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Review: the British Airways Accelerating Business American Express credit card

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American Express has a British Airways credit card for SME’s – the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card (BA Amex Business).  This is our review.

The good news is that, irrespective of what other American Express products you have, you will receive the sign-up bonus on BA Amex Business if you spend £3,000 on the card within three months.

This article was updated on 19th October 2020, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

What Avios SME credit cards are out there?

There are four credit or charge cards which allow you to earn Avios from spending by your small business.   These are:

Our latest review of the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card (10,500 Avios sign-up bonus) is here.

Our last review of American Express Business Platinum is here.  This card has a generous bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points if you can spend £6,000 in three months.  You qualify for the bonus as long as you haven’t had any personal or business Platinum, Gold or Green Amex cards in the past six months.  You can apply here and our Amex Business Platinum review from last Monday is here.

There is also American Express Business Gold.  This offers a sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points if you can spend £3,000 in three months.  Our full review of Amex Business Gold is here.  This card is FREE for the first year.  You can apply here.

Today I want to look again at British Airways Accelerating Business American Express, a card which lets you earn Avios and British Airways On Business points.  One selling point of this card is that EVERYONE qualifies for the sign-up bonus.

Review British Airways Accelerating Business credit card

What is the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card?

The British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card (BA Amex Business) was launched in late 2019 as a new product for the small business market.

The good news is that, irrespective of what other American Express products you have, you will receive the sign-up bonus on BA Amex Business if you spend £3,000 on the card within three months.

Here’s the legal stuff

Application page:  you can apply and find further details on the BA Amex Business website here

Interest rate information: representative APR 80.3% variable, including the £210 annual fee, based on an assumed credit limit of £1200.  The interest rate on purchases is 22.2%.

There is an annual fee of £210 (this would be tax deductible if you used the card exclusively for business purposes)

What is the sign-up bonus on the BA Accelerating Business credit card?

2,200 British Airways On Business points if you spend £3,000 within three months

What are On Business points?

On Business is the British Airways loyalty scheme for small businesses.  I summarise the key points further on, but to avoid cluttering this article, please read my full review of British Airways On Business here.

The key thing you need to remember is that you can earn BOTH Avios and On Business points when you fly with British Airways.

What is the earning rate on the BA Accelerating Business credit card?

There are two ways to earn points with the BA Amex Business card:

You earn 1.5 Avios for every £1 you spend, plus

You earn 50% more On Business points for every £1 you spend with British Airways using the card.  For most small businesses, this means you will receive an extra 0.5 On Business points per £1, or 1.5 per £1 spent vs the standard 1 point per £1 spent.

Is there an annual spending bonus?

Yes.  You earn an annual bonus of 3,000 British Airways On Business points if you spend £20,000 in a card year.

Are there any other benefits?

You get typical American Express credit card benefits:

Up to 56 days to pay

Up to 99 FREE supplementary cards for your employees

Travel inconvenience cover (with higher payouts if you or your baggage is delayed on a British Airways flight)

Travel accident protection

Purchase protection

Refund protection

See this page of the American Express website for full details of these benefits.

British Airways On Business credit card

Does the BA Amex Business card charge FX fees?

Yes, 2.99% is added to all foreign currency transactions.

How does BA On Business work?

On Business is the British Airways loyalty scheme for small businesses.  Here is our full overview of British Airways On Business and how it works.  On Business points can be redeemed for flights in the same way that Avios can be used for flights, with a couple of key differences:

You can only redeem on BA, American Airlines and Iberia.  You do not have access to full oneworld reward inventory.

Reward availability is better than when using Avios. This, for me, is the main benefit of On Business and I NEVER spend them if Avios seats are available.  This doesn’t apply if you are a BAEC Gold member as the extra availability you get in Economy when using Avios seems to be better than what On Business offers.

There is no ‘Reward Flight Saver’ option with On Business.  This is not a major problem, however, as the actual taxes due are rarely substantially higher than the £35 ‘Reward Flight Saver’ cap.

