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British Airways rolls over tier status for On Business members – although their points are still stuffed

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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.

When I log in to my account, for example, I see this:

As it happens, I am lucky.  I have a very small number of points expiring on 31st December 2020.  If I end up losing 635 of my 18,994 point balance it won’t be a disaster.

Other people won’t be so lucky.

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.)

(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.)

Comments (47)

  • Czechoslovakia says:

    Morning all. I got the email from BA telling me they were very generously rolling over my Tier 1 status in On Business…. No idea how I would have coped without that!

  • Jonathan says:

    Any news on if Emirates will extend their hard expiry dates?

  • Andrew says:

    HFP readers should start one of those change.org petitions to BA about Exec Club status extension. It’s totally disgusting that they aren’t extending status – shows their complete apathy for the loyalty of their passengers.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Their customers should be equally apathetic about their choice of airline.

    • SWWT says:

      Suggest you are using loyalty in the incorrect context. Its not about sentiment, its entirely about commerce. BA will try to get away with whatever it can get away with, in the pursuit of its commercial agenda. Passenger interests are just one factor in the mix. In this current environment we don’t matter very much at all. Simple as.

    • MT says:

      I am not sure we are at a point in time where the status of a few frequent travellers (myself included) is something that really matters in the grand scheme of things. Considering everything else going on in the world right now its not really the time to complain about it outside of the community.

      Simply remember how badly BA treated you and once things settle down act accordingly. It would be nice for BA to react, but by extending status but as we all know it is very easy to get BA Gold Status and barely put any actual money BA’s way. BA do not want to open themselves up to 12 months of future costs from members at this time and will try to avoid a blanket extension for as long as possible as it will also have the effect of driving down future bookings. If they give status away it means people who would have booked to earn tier points may choose a different airline going forwards.

      They will no doubt do something, but they will wait and see how it plays out for longer first! Should they just extend, I maybe in the minority but as long as no one currently looses out and then once things start to settle they do something that is balanced then I wouldnt complain at that as they are running a business not a charity.

      • Andrew says:

        They are running a business not a charity, but so are AA, SQ, VS etc etc etc. Why can they “afford” to do it but BA can’t?

        • Genghis says:

          Perhaps you’re being blindly loyal? You’re giving BA all those £££ and what are they giving you? Show them and choose other airlines that value your custom. Simples.

          • Andrew says:

            Absolutely, lockdown gives you an opportunity to reevaluate things and see things for what they really are. Free from the shackles of BA to spend my money elsewhere with airlines which are much higher quality.

        • MT says:

          Because AA and SQ work in a very different landscape to BA and VS doesnt really count as they are far to small to compare. AA has a lot of competition within its primary market, BA put simply does not! There is a reason Heathrow slots are so expensive and sought after compared to most other airports in the world. BA does not currently think extending status by 12 months will gain it more business than the cost of the action itself and to be fair I can see why it would consider that. They have a pretty much unique position in the airline industry and one they have proved time after time with their profits that they do not need to think of the customer first to continue to fill the planes. This time it maybe different but from their previous experience they do not need to put customers first to continue to make healthy profits.

      • SWWT says:

        +1. And who knows what the airline landscape will look like out the other side. As far as BA is concerned, less competition has to be a real prospect. And along with less competition comes a downgrade of passenger interests )other than, or course, getting from A to B)..

    • Doug M says:

      The language is a bit odd, “totally disgusting” that’s quite a description for a failure to give extensions in an airline loyalty scheme. I would say that this is far from done, BA are always amongst the most cautious with this sort of thing, and we may yet see things change as the situation develops. BA have really worked their loyalty scheme, and they’re fully aware that it locks people into them, and its value in that regard, they don’t have any loyalty to you, but they are very aware of the value of their status holders and how that works for them. It’s also worth mentioning, and I’m repeating a point made on FT, that when they gave a year extension to many people following the IT meltdown, there were a lot of posts saying great, now I can try other airlines as I’ve already locked in my status for the following year. So I think they’re right to be cautious, but I also think we’ll see some further give from them.

    • Paul says:

      Lol, I assume this is a troll.

      I don’t see why people are expecting hand outs and give always from BA. I would see an extension as a pleasant gift rather than lack of it as disgusting.

      I am due to lose Silver from BA and I don’t resent BA for it, it’s just a personal cost of Covid-19 that I will have to absorb, far smaller than the costs BA as well as lots of other businesses and individuals will have to deal with

  • Daniel says:

    Per my post on FT, the points are credited back to your account and given an expiry of 31/12/2020; so essentially you get a 1 year on those already expired points when you cancel a booking made with them for a refund rather than an FTV.

  • Daniel says:

    Hi Rob
    My experience of cancelling a on business flight was a little messy. Normally they are very easy to cancel but in this instance I was offered a voucher which I didn’t want. I used the work around and cancelled. The money came back I to my account but no sign of the points.
    I phoned the Onbusiness number and they said the points will be recredited manually unless they would have been due to expire. The booking was made late last year. So now I am just waiting to see what happens but I think you are correct about how they are treating the points.

    On another note in my conversation with an agent about exec status he said that unless members actually started to complain in writing then BA management were unlikely to change their approach despite front line staff themselves thinking they have got it badly wrong and overly complicated things. Maybe an article on the best way to register a complaint might be a help.

    • Daniel says:

      No, I have OB bookings that I’ve cancelled for refund that were using points due to expire 31/12/2019 and they have been credited back with a new expiry of 31/12/2020 as the agent on the phone advised me.

      • Rob says:

        Great, thanks.

      • Lady London says:

        Does that mean someone with OB points due to expire this year should book a flight that’s likely to be cancelled asap, to force the points to be returned with a 2021 expiry?

        • Rob says:

          Surely you’d need to book it for 2021 though? These are flights booked for 2020 with points expiring 12/19.

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    Again for the record. Anyone whos year already expired in April if you didn’t already meet the lower 30% thresholds, and I’m guessing here some also probably got an unexpected status boost from this, but those who had cancelled bookings can contact BAEC to have a status review based on those missed TPs. Same will apply for May & June.

    Anyone else beyond June, why are you currently stressing about this? Also I’m curious in a straw poll. How many of the people having a moan above are trying to take advantage of a blanket extension in order to gain something you were perhaps not aiming for in the first place?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Completely agree put your evidence forward of why you would have made the tier also there are stories of people being extended automatically so reviews must be taking place as and when your year ends.

      Some are trying to take advantage of a situation that gives them something they had no plans of achieving anyway.

      Then you have some talking about how air travel will never be the same again and at the same time worrying about an airline status which is useless without any air travel.

      Those with TP years ending post June why not give BA some time to actually review what is actually going on with air travel over the next 12 months.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Pretty badly written but I’m sure you get the gist of my point.

          Too many want a safety net when none of us have any idea we will even get to use it.

          Extending my tier status from June 2020 to June 2021 probably makes no difference because I don’t know when I’m stepping on a plane again in the next 12m or where to (I actually earned Silver again anyway).

  • JAMES says:

    Qatar aren’t stopping points expiring either 🙁
    Very poor show from Qatar.

  • Roger says:

    Slightly on topic:

    What is the best working way to transfer IB Avios back to BAEC?
    I do not have any other scheme like AerClub and my Avios.com account redirects to BAEC.

    BAEC online only works from BA -> IB not in the reverse direction.
    No such option found on IB website for miles transfer to BA.

    • Doug M says:

      Open an AerClub account as the means of transfer.

    • Graham says:

      You can transfer from IB to BA (and vica versa) on BA Website. I’ve just done it. It’s in combine my Avios. It helps if both accounts use the same email.