For many businesses, especially those that require frequent travel, having a business credit card that earns air miles makes a lot of sense. In addition to the core functionality of a credit card, you can maximise miles and rewards and gain travel-related perks simultaneously.
But which is the best card available for UK businesses?
I’ve spent time comparing annual fees, interest (APRS), how many miles you can earn per pound spent, and which card comes with the best features.
Let’s start off by looking at which air miles schemes are associated with each airline:
|British Airways||British Airways Executive Club (Avios)|
|Virgin Atlantic||Virgin Red (previously Virgin Flying Club)|
|easyJet||easyJet Plus (not a traditional miles scheme, but offers other perks)|
|Ryanair||Ryanair Rewards (again, not a traditional miles scheme, but offers discounts and savings)|
|Qatar Airways||Qatar Privilege Club|
|Etihad Airways||Etihad Guest|
|Turkish Airlines||Miles & Smiles|
|KLM Royal Dutch Airlines||Flying Blue (shared with Air France)|
|Air France||Flying Blue (shared with KLM)|
|Lufthansa||Miles & More (also for other Lufthansa Group airlines)|
|Delta Air Lines||SkyMiles|
|Cathay Pacific||Asia Miles / Marco Polo Club|
|Qantas||Qantas Frequent Flyer|
The Best Business Credit Cards with Air Miles in August 2023
|Card||Features||Earning Rate||Annual Fee||APR||Visit Site|
|Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa||Offers a bonus of 10,000 Avios points if you spend £5,000 on your business credit card in your first 3 months||NA, as it’s a charge card, meaning you have to pay the full balance every month.||£99 per year||14.2-34.3%||Visit Capital on Tap|
|American Express Business Gold||Offers a 20,000 Amex points bonus, convertible to Avios at a 1:1 ratio if you spend £3,000 in the first three months of Cardmembership||For almost every full £1 you spend on your Card, you’ll earn 1 Membership Rewards® points||No annual fee for 12 months, then £175 per year||NA, as it’s a charge card, meaning you have to pay the full balance every month.||Visit AMEX|
|American Express Business Platinum||Takes rewards to another level, offering a whopping 40,000 Amex points as a bonus, which can be converted 1:1 to Avios points.||For almost every full £1 you spend on your Card, you’ll earn 1 Membership Rewards® points||£650 per year||NA as it’s a charge card, meaning you have to pay the full balance every month.||Visit AMEX|
Capital on Tap: Best Overall Business Credit Card with Air Miles
With its high mileage earning rate, flexible redemption options, lack of overseas transaction fees and reasonable annual fee, Capital on Tap Business Rewards stands out as a top choice for small business owners in the UK who want to maximise their air mile earnings through everyday business spending.
With this, you’ll get 1 point for every pound spent on the card, which can be redeemed for AVIOS points, the best points currency for UK travellers.
They also have an incentive to get 10,000 bonus points if you spend £5000 on the card in the first three months.
Another major perk is that Capital on Tap Business Rewards has no overseas transaction fees. This makes it easy to rack up extra miles on business expenses when travelling abroad, unlike many competing UK airline cards that charge a 2.99% fee on foreign transactions.
Capital on Tap offers a very good credit card, as their Trustpilot reviews attest, but it’s particularly worthwhile if your credit rating gives you access to the better end of their APR. If you find that you’re getting 30% or more you should make sure there are no better options available elsewhere in the lending market.
|Annual Fee||£99 per year|
|Earning Points||Get unlimited 1% cashback on all card spending.|
|Welcome Bonus||Earn 10,000 bonus points (worth £100 cashback or 10,000 Avios) when you spend £5,000 in first 3 months.|
|Redeeming Points||Redeem points for cashback, statement credits, discounted gift cards, or Avios to book flights and hotels.|
|Avios Points||Redeem points for Avios to book travel on British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling.|
|No Pre-Set Limit||Spending power adjusts to your business needs. Credit limits up to £250,000.|
|Exclusive Offers||Get savings from brands like Dell, Hertz, Hotels.com and more.|
|Fast Application||Apply and get a decision in less than 5 minutes.|
|Cashflow Management||Spread costs over time. Pay off purchases flexibly.|
|24/7 Support||Get phone and chat support anytime.|
|Travel Rewards||Redeem points for flights, hotels, car hire, tours, and more. Perfect for businesses that travel frequently.|
|No Foreign Transaction Fees||Use card abroad with no extra charges.|
American Express Business Gold: Best Airmiles Credit Cards for Multiple Airline Points Partners
While there is a £175 annual fee, the massive points-earning potential, flexible redemptions and premium benefits like travel insurance make the Business Gold Card an excellent choice for UK businesses looking for air miles.
