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What are the best value British Airways On Business points redemptions vs Avios?

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What is the best way to spend your British Airways On Business points?

Here’s something we’ve never seen published before.  There are odd discrepancies in reward pricing between British Airways On Business and Avios.  If you have points in both schemes (and you can’t really have On Business points without having any Avios!) you may not know that there are specific routes where you should spend On Business points instead of Avios.

Let’s take a look!

What is British Airways On Business?

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 when you credit your first flight.

What is the best way to spend your British Airways On Business points?

On Business points are not the same as Avios, and you can earn both OB AND Avios on a booking. You can then use your On Business points to book flight redemptions or upgrades.

Redeeming On Business points for premium cabins is very difficult.  A Business Class flight needs roughly 5-6x more On Business points than an Economy one.  Avios, remember, only charges 2x the Economy points for Business Class on short-haul and 3x on long-haul.

Avios and On Business redemption charts do NOT match up

Because On Business is a fairly niche scheme we have never really delved into its depths.  Surprisingly, On Business and Avios redemptions are not priced from the same zonal chart.

Reader Gary recently got in touch to say he had been doing some digging and found that the price gap varied for some destinations between On Business and Avios.

This was never clear before because On Business never published a redemption chart.  Whilst Avios redemptions are priced (by and large) on the distance from London, the categorisation is clearly different for On Business rewards.  Cities that are priced on the same level in the Avios program can be priced differently in On Business.

This means that there are, potentially, some sweet spots where it makes more sense to redeem On Business points (if you have them) than Avios.

British Airways On Business best redemptions

How does On Business and Avios pricing compare?

Building on Gary’s destinations, I went through all 200-odd destinations British Airways flies to in order to uncover the costs of On Business redemptions.

Here are the key findings, based on Economy redemptions. I have ignored Business Class redemptions entirely as these are ALWAYS poor value compared to Avios.

The value of an On Business point ‘bottoms out’ at 2.5 Avios. In other words, in a worst-case scenario you will be saving 2.5 Avios for every 1 On Business point you redeem instead on that route.  Try to avoid redeeming On Business points on these routes.

Conversely, an On Business redemption never exceeds 4.5x Avios. In a best-case scenario, you will be saving 4.5 Avios per 1 On Business point you redeem on a particular route.  These are the best routes to redeem On Business points, as you are saving more Avios for future use.

There are flights that are priced in the same category in Avios that have differing On Business costs. For example, Toronto costs 13,000 Avios or 4,500 On Business points. Miami also costs 4,500 On Business points but is 16,250 Avios. In this case, you are better of using On Business points for Miami and Avios for Toronto.

British Airways On Business best redemptions

Here is one caveat about our analysis

British Airways On Business has slightly better redemption availability, in Economy, than Avios has.

The only exception is if you are a British Airways Executive Club Gold member, since On Business members get access to the same additional redemption seats that BAEC Gold members get.

You could argue, on this basis, that the best On Business redemption – ignoring the comparative Avios cost – is one which you can get when there are no Avios tickets available.

Here are the On Business redemption sweet spots

Based on the full table below we can easily see on which routes it makes more sense to use On Business points rather than Avios.

Remember that this is based on Economy off peak redemptions.

The following long haul destinations all save you more than 4 Avios per On Business point used:

  • Buenos Aires
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Santiago
  • Singapore
  • Sydney
  • Amman
  • Cairo
  • Tel Aviv

You should prioritise your On Business points for long haul Economy redemptions on these routes if possible.

Here are some of the WORST places to redeem On Business points:

  • Nice
  • Munich
  • Toulouse
  • Kuwait
  • Milan
  • Berlin

On these routes, you are only saving 2.5 Avios for every On Business point you spend.

Remember that On Business is NEVER good value when redeeming for Business Class, compared to using Avios.

British Airways On Business best redemptions

Full list of British Airways On Business redemption pricing

Here is the full list of British Airways On Business redemption pricing sorted by best value vs Avios to least. You can also download the full spreadsheet here if you want to filter or sort the table yourself.

The prices below are based on a direct one-way off-peak Economy redemption.

