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When BA On Business points come to the rescue

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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.

I wrote a long two-part introduction to On Business in April.

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.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable 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 10,000 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 long list of travel benefits 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 (17)

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

  • Nick Merry says:

    My only frustration with OnBusiness is that if you upgrade a revenue ticket using Avios or cash at the airport, you do in the fare buckets that are excluded from receiving OnBusiness points – they are treated as redemption tickets.

    So you buy a Club world LHR-DXB return, you update to First using Avios or pay let’s say £400, and bang goes your OnBusiness earning.

    • Alan says:

      Although their IT is flawed and says it’s a reward booking, just drop them an email and within a day or so they’ll give you retrocredit for the underlying cash fare (and very occasionally for the higher class actually travelled!!). I tend to submit requests in batches, just keep an eye on the points awarded to make sure they seem about right, occasionally you need to go back to them to make them recalculate. Definitely worth doing for any you’ve had this issue with before, just remind them it was an underlying cash fare.

    • Roger Wilco says:

      Not true – sometimes it posts correctly by itself – if not call or drop them a line and will be manually credited.

  • Keith says:

    On Business amazes me with its availability. Forget whether it is a ‘poor’ use of credits, but if they are called ‘Avios’ then it seems to be there is incredibly limited availability, if they are called ‘On Business Points’ then availability is ‘almost any time or anywhere’ On business for me has always been good for a gate upgrade, which is never expected on a ‘free’ ticket.

    • Slapshot says:

      Do you tend to find good availability to South East Asia and Oz? Just deciding whether to push the boat out of my first segments!

    • David says:

      @Keith Do I understand you correctly – you have (successfully) asked for an upgrade using your On Business points at the gate?

  • Lux says:

    Technically speaking it’s for two-man bands or more – from memory, you can’t redeem until at least two people have travelled under your OB number.

    You’d be surprised who works with me.

    • Rob says:

      That’s true. You need to have 2 different people having flown on your account before you can redeem.

    • Fenny says:

      If I ever set up another business, Josh Lyman will be my first appointment!

  • aceman says:

    so no overseas companies can join?

    • Phil says:

      On Business is available to account holders in South Africa. I’d be surprised if is isn’t offered in other BAEC areas with high membership numbers.

  • Oliver Bennett says:

    Next time get them to pay for their own tickets. Problem solved

  • Jonathan says:

    Raffles, your reference to the Gold double-points redemption is of course dependent on having 30 days advance notice.

  • Metatone says:

    This is the response I get from the website when I try to register our business:


    Unfortunately the On Business systems are not responding, so we are unable to process your request at the moment. We apologise for this inconvenience and suggest you try again later.

    Anyone else had this problem?

  • Robert says:

    OB was great the other week when I needed a one way LHR-MAD.
    there was nothing available through Avios (not even with the additional Y availability I would see as a GCH) and it was close to £500 for a one way revenue ticket.

    Booked through OB in Y, plus got upgraded as I entered GF lounge to 1A – result! 🙂

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

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