to make it easier you can also remember me as Karba, since my last name is totally unpronounceable to anyone outside Poland. Funny that.

I work in the Internet Sales and Loyalty Programs team as a marketing manager. The Loyalty Program in the name is of course our 20 years old Finnair Plus. My job is therefore firmly located in the world of rules, points, tiers, upgrade vouchers, award flights, cards and so on.

In my life outside points, tiers and offers for members, I run. Sometimes it’s a barefoot run (as in “no shoes”) and often it’s rather long. But it’s not really fast. I also drag my family around the world (no worries, they actually like it).

In my blog posts I will try to bring the world of frequent travelers closer to you and explain the meanders of Finnair Plus. How to earn points if you don’t fly that much? How can you use the points? What’s the difference between tier points and award points? What’s so cool about being a Platinum member? How much do you need to fly to get to any tier? What on Earth is lounge access?

Karolina posts:

More smiles at HEL airport

We’ve been busy celebrating! Each month brings new smiles on passengers faces as Finnair Plus offers absolutely fabulous cakes at HEL airport. Check your travel plans and make sure you join us for final celebration on December 20th.



Cake, vol 2

This month we celebrated Finnair Plus birthday with chocolate-raspberry cake. We can confirm that all of our Asian destinations are delicious!


We were also celebrating somebody else’s birthday:


In a great company:



When the first cake was finished (and it didn’t take long) we moved on to the Schengen area of HEL airport. Cake base was in Finnair Tax Free Shop:





See you next month!

To celebrate Finnair Plus’ 20th anniversary, we will serve a different cake at Helsinki Airport on the 20th day of each month until the end of the year. So, check your travel plans and make sure you come and see and taste one of the amazing cakes prepared by Kakkuhelmi!


We had a small surprise for passengers who were passing by our Finnair Plus stand at Helsinki-Vantaa airport. I mentioned before that Finnair Plus turned 20 this year.

When there is birthday, there is cake! And for Finnair Plus there are many cakes to come. We’ll serve a different cake on the 20th day of each month until the end of the year. So, check your travel plans and make sure you come and see and taste one of the amazing cakes prepared by Kakkuhelmi. Finnair Plus stand is next to gate 32 in non-Schengen area of HEL airport.

Check the gallery below for some snapshots from our small celebrations on May 20th.





The 20 years of Finnair Plus

Finnair Plus is 20 years old! It’s quite interesting to look at how the industry and frequent flyer programs have changed in just two decades.

Loyalty programs are probably as old as the retail industry itself. The idea has been always the same: encourage repeat business by rewarding customers for their loyalty.

The first frequent flyer programs were developed on the other side of the pond, with American Airlines leading the way with their AAdvantage back in 1981. The programs didn’t really catch on in Europe until a decade later, and Finnair was among the pioneers on the Old Continent.

At the very beginning there were no tiers and no partnerships. The whole aviation industry was a whole different picture back then – for example there were no alliances as we know them today.

The first card looked like this:


The main idea at that time was to collect points by flying Finnair – and after some time redeem the award flight.  In addition to that, the system allowed Finnair to recognize its best customers so that we could offer them something special, like for example, inviting them to try out the flight simulator together with one of the captains. These are still the cornerstones of any frequent flyer program, but later developments allowed adding other perks such as the ability to earn points without traveling anywhere, and tier benefits.

When the program launched full-scale in May of 1992, the customers’ response was overwhelming. There were thousands of applications coming in and the newly formed Finnair Plus team was working crazy hours just to handle the paper applications. No online (gasp!) forms or automated systems back then, so it was all manual work! When the program got well-established we started to expand it.

To round out the array of services, we started cooperating with other airlines and the usual suspects in the travel industry- hotels, car rentals, and cruise operators. The idea was, and still is, to make the travel process as smooth and rewarding as possible for the customer. Just have a look at the back of our brochure from the beginning of 1993. Some surprises there, eh?

Then we added tiers and the whole concept of “elite status” kicked off- in its essence it is a structured way of rewarding the best customers for using our services. The more kilometers you clock, the better perks you get: business-class check in, fast-lane security checks, lounges, bonus points added to the regular number usually awarded etc. At the beginning it was Silver and Gold tiers. Platinum was added later on, in 1997. And just this week we launched two more tiers: Lifetime Gold and Lifetime Platinum.


1999 saw the creation of oneworld alliance and Finnair joined that crowd. For our customers, the ability to schedule seamless travel is important and airline alliances help make it possible. Another important thing is that when you travel using alliance carriers, the points are credited and can be used interchangeably- members can earn Finnair Plus points by flying any oneworld carrier flight. This of course allows accumulating points more rapidly.

The beginning of the 21st century marked the beginning of frequent flyer programs adding non-travel partners- especially credit card companies. Now Finnair Plus has over 300 partners around the world.