Reviews Best Western Rewards MasterCard review
Best Western Rewards MasterCard review

Best Western Rewards MasterCard review

Published: September 26, 2017
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Hotel Rating:
2.9 rating
2.9 rating
2.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.5
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.0
Rewards Flexibility: 3.5
Redemption Options: 4.0
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Best Western Rewards MasterCard repays loyal hotel guests with a fair amount of savings, but you won’t get much value out of this hotel card unless you plan to take a lot of trips.

Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 Best Western stays (up to 13:1 when combined with Best Western Rewards)
  • 2:1 general spending

Sign-up Bonus

  • 16,000 points with your first purchase
  • 16,000 points after your first stay

Annual Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$428

APR
19.74-23.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pro:

  • Points don’t expire
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Redeem points for hotel stays, airfare, dining, entertainment, merchandise, gift cards, charity

Cons:

  • Rewards-funded rooms may be limited
  • Must go through card issuer to book travel rewards
  • Transfer rate for airline partners is poor (often 5:1)

Hotel Options

  • Properties: 4,100
  • Countries: 80+

Other Notable Features: Automatic gold status, 10% discount on hotel stays, 10% point bonus per stay, dedicated reservation line, price protection, extended warranty, free FICO credit score

No Annual Fee Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 5.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.1
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Best Western Rewards card is a gem of a hotel card – offering a high 2 percent rewards rate on general purchases, a large sign-up bonus and access to a worldwide network of hotels, all for no annual fee.

Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 Best Western stays (up to 13:1 when combined with Best Western Rewards)
  • 2:1 general spending

Sign-up Bonus

  • 16,000 points with your first purchase
  • 16,000 points after your first stay

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$428

APR
19.74-23.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pro:

  • Points don’t expire
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Redeem points for hotel stays, airfare, dining, entertainment, merchandise, gift cards, charity

Cons:

  • Rewards-funded rooms may be limited
  • Must go through card issuer to book travel rewards
  • Transfer rate for airline partners is poor (often 5:1)

Other Notable Features: Automatic gold status, 10% discount on hotel stays, 10% point bonus per stay, dedicated reservation line, price protection, extended warranty, free FICO credit score

Rewards Rating:
3.7 rating
3.7 rating
3.7 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.2
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Best Western Rewards MasterCard offers frequent hotel guests a decent number of bonus points on hotel stays; but its modest sign-up bonus and skimpy rewards on non-hotel purchases limit its appeal.

Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 Best Western stays (up to 13:1 when combined with Best Western Rewards)
  • 2:1 general spending

Sign-up Bonus

  • 16,000 points with your first purchase
  • 16,000 points after your first stay

Annual Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$428

APR
19.74-23.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pro:

  • Points don’t expire
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Redeem points for hotel stays, airfare, dining, entertainment, merchandise, gift cards, charity

Cons:

  • Rewards-funded rooms may be limited
  • Must go through card issuer to book travel rewards
  • Transfer rate for airline partners is poor (often 5:1)

Other Notable Features: Automatic gold status, 10% discount on hotel stays, 10% point bonus per stay, dedicated reservation line, price protection, extended warranty, free FICO credit score

Travel Rating:
3.6 rating
3.6 rating
3.6 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.3
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Best Western Rewards MasterCard offers a large enough hotel spending bonus to satisfy frequent guests at Best Western; however, the card’s high APR and stingy sign-up bonus drag down its overall value.

Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 Best Western stays (up to 13:1 when combined with Best Western Rewards)
  • 2:1 general spending

Sign-up Bonus

  • 16,000 points with your first purchase
  • 16,000 points after your first stay

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$428

APR
19.74-23.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pro:

  • Points don’t expire
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Redeem points for hotel stays, airfare, dining, entertainment, merchandise, gift cards, charity

Cons:

  • Rewards-funded rooms may be limited
  • Must go through card issuer to book travel rewards
  • Transfer rate for airline partners is poor (often 5:1)

Other Notable Features: Automatic gold status, 10% discount on hotel stays, 10% point bonus per stay, dedicated reservation line, price protection, extended warranty, free FICO credit score

If you’re a heavy traveler and frequently choose to stay at Best Westerns, you could get a considerable amount of value with this hotel card without having to pay an annual fee. But if you’re serious about earning a large number of free hotel stays, you may be better off choosing a more generous no fee card or ponying up a yearly fee. Best Western’s standard co-branded card struggles to live up to its annual fee cousin, the Best Western Rewards Premium MasterCard, which rewards repeat guests with a lucrative sign-up bonus and more than three times the number of bonus points.

