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British Airways rolls over tier status for On Business members, but won’t protect points

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On Business is the British Airways loyalty scheme for small businesses.

British Airways On Business allows the company booking your travel – which can be your own company if you are self employed – to earn additional points on top of the Avios and tier points earned by the traveller.

You can find out more about On Business on the BA website here.

However, you’ll learn more by reading our comprehensive review of British Airways On Business here.  There is also a referral code in that article to get you a bonus on your first flight.

On Business was gutted in a shake-up a few years ago.  Even British Airways admits that this went too far and a relaunch is currently in development.  You need to spend £30,000 per year with British Airways to reach the first elite tier in the scheme, which is out of reach for the majority of SMEs.

How is British Airways helping On Business members due to coronavirus?

On Business status members received an email from British Airways yesterday.  Non-status members don’t seem to have received anything.

The good news is that On Business is rolling over tier status to 2021.  This will come as a surprise to British Airways Executive Club members, who are now virtually the only elite frequent flyers in the world not to have received an automatic status roll-over.

A status roll-over only helps a very small percentage of On Business members, however, because the spend required to earn status is high.

The bad news is that On Business is not stopping your points expiring.

Unlike the Executive Club, On Business points have a hard expiry date.  There is nothing you can do, even with On Business elite status, to stop them expiring after three years.

I fully appreciate that it is only April, so the points will not expire for eight months anyway.  I also appreciate that you only need to book by 31st December 2020, with travel possible in 2021.  However, if British Airways is willing to roll over status for a year, it should also be willing to roll over your On Business points for a year.

What is the position with cancelling On Business redemptions?

If you have an On Business redemption flight booked, the situation is the same as for an Avios booking.

If you are willing to take the hybrid ‘points and cash’ voucher – which I don’t recommend – then you can order it online.  If you want your taxes refunding in cash and the On Business points putting back into your account, you need to brave the call centre queue.

What is NOT clear is what happens if you need to cancel a redemption which was made using On Business points which expired on 31st December 2019.

(EDIT: Reader comments below are that cancelled flights mean your points are returned with an extended 2020 expiry date.)

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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 famous annual 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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

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

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) 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 (47)

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

  • JR says:

    I cancelled an OnBusiness flight to HKG booked with points expiring 31/12/2019. Agent told me the only option I had was to re-book (whilst I was on the phone cancelling) for a flight anytime up to 31/12/2020. I was not offered the opportunity to have the points credited back. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if by chance the re-booked November HKG flight needs to be cancelled.

  • Linda says:

    OT- anybody else received an email from BA explaining ‘anomalies’ related to their Avios, which in my case looks like over 200,000 Avios have ‘disappeared?! Another IT security problem/hack??

    • Rob says:

      200,000? That’s a pretty big anomaly! Not heard anything.

      • Linda says:

        I agree!….frightening. Been advised by BA my Avios account closed for next 4 weeks although still able to access Exec Club, bookings etc. 🙁

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      We got hacked a few months ago, 180k used on a hotel. Took 3x weeks to get avios back.

  • Vinz says:

    Any rumours you can share about the onbusiness relaunch? 🙂

    • Rob says:

      I honestly don’t know, except that I know BA was working on one.

      • Peter K says:

        Seems to have been the way with BA over recent years. Make large cuts (or lots of small ones) then realise you’ve over done it and and make an about turn.

        • Lady London says:

          Intelligent way to do it though. As people are saying there’s an equilibrium point BA would only retreat back as far as that is ‘just’ enough given to keep people booking with them.

          • Lady London says:

            And if they pass that equilibrium point on the way down then they will know where it is on the way back! So they won’t ‘give’ too much. They will retreat the cuts just back to the tipping point. Not unintelligent at all.

  • Michael says:

    “This will come as a surprise to British Airways Executive Club members, who are now virtually the only elite frequent flyers in the world not to have received an automatic status roll-over” … Incorrect statement. Aer Lingus AerClub customers are not receiving automatic rollover either

  • David says:

    I can confirm that for cancelled flights your points are returned with an extended 2020 expiry date. I’ve just had two such OB cancellations and the points were back in my account within 24 hours after a VERY efficient call on the UK OB line. Also, the taxes were immediately put back on my CC.

    I wish the cash element of Avios bookings was being handled with such speed. I just had to cancel a First award and substitute a different one with a changed destination. The new fees and taxes were debited the same day (over £1,000), but they told me the cancelled ones (again over £1,000) would not be credited for quite a long time – “backroom delays because of the volume of business”. So BA hold on to over £1,000 for 2/3 months. So much for being a Lifetime Gold!

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

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