The British Airways ‘On Business’ programme explained (Part 2, 2018 edition)

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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.

Part 1 can be found here if you missed it.

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.

Following changes in early 2018, American Airlines and Iberia flights can now also be upgraded.

Upgrades are potentially more attractive than outright redemptions, which I discussed in Part 1.  Almost all economy tickets can now be upgraded with On Business points.  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 – 10,000 points each way

These prices are generous for First Class upgrades and this may be the sweet spot.

On Business logo

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.

There is one thing to note.  The Plus card offers 2,500 bonus On Business points if you spend £25,000 on the card per year.  Due to IT issues with Amex, this does not seem to happen automatically and you need to raise a complaint in order to get a manual transfer done.   There is a HFP reader who has not received his bonuses on three cards for the last three years.  He recently ended up with a written promise that he will receive his missing 22,500 OB points (3 cards x 3 years of no bonus) – but they have still not turned up.

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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. Something to keep in mind with the amex BA corporate card is that your turnover has to be Quite high to be able to apply. I enquired a while back and was told it was aimed at corporations and needed in the millions of turnover.

    • Applying companies need to have a turnover of at least £1million and 2 years’ financial history

  2. Regarding the 2500 bonus for £25k pa spend, it is BA that is having to manually post to your account. Amex tell BA that you have qualified. If you are not getting the bonus, take it up with the BA OB centre and play hardball!

  3. Alex W says:

    Is BA still doing a free upgrade to first for club world bookings?

    Upgrade to CW at 13000 OB points looks poor value compared to 22000 Avios for the same upgrade.

  4. Rob Dowding says:

    Is there a way to merge an OB number with a household account, I am the main account holder? It would be great to do this for SMEs.

    All the best,

    • ANYONE can add your OB number to their booking. It is aimed at companies so no need to share a surname. Give your number to anyone you know flying BA (at your own risk obviously).

      • CoolKestrel says:

        Made an OB booking for April before on 31/12/17 ie date of points expiry. 1) Will points be recredited or lost if flight is cancelled? 2) If lost, can the original flight be changed to Jan 19, ie more than a year beyond date of booking (but less than a year from actual flight)?

  5. CoolKestrel says:

    Answering one of my own queries having finally got through to OnBusiness – points are lost if they were due to expire

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