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Alaska Airlines and Finnair expanding partnership, but it's not all good news for Alaska customers

Feb. 20, 2022
5 min read
Alaska Airlines and Finnair expanding partnership, but it's not all good news for Alaska customers
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Don't sleep on Alaska.

The Seattle-based airline now has codeshares on some 250 routes with various partners. Those airline allies are American, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iberia, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qantas.

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Now, in more good news for Alaska passengers craving international travel, Alaska Airlines and Finnair recently announced an expanded codesharing agreement that will make flying between European cities and West Coast hubs easier than ever.

“By this summer, Alaska and these eight Oneworld airlines will offer more than 78 daily international flights from Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, enabling seamless connectivity to Alaska's comprehensive network up and down the West Coast,” Alaska said in a press release announcing the codeshare.

Alaska jet with Oneworld livery. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

In 2021, Alaska Airlines joined the Oneworld Alliance — a coalition of 14 major international airlines that includes behemoths like British Airways, Japan Airlines and American Airlines — and since then, Alaska Airlines has rapidly expanded its codesharing partnerships. As Alaska Airlines senior executive Nat Pieper explains, "We joined Oneworld for the opportunity to expand partnerships with world-class airlines such as Finnair. This agreement will offer its customers and our guests' amazing travel possibilities."

Alaska Airlines and Finnair boast the most seamless networks across the West Coast and Europe, respectively, and the new partnership will drastically increase the number of flights from cities like Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco to major European destinations.

Seattle. (Photo by Caroline Tanner/The Points Guy)

For those unfamiliar with airline jargon, the terms “codesharing” and “airline alliances” bear explaining. Put simply, codesharing refers to the practice of sharing routes among airlines. Let’s use the upcoming Alaska Airlines-Finnair partnership to illustrate: Once the agreement is in full effect, you will be able to book Alaska Airlines flights between West Coast hubs and European capitals with a connection in Helsinki, Finland’s capital and Finnair’s hometown airport. The second leg of the trip from Helsinki would be on a Finnair flight, but you could book the whole trip through Alaska Airlines and earn Mileage Plan miles for both legs of the itinerary. This article by TPG writer Ben Smithson further details how codesharing works and why airlines do it.

Helsinki, Finland (Finn stock/Shutterstock)

Airline alliances are partnerships between major airlines that grant travelers such perks as the ability to transfer and redeem points between member airlines and enjoy elite status benefits across the alliance. There are three major airline alliances, which are, in order of largest to smallest, Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld. Almost all major international airlines are part of one of these three alliances, with the notable exceptions of Virgin Australia and Etihad — two major airlines that roll solo.

So, since Alaska and Finnair are both members of the Oneworld Alliance, you can transfer and redeem points between the two airlines. Better yet, if you have Alaska Airlines’ elite status, you would be eligible for upgrades on Finnair flights and get bonuses like free checked bags and priority check-in. To dive deeper into the nuances of airline alliances, check out this article.

In addition to expanded codesharing with Finnair, Alaska Airlines also codeshares with major Asian airlines like Japan Airlines and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific. Travelers can access up to 1,000 different destinations through Alaska Airlines. With enough Alaska Airlines miles, the possibilities for globetrotting are endless. Want to visit Tokyo or Doha? The new partnership “will bring the Continent and much of the West Coast closer together,” notes Pieper. In short, the new agreement between Alaska Airlines and Finnair will bring that Paris vacation or crazy post-pandemic week in Berlin just a little closer to realization.

It's not all good news for Alaska customers.

As we've been reporting Alaska has made some pretty-unfriendly customer moves recently. That includes making award availability on partner airlines harder to find and more expensive, raising prices for awards in first-class, adding dynamic pricing on some award tickets and cutting mileage earnings with some partners.

Featured image by (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases