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Finnair joins the VTL with fuel-surcharge-free Business Class award seats aplenty

Redeem the latest VTL flight from Europe to Singapore in Business Class for 70,000 Asia Miles + S$24, with five seats up for grabs on some dates!

More good news for those of you struggling to secure award space on designated VTL flights from Europe to Singapore over the peak holiday season, with Finnair announcing that it will operate all four of its weekly Helsinki to Changi services under the scheme from late November, with generous award space loaded.

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As a oneworld airline, this gives you redemption options using Asia Miles, Avios points or Alaska Miles among others, and since Finnair removed fuel surcharges on its long-haul flights in June 2020 there are minimal taxes to pay of only S$24 in most cases.

Finland VTL

Finnair will be the only airline operating non-stop flights from Helsinki to Singapore under the VTL programme (unless SIA pulls something out of the hat).

The airline has now confirmed that all of its AY131 Helsinki – Singapore services will be designated VTL flights from 29th November 2021.

Update 17th November: Finnair later removed their statement regarding designated VTL services, but has since re-confirmed that all its flights will be part of the VTL scheme.

The VTL schedule

Here’s how Finnair’s VTL flight schedule looks, with three services in the first week quickly ramping up to four from early December.

29th November 2021 – 5th December 2021

  Days
M T W T F S S
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Finnair_Small.png AY131
A350-900
HEL
23:55
SIN

17:15*

* Next day

6th December 2021 – 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Finnair_Small.png AY131
A350-900
HEL
23:55
SIN

17:15*

* Next day

Finnair is using its Airbus A350 four days per week to fly to and from Singapore, with all HEL-SIN flights eligible for the VTL

  Full list of all VTL Flights

Award space

We found the following Business Class award availability on the Helsinki – Singapore route during the peak December 2021 and January 2022 period.

Business Class award availability
HEL-SIN

December 2021

  • 2 Dec: 5
  • 3 Dec: 1
  • 6 Dec: 5
  • 9 Dec: 4
  • 10 Dec: 2
  • 12 Dec: 3
  • 13 Dec: 3
  • 16 Dec: 3
  • 20 Dec: 3
  • 23 Dec: 3

January 2022

  • 17 Jan: 3
  • 20 Jan: 5
  • 21 Jan: 5
  • 23 Jan: 4
  • 24 Jan: 4
  • 27 Jan: 2
  • 28 Jan: 3

Award space on the VTL flights does dry up over the immediate Christmas and New Year period, but it’s back again by mid-January.

There is similar Business Class award space on Finnair flights in the Singapore – Helsinki direction too, where VTL designation is not required.

There are also Economy award seats available on even more popular days immediately around the holiday period.

On board Finnair’s A350s you’ll find the popular Cirrus Business Class seat (also used by Cathay Pacific) in a 1-2-1 configuration, with direct aisle access for all passengers.

Finnair’s A350 Business Class had a refresh last year. (Photo: Finnair)

Finnair serves a ‘midnight menu’ followed by breakfast on its AY131 Helsinki – Singapore flights and is serving Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale Brut Champagne – not the best but for what it’s worth they were pouring this in the Qantas Singapore First Lounge before it closed!

Award rates

Finnair is a oneworld member, so you can use frequent flyer miles accrued in any oneworld programme to redeem its Economy Class or Business Class seats.

Remember that with no fuel surcharges, Finnair long-haul redemptions come with minimal airport taxes, unless you’re redeeming from high tax origin points like London.

Taxes on a Finnair flight from Helsinki to Singapore are only EUR 15.43 – around S$24

We looked at three one-way routes to Singapore, the first being simply non-stop on the VTL flight from Helsinki.

After that we checked pricing including a connecting flight from London and Frankfurt, also utilising to the VTL service to Singapore, for those not actually visiting Finland.