Cardholders earn 1 point for every £1 spent, with no caps on how many points can be earned. There is also an opportunity to earn 10,000 bonus points each quarter by spending £20,000 on the card.
The points earned with the Business Gold Card can be transferred to airline partners like British Airways Executive Club, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Emirates Skywards and others. This gives businesses the flexibility to redeem points for flights with their preferred airline loyalty programme. Many competitor cards restrict point transfers to just one airline.
|Annual Fee||£175 per year after the first year (first year is free)|
|Welcome Bonus||Earn 20,000 bonus points if you spend £3,000 in first 3 months|
|Earning Points||Get 1 point for every £1 spent on purchases. Earn 10,000 bonus points when you spend £20,000 per quarter. Get 2x points on American Express Travel bookings.|
|Payment Terms||Get up to 54 days to pay off purchases.|
|Redeem Points||Redeem for statement credits, gift cards, flights, hotels, and more. Transfer points to airline and hotel partners.|
|Employee Cards||Get cards for employees and earn points on their spending. Manage expenses with AmexExpense tool.|
|Referrals||Earn up to 90,000 points per year for referring businesses.|
|No Pre-Set Limit||Spending power adjusts to your business needs.|
|Rewards||Redeem points for rewards to treat yourself, employees, or reinvest in your business.|
|Travel Benefits||Get travel insurance, lounge access, hotel status, and more.|
American Express Business Platinum: Best Business Credit with for High-Spending
With its lucrative points-earning structure and premium benefits, the American Express Business Platinum card offers the best rewards program for high-spending UK businesses. Cardholders can rack up Membership Rewards points quickly through everyday business purchases, earning 1 point per £1 with no caps on earnings.
By spending £20,000 per quarter on the card, businesses can also earn a whopping 10,000 bonus points each quarter. This provides an easy way to supercharge points earnings through regular business spending. The points earned are highly flexible too, as they can be transferred to leading airline and hotel partners like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Hilton Honors and more.
There are no pre-set spending limits: the card simply adjusts to your spending needs each month. Plus you can get premium benefits like comprehensive travel insurance, lounge access and hotel elite status, plus employee cards and an easy-to-use expense management tool,
While there is a £650 annual fee, it is well worth it for high-spending businesses seeking to maximize points earnings and rewards.
|Card Name||The American Express® Business Platinum Card|
|Welcome Bonus||Earn 40,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points if approved and spend £6,000 in the first three months. New Cardmembers only.|
|Cashflow Management||Up to 54 days to pay for purchases, aiding in flexible money management.|
|How You Earn||1X rewards points for almost every £1 spent. 2X rewards points when spending £10,000 in one month. £200 annual travel credit for spending at American Express Travel Online.|
|Employee Benefits||AmexExpense: Manage teams’ business expenses in one place.|
|Rewards||Double points for £10,000 spending in a month. Use points for rewards for business, clients, or employees.|
|Travel Benefits||£200 Annual Travel Credit at American Express Travel Online. Access to airport lounges, fine hotels & resorts, car hire partnerships, and more.|
|Statement Credits||Up to £300 annually for spending on uk.Indeed.com. Up to £150 annually for UK purchases with Dell Technologies.|
|Rewards and Access||Earning points on almost every £1 spent. Rewards for business, employees, or clients. Access to American Express Experiences®.|
|Premium Travel Experiences||Benefits with hotel partners, airport lounge access, fine hotels & resorts, car hire partnerships, and a £150 statement credit with onefinestay.|
|Business Premium Services||Complimentary digital subscription to The Times and The Sunday Times. Dedicated account managers and Platinum Business Service for concierge and travel assistance.|
What is the Best Business credit card for British Airways miles?
Currently, you can choose from either the Capital on Tap Business Rewards card or the American Express Gold or Platinum.
