Reviews Bank of the West Premier World Mastercard review
Bank of the West Premier World Mastercard review

Bank of the West Premier World Mastercard review

Published: March 16, 2017
Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
2.1 rating
2.1 rating
2.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.3
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.5
Rewards Flexibility: 3.9
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

A good card for frequent travelers, the Bank of the West Premier World Mastercard offers a solid bonus on travel and restaurant purchases; but to avoid paying an annual fee, you need to have a Bank of the West checking account.

Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 on travel and restaurant purchases
  • 1:1 on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$85

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$144

APR
14.24-22.24%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • Points don’t expire
  • Redeem for travel, merchandise, gift cards, cash rebates or experiences
  • Pay for travel with partial points

Cons

  • Must go through Bank of the West to book travel
  • $15 booking fee for online reservations; $25 booking fee for phone reservations
  • Some blackout dates
  • Limited number of awards seats available for air travel
  • Can’t transfer points to other loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: Price protection, extended warranty, purchase protection, car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, concierge service, extended warranty, identity theft services

Travel Rating:
2.1 rating
2.1 rating
2.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.3
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.2
Rewards Flexibility: 3.9
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Bank of the West Premier World Mastercard offers a lower APR and more travel-centric bonus points than the average travel rewards card, but its high annual fee and pricey redemption policy limit its appeal.

Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 on travel and restaurant purchases
  • 1:1 on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$85

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$144

APR
13.49-23.49%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • Points don’t expire
  • Redeem for travel, merchandise, gift cards, cash rebates or experiences
  • Pay for travel with partial points

Cons

  • Must go through Bank of the West to book travel
  • $15 booking fee for online reservations; $25 booking fee for phone reservations
  • Some blackout dates
  • Limited number of awards seats available for air travel
  • Can’t transfer points to other loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: Price protection, extended warranty, purchase protection, car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, concierge service, extended warranty, identity theft services

If you travel frequently for work or pleasure, or spend a lot of time commuting on public transportation, the Bank of the West Premier World Premier Mastercard’s travel-centric rewards program can be just what you need to build a large stash of points. The card has an expansive definition of what constitutes a “travel purchase” – which earns three points for every dollar you spend. You can earn triple the points on pricey traditional travel purchases, such as airfare, car rentals and hotel stays. Or you can rack up points on everyday commuting purchases, such as trains, buses, taxis and ferries.

Just be sure you can afford the card’s $85 annual fee, which is relatively expensive for a travel card. The regional card issuer also charges hefty travel booking fees, limiting the card’s appeal.

Not everyone can apply for the Bank of the West card. Only cardholders living in one the 19 states served by Bank of the West are eligible to apply.

Easy-to-earn points
If you live in a large city and use public transportation to get around – or if you travel frequently by air – the Bank of the West World Premier Mastercard makes it simple to earn a large number of points in a relatively short period of time. Cardholders earn three points for every dollar they spend on restaurants or travel, and one point for every dollar they spend on anything else. Eligible restaurant purchases include fast food, takeout and bars. Eligible travel purchases include airlines, hotels, motels, car rentals, timeshares, campgrounds, cruises, travel agencies, trains, buses, taxis, limousines and ferries.

Bank of the West doesn’t limit the total number of points you can earn either, so you can potentially build up a sizable collection if you’re frequently on the move.

No sign-up bonus
With such an inclusive points bonus, cardholders can potentially earn substantially more points with this card than most other travel credit cards. Few cards on the market offer so many points for such a large number of eligible travel purchases. However, the Bank of the West card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, which is disappointing for a travel card. Most competitors that are similarly priced offer at least $100 or more in one-time bonuses.

Pricey redemption
The Bank of the West card’s restrictive travel redemption policies also limit its appeal – particularly for cardholders hoping to use it purely as a travel rewards card. Like most card issuers, Bank of the West requires cardholders to go through the bank to redeem points for travel, which limits cardholders’ ability to shop around. It also charges a $15 booking fee for booking rewards-funded travel online and a $25 fee for booking travel on the phone. In addition, the bank imposes travel blackout dates and only awards travel on a restricted number of seats, potentially limiting your ability to travel when you want.

On the plus side, Bank of the West does allow you to pay for travel with partial points, which is relatively rare for a travel card. It also doesn’t impose an arbitrary expiration date on points.

Reasons to get it:

  • You travel frequently by air or regularly use car rentals or public transportation and want to get rewarded for your spending.
  • You’re looking for a card with more inclusive travel bonus points.
  • You want a lower APR than the average travel rewards card and can afford the annual fee.

How to use it:

  • To get the most benefit from this travel card, use the card for every restaurant, fast food, drink, travel or public transportation purchase.
  • Do your research before redeeming points for travel. You may find that you can get more value out of points by redeeming them for cash and purchasing cheaper tickets elsewhere.
  • Check with Bank of the West ahead of time before planning your trip to see if rewards-funded travel is available. If you use points for travel, you may only be able to use them for trips with flexible travel dates.

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