This is Part 2 of our look at the British Airways On Business loyalty programme for businesses. This allows a company to earn On Business points – to redeem for flights or upgrades – at the same time as its travellers earn Avios points.
The sign-up page is here. If you are signing up, you will qualify for a special sign-up bonus of triple points for your first six one-way flights within 12 months of joining. If you say on your application form that you were referred by member OB10171896 then I receive a small referral points bonus – thank you!
Today I want to look at whether it is worth redeeming for flight upgrades, and how to earn more points with the British Airways Corporate American Express card.
Redeeming for flight upgrades
The reward chart for upgrading flights using OB points is no longer published, but there are some examples below. Note that, unlike upgrading with Avios, you can only upgrade with On Business points if it is done at the time of booking.
Upgrades are potentially more attractive than outright redemptions, which I discussed in Part 1. Almost all economy tickets can now be upgraded with points following the 2015 changes to On Business. ALL Club World seats are upgradeable.
Upgrades start at 5,000 points long-haul for World Traveller to World Traveller Plus, from 10,500 for World Traveller Plus to Club World and from 7,000 points for Club World to First. These are one-way prices. Remember that On Business availability is better than Avios availability so you have a decent chance of being able to upgrade if you wish.
As an example:
Hamburg – Euro Traveller to Club Europe – 4,100 points each way
Dubai – World Traveller to World Traveller Plus – 6,000 points each way
New York – World Traveller Plus to Club World – 13,000 points each way
Tokyo – Club World to First Class – 20,000 points each way
These prices are generous – someone who travels on fully flexible Club World tickets for a Tier 3 company will earn enough for a one-way upgrade to First for every 2-3 return trips they take.
Boosting points with corporate credit cards
American Express issues two British Airways corporate credit cards although I don’t discuss them much on the site.
The details are here. The earnings rate is no better than for the personal BA Amex cards, but you will earn a 50% bonus on all On Business points when you buy flights using the card.
If you are using your own money to buy a lot of BA long-haul premium tickets, and you have your own company, this benefit could be valuable. If you assume that 1 OB point is worth 4 Avios (I discussed why in Part 1) and 1 Avios point is worth 1p, then you are arguably getting back an extra 2% of your British Airways expenditure from the additional 0.5 On Business points per £1.
Take care when you join to get the best sign-up bonus
Finally, a slightly odd statement – it may pay you NOT to earn On Business points on every flight!
On Business has a semi-permanent sign-up bonus:
to get your membership off to a flying start, your company will earn triple On Business Points on the first 6 flight sectors your company takes on qualifying flights in your first 12 months of joining
This triple points offer could be hugely rewarding. You should plan it that the first six sectors you credit are high earning ones. It is worth NOT putting your OB number in short haul flights if you think you will have longer flights later in the year, as you want your first six ‘triple point’ sectors to really count.
Don’t forget PartnerPlusBenefit – the Star Alliance alternative
Finally, if you are thinking of joining On Business, you should also join PartnerPlusBenefit. This is the Lufthansa-managed competitor, allowing you to collect on ten of the airlines in Star Alliance.
Full details on PartnerPlusBenefit can be found on Head for Points here. It also has a sign-up bonus.