It’s back! British Airways and American Express have relaunched the British Airways credit card for SMEs – the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card (‘Accelerating Business’ for short). You can apply here.
New applications were suspended in April following issues with the British Airways On Business platform in February. The On Business website remains offline, although you can now make redemptions by calling and points balances are being updated.
Is the Accelerating Business card worth getting?
Yes, I think so. The Accelerating Business credit card has some good features:
- there is a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Avios
- you qualify for the sign-up bonus even if you have a personal British Airways American Express card – the only rule is that you haven’t had an American Express Business card in the last 12 months
- high spenders receive extra bonuses of 10,000 Avios for spending £20,000, £40,000 and £60,000 in a calendar year
The sign-up bonus of 30,000 Avios means that you should take a very serious look at this card.
If you could spend £60,000 in your first year you would earn 150,000 Avios – 30,000 Avios from the welcome bonus, 90,000 Avios from your base spending and 30,000 Avios as additional spending bonuses.
You can apply on the American Express website here.
What Avios SME credit cards are out there?
Let’s start with a broader look at the market.
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
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
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
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum has a generous bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points. These convert at 1:1 into Avios. You qualify for the bonus as long as you haven’t had any personal or business cards which earn Membership Rewards points 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 convert 1:1 into Avios, subject to the same rule as Business Platinum. This card is FREE for the first year. You can apply here.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards is your ONLY option for earning Avios from a business Visa or Mastercard. Learn more about Capital On Tap in this HfP article.
Given these options, what does the Accelerating Business credit card have to offer?
What is the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card?
The British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card was launched in late 2019 as a new product for the small business market.
The representative APR is 108.4% variable, including the annual fee. The representative APR on purchases is 28.5% variable.
Remember that the £250 annual fee would be tax deductible if you used the card exclusively for business purposes.
There is a minimum income requirement of £20,000. This is based on your personal income as the applicant, and not the profits of your business.
What is the sign-up bonus on the BA Accelerating Business credit card?
You will receive 30,000 Avios if you spend £5,000 within three months.
Do you qualify for the sign-up bonus?
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 only hold a personal American Express card.
To be clear, as long as you meet the rule above on not having other Business cards, you can get the sign-up bonus on Accelerating Business if you also have a personal British Airways American Express card.
What is the earning rate on the BA Accelerating Business credit card?
There are two ways to earn points with the Accelerating 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 point 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.
Whilst the On Business website is still down, email statements are being sent out and you can make redemptions by calling. Normal online service should be resumed soon.
If you do not have an On Business account, American Express will open one for you when you apply. The requirement to be VAT registered is waived if you apply for the Accelerating Business card. This means that the card is a back-door route for businesses under the VAT threshold to join On Business.
Is there an annual spending bonus?
Yes. You will receive:
- 10,000 Avios when you spend £20,000 in a calendar year, plus
- 10,000 Avios when you spend £40,000 in a calendar year, plus
- 10,000 Avios when you spend £60,000 in a calendar year
This means that heavy spenders would receive 30,000 bonus Avios each year for spending £60,000. This is on top of the 90,000 base Avios they would have earned at 1.5 Avios per £1.
If you spend exactly £20,000, £40,000 or £60,00 in a calendar year, your Avios earning rate – including the spend bonus – would be 2 Avios per £1.
Are there any other benefits?
You get typical American Express credit card benefits:
- Up to 56 days to pay
- Up to 20 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
- 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.
Who can apply for the BA Accelerating Business credit card?
There are very few other requirements to get BA Amex Business. To quote:
- The business has a current UK Bank or Building Society account
- You are aged 18 or over
- You have a permanent UK home address
- You will pay the annual Cardmembership fee of £250
You also need to meet the requirements for the On Business programme:
“To access the On Business benefits, your company must not be a travel agency, ticket brokerage firm or consolidator AND your company does not have an existing corporate incentive agreement with British Airways, Iberia or American Airlines.”
Does the Accelerating Business Amex offer real value?
Is the sign-up bonus good value?
Frankly, it is a no-brainer for the first year with a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Avios.
You are receiving 30,000 Avios in return for an annual fee of £250.
As long as you qualify for the bonus and are confident of spending £5,000 within three months, this is an outstanding deal.
The annual fee can be refunded, pro rata, until at least 29th February 2024. American Express is changing its policy on fee refunds at some point after that date, and they will no longer be allowed mid-year.
Is the day-to-day earning rate good value?
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 which has an identical annual fee.
Is the bonus on BA spending worth having?
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 roughly 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.
Is the annual spend bonus worth having?
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 30,000 Avios from the sign-up bonus.
Let’s be clear. If you qualify for the sign-up bonus (ie you have some sort of small business and haven’t had an American Express Business card in the last 12 months) and can spend £5,000 within three months, you should apply – you will earn an easy 30,000 Avios as a sign-up bonus.
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. It depends on whether you spend enough to justify the annual 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.
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.