Is Capital On Tap Business Rewards (15,000 Avios bonus) or BA Accelerating Business Amex the best SME credit card?

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Until 13th July, we are running an EXCLUSIVE Head for Points reader offer on the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa.  You will receive points worth £150 cashback or 15,000 Avios if you sign up using our ‘headforpoints’ promo code. 

This is a great deal given that the annual fee on the card is just £99 and you earn points worth a generous 1 Avios per £1 on your day to day business spending.

To help you decide if this offer works for you – assuming you have your own company – I wanted to run an updated version of the article below which looks at both Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa and the new British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card.  Which card is best for your business?

Full details of the exclusive £150 or 15,000 Avios sign-up offer for the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa can be found in this HFP article.  You ONLY get this bonus if you use our promotional code.

Introducing the two Avios-earning SME credit cards

2019 saw the launch of two new small business credit cards, both of which allow you to earn Avios.  Which is best?

Both cards seem to take advantage of a loophole in the EU interchange fee regulations which means that retailer fees caps do not apply to business cards.  SME cards are now far more lucrative for issuers and we can expect to see more of them.

In the blue corner ….. Capital On Tap Business Rewards

The Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa card looks like this:

Capital on Tap Business Rewards visa card

You can apply, and find full details, on this page of the Capital On Tap website.  Don’t forget to use promo code headforpoints for a higher bonus which transfers to 15,000 Avios – see below.

Interest rate information:  Your interest rate is based on your business profile and can be as low as 9.9% APR.  The standard interest rate for marketing purposes is 39.9% APR.

Here are the headline details:

Annual fee: £99

Sign-up bonus: 10,000 Capital On Tap points, worth £100 cashback or 10,000 Avios, if you spend £5,000 within 90 days (this is increased to 15,000 points, worth £150 cashback or 15,000 Avios, if you apply using promo code headforpoints by 13th July)

Earning rate:  1p cashback or 1 Avios per £1 spent

Additional benefits:  None

Foreign exchange fee:  None

The Capital On Tap cards are aimed at sole traders as well as small businesses.  The company is flexible in who they accept:

if you are a UK limited company or limited partnership with turnover of £24,000+ then you should be eligible

if you are a VAT registered sole trader then you should be eligible. 

if you are a sole trader under the VAT threshold but above £24,000 then applications are looked at on a case by case basis – if you have a functioning website and are clearly in business then I am told you should be eligible

Applicants must not have a CCJ against themselves or their business in the past 12 months.

You can apply for Capital On Tap Business Rewards here.

IMPORTANT:  Even though you have entered promo code ‘headforpoints’ when applying, you will NOT get a message onscreen confirming the extra 5,000 Avios.  It will track OK, however, so trust us that the higher bonus will appear.  If it doesn’t, please email me – I am working closely with Capital On Tap with this offer and can get your bonus adjusted quickly if it is wrong.

In the slightly lighter blue corner ….. BA Amex Business

This funky looking card launched in September 2019:

BA Amex Business

The full name is the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business credit card, but I’ll stick with ‘BA Amex Business’.

You can apply, and find full details, on this page of the Amex website.

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%.

Here are the headline details:

Annual fee: £210

Sign-up bonus: 2,200 On Business points if you spend £3,000 within six months (this is equivalent to around 9,000 Avios if used for Economy flights, or 4,500 Avios if used for Business Class flights)

Earning rate:  1.5 Avios per £1 spent

Additional benefits:  An additional 0.5 On Business points per £1 spent with British Airways, an additional 3,000 On Business points if you spend £20,000 in a card year

Foreign exchange fee:  2.99%

If you don’t know much about British Airways On Business, my review is here.  The review includes a promo code for an extra 1,500 On Business points when you sign up to On Business.

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 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.

You can apply for BA Amex Business here.

Best Avios small business credit card

Which card is best for your business?

As usual, it isn’t as simple as that.  British Airways American Express Accelerating Business and Capital On Tap Business Rewards are not entirely comparable.

Let’s look at two key factors:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards is a Visa.  BA Amex Business is, well, an Amex.  There is a substantial difference in the acceptance rate of Amex vs Visa in the B2B sector.  Even if you get the BA Amex Business card, it won’t be accepted everywhere.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards has no FX fees.  BA Amex Business has a 2.99% FX fee.  If you spend a lot of money outside the UK, this is a key differentiator.

For simplicity, though, let’s assume that a) 100% of your spending could be done with an Amex and b) you value an Avios at 1p, c) all your spend is in Sterling and d) your British Airways spend is nominal.

These calculations ignore the value of the sign-up bonus.

Annual spend of £15,000:

  • BA Amex Business – £210 fee offset by 22,500 Avios earned (£225-worth), net gain of £15
  • Capital On Tap – £99 fee offset by £150 cashback or 15,000 Avios earned (£150-worth), net gain of £51

Annual spend of £25,000:

  • BA Amex Business – £210 fee offset by 37,500 Avios earned (£375-worth) PLUS the annual bonus of 3,000 On Business points (equivalent to 12,000 Avios of value) for a net gain of £285
  • Capital On Tap – £99 fee offset by 25,000 Avios earned (£250-worth), net gain of £151

Annual spend of £50,000:

  • BA Amex Business – £210 fee offset by 75,000 Avios earned (£750-worth) PLUS the annual bonus of 3,000 On Business points (equivalent to 12,000 Avios of value), net gain of £660
  • Capital On Tap – £99 fee offset by 50,000 Avios earned (£500-worth), net gain of £401

As you can see, for higher spenders the BA Accelerating Business card becomes more attractive – on paper.

