Up to 120,000 bonus Points - American Express® Westpac Altitude Black Bundle
Enjoy up to 120,000 bonus Qantas or Altitude Points when you apply for the two-card bundle, are approved and meet the minimum spend of $4k on Mastercard and $3k on AMEX - Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard and the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card. T&Cs apply. New cards only. Click here to apply. Offer ends 15th October 2019. Find out more. Click here to apply.
If you're looking for a new option to get to Europe to replace the traditional one-hop Kangaroo Route, Qantas' oneworld partner Finnair thinks it has an appropriately seasonal answer: the Reindeer Route via its modern, efficient hub in Helsinki.
The idea is that you fly Qantas to Singapore, Hong Kong or Bangkok and change planes to one of Finnair's jets for the longer leg to Helsinki.
Taking advantage of the short transfer times at Helsinki Airport, you then connect onwards to your European destination with Finnair, earning full Qantas Frequent Flyer points and status credits all the way since Finnair is a oneworld partner airline.
You might be visualising a map and wondering how flying so far north makes sense, but flying the polar route to Helsinki takes advantage of the earth's curvature -- which is distorted on a standard map projection:
Sydney to Paris via Singapore and Helsinki is only 110 km further than Sydney to Paris via Dubai. Similarly, Brisbane to Frankfurt via Hong Kong and Helsinki is just over 300 km further than a one-stop at DXB. Find a globe and a tape measure or pop your route into the Great Circle Mapper calculator and you'll see what we mean.
Beancounter-pleasing "combi" fares are available for the cost-conscious business traveller: Qantas economy or premium economy for the shorter hop to Asia and Finnair business on the longer leg.
And Helsinki Airport's ultra-fast 40-minute minimum connecting time between your flight from Asia and your onward journey to Europe lets Finnair cleverly schedule its flight connections to minimise the amount of time you spend waiting for the next plane.
The fantastic Finnair Domestic/Europe lounge we reviewed recently is an added bonus, even if you do end up having to wait in the airport.
And Helsinki Airport is blanketed with free, lightning-fast wifi -- 29 Mbps down, 47 Mbps up -- to make your journey even more convenient.
Seating is fairly middle-of-the-road if you take the Singapore option: Finnair uses older A340 planes on this route with angled lie-flat seating rather than the excellent fully flat beds with direct aisle access it uses on the Hong Kong flights.
And from Helsinki to Europe, Finnair's Eurobusiness-standard flights only have middle-seat-free economy rather than proper business class -- hardly conducive to a jetlag-busting snooze.
So it's a bit of a balancing act to compare the seats, service, timetables and airports on the Reindeer Route and the new Dubai-style Qantas + Emirates Kangaroo Route. That's why Australian Business Traveller tested the Reindeer Route out earlier this year, bringing our signature fine tooth-comb analysis to the service.
Keep an eye out for our full review of the Australia-bound experience, from European lounges to Finnair's Europe flights, Helsinki Airport and lounges, and onwards on Finnair's A340 to Singapore.
And for the very latest, follow us on Twitter: we're @AusBT.