All being well, my parents-in-law should arrive from Hamburg this morning for Christmas. I got them here using an On Business redemption.
On Business is the British Airways reward programme for companies. It allows businesses – even one-man bands, as long as they are registered at Companies House – to collect points for all of their company-wide flights. (On Business points are totally separate to the Avios points earned by individual travellers, and Avios are still earned as usual.)
The key benefit of On Business is that reward availability is substantially better than Avios reward availability. It is not as generous as it used to be following a secret devaluation a year ago, but it is still better.
I always say that you should never redeem On Business points unless there are no Avios seats available. This example reminded me why.
Cash prices for the mid morning flight from Hamburg today were, to put it mildly, a bit scary – well over £150 per person for a one-way. Not surprisingly, given the cash price, there were no Avios seats available, either in Economy or Club Europe.
I fired up my On Business account which I keep for situations such as this. Availability via On Business was there, as I expected.
I booked two one-way economy seats from Hamburg to Heathrow for 3,120 On Business points and £78 of cash. This is not the greatest use of On Business points by a long way. However, I earn them so slowly that it is pointless trying to convince myself that I would get better value from a long-haul ticket because I would never earn enough. (On Business points expire in 3 years, whatever activity you have.)
This redemption saved me over £300 at a time when Avios points couldn’t help, and it made me happy. As a BA Gold card holder I could have done a Gold Priority Reward for double the standard Avios cost but with some On Business points due to expire in 2015 I thought it was worth using them.