In reality, I’m not sure the numbers above mean much because of low Amex acceptance amongst B2B suppliers.  Capital On Tap, in the real world, will perform better because Visa credit cards are accepted more widely.

The 3% FX fee also cuts the Amex return sharply.  In the £50,000 annual spend example, if just £10,000 of that spend was in foreign currencies then the £300 FX fee incurred would wipe out the additional rewards and leave Capital On Tap on top.

In Year 1, Capital On Tap is also a no-brainer even if you get BA Amex Business for the long term.  As long as you use the headforpoints promo code and apply by 13th July, you’re getting points worth £150 cashback or 15,000 Avios for the £99 fee.

Conclusion

Both BA Amex Business and Capital On Tap Business Rewards have something to offer your small business.

In general …..

Small spenders may do better with Capital On Tap, larger spenders may do better with BA Amex Business

Those with lots of overseas spend may do better with Capital On Tap, those with mainly UK spend may do better with BA Amex Business

Those with lots of suppliers who do not take Amex may do better with Capital On Tap, those with a lot of Amex-friendly spend (hello, heavy Google Adwords and Facebook advertisers) may do better with BA Amex Business

Those with substantial British Airways spend may do better with BA Amex Business due to the bonus On Business points

You can apply for the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business card here.

You can apply for the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa here.  Don’t forget to use the headforpoints promo code for your extra sign-up bonus points worth £50 or 5,000 Avios and to apply by 13th July.

REMEMBER …. even though you have entered promo code ‘headforpoints’ when applying, you will NOT get a message onscreen confirming the extra 5,000 Avios.  It will track OK, however, so trust us that the higher bonus will appear.  If it doesn’t, please email me – I am working closely with Capital On Tap with this offer and can get your bonus adjusted quickly if it is wrong.

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Comments

  1. I applied for the Capital on Tap card after reading a similar article on here in July 2019, mainly to get the Avios reward points. Back then it was treated as a “pre-paid” card which meant some merchants, including Google Adwords, would not accept it. Now it’s a regular Visa card accepted everywhere.

    Amex have a reputation for providing a high standard of customer service. Over the past 12 months I’ve contacted COT three or four times, and I’m pleased to report the service received was excellent on each occasion, and would definitely recommend this card to other small businesses!

  2. James says:

    Hi Rob, do you know if COT card works with Curve Card and if payments to HMRC, via Curve Metal, do not incur a fee from COT? Cheers

    • Don’t know, sorry.

    • The Urbanite says:

      CoT does work with Curve and Curve does work with HMRC fee free.

      I don’t think payments to HMRC are prohibited but I haven’t tried yet.

    • Kevin C says:

      I have used COT with Curve Metal to pay HMRC.

      I like COT but it would be great if you could pay your bill by bank transfer instead of waiting for the direct debit date. I know you can by pay card but I don’t have a business debit card.

    • Yes it does!

  3. KBuffett says:

    Can this be used to pay PAYE?

  4. Jonathan says:

    Surprises me that the personal VA reward+ card manages 1.5 miles per pound but the CoT business card which attracts higher fees is only 1 mile per pound.

    • Freddy says:

      Surprises me that amex don’t improve their business gold earning rate to encourage usage on this card due to the higher fees they can charge retailers. I personally put my business spend through the BAPP card due to the earning rate

      • Jonathan says:

        Agreed, why does the Platinum card have the same earning rate as Gold and Green? Although i have a double points offer on my Platinum so using that but otherwise yes the BAPP would usually be my go to card.

    • Different structure. COT pays Avios for the points at standard commercial rates (ie c1p). Virgin Atlantic has an equity stake in the credit card and shares the FX fees, interest payments, card fees etc, so the price it charges for the miles is only part of the equation.

  5. Hotel-User says:

    I use PayPal to get around the annoyance that most suppliers will not take Amex. There are more people accepting PayPal than I first though. ( not sure how charge backs work – but I use it to pay what I owe )

  6. Mzungu says:

    I applied for one of these a few months ago and triggered the bonnus, so now have about 15000 points sitting in my COT account. I had planned to transfer them to my BA account, but I’m holding back due to the preceived nervousness around airline loyalty schemes at the moment (I’m holding Tesco points for the same reason). But how confident are we of the COT scheme, and is there a risk that they could devalue the conversion rate? What’s the general view of the experts here – are the points safer in COT or BA/Avios 🙂

    I also missed the enhanced bonus offer by a couple of days – I got the additional 500 points for using the HfP link, the 5000 offer appeared the day after I received the card, but COT wouldn’t budge 🙁

    • You can never tell, of course – if customers start defaulting heavily then they could struggle, but it’s unlikely and 15,000 points is not the end of the world. I doubt you’d get a surprise devaluation but again they are a fairly new company and we don’t have a track record for them. It’s not like the hotels, where you can broadly trust certain companies (mainly Hyatt) to see you right and have to be very dubious about others (Radisson has done no-notice devaluations in the past), with the rest being known to sit in the middle (eg will devalue but would tell you first).

  7. The Savage Squirrel says:

    For small businesses (the target of the article), On Business points, with their hard expiry, will be basically useless and should probably be valued at zero. Changes the maths a bit.

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