How to Fly to Helsinki for “Half Price”

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I was pretty excited to read Joe’s news about Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan finally adding Finnair. Although the pricing isn’t great – I will still aim for Cathay Pacific rewards to/from Hong Kong and American Airlines rewards to/from the United States – the addition of Finnair will allow you to fly to these great places with just the one stop en route to Asia / Middle East / India:

  • Bangkok, Beijing, Chongqing, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Nagoya, Nanjing, Osaka, Phuket, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Xian
  • Delhi, Dubai, Tel Aviv

But the main reason for this post is to point out the value of Alaska Mileage Plan’s free stopover on one-way itineraries. Your first instinct might be that you wouldn’t care much for a stopover in Helsinki when travelling to Asia. Fair enough…  But what if you fancied a getaway to Helsinki and could structure a “boomerang” itinerary.

Here’s how it works…

Look for two cities served by Finnair that are relatively convenient to you. Somebody living in the Midlands might be relatively agnostic about flying out of London or Manchester. So fly from London to Manchester with a stopover in Helsinki!

And voila, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan will charge you 12,500 miles in Economy or 20,000 miles in Business Class, since the itinerary is deemed to be “one way with a stopover”.

According to Wikipedia, Finnair serves these British airports:

  • London Heathrow
  • Manchester
  • Edinburgh

Londoners might also find it convenient to fly in/out of Amsterdam, Brussels or Paris and take the train / a short flight using Avios to position…

This isn’t the first time that InsideFlyer UK has pointed out the travel hacking opportunities presented by Alaska’s stopover policy – click here for the Japanese version – but it is the first time that British residents can use the trick to fly off for a quick getaway and pay “half price”. Perhaps not in February though, despite the easy award availability for blogging purposes…


  1. Andrew H says

    Alaska allows London to Manchester via Helsinki? That’s crazy. That’s a major hack. It wouldn’t surprise me if Alaska/Finnair haven’t realised yet and eventually close what they will consider to be a loop hole. Particularly as Finnair operates a long haul business class plane on the London to Helsinki route.

    • Andrew M says

      Alaska must be well aware of it considering how much the Japan version has been promoted on various blogs (especialy Inside Flyer!). It’s well within the scheme rules but I doubt many “normal” people would ever use it. Most Milage Plan members are US based so these redemptions are of limited use to them. It’s so niche that I would guess the numbers involved are small and it’s therefore not really a big issue for Alaska. However that’s not to say that gems like this won’t disapear at some point in the future.

      • Joe Deeney says

        Yep – judging by how long it’s been around, the free stopover on one ways with Alaska is a feature rather than a bug. If it was ever changed I imagine it would be done more generally than just Finnair, but hopefully it won’t!

        • Craig Sowerby says

          Considering that this trick also works for Alaska’s home base of Seattle (on Alaska Airlines), it’s probably something that they are comfortable with.

          But pretty much every other airline has gotten rid of free stopovers on one-way itineraries, so who knows…

      • Chris Jensen says

        @Andrew M – Would you care to share the Japan version of this with me? I will be going there early 2019. Thanks, Chris

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