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Is someone secretly stealing your British Airways On Business points?

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A reader dropped me an email to tell me how a number of employees at his Mayfair investment fund had been ‘let go’ recently after it was found that they were stealing British Airways On Business points.

Is anyone stealing yours?

On Business is the British Airways loyalty scheme for small and medium sized businesses.  The only criteria for joining is that you have a VAT number.  I wrote a two-part On Business review here and here.

On Business allows a company to collect points every time one of its employees flies.  The scheme works in a similar way to Avios, except that it is 100% revenue based on the earning side.  The more you spend on a ticket, the more points you earn.  These can be redeemed for free flights or upgrades.

The important thing to note is that you can earn BOTH On Business points and Avios on the same flight.   Signing up for On Business does not impact the ability of your staff to collect Avios points.

But where are your points actually going?

If you or others in your company fly British Airways a lot, it is very likely that you have an On Business account.  But do you know who actually benefits from it?

Would you know if a member of staff had secretly opened an account in the name of your company and was inserting the number into all of your bookings?

When I worked in Private Equity, we had a very clear system for distributing the points.  At our Christmas party, the names of all the support staff were put into a hat and one drawn out.  That person ‘won’ the entire On Business points pot for the year and could book whatever they wanted with it.  It was a decent prize given the amount of travel we did, especially as this was before the last OB devaluation.

If you have never seen a big flight giveaway at your company, you might want to be suspicious.   There is no easy way to check if there is an On Business number in a booking, because if one has been added via a GDS the option to add one will still show in in my experience – but if you put something in yourself it won’t override what is already there.

If you don’t think that your company is collecting On Business points, perhaps you should suggest they do.  If nothing else, the free flights could be given away at Christmas or raffled off to raise money for charity.  It is a shame to let them go to waste.

The sign-up page is here (click ‘Join On Business’ in the menu bar).  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.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – 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 (26)

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

  • The_real_a says:

    OB at my employer is used to pay for disability related upgrades since we have an all Y policy.

  • TigerTanaka says:

    I agree about the lack of transparency. I often wonder where the On Business (and also KLM Blue Biz) points go in my organisation.

  • Colin JE says:

    Thanks for the reminder. You say ‘only a VAT no. is needed. Has the OB requirement for a Limited Company changed please? I have a VAT number but a previous application was rejected because I am set up as a sole trader.

    Also, could an AA flight on a BA codeshare earn Onbusinesss points?

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      I believe you need to have at least one other employee that travels BA for your business. You could always say your partner or a friend who sometimes travels with you does work for you at times.

      • Rob says:

        You need to have two different people fly before you can redeem. It has nothing to do with setting up the account though.

        • Colin JE says:

          I regularly book flights for myself and a colleague (not to mention other family members). Does On Business now accept non-limited companies?

    • Colin JE says:

      No mention of VAT, only company registration numb er, so you’d have to be LTD Co. “To apply for Membership, You must apply online at On Business. Membership applications must state the Company’s full name, the Company’s valid company/business registration number, and registered office address …”
      I think that means that small businesses that are partnerships or set up as sole trader entities, would not qualify.

      • Rob says:

        You do need VAT. This was a specific change when the scheme was devalued and caused a lot of ire with charities who had their accounts closed.

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

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