Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Your guide to the BA ‘On Business’ SME loyalty programme and BA Amex Business Card (Pt 1)

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This article is an advertisement feature by American Express

American Express has just relaunched the British Airways American Express® Accelerating Business Credit Card. This is the dedicated British Airways credit card for sole traders and small businesses.

For a limited time, the BA Amex Business Card comes with a huge sign-up bonus of 60,000 Avios. You need £5,000 of qualifying spend in the first three months to receive the bonus. No end date for the offer has been given although it may be withdrawn by American Express at any time.

You can also earn up to 30,000 bonus Avios per calendar year if you spend £60,000 (an average of £5,000 per month) on the Card. You also earn bonus On Business Points when you buy qualifying British Airways flights on the Card.

You can find out more about the card, and apply, here.

As this offer has raised interest in the British Airways On Business loyalty programme, I thought I would look at it today. This article runs in two parts – Part 2 of our BA ‘On Business’ review is here.

Your guide to British Airways 'On Business' SME loyalty programme

How does the British Airways On Business programme work?

Whilst the Avios programme will be familiar to all Head for Points readers, you may not have come across On Business.

On Business is the other British Airways loyalty programme. Instead of rewarding flyers, it rewards your company when you travel.

The On Business programme is explained at this website.  It is fundamentally the same as Avios in structure. You earn On Business Points for every flight your company books. They can then be redeemed for flights or for upgrades.

You can collect both Avios and On Business Points on the same flight. You collect Avios as a flyer and On Business Points as a company.

British Airways On Business review

Signing up for On Business

The sign-up page is here (click ‘Join On Business’ in the menu bar).  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.)

You must provide the name of your company and its VAT registration number when you sign-up.

The VAT requirement is waived if you apply for the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Credit Card. This is an additional benefit from getting the Card if your turnover is under the VAT threshold.

How to earn BA On Business Points

Points earning in On Business is 100% revenue based.  The more you spend, the more points you earn.  It is that simple.

The programme has three tiers which you move through based on your annual spending:

  • On1 – up to £29,999 spend – 1 point per £1
  • On2 – £30,000 to £299,999 spend – 1.25 points per £1
  • On3 – £300,000+ spent – 1.5 points per £1

Qualifying spend comprises of flights taken on British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines.  Points are based on the ticket price excluding taxes, charges and fees – but including carrier surcharges.

You receive points irrespective of where you book.  

You will not, however, receive any points if you book a flight as part of a BA Holidays or similar package with inclusive hotel or car hire.

As soon as you hit the threshold for the next tier, you are moved up.  You retain that tier for the rest of the current calendar year and all of the following year.

Note that, when you have multiple flights on one booking, the earning system can get a little chaotic.  This is because BA has to make a notional split of the cost of your ticket between each individual leg.  

British Airways On Business review

Earning analysis

On Business Points have a ‘hard’ expiry date of two years from the December after you earn them.  Unlike Avios, this expiry date cannot be extended – you must spend your points within 2-3 years.

If you do not have on-going activity on your account, they expire even sooner – exactly on the 3rd anniversary of your last earning activity.

How to spend BA On Business Points

The On Business redemption chart is skewed towards Economy redemptions.

A Business Class flight needs roughly 5-6x more points than an economy one.  Avios only charges 2x the economy points for Business Class on short-haul and 3x on long-haul.

Most small companies should forget about redeeming for long-haul premium classes.  You would need to spend roughly £40,000 to earn one Club World return to the Middle East.

Before we look at the numbers, you should note a few things:

  • You can only redeem on BA, American Airlines and Iberia.  You do not have access to full oneworld reward inventory.
  • Reward availability is often 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.  
  • 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.
  • You cannot redeem flights until two different travellers have collected points on your account. This is presumably to stop ‘one man bands’ joining up.  

There is no published redemption chart.  You need to plug routes manually into the widget on the On Business home page in order to get pricing examples.

However, last year Head for Points published the full On Business redemption chart for Economy flights for the first time anywhere – see here.  This will save you a substantial amount of time in working out how far your points will take you.

Here are a few examples.  These are all return flights but one-way bookings are also allowed:

  • Hamburg – 2,200 points Euro Traveller return; 10,400 points Club Europe return
  • New York – 9,000 points World Traveller return; 48,000 points Club World return
  • Tokyo – 10,000 points World Traveller return; 58,000 points Club World return

Note the huge gap between Economy and Business pricing, especially for Hamburg.

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

Click here for Part 2 of our British Airways On Business review. It looks at the value of using your On Business points for upgrades and how to boost your points with the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Credit Card.

You can find out more about the BA Amex Business Card, and apply, here.

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 (6)

  • HAM76 says:

    It’s not your points that expire when you don’t earn points within a 24 month period. They close your OnBusiness account completely. My last flight on BA was in Nov 19, because I mostly fly from Germany to the US and the US isn’t open. OnBusiness gave me two extra months and will only close my account in January. How nice of them.

  • Paul Pogba says:

    Do HfP have an OnBusiness referral code that we could use? Is there any benefit to the site?

    • Rob says:

      Yes I do (we had to remove it from this article due to the Amex sponsorship) – OB10171896

      We both get 1,500 points after your first flights. Thanks.

  • Paul says:

    A little off topic, is there any bonus for the first supplementary on the Accelerating Business card?

  • ts says:

    Please can you detail how/when you link the card to the BA account that gets avios/points? If I’m applying on behalf of a business, how do I decide which “person” benefits? Can this be altered? How does one manage this for the supplementary cards? Importantly, who gets the initial bonus? Thanks. TS

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