To Helsinki on a Tier Point Bargain airfare
- How much for 160 Tier Points?
- 3 am. Digbeth Coach Station. We know the drill by now…
- Cathay Pacific Lounge (Business Class), London Heathrow
- Finnair AY1332 London Heathrow to Helsinki Airport (Business Class)
- This is new: Leaving Helsinki Airport
- Crowne Plaza Helsinki
- Exploring Suomenlinna
- Back to Helsinki Airport
- Finnair Non-Schengen Lounge
- Finnair AY1337 Helskini to London Heathrow (Business Class)
- What a Heathrow Omnishambles
- 160 Tier Points Down, 160 To Go
I suppose I had better write these introductions properly, rather than part of the main part of the trip report, as it helps me get stuff off my chest and is also good for a giggle at the remains of my thought process.
Welcome to the first of two Finnair trip reports I a doing back-to-back. Why? Points of course. Not to get drunk on an aircraft, but because momma needs to think about elite requalification this year (and prices are only heading up at the time of writing).
Our eyes turn to the Finnair passenger experience, as well as exploring lands I have not visited (other than in transit).
I’ve broken this trip report down a little more than usual, mainly there are a far few things to take a look at, rather than just glossing over parts of the passenger experience. To say a certain London airport had a major impact – would be an understatement.
Whilst I am using Grammarly a lot more than I should (dyslexia is a pig), my usual detractors who moan about my spelling and grammar can read this press release I wrote a few years ago about this inconstancy.
Enough of the preamble.
How much for 160 Tier Points?
Time to revisit a traditional part of idiot frequent flying – the classic milage or tier point run.
Yes, I have missed doing this too.
If you are new to the game of elite status and how to maintain it, Mileage or Tier Point runs allow trips that are for the express purpose of accumulating points – be they in the form of miles or tier points at the lowest cost.
For those in British Airways Executive Club, this boils down to maximising the cost tier points, time and how far certain flights earn you in certain classes.
We all know this fresh hell when working out what a flight is worth – https://www.britishairways.com/travel/flight-calculator/public/en_gb
Earlier in April, I came across some fares being sold via third-party agents with business class tickets for flights on Finnair, on a BA Ticket code.
The net result was a £530 fare on sale for £247 return, which was offered by Crystal Travel.
With Helsinki being in the 80/160 Tier point zone in business class, this nets 1 Tier point around £1.54 a pop – not the best value – but better than some options (considering I netted a mere 110 tier points on an Economy/Premium Economy fare that cost £580), this fare was in the ‘Well, it is rather good’ territory.
The place where I normally decide to put the hammer down on a ticket. So much so, I might have booked another ticket with this. But that’s a spoiler for the end.
There’s another important thing to note too – Finnair uses a mixture of equipment on the London-Helsinki route – from the small Airbus A319, through to an A321, to wide-body equipment such as the Airbus A330-300 and Airbus A350-900.
And you all know how much I like to have a flatbed on a plane for a three-hour flight. Considering that Finnair is rolling out a major upgrade to its business class product too with a chance to maybe fly on it – this was an opportunity too good to pass up.
So for both the outbound and inbound legs, I’ve selected flights that operate with an Airbus A350-900 on the outbound and an A330-300 on the inbound.
Because sometimes, size does matter
This first trip is going to fall into the ‘Mileage Run with Benefits’ category, so instead of a “there and back”, I’m having a little bit of a break too, with a couple of nights in Helsinki.
I left the hotels a little late – as the cost of paying £100 a night to stay in an Ibis hurt a lot. For a Crowne Plaza or Hotel Indigo – I don’t have that much of a problem.
In the end, I chose the Crowne Plaza. It looked pretty reasonable at the rate I booked it at, so I was not unhappy.
Quality makes a difference.
To get to Heathrow in a reasonable time, I’ll be taking the National Express down, but on the way back, it will be the train back. With only a two-hour time difference and me travelling at a reasonable time of day (well, 5 pm on a Sunday evening isn’t exactly “reasonable”, but better than not), I would risk the train home – well the coach was stupidly late, so it would be better in any frame of mind. ,
So, with that in mind, it is time to go Tier Point Hunting!
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