American Express UK launches new British Airways Accelerating Business Card

Sep 29, 2019

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American Express UK launched its newest credit card for UK businesses, and it’s especially exciting for businesses whose employees travel regularly with British Airways. Called the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card, here is our full review of the brand new product.

Who is this card for?

This card is marketed towards small businesses that could benefit from reducing business travel costs through earning valuable travel rewards that are easy to use.

There’s no minimum turnover requirement to be approved for this card, and you can be approved for this card without a valid VAT number.

Welcome bonus and annual fee

This card has an annual fee of £210 per year.

You will earn 2,200 On Business Points if you are approved and spend £3,000 in the first three months of card membership. Note that On Business Points are very valuable — we calculate them to be worth 3.3p each. This is a credit card, not a charge card, which gives business owners the option to pay for business purchases over several months or all at once.

Representative Example: Representative APR is 81.6% variable with an assumed credit limit of £1,200 and a purchase rate of 22.9% p.a. variable.

(Photo by Liam Spencer/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Liam Spencer/The Points Guy)

Earning

This card has a unique earning structure, as it allows you to earn two points currencies: Avios and On Business Points.

First up, for those businesses travelling regularly with British Airways, which has the largest network for business travellers from the UK and beyond. You will earn an additional 0.5 On Business Points per £1 spent with British Airways for paying with this card, above the standard On Business Point earning referred to below. You will also earn 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent on the card. This can include travel or any business expenses where American Express is accepted. Avios points will be credited to both accounts at the end of your statement month, while On Business Points are always credited to your On Business account after the flights themselves have been flown.

Once you or your employees take those eligible flights, you will again earn a further two points currencies. You’ll earn Avios as per the rules of the Executive Club programme (dependant on fare code, status level, etc.), and you will also earn 1 On Business Points on the cost of the flown base fare including carrier-imposed surcharges (excluding fees and taxes) for flights on British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines, regardless of which card you used to pay for them.

Where it gets even better is if your business is spending serious amounts on flights within the On Business programme (i.e. those by British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines), you will move up the On Business Tiers, which means that On Business Points you earn from the programme will also increase as follows, regardless of how you pay for the flights:

  • Spend £30,000 and £299,999 each year — 25% more On Business Points (1.25 points per £1)
  • Spend £300,000+ each year — 50% more On Business Points (1.5 points per £1).

On Business Points can be hugely valuable, especially when compared with Avios. For example, using Avios for a first-class seat from London to Singapore will require 119,000 Avios, whereas if you use On Business Points you will only need 41,000.

There’s plenty to like about the On Business programme. The points are very valuable and you can use them for any available seat at the last minute (up to 24 hours before your flight departs) and there are no fees for changing your flight more than 24 hours in advance. There are fixed rates for using On Business Points for both reward seats and cabin upgrades — we’ll be delving deeply into the On Business programme.

You will also earn an extra 3,000 On Business Points each year on your card anniversary when you spend £20,000 on the card in that calendar year, which is more than enough for a return economy redemption to the likes of Amsterdam or Zurich.

You can use this card anywhere American Express is accepted. There is a 2.99% foreign exchange fee for purchases made in currencies other than GBP, but you will earn Avios and On Business Points as above for each purchase.

(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)

Redeeming

You can use the Avios you earn through normal spending in many different ways. You can read our guide to the best ways to use Avios here.

And as for those On Business Points, they can be used:

  • For any available commercial fares on American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia; and
  • Cabin upgrades on British Airways and Iberia.

Stay tuned to TPG UK for a full On Business programme guide very soon, but as an example, if you spend £9,000 on the card, you would earn enough On Business Points for a return flight from London to New York.

Perks

You can issue up to 99 supplementary cards to your employees for free, and you will receive all the points (Avios and On Business) as well as all the expenses put on all the cards issued to your company. If you are the business owner, remember that your business will still be responsible for all purchases made.

There’s also plenty of travel and purchase benefits:

  • Travel Accident Protection: There is a £250,000 travel accident benefit when travelling on public transport on a business trip.
  • Travel Inconvenience: This covers flight cancellations, delays and delayed luggage when you pay with your card, with higher limits if flying with British Airways, namely:
    • £200 for a flight delay, overbooking or missed connection (£250 if a British Airways flight)
    • Up to an additional £400 (overbookings only) if alternative arrangements are not made within six hours
    • £750 for baggage delayed by an airline for six hours or more (£1,000 if a British Airways flight)
    • Up to an additional £1,000 for extended baggage delay by an airline (£1,250 if a British Airways flight).
  • Purchase Protection: If you buy an item on this card and it’s stolen or damaged within 90 days, there’s replacement, repair or refund cover up to £2,500 per eligible item.
  • Refund Protection: You will be insured to replace or refund up to a maximum of £300 if a retailer won’t refund an eligible item within 90 days.

Your supplementary cardholders will also receive these travel and purchase benefits. You will need to use the card to pay for these items in order for them to be covered by the protections and insurances, and note that they are subject to enrollment and some additional terms, exclusions and limitations apply.

Bottom line

Even without the On Business benefits, this is a decent card in terms of earn rate versus the annual fee, especially if you can use the travel and purchase benefits and protections. But where this card gets really interesting is if you or your employees fly a lot with British Airways. You can earn some serious additional value through the On Business programme as well as Avios through Executive Club, which makes this an excellent card for businesses that travel a lot.

Stay tuned to TPG UK during the month of October as we delve into the On Business Programme.

You can apply for this card here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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