The Best Western MasterCard was first launched nearly 10 years ago (in 2003) by Juniper Bank. Then back in 2010 it was re-launched but by a different issuer, Barclays. That brings us to today… is the current Best Western credit card rewards program worth pursuing? Review it for yourself and decide.
First, here are the basics
Type: MasterCard World, however those with lower credit scores may be given a MasterCard Platinum instead (which has a few less benefits).
Annual Fee: None
Elite Status: There is a one tier Elite status upgrade when $6,000+ is spent on the card per calendar year.How do the rewards work? Might not be how you think! If you go to the card application, in big bold text it says you will be earning…
- 15 points for every $1 USD spent on Best Western purchases
- 1 point for every $1 USD spent anywhere else
Wow… 15 points sounds impressive, right? I thought so too, until I dug into the fine print and read how it works.
- Out of those 15 points, 10 are earned through your Best Western Rewards program. If you’re not familiar with it, that’s their loyalty rewards program which is separate from their credit card.
- The Best Western Rewards MasterCard is actually only earning you 5 of those 15 points. That means it would probably be more forthright to explain the credit card program as earning you an extra 5 points per dollar for spending at their hotels.
Personally, I wish Barclays made that information more prominent rather than burying it in the fine print. I’m not criticizing the system of earning points on hotel stays with and without the card, but most hotel credit cards I know which do that are at least a bit more upfront in explaining it on the application. I would hate for someone to apply for the Best Western credit card because they got the wrong impression that they would be earning 15 points/dollar from the card alone.
What are the points worth?
How much are Best Western reward points worth? Ultimately, that will determine whether this program is a good deal or not. To find out, I decided to get quotes on the same room, for both the cash and points price.
For my test, I used the local Best Western in Huntington Beach (which by the way, has a location better than any other hotel in town). If I were to pay cash, several types of rooms were available. However if I were paying with Best Western points, I was only given one option…
So for this “1 King Bed, Hairdryer, Refrigerator” room I could pay $199.99 cash –OR– 36,000 points. That means the point value I would be getting is only around $0.0056 (about a half-penny per point). This of course, isn’t very good.
The Best Western credit card offers little in terms of rewards. If there was a big signup promotion then I could see it being more attractive, but the advertised 16,000 points bonus would be less than half the amount I would need just to book that one night at my local Best Western. Considering that you only earn 1 point per dollar on regular spending and the point value is so low, I can’t see how this card would make sense unless 100% of the spending was at Best Western.
Want more options? You can compare hotel card reviews here.
This review was updated for 2015