The Best Western Rewards card also limits its appeal by offering bonus points only on hotel stays. Many hotel cards, by contrast, give cardholders more opportunities to supplement their points.

Limited rewards program
The Best Western Rewards MasterCard offers a fair rewards rate on hotel bookings and a pretty good rewards rate on general purchases. Cardholders earn two points per dollar on regular purchases and three points per dollar on Best Western hotel stays. Many competitors, in comparison, offer a much better rate for hotel stays. 

The hotel card’s rewards program offers a decent amount of value for frequent Best Western guests. When you combine your points with Best Western’s rewards program, your point bonus for hotel stays will more than quadruple to 13 points per dollar spent. But if you stay at Best Western relatively frequently and are willing to pay a $59 annual fee, you could get a lot more value out of the card’s premium version.

Good sign-up bonus
The Best Western Rewards MasterCard offers a good sign-up bonus for a card with no annual fee. Best Western fans get 16,000 bonus points — roughly worth around $160, depending on how they are redeemed – for making a purchase on the card and an additional 16,000 bonus points for your first stay with the card. That’s enough to buy up to two hotel stays and should please frequent Best Western guests who want maximum benefit without paying an annual fee.

Some additional perks
Best Western also awards cardholders some additional perks through its hotel loyalty program, but the benefits aren’t as exciting as those offered by other hotel loyalty programs. Cardholders are automatically upgraded to gold status and receive an additional 10 percent point bonus when they use their card to book a room. They’re also eligible for a 10 percent discount on hotel stays. However, Best Western doesn’t offer any other money-saving perks until cardholders reach platinum status.

Few restrictions
On the plus side, the no fee-Best Western card is a good bet for cardholders who want as few restrictions on their rewards earnings as possible and don’t want to pay an annual fee.

This hotel card doesn’t impose any travel blackout dates, and you can redeem your points for hotel stays, airfare, merchandise, gift cards or other card rewards. Points never expire.

You also can earn as many points as you want, with no limits — a big perk for cardholders who travel frequently. Best Western does reserve the right to limit the number of rewards-funded rooms available, though, so you may have trouble finding a room during peak travel times. You also have to go directly through Best Western to reserve your rewards-funded room, so you may not get the best available rate.

Huge number of hotels
One of the best perks offered by the Best Western card is the hotel’s extensive network. Best Western operates 4,100 properties in more than 80 countries, so you should have no trouble booking a room.

You may have to wait to earn more points, though, if you want to travel in a pricier location. Unlike some competitors that charge a flat rate for every property, Best Western charges a tiered number of points, depending on the property. The least expensive rooms can be purchased for as little as 8,000 points a night, but pricier properties may cost as much as 36,000 points. You can also purchase a limited number of points if you’re short.

Reasons to get it:

  • You’re a frequently traveler and prefer to stay at Best Western.
  • You want a card with an extensive hotel network.
  • You want to earn free hotel room stays, but don’t want to pay an annual fee.

How to use it:

  • To earn the card’s largest sign-up bonus, temporarily use your card for all your everyday purchases. If you use your card for gas, groceries and other everyday purchases, you should have little trouble reaching $10,000 by the end of the card’s first year.
  • Use your card when booking a reservation, and be sure to include your Best Western rewards details. If you book online or through a third-party site, mention your rewards membership to the front desk when you arrive and they’ll credit your account.
  • Once you’ve reached the sign-up bonus threshold, consider limiting this card to hotel and travel purchases and using a card with a more generous rewards rate for everyday purchases.

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