Everything you need to know about British Airways’ On Business programme

Oct 11, 2019

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This story has been paid for by American Express, but the opinions are those of the author and TPG. This is one way TPG continues to provide our readers with free news and advice about travel.

On Business is a loyalty programme allowing businesses to collect points for the travel they buy for their employees on British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines. The points can be used by the business for reward tickets or cabin upgrades on cash tickets, which could save businesses money on travel and expenses.

Small- and medium-sized businesses can sign up for On Business, though are required to provide a valid VAT number. If applying for the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card, American Express will perform several other checks, such as confirming there is a business footprint in the UK, the business structure and the recorded beneficial owners or directors structure.

Earning On Business Points

There are two key ways of earning On Business Points: taking eligible flights and through credit cards.

Taking eligible flights

Earning rates for On Business Points are fully revenue-based. Put simply, you will earn points based on the amount of money you spend on eligible flights. There are three tiers of membership with increasing earning levels for points:

Tier Annual Spend Earning Rate Bonus
On1 £0 – 29,999 1 point per £/$/ €
On2 £30,000 – 299,999 1 point per £/$/ € 25%
On3 £300,000+ 1 point per £/$/ € 50%

A business will move up to the next tier immediately on hitting the relevant threshold, and will keep that tier for the rest of that calendar year, and whole of the following year.

Spend is calculated on fare and carrier-imposed charges, but not taxes and fees. Eligible spend includes spend on flights with:

  • British Airways
  • American Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Partner airlines: BA CityFlyer, Comair, Sunair, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum
  • British Airways-marketed routes (ticketed with a BA flight number) operated by Japan Airlines, Qantas and Qatar Airways

You can book flights through any third-party site, booking direct and through online travel agents, but not through BA Holidays. You cannot earn On Business Points on reward flights, group bookings, agency or industry-discounted tickets.

Be sure to add your On Business membership number to all bookings to receive On Business Points.

Credit cards

The British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card creates a new opportunity to earn more points:

  • 2,200 On Business Points as a welcome bonus when spending £3,000 or more on purchases on the Card within the first three months
  • 3,000 On Business Points bonus for £20,000 or more in annual spend on purchases each year by your card anniversary
  • An ongoing earning rate of 0.5 On Business Points per £1 of eligible spend with British Airways in addition to the On Business Points you would earn through taking flights as described above.

Read our full review of the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card here to learn more.

Spending On Business Points

Using your On Business Points works differently to Avios, and there is a new set of rules to understand for when you can use your points for reward flights or cabin upgrades.

On what airlines can I use On Business Points?

You can book reward flights on British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia and use your points for cabin upgrades on British Airways and Iberia.

How many On Business Points will I need?

There is no published pricing chart, so you will need to use the online calculator to work out what a ticket or upgrade will cost you. We have searched and set out some of the most common routes from London.

Firstly, let’s take a look at the prices of one-way reward flights:

Destination Economy Premium Economy Business First
Paris 1,100 5,200
Amsterdam 1,100 5,200
Glasgow 1,100 5,200
Madrid 1,600 6,700
Tel Aviv 2,500 7,500 13,000 20,000
New York 4,500 11,000 24,000 34,000
Dubai 4,000 10,000 21,000 30,000
Mumbai 4,500 11,000 24,000 34,000
Los Angeles 5,000 12,000 29,000 39,000
Cape Town 5,000 12,000 29,000 39,000
Tokyo 5,000 12,000 29,000 39,000
Hong Kong 5,000 12,000 29,000 39,000
Sydney 8,000 16,000 35,000 45,000

Secondly, let’s take a look at one-way cabin upgrade prices:

Destination Economy to Premium Economy Economy to Business Premium Economy to Business Business to First
Paris 4,100
Madrid 5,100
Amsterdam 4,100
Glasgow 4,100
Tel Aviv 5,000 5,500 7,000
Dubai 6,000 11,000 9,000
New York 6,500 13,000 10,000
Mumbai 6,500 13,000 10,000
Los Angeles 7,000 17,000 10,000
Cape Town 7,000 17,000 10,000
Tokyo 7,000 17,000 10,000
Hong Kong 7,000 17,000 10,000
Sydney 8,000 19,000 10,000

What are the best uses of On Business Points?

Looking at the charts above, it is clear that premium classes are charged at higher multiples than the comparable Avios rates, with business class costing around six times an economy ticket. However on the longer routes, the price jump is not significant when moving up a band.

For example, premium economy to Dubai costs 10,000 On Business Points, but Tokyo is just 2,000 more at 12,000, so you may get the most value for the very shortest European and longest worldwide flights.

Flights can be booked using On Business Points up to one day before travel, and changes must be made no less than 24 hours before the first reward flight. On Business Points can be used to book On Business reward seats, meaning availability could be better than that found when using Avios for the same flights. For that reason, On Business may also be a great choice when Avios seats are not available.

On Business Points can be used for anyone who works for the business without the need to transfer points to an individual personally.

How do I book reward flights?

Reward flights can be booked via the online On Business portal or over the phone.

What rules should I be aware of?

Reward flights can be booked up to one day before travel. On Business Points expire two full calendar years after the year they were earned. There is no way of extending this period, so make sure you use them in time.

You must still pay taxes, fees and carrier charges along with the required amount of On Business Points. You can retroactively claim On Business Points up for four months from the date of travel, but only if you were already a member of the programme. You cannot claim points for flights that pre-date signing up to On Business.

One free stopover is allowed on reward flight or upgrades, but this is at the discretion of the programme. Open jaw bookings are not allowed. To fly to one airport and return from a different one requires two separate bookings.

You cannot earn On Business Points on reward flights, group bookings, agency or industry-discounted tickets. Ensure your On Business membership number is added to each eligible booking.

Discounts and special offers

On Business offers cash discounts on most routes, but you will not collect points if you accept the discount. It is always worth checking what is on offer.

As a welcome bonus for joining the On Business programme, your company will earn triple On Business Points on the first six one-way flights flown, which is a great way to kickstart your earning.

Can I still collect Avios?

Yes. The business paying for the flights will earn On Business Points, but the individual traveller can still collect Avios or other frequent flyer miles in the usual way.

Bottom line

If you are eligible to sign up to the On Business programme, it really is a no-brainer, allowing your business to earn points alongside the usual collection of Avios or other frequent flyer miles. Ultimately, On Business will save your business money on future flights or have you or your employees flying in more style.

Just remember, when applying for the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card, you will need to meet the card eligibility criteria.

Featured image courtesy of British Airways.

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