DestinationAviosOB pointsAvios saved
per OB point
Bucharest8,5001,9004.5
Catania8,5001,9004.5
Corfu8,5001,9004.5
Kalamata8,5001,9004.5
Kefalonia8,5001,9004.5
Malta8,5001,9004.5
Marrakech8,5001,9004.5
Reykjavik8,5001,9004.5
Skiathos8,5001,9004.5
Sofia8,5001,9004.5
Thessaloniki8,5001,9004.5
Tirana8,5001,9004.5
Zakynthos8,5001,9004.5
Athens8,5002,0004.3
Chania8,5002,0004.3
Dalaman8,5002,0004.3
Funchal8,5002,0004.3
Gran Canaria8,5002,0004.3
Heraklion8,5002,0004.3
Istanbul8,5002,0004.3
Lanzarote8,5002,0004.3
Larnaca8,5002,0004.3
Mykonos8,5002,0004.3
Paphos8,5002,0004.3
Rhodes8,5002,0004.3
Santorini8,5002,0004.3
Teneriffe8,5002,0004.3
Buenos Aires22,7505,5004.1
Kuala Lumpur22,7505,5004.1
Santiago22,7505,5004.1
Singapore22,7505,5004.1
Alicante6,5001,6004.1
Barcelona6,5001,6004.1
Bologna6,5001,6004.1
Budapest6,5001,6004.1
Cagliari6,5001,6004.1
Figari6,5001,6004.1
Florence6,5001,6004.1
Ibiza6,5001,6004.1
Krakow6,5001,6004.1
Lisbon6,5001,6004.1
Madrid6,5001,6004.1
Menorca6,5001,6004.1
Olbia6,5001,6004.1
Oslo6,5001,6004.1
Palma6,5001,6004.1
Pisa6,5001,6004.1
Porto6,5001,6004.1
Pula6,5001,6004.1
Rome6,5001,6004.1
Seville6,5001,6004.1
Split6,5001,6004.1
Stockholm6,5001,6004.1
Sydney32,5008,0004.1
Valencia6,5001,6004.1
Venice6,5001,6004.1
Verona6,5001,6004.1
Vienna6,5001,6004.1
Warsaw6,5001,6004.1
Zagreb6,5001,6004.1
Amman10,0002,5004.0
Cairo10,0002,5004.0
Tel Aviv10,0002,5004.0
Bangkok19,5005,0003.9
Hong Kong19,5005,0003.9
Osaka19,5005,0003.9
Rio De Janeiro19,5005,0003.9
Sao Paulo19,5005,0003.9
Seoul19,5005,0003.9
Shanghai19,5005,0003.9
Tokyo19,5005,0003.9
Aberdeen4,0001,1003.6
Amsterdam4,0001,1003.6
Basel4,0001,1003.6
Belfast4,0001,1003.6
Bergerac4,0001,1003.6
Billund4,0001,1003.6
Bordeaux4,0001,1003.6
Brussels4,0001,1003.6
Cologne4,0001,1003.6
Dublin4,0001,1003.6
Dusseldorf4,0001,1003.6
Edinburgh4,0001,1003.6
Frankfurt4,0001,1003.6
Geneva4,0001,1003.6
Glasgow4,0001,1003.6
Hamburg4,0001,1003.6
Hannover4,0001,1003.6
Inverness4,0001,1003.6
Jersey4,0001,1003.6
Luxembourg4,0001,1003.6
Lyon4,0001,1003.6
Manchester4,0001,1003.6
Newcastle4,0001,1003.6
Paris4,0001,1003.6
Quimper4,0001,1003.6
Rotterdam4,0001,1003.6
Stuttgart4,0001,1003.6
Zurich4,0001,1003.6
Antigua16,2504,5003.6
Atlanta16,2504,5003.6
Barbados16,2504,5003.6
Delhi16,2504,5003.6
Grenada16,2504,5003.6
Miami16,2504,5003.6
Mumbai16,2504,5003.6
Nairobi16,2504,5003.6
Naples6,5001,8003.6
Nashville16,2504,5003.6
Nassau16,2504,5003.6
Orlando16,2504,5003.6
Port of Spain16,2504,5003.6
Punta Cana16,2504,5003.6
St Kitts16,2504,5003.6
St Lucia16,2504,5003.6
Tampa16,2504,5003.6
Tobago16,2504,5003.6
Turks and Caicos16,2504,5003.6
Lima19,5005,5003.5
Mauritius19,5005,5003.5
Algiers6,5001,9003.4
Bari6,5001,9003.4
Brindisi6,5001,9003.4
Dubrovnik6,5001,9003.4
Faro6,5001,9003.4
Gibraltar6,5001,9003.4
Malaga6,5001,9003.4
Palermo6,5001,9003.4
Moscow8,5002,5003.4
Accra13,0004,0003.3
Austin16,2505,0003.3
Bahrain13,0004,0003.3
Beijing16,2505,0003.3
Bengalaru16,2505,0003.3
Cancun16,2505,0003.3
Cape Town16,2505,0003.3
Chennai16,2505,0003.3
Dallas16,2505,0003.3
Denver16,2505,0003.3
Dubai13,0004,0003.3
Durban16,2505,0003.3
Grand Cayman16,2505,0003.3
Houston16,2505,0003.3
Hyderabad16,2505,0003.3
Johannesburg16,2505,0003.3
Kingston16,2505,0003.3
Lagos13,0004,0003.3
Las Vegas16,2505,0003.3
Los Angeles16,2505,0003.3
Mahe (Seychelles)16,2505,0003.3
Male16,2505,0003.3
Mexico City16,2505,0003.3
New Orleans16,2505,0003.3
Phoenix16,2505,0003.3
Portland16,2505,0003.3
Riyadh13,0004,0003.3
San Diego16,2505,0003.3
San Francisco16,2505,0003.3
San Jose (CA)16,2505,0003.3
San Jose (C’Rica)16,2505,0003.3
Seattle16,2505,0003.3
Vancouver16,2505,0003.3
Abu Dhabi13,0004,5002.9
Baltimore13,0004,5002.9
Bermuda13,0004,5002.9
Boston13,0004,5002.9
Chicago13,0004,5002.9
Doha13,0004,5002.9
Islamabad13,0004,5002.9
Montreal13,0004,5002.9
Muscat13,0004,5002.9
New York13,0004,5002.9
Philadelphia13,0004,5002.9
Pittsburgh13,0004,5002.9
Toronto13,0004,5002.9
Washington13,0004,5002.9
Abuja10,0004,0002.5
Berlin4,0001,6002.5
Bilbao4,0001,6002.5
Chambery4,0001,6002.5
Copenhagen4,0001,6002.5
Genoa4,0001,6002.5
Gothenburg4,0001,6002.5
Innsbruck4,0001,6002.5
Jeddah10,0004,0002.5
Kuwait10,0004,0002.5
Marseille4,0001,6002.5
Milan4,0001,6002.5
Munich4,0001,6002.5
Nice4,0001,6002.5
Prague4,0001,6002.5
Salzburg4,0001,6002.5
Toulouse4,0001,6002.5
Turin4,0001,6002.5