Finnair Business Class redemption to Singapore
FFP Helsinki
(non-stop)
Frankfurt
(via HEL)
London
(via HEL)
AStrans 60k
+S$41
60k
+S$175
60k
+S$407
70k
+S$24
70k
+S$158
70k
+S$390
90k
+S$24
104.5k
+S$158
104.5k
+S$390
92.75k
+S$24
109.25k
+S$158
109.25k
+S$390
120k
+S$24
150k
+S$158
150k
+S$390

Note that Alaska Mileage Plan now charges a US$12.50 (~S$17) partner award booking fee, which is why the taxes and fees are slightly higher when redeeming using that programme.

Update: Thanks to rekeno in the comments section for highlighting that Finnair has a 20% discount on award seats redeemed using its own Finnair Plus programme until 17th November, so Helsinki to Singapore in Business Class can currently be redeemed for 64,000 Finnair Plus points (usually 80,000 points).

Asia Miles is your accessible go-to frequent flyer currency for Finnair Business Class awards, with a flat 70,000 miles redemption rate each way to and from Europe and minimal taxes if you avoid the more expensive departure points, or simply redeem to or from Helsinki itself.

70,000 Asia Miles from Europe to Singapore on a VTL flight, with HKD 141 in taxes (around S$24)

You can transfer credit card points into Asia Miles from practically every bank in Singapore (OCBC and Standard Chartered are the sole exceptions), so there’s great flexibility here for most of our readers.

If you have a stash of Qantas Frequent Flyer points, it’s actually not terrible value to redeem 90,000 of these on Finnair in Business Class, provided you’re flying directly from Helsinki to Singapore (or you’re happy to position yourself to HEL independently).

That’s because the non-stop HEL-SIN route sneaks in just below the 5,800-mile mark, where the Qantas oneworld partner award rate jumps to the next level (104,500 miles).

How to search Finnair award space

Generally we use the British Airways Avios search engine to find oneworld award availability. This requires you to be logged on in order to search, but it’s free to have an Executive Club account.

Avios isn’t the cheapest way to redeem long-haul Finnair flights, but its search engine is good

This will show you the availability on a given day, with the ability to quickly check days either side or skip to different weekly periods.

There is no need to enter the number of passengers or select Business Class when searching (just leave it at the default settings, Economy and 1 pax), since it will show both classes for Finnair flights by default and display the number of seats available for redemption within each cabin on each flight (if it’s less than 9).

You can also search a calendar month view using the American Airlines AAdvantage site. This is quite a useful way to view Finnair availability, plus doesn’t require you to be logged in or even have an AAdvantage account.

You can also filter for non-stop flights and by cabin class for the most accurate overview.

VTL eligibility and process

In case you need a reminder, here’s a brief summary of how the VTL works, with Finland joining the list of eligible countries with effect from 29th November 2021.

Singapore
Vaccinated Travel Lanes

Key Features

  • Must have stayed in a VTL country/region and/or Singapore for 14 days
  • Travel to Singapore on designated ‘VTL flights’
  • No restrictions on travel purpose or itineraries
  • Must be fully vaccinated in Singapore or any VTL country, with an accepted digital proof of vaccination
  • Unvaccinated children aged 12 or under can accompany their parents
  • Visitors and Singapore pass holders must apply for a VTP in advance
  • Two COVID-19 tests replace quarantine / Stay-Home Notice in Singapore

  VTL: All you need to know



 


 

Summary

Using Asia Miles to redeem Finnair in Business Class to or from Europe is a good deal now that the airline does not pass on a fuel surcharge with its award tickets.

Alaska Miles are also a good value option on paper, though most of our readers purchase these in one of the airline’s frequent sales, and so the 60,000-mile rate isn’t actually that attractive in this case compared to some better uses for that particular FFP currency.

Finnair A350 Business Class. (Photo: Finnair)

Now it’s been confirmed all four of Finnair’s AY131 services from Helsinki to Singapore each week will be designated VTL flights from 29th November, this could be a great time to jump on Business Class awards while they are available in abundance.

(Cover Photo: Finnair)

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