Posts Tagged “BA OB Changes 2015”...

British Airways On Business Changes Announced

by Continental Club on February 20, 2015  |  Leave a comment • Tagged as: , , , , , , , ,

British AirwaysBritish Airways has announced a complete overhaul of its On Business small & medium sized enterprise (SME) loyalty programme. In a move that has been widely anticipated, especially by members of the carrier’s also-soon-to-change Executive Club frequent flyer scheme, BA has revealed first details of what is to become a revenue-based programme launching on 27th May 2015.

We’re making some changes to On Business

Although the Executive Club changes have only recently been announced, and include changes broadly limited to revised earning and redemption rates still based on zones and distance, the On Business review sees the effective closure of the existing programme on 24th May 2017, and its relaunch on a completely new platform three days later. As On Business has hitherto run on a modified Executive Club IT system, it will be interesting to see whether, in the longer term, EC rejoins OB from a technical point of view, and becomes revenue-based as well.

For now, the key features of the new programme are:

  • Earnings based on fare paid, rather than zones travelled to.
  • Membership tiers, with earning rate multiples based on annual-spend.
  • Redemptions based on regional bands, with premium cabin redemption rates largely increasing, and economy redemptions decreasing in terms of the number of points required.
  • Earning and redemption to be possible on American Airlines and Iberia as well as British Airways.
  • Existing points balances converted at a rate of 1:2 (existing:new) on 27th May 2015.
  • Cash discounts of at least 5% available on selected flights worldwide.
  • Unredeemed points will expire at the end of the second calendar year after earning – rather than at the end of the third year as at present.

The latter point is worth paying particular attention to, as it effectively means that points earned in the early part of 2015 will now be valid for 12 months less than they would have been. Existing points, per the (grammatically truly, crushingly appalling) BA FAQs, will retain their original expiry dates:

On Business Changes – FAQs

The new On Business Tiers are based on annual spend, and earning rates and multiples will be as follows:

Tier Spend Threshold Earn Rate
Tier 1 £0 – £29,999 1 Point per £1
Tier 2 £30,000 – £299,999 1.25 Points per £1
Tier 3 £300,000+ 1.5 Points per £1


Return ticket redemptions will now be priced at these points levels:

Band* First Business Premium Economy Economy
1 10,400 2,200
2 13,400 3,200
3 14,200 3,800
4 15,200 4,000
5 40,000 26,000 15,000 5,000
6 60,000 42,000 20,000 8,000
7 68,000 48,000 22,000 9,000
8 78,000 58,000 24,000 10,000
9 82,000 62,000 26,000 11,000
10 90,000 70,000 32,000 16,000


*Details of bands.

One-cabin upgrades from eligible booking classes follow a similar pattern:

Band  Business to First  Premium Economy to Business  Economy to Premium Economy  Economy to Business 
1 4,000
2 5,000
3 5,200
4 5,600
5 7,000 10,500 5,000
6 9,000 11,000 6,000
7 10,000 13,000 6,500
8 10,000 17,000 7,000
9 10,000 18,000 7,500
10 10,000 19,000 8,000


And, interestingly, ‘eligible’ booking classes in the new programme seem to include ‘R/I’ class (lowest business) and ‘T’ class (lowest premium economy) which were not available to upgrade from in recent years under the current scheme.

There are obviously a number of ways to review the changes, from a simple assessment of how much current balances will be worth in the new scheme, to a far more complex calculation based on which tier member companies will fall into post-changes, and their associated earning rates compared to those they’ve historically seen. Earnings will also be affected by the member company’s booking ‘profile’ and whether their regular routes were at the ‘generous’ or ‘less generous’ end of the spectrum in terms of cost vs distance.

Given that only a simple assessment is possible at this stage, two worked examples for round trip redemptions from London to New York (Band 7) and London to Sydney (Band 10), based on the effective value of existing points, see the following results:

Economy Premium Economy Business First
Current OB Points Requirement 6,600 13,200 18,900 24,300
Current OB Points Requirement Converted At 1:2 13,200 26,400 37,800 48,600
New OB Points Requirement 9,000 22,000 48,000 68,000
New OB Scheme Points Variation For NYC (B7) Return -4,200 -4,400 10,200 19,400


Economy Premium Economy Business First
Current OB Points Requirement 12,480 24,960 36,960 47,520
Current OB Points Requirement Converted At 1:2 24,960 49,920 73,920 95,040
New OB Points Requirement 16,000 32,000 70,000 90,000
New OB Scheme Points Variation For SYD (B10) Return -8,960 -17,920 -3,920 -5,040


Those saving for a First return to New York will be disappointed; those aiming for a Premium Economy ticket to Sydney will be much happier.

The real-world implications of the changes will take much longer to become clear and, as mentioned, will depend quite specifically on each member company’s booking and spend profile. They’ll also depend on some as-yet unannounced confirmations, such as details pertaining to redemptions on American and Iberia.

For more details of all the changes that have so far been announced though (and to view that truly hideous grammar in the FAQs posted thereon) visit


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