This is our review of the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business credit card (BA Amex Business). It is the only British Airways-branded credit card for SME’s.
IMPORTANT: Applications for this card are suspended from 6th April 2023 due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business programme. It is hoped to reopen applications soon.
This article was updated on 1st September 2023, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.
What Avios SME credit cards are out there?
There are four credit or charge cards which allow you to earn Avios from spending by your small business. These are:
- Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa (10,000 Avios bonus)
- British Airways Accelerating Business American Express (30,000 Avios bonus)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 Amex points bonus = 40,000 Avios)
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 Amex points bonus = 20,000 Avios)
Our latest review of American Express Business Platinum is here. This card has a bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points. You qualify for the bonus as long as you haven’t had any personal or business Platinum, Gold or Green Amex cards in the past 13 months. You can apply here.
There is also American Express Business Gold. This offers a sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points which is impressive for a ‘free for a year’ card. Our full review of Amex Business Gold is here. You can apply here.
In this article I want to look at the British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card, a card which lets you earn Avios and British Airways On Business points.
What is the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card?
The British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card (BA Amex Business) was launched in late 2019 as a new product for the small business market.
In September 2021 it was relaunched with new benefits. The sign-up bonus switched to Avios from On Business points and an Avios-based annual spend bonus was introduced.
Here’s the legal stuff
Application page: you can apply and find further details on the BA Amex Business website here
The representative APR is 105.5% variable, including the annual fee. The representative APR on purchases is 26.9% variable.
There is an annual fee of £250, which is tax deductible.
What is the sign-up bonus on the BA Accelerating Business credit card?
You receive an impressive bonus of 30,000 Avios when you spend £5,000 in your first three months.
To qualify for the bonus, you cannot have held any American Express Business card in the previous 12 months. This includes Accelerating Business, Business Platinum and Business Gold.
You are totally fine to receive the bonus if you hold a personal American Express card. For clarity, this includes the personal British Airways American Express cards – you will still get the bonus on BA Accelerating Business if you have a personal BA Amex.
What is the earning rate on the BA Accelerating Business credit card?
There are two ways to earn points with the BA Amex Business card:
- You earn 1.5 Avios for every £1 you spend, plus
- You earn 100% more On Business points for every £1 you spend with British Airways using the card. For most small businesses, this means you will receive an extra 1 On Business points per £1, ie 2 per £1 spent vs the standard 1 point per £1 spent.
What are On Business points?
On Business is the British Airways loyalty scheme for small businesses. I summarise the key points further on, but to avoid cluttering this article, please read my full review of British Airways On Business here.
The key thing you need to remember is that you can earn BOTH Avios and On Business points when you fly with British Airways.
Is there an annual spending bonus?
Yes. You can earn up to 30,000 Avios per calendar year as a spend bonus.
You receive 10,000 Avios for hitting £20,000 of qualifying spend with additional 10,000 Avios bonuses for hitting £40,000 and £60,000.
Note that, unlike most other American Express bonuses, this is based on calendar year and not card year spending.
Are there any other benefits?
You get typical American Express credit card benefits:
- Up to 56 days to pay
- Complimentary 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
See this page of the American Express website for full details of these benefits.
Does the BA Amex Business card charge FX fees?
Yes. 2.99% is added to all foreign currency transactions.
What sort of business can apply for the BA Accelerating Business credit card?
There are very few requirements to get BA Amex Business. To quote:
- The business has a current UK Bank or Building Society account
- You/The business have/has no County Court Judgements for non-payment of debt
- You are aged 18 or over
- You have a permanent UK home address
- You will pay the annual Cardmembership fee of £250
If you do not currently have a British Airways On Business account, one will be opened for you when you apply for the card. The usual rule about having to be VAT registered is waived.
Does BA Amex Business offer real value?
The British Airways Accelerating Business sign-up bonus:
Frankly, getting the card for the first year is a no-brainer given the sign-up bonus of 30,000 Avios. The annual fee is refundable pro-rata if you cancel during the year.
As long as you qualify for the bonus and are confident of spending £5,000 within three months, this is a good deal.
The British Airways Accelerating Business general earning rate:
1.5 Avios per £1 is clearly a generous earning rate. It matches what you receive on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express personal card and the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard personal card, which have similar identical annual fees.
The British Airways Accelerating Business BA flights earning rate:
For most companies, the extra 100% On Business points earned when booking British Airways flights on the card is worth 1 On Business points per £1. This is worth the equivalent of an extra one to two Avios per £1 spent.
If you spend a substantial sum on British Airways flights each year, this adds real value to the card package.
The British Airways Accelerating Business annual spend bonus:
If you can spend £20,000 to £60,000 per year on the card, the annual spend bonus makes the card an excellent deal.
Spend £60,000, for example, and your annual earnings would be 120,000 Avios. This represents 90,000 base Avios at 1.5 Avios per £1 and 30,000 Avios from the annual spend bonus. In the first year, you would get an extra 60,000 Avios from the sign-up bonus.
How does Accelerating Business compare with the alternatives?
Is BA Amex Business better than the American Express Business Gold Card?
Yes. The 30,000 Avios offered on the Accelerating Business card is better than the 20,000 Membership Rewards points offered on Business Gold, which converts into 20,000 Avios.
Longer term, low spenders may find Business Gold more suitable. Business Gold is free in the first year (vs £250 for the BA card) and £125 thereafter. The earning rate is lower – 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent vs 1.5 Avios, but Membership Rewards points can be transferred to many different airline and hotel programmes, not just Avios. There is no annual bonus on Business Gold.
If you would spend over £20,000 per year on the card, however, the British Airways Accelerating Business Card looks better. You trigger the first annual spend bonus and the difference in annual earning (1.5 Avios vs 1 Membership Rewards point) starts to outweigh the fee difference.
For clarity, American Express Business Gold is a charge card and you must repay your balance in full each month. BA Accelerating Business is a credit card.
Is BA Amex Business better than the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa?
For the first year, with a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Avios, Accelerating Business is clearly the best deal.
Longer term, the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa has a lower fee (£99 per year) and is accepted in more places than American Express. The earning rate is lower, however, at 1 Avios per £1 spent.
Note that Capital On Tap does not accept sole traders. You must be a limited company or limited partnership to apply.
You can, of course, apply for both Capital On Tap Business Rewards and British Airways Accelerating Business. The Capital On Tap Visa will be useful wherever your American Express is not accepted.
The September 2021 changes have massively improved the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card.
Let’s be clear. If you qualify for the sign-up bonus and can easily spend £5,000 within three months, you should apply and pick up 30,000 Avios.
Whether the card works for you long term will depend on how much you spend, given the ability to earn 30,000 Avios per year in annual spend bonuses.
There are reasons why American Express Business Gold (no fee in year 1, transferable points) or Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa (£99 fee, 1 Avios per £1 spent, wider acceptance) may be better after the first year. One-man bands may want to use the personal British Airways Premium Plus American Express card (2-4-1 voucher, same fee) or Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard (upgrade voucher, similar fee).
Accelerating Business may, of course, work for you long term and will certainly work for you in the first year given the bonus. You can find full details, and apply, on the BA Amex Business website here.
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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. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.