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The British Airways ‘On Business’ SME loyalty programme reviewed (Part 2, 2020 edition)

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This is Part 2 of our look at the British Airways On Business loyalty programme for businesses.  This allows a company to earn On Business points – to redeem for flights or upgrades – at the same time as its travellers earn Avios points.

Part 1 of our British Airways On Business review can be found here if you missed it.

British Airways On Business promo code

The On Business sign-up page is here.  If you are signing up, you will qualify for a special sign-up bonus of triple points for your first six one-way flights within 12 months of joining.

If you say on your application form that you were referred by member OB10171896 then you receive 1,500 bonus On Business points after crediting your first flight.  (And so do I, so thank you.)

Today I want to look at whether it is worth redeeming for flight upgrades, and how to earn more points with credit cards.

Redeeming On Business points for upgrades

The reward chart for upgrading flights using OB points is no longer published, but there are some examples below.  

Changes in 2018 and 2019 have improved this option. Tickets issued by travel agents can now be upgraded with OB points, as can American Airlines and Iberia flights.

Upgrades are potentially more attractive than outright redemptions which I discussed in Part 1 of our On Business review.  Almost all economy tickets can now be upgraded with On Business points.  ALL Club World seats are upgradeable.

Upgrades start at 5,000 points long-haul for World Traveller to World Traveller Plus, from 10,500 for World Traveller Plus to Club World and from 7,000 points for Club World to First.   These are one-way prices.  Remember that On Business availability is better than Avios availability so you have a decent chance of being able to upgrade if you wish.

As an example:

Hamburg – Euro Traveller to Club Europe – 4,100 points each way

Dubai – World Traveller to World Traveller Plus – 6,000 points each way

New York – World Traveller Plus to Club World – 13,000 points each way

Tokyo – Club World to First Class – 10,000 points each way

These prices are generous for First Class upgrades and this may be the sweet spot.

British Airways On Business review

Boosting your On Business points with credit cards

There are two ways of earning On Business points via credit card spend.  Following the launch of the British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card in 2019, there is now an option for smaller businesses.

Earning OB points with an SME credit card:

American Express launched this card in 2019:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Bonus: 2,200 On Business points

Read our full reviewApply here

Other information:

  • Get 50% bonus On Business points on BA flights purchased with the card
  • Annual fee: £210

Representative 80.3% APR variable based on an assumed £1,200 credit limit and £210 annual fee. Interest rate on purchases 22.2% APR variable.

See if you qualify for the 2,200 points sign-up bonus +

There are no restrictions on receiving the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Accelerating Business American Express credit card.

You will receive the bonus irrespective of what other business or personal American Express cards you hold.

Learn more about the card benefits +

The card comes with the 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

This is an interesting card. You do NOT earn On Business points for your day to day spending – you receive Avios – but you do earn them for BA flight purchases, as a sign-up bonus and as an annual bonus.

Our full review of BA Accelerating Business is here. In summary:

  • You get 2,200 On Business points as a sign-up bonus when you spend £3,000 within 90 days – and you WILL qualify for this irrespective of what other Amex cards you hold
  • You earn 1.5 Avios per £1 spent
  • You receive 3,000 bonus On Business points when you spend £20,000 in a card year
  • You earn 50% more On Business points on your British Airways flight purchases when you pay for them using the card

If your company spends a lot of money on British Airways flights, the additional On Business points might work well.  If you assume that 1 On Business point is worth 4 Avios (I discussed why in Part 1 of this BA On Business review) and 1 Avios point is worth 1p, then you are getting back an extra 2% of your British Airways expenditure from the additional 0.5 On Business points per £1.

You can apply here.

british airways accelerating business credit card

Earning OB points with a corporate credit card:

If you have a large (ie multi-million £ turnover) company, American Express issues two British Airways corporate credit cards.

(NB: the link only works if you are logged out of your On Business account)

The details are here.  The earnings rate is no better than for the personal BA Amex cards, but – as with the Accelerating Business card – you will earn a 50% bonus on all On Business points when you buy flights using the card.

Take care when you join On Business to get the best sign-up bonus

Finally, a slightly odd statement – it may pay you NOT to earn On Business points on every flight!

On Business has a semi-permanent sign-up bonus:

“to get your membership off to a flying start, your company will earn triple On Business Points on the first 6 flight sectors your company takes on qualifying flights in your first 12 months of joining”

This triple points offer could be hugely rewarding.  You should plan it that the first six sectors you credit are high earning ones.  It is worth NOT putting your OB number in short haul flights if you think you will have longer flights later in the year, as you want your first six ‘triple point’ sectors to really count.

Don’t forget PartnerPlusBenefit – the Star Alliance alternative

Finally, if you are thinking of joining On Business, you should also join PartnerPlusBenefit.  This is the Lufthansa-managed competitor, allowing you to collect on ten of the airlines in Star Alliance – Air Canada, Air Dolomiti, ANA, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa, SWISS, LOT Polish and United.

Full details of PartnerPlusBenefit can be found here

how to earn avios from credit cards

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

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

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

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

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

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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 (4)

  • memesweeper says:

    > ALL Club World seats are upgradeable

    You learn something new every day here 🙂 Club -> First upgrades is something I’d never considered with OB. Can you upgrade an Avios redemption with OBs?

    • Rob says:

      You can’t do that. But all cash buckets can be upgraded (same rule as for Avios upgrades).

      • memesweeper says:

        Thanks 🙂 got to find another way to spend my last scraps of OB then

  • Richie says:

    Hi – any idea if you can upgrade an “already booked” ticket with OB, or do you need to do it all when you buy&book the ticket? Cheers

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