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.
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.
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:
Sign-up bonus and earnings rate:
- Get 2,200 On Business points when you spend £3,000 within 90 days
- Earn 1.5 Avios per £1 spent
- Receive 3,000 bonus On Business points when you spend £20,000 in a card year
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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.