds like elite status from the promotion may last until August of 2023, so you do get quite a while to enjoy benefits.

On previous glances at the Finnair award chart, I’ve never been very impressed. Most awards are downright expensive, but One Mile at a Time points out two sweet spots that might make this deal worth it for some:

  • Finnair Plus charges 80K miles for a one-way business class transatlantic award. If you bought 400K points for $2,909, you would have enough for 5 business class transatlantic (or Europe-to-Asia) one-ways. Alternatively, if you leverage 150K redeemable points to pick up oneworld Emerald status, you’ll still have enough points (250K remaining redeemable points) for 3 transatlantic one-ways in business class.
  • Using points to upgrade from economy class to business class on Finnair paid flights can also be reasonable (e.g. 50K points to upgrade on an intercontinental flight)

I could imagine some people being intrigued by the ability to essentially buy oneworld Emerald status, three transatlantic business class one-way tickets, and a couple of transatlantic one-way upgrade vouchers for $2,909. Personally, I’m not one of those people, but it isn’t hard to imagine that it would be a good deal for some.

I’m not particularly interested in this promotion for a few reasons though.

First, when traveling internationally, I am almost always flying in business or first class on an award ticket. I therefore already have lounge access in those situations.

Second, if I wanted American Airlines lounge access domestically, I’d probably get the Citi American Airlines Executive card that comes with lounge access and the ability to add a number of authorized users for its $450 annual fee. That’s a much cheaper way to access the lounge.

However, a reader pointed out that you won’t get flagship lounge access with the Executive card, so if that makes a difference to you this promotion might make more sense.

But the key reason I’m skipping out on this deal is of course the fact that I just invested heavily in buying American Airlines miles. While the price per mile here and the benefits might both be “deals”, I’m not looking to approach five figures worth of miles purchased this month. Between what I expect to earn via SimplyMiles and the never-ending Amex Points Parade, I just don’t need to invest this much more cash for a “deal” at this time. However, others will certainly disagree.

For more analysis on this deal, I strongly recommend checking out the One Mile at a Time post about this promotion as well as the comments on that post. I’m not diving into this one myself and won’t get around to any further analysis before the promotion ends on Monday, so One Mile at a Time is a good resource for those interested in this one.

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