Business Class flights are disproportionately expensive.  Using Avios, Business Class flights cost 2 x Economy for short-haul and 3 x Economy for long-haul.  With On Business, Business Class redemptions cost 5-6x the points of an Economy redemptions.

You cannot convert On Business points to Avios, or vice versa.

On Business points have a hard expiry of two years from the end of the year in which you earn them.  It is not possible to extend the expiry date.

Roughly … and this is very rough … I work on the basis that 1 On Business point has the same spending power as 4 Avios when used for Economy flights and 2 Avios when used for Club World flights.

I wrote a separate article – click here – explaining how British Airways On Business works in the context of what you can earn on this card.

Who can apply for the BA Accelerating Business credit card?

There is some confusion here.  The On Business scheme requires you to have a VAT number in order to join.  This creates a de facto turnover minimum of £85,000 per year, and excludes charities and other businesses which do not charge VAT.

However, I spoke to American Express and they told me – in writing – that you can override this requirement by applying for the BA Amex Business credit card.  If you are accepted, an On Business account will be opened for you even if your company does not meet the VAT threshold.

This statement contradicts the application website, however, which says “You understand and meet the British Airways On Business requirements.”  You also cannot apply if your company is a travel agency, ticket brokerage firm or consolidator or your company has an existing corporate incentive agreement with British Airways, Iberia or American Airlines.

There are very few other requirements to get BA Amex Business.  To quote:

  • The business has a current UK Bank or Building Society account
  • You/The business have/has no County Court Judgements for non-payment of debt
  • You are aged 18 or over
  • You have a permanent UK home address
  • You will pay the annual Cardmembership fee of £210

Basically ….. as long as you have a Business Bank Account, you should have no trouble meeting the other criteria.

Does BA Amex Business offer real value?

The British Airways Accelerating Business sign-up bonus:

Let’s look at the sign-up bonus first.  You will receive 2,200 On Business points if you spend £3,000 within three months.  This is ROUGHLY worth the equivalent of 9,000 Avios if used for Economy Class flights or 4,500 Avios if used for Business Class flights.

As an example, a flight to Hamburg using On Business points costs 2,200 points in Economy and 10,400 points in Club Europe, return.  The equivalent number of Avios would be 9,000 Avios for Economy and 18,000 Avios for Club Europe, and the taxes and charges would be lower due to Reward Flight Saver.

2,200 On Business points won’t get you very far.  Basically, you are getting a one-way flight to somewhere in Western Europe, excluding taxes and charges.

The British Airways Accelerating Business general earning rate:

1.5 Avios per £1 is clearly a generous earning rate.  It matches what you receive on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express personal card which has a similar annual fee.

The British Airways Accelerating Business BA flights earning rate:

For most companies, the extra 50% On Business points earned when booking British Airways flights on the card is worth 0.5 On Business points per £1.  This is roughly worth the equivalent of an extra one to two Avios per £1 spent, depending on how you redeem.

The British Airways Accelerating Business annual bonus:

3,000 bonus On Business points for spending £20,000 is the equivalent of, roughly, 12,000 Avios if used for Economy flights and 6,000 Avios if used for Business Class flights.

It is clearly far less valuable than the 2-4-1 voucher offered on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express personal card, which has a similar annual fee.

British Airways Accelerating Business credit card review

Let’s look at a few scenarios:

Is BA Amex Business better than the personal British Airways Premium Plus American Express?

No.  The sign-up bonus is far worse, the day to day earning rate is the same, the annual bonus is very substantially worse and the annual fee is £15 higher (£195 vs £210).  This is a pointless discussion, however, if you or your accountant prefer to use a corporate card for business spending.

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Is BA Amex Business better than the American Express Business Gold Card?

No, for modest spenders.  Business Gold is free in the first year (vs £210 for the BA card) and £125 thereafter.  The earning rate is lower – 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent vs 1.5 Avios, but Membership Rewards points can be transferred to many different airline and hotel programmes, not just Avios.  There is no annual bonus on Business Gold.