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points 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 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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 card

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

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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

Comments (10)

  • Genghis says:

    I’m not sure if Avios saved per OB point is the right metric. You say that “You should prioritise your On Business points for long haul Economy redemptions on…” routes such as SIN and KUL, yet do these represent value for money on an avios redemption? If not, comparatively they might be better, but absolutely, not necessarily.

    • shd says:

      Quite. Can’t help thinking of the phrase “the price of everything, and the value of nothing” when attempts are made to crunch through the data and yet the conclusion drawn is so strange.

      Another factor that can makes a impact on short haul redemptions is that RFS fees are capped but OB taxes/fees/charges aren’t. So a LCY-MUC flight with OB points costs you 1600 points + £50 in t/f/c, yet the same route but the opposite direction (MUC-LCY) has a £38 of t/f/c. OnBusiness redemptions for flights *to* the UK are usually more attractive than flights *from* the UK.

      • memesweeper says:

        There are other factors: there’s no peak/off-peak for OB AFAIK but there is for Avios. But I think most people who know OB could be forgiven for thinking that the would price from the same distance chart, and clearly they don’t.

        The OB versus Avios rate — if you have a balance of both — when making a redemption is worth checking.

        My issue now is how to earn OB when my for-work flying has basically ceased… 🙁

        • memesweeper says:

          err, sadly no… managed to blag Washington and Vegas in the past though 🙂

      • Alan says:

        Totally agree re difference in fees. I’ve mainly used OB points when unable to get Avios availability in Europe, so thankfully only for economy anyway.

        • memesweeper says:

          Can we get Lady London back please? Lady Londonf doesn’t have the same ring…

        • Alex Sm says:

          Expiration is a dog, as Rob would put it. My partner and I lost many OB points because of that

  • Nick says:

    I miss the old original OB points redemption possibilities, which included using points for Marriott stays. It was generally a good way to use not too many points which were due to expire at the end of any particular year.

  • Denis says:

    I’ve spent about 50,000 OnB points over the years. Only just a couple of times I booked BA awards. Once precisely it was NCE-LHR (which you recommend against), the fare was about 360 eur for a direct, last seats selling, no avios availability. OnB seats were readily available.

    The real gem of OnB program is AA awards though. I’ve spent my points almost exclusively on AA flights. You can book online (change date or refund online also) – the same as with BA flights, no extra hassle.

    Except for TATL flights taxes and fees are low (the real taxes and fees and BA doesn’t add its scam fees on top), for economy availability has always been great (business is even better but the points prices are steep). LAX-SYD, LAX-AKL, LAX-HND, MIA-EZE – 4000-5000 pts + $5.60.

    LAX-HNL/OGG/KOA/LIH 2500 pts + $5.60 (and it’s a great way to get to HI – flights operated by new A321 with IFE and clean cabins, with any status of any OW airline you’ll end up in a nice Extra seat).

    The best value I got was by redeeming for Caribbean flights. AA has unbeatable network from MIA (+ some flights from NYC, PHL, CLT and DFW). Flights are short but could be quite expensive. I booked MIA-MHH (Marsh Harbour, secondary island in Bahamas, you need to fly into MHH, otherwise it’s such a paint to get there from other islands) for 1100 pts + $15.80 instead of $346 (the flights are routinely $300-400 RT, but the day I needed was more expensive still available on points via OnB).

    You can also redeem for IB flights and I believe it should be better value than BA flights, I’ve personally never done that though.

    • Daniel says:

      Thanks Denis – that was v helpful as I have tended to neglect using OB on AA

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