These are slightly different cards in the way they work since AMEX cards are designed to be paid off each month, rather than longer term. But both providers offer good rewards programs which can connect with AVIOS, the British Airways air miles scheme.
Read our full article on What are the Best Avios Business Credit Cards?
What are Air Miles Business Credit Cards?
Air miles business credit cards offer the unique advantage of earning air miles for every pound spent.
The key allure of these cards is their rewards programmes, transforming business expenditure into points, commonly known as “miles”, which can be redeemed against flights.
For businesses that find themselves frequently in the air, these cards can help build up a bank of air miles to mitigate travel costs and, in certain circumstances, even result in free flights.
Additional benefits often extend to priority boarding, access to airport lounges, free baggage check-in, and a range of travel insurance coverage options.
Don’t forget that these flights won’t be entirely free, though: the business will have to pay any taxes and additional charges associated with the flight.
How Do Business Credit Cards with Air Miles Work?
Here’s a closer look at how these cards work:
1. Earn Air Miles for each pound spent: The rate you earn these miles varies from card to card. For example, a card might offer 2 air miles per £1 spent on airline tickets and 1 air mile per £1 spent on all other purchases.
2. Take advantage of Promotions: Some providers also offer sign-up bonuses or promotional periods where you can earn extra miles. For example, you might earn a large bonus of miles if you spend a certain amount within the first few months of opening the account.
3. Understanding how to redeem your miles: The redemption process varies depending on the card provider and airline, but typically your points appear within your user dashboard
4. Check Annual Fees and Interest Rates: It’s important to note that many air miles business credit cards come with annual fees, and the interest rates can be high if you carry a balance from month to month. The value of the air miles you earn must outweigh these costs for the card to benefit.
Are Business Air Miles Credit Cards Worth It?
There are some things to remember before you get an air miles credit card. First, many of these cards have an annual fee. You’ll need to ensure you earn enough miles to offset the cost of the fee.
Second, air miles credit cards often have high-interest rates.
Third, the redemption process for air miles can be complicated. You may have to deal with blackout dates, seat restrictions, or fluctuating award charts.
Finally, not all air miles credit cards are created equal. Some cards offer better rewards and perks than others.
Here are some additional things to consider when deciding whether or not to get an air miles credit card:
- How often do you travel? If you fly frequently, an air miles credit card can be a great way to save money on your flights.
- How much are you willing to spend on an annual fee? Air miles credit cards with the best rewards often have high annual fees.
- Are you good at managing your credit? If you’re not careful, you can rack up a lot of debt.
The advantages of air miles credit cards for business
The potential benefits of air miles business credit cards can be vast, depending on your business’s spending habits and travel needs. Let’s explore some of the key advantages:
1. Savings on Travel Costs: The primary advantage is the potential for significant savings on travel costs. In some cases, diligent accumulation and strategic air miles redemption could result in free flights.
2. Sign-Up Bonuses: Many air miles business credit cards offer generous sign-up bonuses.
3. Tiered Rewards Structures: Some cards offer tiered rewards, meaning you earn more miles for spending in certain categories. If these categories align with your business’s major expenses, you could accumulate miles significantly faster.
4. Travel Perks: Besides flight discounts or free tickets, air miles business credit cards often offer travel-related benefits such as priority boarding, free checked bags, airport lounge access, and travel insurance.
5. Flexible Redemption Options: While the primary use of air miles is towards flights, many cards allow you to redeem your miles for other travel-related expenses, including hotel stays, car rentals, or even experiences and excursions, providing additional flexibility.
6. Business Benefits: These cards often include business-centric features such as free additional cards for employees, detailed expenditure tracking and reporting tools, and higher spending limits.
7. Improved Cash Flow: Using a credit card for business expenses can improve your business’s cash flow management. You can cover costs without immediately drawing on your business’s bank account, providing a buffer until the card’s payment due date.
Are there any disadvantages to an air miles credit card?
Ensuring that your business can comfortably afford any associated fees and manage repayments effectively is crucial to prevent accruing interest. Every business’s needs are unique, so the best card for your business will be one that aligns most closely with your spending habits and travel requirements.
