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Got BA On Business points? There is amazing long haul reward availability

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On Business is the British Airways loyalty programme 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.

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

British Airways On Business flight availability

How to join On Business

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.  If you are signing up, use my referral code of OB10171896 – you will get a bonus of 1,500 points when you credit your first flight. (And so will I, so thank you!)

We normally don’t recommend redeeming OB points for Business Class

Redeeming On Business points for premium cabins is not great value. 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.

To New York, for example, you need 9,000 On Business points for an Economy return flight and 48,000 points for a Business Class return – a multiplier of 5.3x. This compares to a multiplier of 3x when using Avios.

This is why, historically, we have recommended that you only use On Business points to redeem for Economy flights and use Avios for Business Class redemptions.

There are currently huge availability differences, however

It used to be the case that On Business availability would match what a British Airways Executive Club Gold member would see, give or take. Economy (where Gold card holders get far better availability when using Avios) was good whilst other classes tended to follow whatever Avios showed.

At the moment, this isn’t the case. Availability when using On Business points is exceptionally good on many routes.

Let’s look at New York on 11th May. The rest of this article only discusses New York, but the same principle applies to other long haul routes too.

If you are spending On Business points, this is what you see (click to enlarge):

The nine British Airways services show 9+ seats in Business Class (no ‘x left’ message means there are at least 9 seats) whilst the two American Airlines flights show seven reward seats.

Five of the nine British Airways flights show First Class availability, with one of the flights showing six seats.

Let’s look at Avios availability for 11th May:

There is a grand total of ONE Club World seat for the whole day, and nothing at all in First Class.

This compares with at least 100 seats in Business Class and 15 seats in First Class for On Business points.

There is a snag

…. because there always is, isn’t there?

The first snag is that most of you won’t have a large stash of On Business points, if any.

The second snag is that you must pay higher taxes and charges.

As we covered in our article last week on higher Avios taxes, a return flight to New York currently prices at £846 return in taxes and charges. You are initially quoted £990 but when you click through to pay it drops to £846.

With On Business, however, there is no drop. You are quoted £990 on the initial booking page and when you click through to pay …. it remains at £990.

(£990 is also what Virgin Atlantic is now charging for Upper Class redemptions. This makes me think that BA wants to charge £990 too but some IT quirk is failing to add all the surcharges and so you end up paying £846.)

This may not be a concern, of course. With cash prices sky high for midweek trips (I was quoted £3,800 return by JetBlue for a Monday to Thursday July trip, which is hardly the bargain prices they promised) you may find £990 in taxes and charges a decent price to pay on the New York route.

If you have On Business points, now is a good time to use them. Don’t forget that On Business points have a ‘hard’ three year expiry (ie there is nothing you can do to protect them) and all pandemic grace periods are now over, so you may have some that need spending.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year 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.

Comments (10)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • points_worrier says:

    When charges make up > 50% of the ‘taxes and charges’, you should call them ‘charges and taxes’. When charges make up > 75%, you should just call them ‘charges’.

  • Ant says:

    Pls can you explain the “hard” 3 year expiry? Does it mean they expiry even if there is activity on the account?

  • AirMax says:

    Award wallet might not recognise the 3 year expiry as well

  • Steve in Croydon says:

    O/T – BE AWARE!! Another stuff-up with poxy bug-ridden
    I was looking at LHR-SYD and it offered QR via Doha and MH via KL. I added a CDG-LHR sector with transit at LHR at the start to overcome the thieving UKG APD of £185. The upfront quote showed the reduced price, but the next page added it back in! APD on a transit booking – NO! It is illegal to collect taxes that aren’t due in the same way that is illegal to not collect taxes that are due.
    This was a one-way Avios booking in business, but that is irrelevant to the tax calculations.
    I’m passing this on the HMRC.

    • Rob says:

      This happens all the time with Quick call gets it refunded.

      • Steve in Croydon says:

        Well I’ve done many searches with a <24 hour transit from Europe. It's always removed the APD versus the journey starting in the UK. I've never seen it get added back.
        Sorry Rob – "a quick call …" to BA? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.
        There's enough people posting on HfP to know that "quick" and BA is oxymoronic, as is "luxury" and BA nowadays.

        • Rob says:

          I was referring to, for eg, one way flights from HK or Sao Paulo where will illegally add surcharges but which you can reclaim with a call.

  • Nick says:

    For those who may not be aware, 7 in Sabre is what 9 is in Amadeus. That is to say, if you’re interpreting 9 as 9+ for BA, for the AA flights, 7 actually means 7+.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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