Full Review of Best Western Rewards Mastercard
The one-time offer can result in up to four free nights
Automatic gold elite status
3 points per dollar spent on Best Western stays
Value of points is low
High APR on purchases
- The One-Time Offer Can Result in up to Four Free Nights: If you meet all of this card's bonus requirements, you can earn 32,000 bonus points. Those 32,000 points can be used for up to four free nights in an 8,000 points per night hotel, such as the SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western Omaha South.
- Automatic Gold Elite Status: The Best Western Rewards Mastercard automatically gives you gold elite status in Best Western’s rewards program. In addition to the benefits earned as a blue member, gold elite members get 10% bonus points for eligible stays, a choice of a thank-you gift or points upon arrival, and a room upgrade. Unfortunately, points upon arrival may not be available at all international locations and specialty rooms or suites may not qualify for room upgrades.
- 3 Points per Dollar Spent on Best Western Stays: This card offers 3 points per dollar spent on Best Western stays. This is a decent point earnings rate for a no-annual-fee card. Unfortunately, the value per point makes it less desirable than it seems.
- Value of Points Is Low: While earning 3 points per dollar on Best Western stays and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases may sound enticing, the value of each point is rather low, typically less than 1 cent. You could potentially earn more valuable rewards with a 2% cash-back credit card.
- High APR on Purchases: This card's lowest possible APR on purchases, a variable 20.24%, is a few points above the average APR for all credit cards. The potentially higher APR on purchases, a variable 24.24%, exceeds the average APR by even more.
This Card is Best For
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
The Best Western Rewards Mastercard is for people who frequently stay at Best Western hotels and want to earn additional points toward free nights there. While the card offers a decent bonus of up to 32,000 points, 3 points per dollar spent on Best Western stays, and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases, the value per point is low.
You can squeeze a little more value from the points you earn by paying close attention to the redemption rates at different Best Western hotels. But it might be simpler just to get a regular 2% cash-back card and pay for your Best Western stays with it.
Best Western Rewards Mastercard One-Time Offer
This card offers a bonus that comes in two parts. You can get 16,000 bonus points after your first purchase posts to the account. Then, you can earn an additional 16,000 bonus points with your first Best Western stay.
Best Western purchases must be made at BestWestern.com, by calling Best Western directly, or by booking through a Best Western branded hotel. For both of these bonuses to post to your account, your account must be open and enrolled in the credit card rewards program. Bonus points take six to eight weeks to post.
Rewards Earning Details
The rewards on this credit card can be a bit confusing due to the way the card is marketed. The marketing materials state that you earn 13 points per dollar spent on Best Western stays. But right below that earning rate, they note that you actually earn 3 points per dollar spent for using your Best Western Rewards Mastercard, while the other 10 points per dollar are earned as a Best Western Rewards member. You can join that program at no cost without signing up for the credit card. You also earn 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
While earning 2 or 3 points per dollar sounds decent, the low value per point means you’ll generally get more value with a 2% cash-back credit card. There are no limits to the number of points you can earn on regular purchases, but bonus points may be limited. Your points do not expire. While there technically aren’t blackout dates when you use your points, the program does say that free night stays are subject to capacity controls and room availability.
You also have the option of earning miles with one of Best Western’s partner airlines instead of Best Western points. Earning rates vary depending on the airline you choose. Since you can also transfer the points you earn for miles on these airlines, you’d have more flexibility by taking Best Western points and later transferring them. Most airline miles transfers require at least 5,000 Best Western points, so it can take a while to build up enough points to transfer them.
Rewards Redemption Details
You can redeem the points you earn in many ways, but you will likely receive the most value for your points by booking stays at Best Western hotels. Best Western free hotel nights range from 8,000 points per night to as much as 36,000 points per night.
You can also redeem points for special promotions, Best Western Travel Cards, gas cards, gift cards, airline rewards, merchandise, and charitable donations. These other options typically result in a lower value per point than free night stays at Best Western.
Once you earn enough points, you can transfer points to Best Western’s partner airlines. This usually is not a great use of points, due to the awful transfer ratios in most cases, but it can be helpful if you need to top off your airline points balance to book a reward. Best Western currently partners with the following airline programs, at the points transfer ratios listed below:
- AerClub - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 Avios points
- AeroMexico Club Premier - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,600 kilometers
- Aeroplan - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 miles
- AIR MILES - 5,000 Best Western points to 80 AIR MILES
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 miles
- Alitalia - 6,000 Best Western points to 1,000 miles
- American Airlines AAdvantage - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 miles
- Asia Miles - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 miles
- Asiana Club - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 miles
- British Airways Executive Club - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 Avios
- FlyingBlue - 6,000 Best Western points to 1,000 miles
- Iberia Plus - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 Avios
- LifeMiles - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 Lifemiles
- Meridiana Club - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 Avios points
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,200 points
- Vueling Club - 5,000 Best Western points to 1,000 Avios
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Redeeming rewards for free hotel stays will likely give you the best value for your points. The key to maximizing your rewards is picking hotels that offer a good value per point.
For example, the 32,000 points earned from the bonus could be redeemed for a two-night stay at the Best Western Airport Inn & Suites in Orlando, Florida. The same room for a two-night stay would cost $222.76 when booking Best Western’s flexible room rate (for November 13, 2019), including taxes and fees. That results in a value of roughly 0.7 cents per point.
Or, you could use 24,000 of the points from the bonus to book a two-night stay at the Best Western Gwinnett Center Hotel in Duluth, Georgia. This room would cost $196.96, including taxes and fees, when booking the flexible rate (for November 13, 2019). That translates to a value of roughly 0.8 cents per point.
Best Western Rewards Mastercard's Outstanding Benefits
- Automatic gold elite status
- Auto rental insurance
The Best Western Rewards Mastercard is issued by First Bankcard, a division of First National Bank of Omaha, which was not scored in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. As a First Bankcard account holder, you get free access to your FICO Bankcard Score 9 credit score.
If you have questions about your card, you can contact First Bankcard 24/7 by calling the number on the back of your card or 888-295-5540. The card issuer also offers mobile and online account access.
This card's security features are standard for the industry.
Fees to Watch Out For
The Best Western Rewards Mastercard has a few fees that are higher than normal. In particular, its balance transfer fee ($10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater) and cash advance fees ($15 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater) are more than many other cards charge. Its ongoing APRs for purchases and balance transfers (variable 20.24% or 24.24%) are also relatively high. That said, this card does not charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
The Best Western Rewards Mastercard offers a decent bonus of up to 32,000 points—16,000 after making your first purchase with the card and a like amount after your first Best Western purchase. But the 3 points you earn per dollar spent on Best Western stays and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases are disappointing, given the low value per point.
Even though this card does not charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees, you might be better off with a 2% cash-back credit card with no annual fee. By simply joining the Best Western Rewards program, which is free of charge, you’ll get 10 points per dollar spent on your Best Western stays, regardless of what credit card you use to pay for them.