How to Strategically boost the air miles on your business credit card?
|Choose the Right Card||Earn large signup bonuses by meeting initial spending requirements. Choose cards that offer bonus miles in your biggest spending categories like travel, dining, etc.|
|Strategic Spending||Use the card for all business expenses. Book all business travel on the card. Issue cards to employees for business expenses.|
|Take Advantage of Promotions||Stay alert for promotions offering bonus miles for certain spends or merchants. Register for loyalty programs with potential promotions.|
|Leverage Partnerships||Earn extra miles through partnerships with other businesses.|
|Pay Your Balance||Avoid interest by paying off the balance monthly.|
|Combine Personal & Business Spending||Use the same rewards program for both, but keep finances separate and track diligently.|
|Avoid Miles Expiration||Maintain account activity to prevent miles from expiring.|
|Redeem Miles Strategically||Research the best value for mile redemption.|
|Stay Updated||Subscribe to newsletters or alerts for promotions or changes.|
|Review and Adjust||Periodically evaluate spending and rewards. Switch cards if beneficial.|
How to choose the best air miles credit card for your business
Selecting the best air miles credit card for your business depends on various factors, including your business’s spending habits, travel needs, and financial capabilities. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make the right decision:
1. Analyse Your Spending Patterns: The first step in choosing the best credit card is understanding your business’s spending patterns. Identify where your business spends the most money each month – this could be on travel, office supplies, advertising, or utilities. Look for cards that offer the most miles for the types of purchases your business makes frequently.
2. Determine Your Travel Needs: If your business has frequent fliers, pay attention to the airlines they use most often. Some cards are affiliated with specific airlines, while others offer points that can be transferred to several different airlines’ loyalty programmes. Choosing a card that aligns with your preferred airlines can maximize your rewards.
3. Compare Reward Structures: Air miles credit cards can come with different rewards structures. Some offer a flat rate for all purchases, while others provide bonus miles for certain spending categories. If your business spends heavily in certain areas (like travel or advertising), a card that offers bonus miles for these categories could be beneficial.
4. Assess Annual Fees and Interest Rates: The rewards offered by air miles cards can sometimes be offset by high annual fees and interest rates. Analyse the potential costs associated with each card and weigh these against the expected benefits.
5. Examine Sign-up Bonuses: Many air miles business credit cards offer substantial sign-up bonuses that can give you a head start on earning rewards. However, these usually require a certain level of spending within the first few months. Ensure that your business can comfortably meet these spending requirements without straining your finances.
6. Consider Additional Benefits: Look at other perks that the card offers, like free access to airport lounges, free checked baggage, travel insurance, and more. If you can take advantage of these benefits, they can add significant value to the card.
7. Review Redemption Options: Check how easy it is to redeem your air miles, the range of redemption options available, and whether the miles have an expiry date. Some cards may offer more flexibility and value in their redemption options than others.
8. Check Customer Reviews and Service: Customer reviews can give you insight into the card provider’s customer service, the ease of using the card, and any potential issues with the card. Good customer service can make a big difference, especially if you have problems or queries about the card.
Alternatives to airline credit cards for business
While airline credit cards can offer valuable benefits for businesses with frequent travel needs, they may not be the best fit for every business. Fortunately, there are several alternatives to consider:
1. Cash Back Business Credit Cards: These cards provide a certain percentage of cash back on purchases, typically between 1% and 5%, depending on the spending category. They offer a straightforward and flexible reward structure, allowing businesses to use their rewards however they see fit, without being tied to specific airlines or travel-related redemptions.
2. Business Charge Cards: Business charge cards require the balance to be paid in full each billing cycle, which can be helpful in maintaining disciplined spending. They often offer rewards similar to credit cards, including travel rewards, cash back, or points redeemable for various goods and services.
3. Business Debit Cards: For businesses wanting to avoid credit and maintain strict control over expenses, business debit cards can be an option. While they typically don’t offer rewards, they provide real-time control over spending and can be a good choice for businesses looking to avoid debt.
4. General Travel Reward Business Credit Cards: These cards offer points for every pound spent, which can be redeemed for various types of travel expenses, not just flights. This might include hotels, car rentals, cruises, or even experiences. These cards offer more flexibility for businesses that travel but not necessarily always by plane.
5. Business Credit Cards with Specific Rewards: Some business credit cards focus their rewards on specific areas of spending, such as advertising, shipping, office supplies, or technology purchases. If your business spending is concentrated in one of these areas, such a card could potentially offer more value than an airline credit card.