Hot on the heels of Condor Airlines, Alaska’s Mileage Plan program today announced a partnership with Finnair. If you want to fly to Europe and earn Alaska miles, this adds to a growing list of other European carriers including Air France, KLM, Condor, Icelandair, and British Airways. Finnair currently operates from Chicago and New York-JFK but will be adding service from San Francisco on June 1, where Alaska is bulking up service following its acquisition of Virgin America.
You can earn up to 300% of the distance flown in award miles — and 200% of the distance flown in elite qualifying miles — on most Finnair business class fares when you credit them to Alaska Mileage Plan. This includes 100% of the distance in base miles (award + elite qualifying), 100% bonus for certain business fare classes (award + elite qualifying), and a special 100% bonus in award miles only.
If you have an elite bonus, that gives you additional award miles. For example, an MVP Gold member receives a 100% bonus on award miles, for a total of 200% in elite qualifying miles and 400% in award miles on J, C, and D business class fares. Unfortunately, many economy class fares have rather poor earning rates of 25-50%.
As is common for Alaska Airlines, the partnership with Finnair mentions the ability to earn miles on either carrier, but an award chart with redemption guidelines has not yet been released. Past experience says this can take anywhere from one to several months. My hope is that you’ll be able to use Alaska miles for intra-European flights; currently only British Airways permits this. Other carriers like Air France and KLM allow intra-European flights but only if continuing on a longer transatlantic journey.
This reinforces my idea that Alaska is bulking up on oneworld Alliance members and other carriers to supplement its network in the event that more SkyTeam partners pull out under pressure from Delta, which exited its Alaska Airlines partnership on May 1, 2017. But as I said the first time, it’s not founded by anything other than my own speculation.