Finnair Joins British Airways, American, and Iberia in Joint Business Venture Across the Atlantic… No Upgrade for You!

Finnair, the Helsinki-based oneworld airline, joins American, British Airways and Iberia in their joint business venture across the Atlantic tomorrow.

Finnair also intends to join the Japan Airlines-British Airways joint venture between Japan and Europe.

This is a business play for the airlines involved, and while companies will talk about better coordination of schedules and seamless transfers (and it is the case that they tend to be better at interlining during irregular operations as a result) this really isn’t something that affects customers in a way that most will pay attention to or care about.

When American, Iberia, and British Airways formed their joint venture, it became possible to use miles from any of those airlines to upgrade on any of the other carriers. Of course space had to be available, and there were specific requirements about fare classes and even how the tickets were issued. But it introduced new upgrade options.

The introduction of Finnair into the joint venture does not carry with it an expansion of mileage upgrades. American AAdvantage members will not be able to use their miles to upgrade on Finnair, nd Finnair members won’t be able to use miles to upgrade on American, at least in the immediate term.

Which means that the joint venture expansion is — to the average frequent flyer customer — mostly a non-event. Although it will seem like a big deal to aviation geeks and alliance watchers who see an increasing importance for close business relationships in a bilateral or multilateral setting rather than merely through the traditional alliance organizations.


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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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