A Guide to British Airways On Business [2020 Version]


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Some of you will never have come across the British Airways corporate loyalty Program On Business and it is highly likely the vast majority of people will never be able to earn or spend On Business point in their life.

In Short, British Airways’ secondary loyalty program aims to reward the companies that book with British Airways, American Airways and Iberia; as opposed to Avios which only rewards the flyer.

Following the same fundamental structure as Avios, On Business allows businesses to collect points for the travel they buy for their employees. 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.

To have an On Business account – the only requirement is that the company is VAT registered

Yes – you can collect both Avios and On Business points for the same flight

Requirements to Join On Business

Neon tubes forming the word 'on'.

It is safe to say you must run a business in order to sign up for a corporate On Business account.  You cannot pretend to have a company, as you must provide the name of your company and its VAT registration number when you sign-up. 

The requirement to provide a VAT number means that the smallest businesses will not qualify to join.

You cannot enroll in the On Business program if you’re located in the United States, Mexico or Spain where it refers you to join American Airlines’ Business Extra or Iberia’s On Business program instead.

Many other countries are supported (including Australia, Canada, Germany and Japan) but again you must enter a Tax ID number for your company when registering.

How to Earn British Airways On Business Points

Earning points with On Business is 100% revenue based unlike Avios which is calculated by distance flown.

The programme has three tiers which you move through based on your annual spending:

On1 – up to £29,999 spend – 1 point per £1
On2 – £30,000 to £299,999 spend – 1.25 points per £1
On3 – £300,000+ spent – 1.5 points per £1

As soon as you hit the threshold for the next tier, you are moved up.  You retain that tier for the rest of the current calendar year and all of the following year.

Qualifying spend comprises flights taken on British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines.  Points are based on the ticket price excluding taxes, charges and fees – but including carrier-imposed charges such as fuel surcharges.

Eligible spend includes spend on flights with:

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  • 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 do not have access to the full OneWorld reward inventory.

Fine Print

  1. You receive points irrespective of how you book.  You are not penalised for using Expedia or any other third party agent or booking site.
  2. You will not, however, receive any points if you book a flight as part of a BA Holidays or similar package with inclusive hotel or car hire. 
  3. You cannot earn On Business Points on reward flights, group bookings, agency or industry-discounted tickets.
  4. Reward flights can be booked up to one day before travel.
  5. On Business points have a ‘hard’ expiry date of two years from the December after you earn them.  Unlike Avios, this expiry date cannot be extended – you must spend your points within two years.  If you do not have on-going activity on your account, they expire even sooner – exactly on the 2nd anniversary of your last earning activity.
  6. You must still pay taxes, fees and carrier charges along with the required amount of On Business Points.
  7. 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.
  8. One free stopover is allowed on reward flight or upgrades, but this is at the discretion of the programme.
  9. Open jaw bookings are not allowed. To fly to one airport and return from a different one requires two separate bookings.

How to spend BA On Business points

On Business Points similarly have different values depending on how you redeem and a big difference exists between the schemes as to where the value lies.

Avios – Better in Premium Cabins

With Avios you can usually get more value by redeeming for premium cabin flights rather than economy. This is because it may cost three times the number of Avios for a business-class redemption than an economy redemption, while the cash price of a business-class ticket may be five or six times more expensive than an economy ticket on the same plane.

On Business – Better in Economy

On Business Points are the opposite. The programme requires very few points for economy redemption but a comparably huge number for premium cabin redemption’s. Because of that, you are likely to get better value from economy than business or first-class redemption’s.

As a rough guide, TPG UK puts the value of 1 On Business Point to be worth approximately 4 Avios when used for economy-class redemption, 3 Avios for a premium economy redemption and, on average, 2 Avios for a business or first-class redemption.

However, while the power of an On Business point is greater, redeeming On Business points for premium cabins is very difficult. A Business Class flight needs roughly 5-6x more points than an economy one. Avios, on the other hand, only charges 2x the economy points for Business Class on short-haul and 3x on long-haul.

Most small companies can now forget about redeeming for long-haul premium classes. You would need to spend roughly £40,000 to earn one Club World return to the Middle East.

A Few Points to Note

  1. An also important point is that there is no ‘Reward Flight Saver’ option with On Business.

2. There is no published redemption chart. You need to plug routes manually into the widget on the On Business home page in order to get pricing examples.

3. Furthermore, you cannot redeem flights until two different travellers have collected points on your account.

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