If you would spend over £20,000 per year on the card, however, the British Airways Accelerating Business Card looks better.  You trigger the annual bonus and the difference in annual earning (1.5 Avios vs 1 Membership Rewards point) starts to outweigh the fee difference.

For clarity, American Express Business Gold is a charge card and you must repay your balance in full each month.  BA Accelerating Business is a credit card.

American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Is BA Amex Business better than the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa?

It depends.  The Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa has a lower fee (£99 per year), a better sign-up bonus (10,000 Avios) and is accepted in more places than an American Express.  The earning rate is lower, however, at 1 Avios per £1 spent.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a small business Read our full review

Is BA Amex Business worth getting purely for the sign-up bonus?

Not really.

As there are no restrictions on receiving the sign-up bonus based on what other Amex cards you hold, you may be thinking about applying purely to receive the bonus.

The maths does not work though.  2,200 On Business points – even if you assume you use them for Economy tickets and get value equivalent to 9,000 Avios – won’t get you much more than £90 of value.  This does not sit well against the £210 annual fee in Year 1.

I would be a lot more enthusiastic if the bonus was nearer to 10,000 On Business points, rather than 2,200 points, given the chunky annual fee and the lack of a ‘free first year’ offer.

Who should get this card?

There are some groups who will find the BA Amex Business card worth getting:

The ability to give 99 supplementary cards to employees means that, if you have a lot of high spending staff, you could earn a substantial number of Avios for yourself

If you spend a lot with British Airways – if you are in the On2 or On3 tiers of On Business – the card will have value due to the additional On Business points you will earn

If you have dropped your personal British Airways American Express card because you are waiting until you are eligible for a new sign-up bonus, this card is a good stop-gap.  The Avios earning rate is as good as the BA Premium Plus American Express, albeit that you do not receive a 2-4-1 voucher.

Conclusion

Overall, I don’t think that the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card is breaking any new ground unless your company has substantial spending with British Airways.

There are good reasons why American Express Business Gold (no fee in year 1, transferable points), Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa (£99 fee, 1 Avios per £1 spent) or for one-man bands the personal British Airways Premium Plus American Express card (2-4-1 voucher, lower fee) are better.

It may, of course, work for you – these things are all down to personal choice at the end of the day.  If you want to know more about British Airways On Business, this article looks at how On Business works and what the BA Amex Business sign-up bonus would get you.

You can find full details, and apply, on the BA Amex Business website here.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (11)

  • Wally1976 says:

    Are the annual fees on the Amex business cards refundable pro-rata if you cancel (in the same way as the personal cards) ?

  • Freddy says:

    I have a small business (sole trader) and put all business spend through the BAPP – Struggling to see this as an attractive alternative

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      I agree; the hard expiry of OnBusiness points is a killer. Despite being labelled as an SME article, it’s clearly aimed at large organisations; small ones will not build points fast enough to prevent a significant number expiring unless they are doing unusual amounts of travel.

      • Rob says:

        That’s the crux though, it IS targeted at SMEs but BA bodged it. I can think of many businesses with £5m turnover who wouldn’t spend £30,000 on BA each year to get up to the 2nd tier. For European redemptions in Economy it isn’t actually so bad, especially if you are not BA Gold and don’t usually get the extra availability.

    • Rob says:

      Agree. Some people (or more accurately their accountants) have a pathalogical dislike of using personal cards for business though. It is also messy if you give supps to staff.

  • memesweeper says:

    Looking at the small print — which appears to in large part be copy-and-pasted from the Gold Business card — there’s no limit on earning a second or subsequent introductory bonus from having previously held this, or any other, business Amex. Am I reading this too optimistically?

    • Rob says:

      You are correct. There are NO restrictions, at all, on getting the bonus on this card.

      However, with the bonus worth £90 on a good day and the fee of £210, I doubt there is any value in churning it aggressively unless you could spend the target in a couple of weeks.

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    I can’t find the answer anywhere. Say, hypothetically you own a business (that would qualify for this card) and work for another business (for whom you fly and claim back flight costs) – do the flights earning on business points have to be tied to the business holding the card?