If you travel often for business, you’ll probably be familiar with the Avios scheme and with the amazing feeling you get when after months of stockpiling points you can finally go in and book a flight almost for free.
A business credit card that earns Avios points could speed up the process. A lot. Let’s dig deeper.
Earn uncapped Avios or cashback on business spending
1% cashback or 1 Avios per pound spent
10,000 bonus points if you spend £5,000 in 3 months
Boost your points with up to 20 free supplementary cards
Up to 56 interest-free days on purchases each billing cycle
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 39.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
What is Avios and how can my business benefit from it?
Avios is a frequent flyer programme. You can earn points in a number of different ways, from booking flights with partner airlines to shopping at partner retailers (there are more than 150, from Apple to Domino’s to M&S), to using a credit card that earns Avios points.
Similarly, points can then be redeemed for a number of rewards, from free flights and hotel stays to wine gifts.
You’re probably the best person to judge if and how your business can benefit from Avios, but here are a few thoughts which may point you in the right direction:
Consider how much you normally budget for expenses. If your team is small and the figure is low, it’s probably not worth the hassle.
Think of how often you’re on the road. Or rather, on the plane. Most ways of earning and redeeming points have to do with travelling, preferably with one of Avios’ partner airlines.
If you aren’t running a business of frequent travellers. It may still be worth it, but you’ll have to get creative and it will largely depend on whether you spend at Avios’ retail partners. If you do, why not earn Avios points on your shopping and see if you can turn them into a nice free meal for the team?
How can my business join Avios?
Bad news first: it can’t. Avios is a “personal” frequent flyer scheme: your Avios account only belongs to you, and you’ll be the only person able to use your membership card. So yeah, if different people in your business fly often, they’ll have to open different Avios accounts.
However, that doesn’t stop anyone from earning Avios points during their business trips or from redeeming them for business flights. It just means that points earned by different people can’t be accumulated into a single account.
In order to join Avios, you need to join one of its partner airlines’ clubs. You can choose among British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, AerClub and @MyAirItalyClub. They’re all free, so it all comes down to which airlines you use the most. Once you’ve joined, you’ll be given a card and a membership number that you can use or quote every time you want to collect or redeem Avios points.
How do business credit cards that offer Avios points work then?
We can hear you thinking: if you can’t join Avios as a business, why on earth should I get a business credit card that earns Avios points? Well, that’s exactly the point. These business credit cards let you earn Avios points on all your business spending, no matter what you’re paying for or that you’re actually the person in whose name flights and hotels are being booked.
With those cards, you earn points on the card’s scheme every time you use your business credit card. Those points can then be converted into Avios points and added to your personal Avios account, even though they have been collected on business spending (potentially by different people if you let your colleagues use your card or give them additional cards).
How to compare business credit cards that offer Avios points
Unlike with personal credit cards, the selection of credit cards earning Avios points isn’t exactly huge: basically, you can choose between Capital On Tap and American Express business cards. To make the right decision, you should consider:
Earn rate. How many points will you get for every £1 you spend? And how many Avios points will the card scheme’s points be worth? For example, you can get an Amex business card that earns you 1 Membership Rewards point for every £1 you spend, and 1 Membership Rewards point = 1 Avios point.
Annual fee. How much do you need to spend on the card to make it worth it?
Sign-up bonus. It’s a factor to consider, although it doesn’t outweigh the value of a good card in the long term.
Foreign transaction fees. If you travel a lot for business purposes, do you go overseas? If you do, you may want to look for a card that doesn’t charge extra fees when used abroad. Capital On Tap beats Amex on this.
Flexibility. If you grow tired of Avios or realise it doesn’t fit your business, what else can you do with the points?
Extra perks. Some cards complement the rewards with other nice features, such as lounge access or travel insurance.
Ultimately, it’s all about figuring out how much business spending you need to do on the card, and whether it’ll get you enough rewards to make up for the annual fee.
It’s also worth noting that these cards are all about the rewards but leave much to wish for when it comes to using them for borrowing. The Amex business cards are all charge cards, so you must pay the bill in full every month, while Capital On Tap’s credit cards have quite a high representative APR, so carrying a balance on them will turn out quite expensive.
American Express business cards
Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Amex offers one business card that earns Avios, but its other business rewards cards let you collect Membership Rewards Points that can then be transferred to Avios.
Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
Pros and cons of Avios business cards
You can redeem your points for a variety of rewards, from flights to wine.
These cards allow you to earn Avios points on all your business spending.
Double your points when you both pay with your business credit card and quote your Avios membership number.
Team up to earn Avios together with your colleagues thanks to additional cards.
These cards normally come for a fairly pricey annual fee.
You should really pay off your business card bill in full every month: borrowing with these cards can be quite expensive.
Alternatives to Avios business cards
Unfortunately, there aren’t any other frequent flyer business credit cards available on the market at the moment, so if you have a different airline in mind, you’re out of luck. However, the Amex cards are still worth a thought because Membership Rewards points can also be redeemed for miles and points with a number of other airlines, including Delta and Virgin Atlantic.
Alternatively, you could consider a cashback business credit card: less fancy a reward, but you get more choice in terms of financial features.
Finally, if you’re looking for a business frequent flyer programme, have a look at British Airways’ On Business scheme. It lets you earn points as a business and redeem them for reward flights, while also earning Avios on your personal account.
Frequently asked questions
It closed in July 2018. All former members have been moved to a British Airways Executive Club membership. Avios has remained as a currency but doesn’t have its own frequent flyer scheme anymore.
That’s the million dollar question. It depends on a number of factors, such as what you redeem your points for and, if you’re looking at rewards flights, the airline you fly with, when you want to travel, where to and in which class. You can learn more about how the scheme works on our page about personal credit cards that earn Avios points.
You’ll need to spend or collect 1 Avios point every 36-month-period to avoid losing any points.
Short answer: it’s like a credit card, but you can’t carry a balance from one month to the other. Long answer here.
Valentina Cipriani is a writer at Finder UK. She writes news, features and guides about banking and credit cards, helping people to improve their financial lives. She holds an MA in International Journalism and loves taking complicated topics apart and giving them back to the readers in a clear and easy fashion.
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