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.
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 (May 2022)
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. You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.
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 10,000 Avios.
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.
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.
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.)