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The On Business devaluation BA told you about … and the secret one they didn’t

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If your company is a member of the British Airways On Business programme, it will have received an email on Monday. This explained that Marriott will no longer be a partner and that from the end of the year you can no longer redeem for Marriott Stay Certificates.

(If you don’t know about On Business, I wrote two introductory articles here and here. If you are self-employed – with a Companies House registration number – then you should definitely be a member. Here is a fantastic sign-up bonus as well.)

The Marriott certificates were not a terrible deal, so it is sad to see them go. The certificates have a 15 month validity, though, so any voucher redemptions made now will still be valid at hotels throughout 2014.

That said, I never redeemed my On Business points for one because they were historically far more valuable when redeemed for BA flights.

However …. that has changed for business class flights.

Historically, when you used your On Business points to book a British Airways flight, you would almost always see availability. I booked a return flight from Germany to London at fairly short notice over the Summer, and despite return cash tickets in Economy being over £400 I was still able to make an On Business redemption.

If you redeem your On Business points for Club World or Club Europe flights, though, it is now a lot harder.

Without telling anyone, BA has changed the way On Business redemptions work. Historically, you could book into ‘D’ class, which is not the cheapest level of Club World or Club Europe.

As of a few weeks ago, Club World and Club Europe redemptions only book into ‘R’ class. This is the cheapest available revenue ticket. If all of the super-cheap Club World or Club Europe tickets have been sold for the flight you want, On Business can no longer book onto it.

This fact wasn’t in the latest On Business email, interestingly.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (10)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Neil Spellings says:

    I think this will be the nail in the coffee for me giving BA my business (and ultimately collecting Avios)

    I’ve been increasingly frustrated at the lack of award seat availability on BA when I most need them (usually during school holidays). There is essentially zero availability during July and August on transatlantic routes to US and Canada, and with a family in tow flying via Europe or Ireland just isn’t worth the extra hassle.

    I think their motto needs adjusting to “To fly (if you’re a cash fare paying customer), To serve (our shareholders)”

  • James67 says:

    I fear it is not just On Business, a number if emails and other info from BA keep hintinv at forthcoming changes to the EC and based on what is going on elsewhere in the industry the best we can probably hope for is some good and some bad. I’m holding out to early November for a tesco bonus but if it doesn’t come I will convert anyway and get s few redemptions locked in, maintaining a moderate bslance in the hope MFUs continue to be the value they are now.

  • Pid says:

    Can you join On Business and then claim retrospectively for flights taken in the last few months?

    • Tom H says:

      Is it the individual(and business) or the just the business which needs to be enrolled at the time of travel?

      • Rob says:

        You don’t enrol individual travellers, only the business. Any flight taken by anyone with your OB number on it will get credited to your account.

  • Alan says:

    Very disappointing news, Raffles 🙁 How did you unearth it and have you noticed a marked difference in redemption availability in CW?

    • Rob says:

      It drifted down to me via BA contacts. I don’t have enough points to book a CW with OB, sadly, but a look at CE availability compared to ba.com R class seemed to confirm it.

  • Teece says:

    Hmm. Just trying a few dummy bookings, and I’m being offered one seat on Wed 9th October to JFK, on the 173, which is booking into D class via a revenue booking. Also, for long-haul, don’t forget that I class is lower than R class, so it’s not the lowest of the low.

    • Rob says:

      Interesting. I will have a deeper dig and do some more tests.

      • Teece says:

        That was the only flight on that day (despite others selling D class), and the following day it was only the R class flights that were being offered up, some oddity there. So the general rule does appear to be R. But at least it’s R class, and not I.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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