Editor’s note: At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information needed to make educated decisions about travel and rewards-earning strategy. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, as airlines have cut major parts of their route networks. But we are sharing this information to provide value for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.
Best Western Rewards remains relatively unknown in the points and miles world. The program doesn’t have any major credit card transfer partners, and its cobranded credit cards aren’t on most people’s radar. But if you find yourself staying at Best Western properties frequently for work or pleasure, there’s plenty of value to be had in the program.
Best Western Rewards points are surprisingly valuable if you find yourself traveling to Europe, Asia and specific parts of the U.S. and Canada. While Best Western isn’t the pinnacle of luxury hotels, it does have a suite of higher-end, boutique-focused brands like the BW Signature Collection, BW Premier Collection and the millennial-focused Vib.
You can earn and redeem Best Western Rewards points at these properties as well as at the rest of the hotels in Best Western’s broad portfolio. Here, we’ll show you how to earn and redeem Best Western points and share everything you need to know about the program.
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In This Post Best Western Rewards hotel brands
Best Western Rewards currently covers 14 different hotel brands, ranging from the budget-friendly Sure Stay to the higher-end BW Premier Collection:
Aiden by Best Western Best Western Best Western Premier Best Western Plus Best Western Signature Collection BW Premier Collection Executive Residency Glo by Best Western Sadie by Best Western SureStay SureStay Plus SureStay Studio SureStay Collection Vib How to earn Best Western Rewards points (Photo courtesy of Best Western.)
There aren’t as many ways to earn Best Western Rewards points as there are World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors points. However, you can still earn points through staying at Best Western hotels and through cobranded credit cards, as well as through select retail partners.
Here’s a look at all of the ways you can earn Best Western Rewards points.
Earning by staying at Best Western properties
Like most hotel loyalty programs, you’ll earn Best Western Rewards points based on your elite status and how much you spend on a hotel room. All Best Western hotels award 10 points per dollar spent on the hotel room, minus any taxes and fees. So if you stay at a Best Western property for three nights with a pretax nightly rate of $100, you’ll earn 3,000 points on your stay if you don’t have status.
Those with Best Western Rewards elite status will earn as percentage bonus on all Best Western stays. The higher status tier you have, the more points you’ll earn on your paid Best Western stays. Here’s how many bonus points each status tier earns:
Gold: 10% Platinum: 15% Diamond: 30% Diamond Select: 50%
If you’re a top-tier Diamond Select elite member and spend $300 on the same stay we mentioned earlier, you’d earn 4,500 Best Western Rewards points. On the other hand, a Gold member would earn 3,300 points on the same stay.
One thing to note: you can only earn Best Western Rewards points and use your elite benefits on Best Western stays you book directly with Best Western; stays booked through Expedia, Orbitz and other Online Travel Agencies (OTA) are not eligible. So, make sure that you book all your Best Western stays directly if you want to earn points and elite status; oftentimes, you’ll get the same (or better) rate than if you booked through an OTA.
Select Best Western properties will give you 500 extra Best Western Rewards points for each night you skip housekeeping. You can opt for bonus points on stays of two or more nights by hanging a special door hanger on your door or by asking at the front desk. These points can add up on longer stays and you’re helping the environment — sounds like a win/win to me.
Related: How to pick the best hotel brand for you
Spend on Best Western cobranded credit cards
Best Western has two U.S. cobranded credit cards issued by First National Bank of Omaha: one with an annual fee and one without. Both of these cards have a welcome bonus, earn bonus points on Best Western purchases and include free Best Western status. Here’s a look at both of the cards and their respective welcome bonuses:
Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard ($59 annual fee): Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in your first three billing cycles; earn another 20,000 bonus points when you spend at least $5,000 during each 12 billing cycle period. Best Western Rewards Mastercard (no annual fee): Earn 16,000 bonus points after your first purchase; earn another 16,000 bonus points after your first Best Western stay.
In addition to these bonus points, you’ll enjoy Platinum status with the $59 annual-fee variant and Gold status with the no-annual-fee variant. In addition, the $59 annual fee card earns 10 points per dollar on Best Western purchases and the no-annual-fee version earns 3 points per dollar. These are in addition to the points you’d earn with your elevated Best Western status.
If you opt for the $59 annual-fee variant of the card, you’ll effectively earn 21.15 Best Western Rewards points for stays you pay for with your Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard. This is because you’d earn 11.15 points per dollar spent with your Best Western Platinum status and another 10 when you pay with your card.
So if you pay for a $500 stay with your Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard, you’d earn 10,575 points, which is nothing to scoff at. TPG values Best Western Rewards points at 0.6 cents per point, meaning that your points haul for this stay is worth $63.45, or a 12.7% return.
I think that the $59 variant of the card could be a good option for someone that frequently stays at Best Western hotels and really values having instant Platinum status and elevated earning on Best Western purchases. However, those that switch hotel chains frequently and want to earn bonus points on all travel purchases may have better luck with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — while it doesn’t come with elite status, the card earns 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all travel and dining purchases. We value these points at 2 cents each as you can transfer them to a number of hotel and airline partners for exceptional redemptions.
Chase also offers the Chase Sapphire Reserve that earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining purchases. The card has a higher $550 annual fee, but includes other travel benefits like Priority Pass airport lounge access, an up to $300 annual travel credit and a Lyft Pink membership.
We don’t recommend applying for a Best Western credit card unless you really value Best Western Rewards points — especially if you’re new to the points and miles world. Putting your everyday spending on an Ultimate Rewards credit card will not only earn you more points, but you’ll also have more flexibility when it comes time to spend them. Plus, signing up for a Best Western card will take up a valuable 5/24 slot that can be used for another, more useful Chase credit card.
Related: The best hotel credit cards
Order flowers or wine for more bonus points
While Best Western doesn’t have a shopping portal or a dining program, it does partner with Teleflora and Vinesse Wines to award points when you order flowers or wine online. You can view the earning rates on Best Western’s website; regardless, make sure to do your research and find if these services are worth the money. Likewise, cross-compare earnings with other hotel and airline loyalty programs to see if you can earn more points elsewhere.
Rent cars through Best Western
Best Western has partnerships with many major rental car companies like Budget and National. These partnerships let Best Western Rewards members earn bonus points on their rentals; some earn on a per-dollar basis and others award a set sum of points per rental. You can view all of Best Western’s partnerships on its website and see if renting a car through Best Western makes sense for your travel plans.
Just note that you can’t use corporate codes and — in many cases — you won’t earn rental car points when you book through Best Western. Make sure that the Best Western Rewards points you’d earn offsets any other points or discounts you’re eligible before you book.
Related: Credit cards that offer car rental coverage
How to redeem Best Western Rewards points
The most valuable way to redeem your points is by booking free nights at Best Western properties worldwide. There are other redemption options like gift cards and merchandise that are available too, but you’ll generally get a much lower value for your points when you redeem for these.
For example, using your Best Western Rewards points for a Best Western gift card will give you just 0.41 cents per point in value; this is 0.19 cents per point lower than TPG’s valuations, so you should steer clear of redeeming for these if possible.
Book award stays with Best Western Rewards points
Like Hilton Honors, Best Western doesn’t publish an award chart and award pricing varies by hotel and when you book. According to Best Western, free nights range from 5,000 to 70,000 points per night, and we’ve found that hotels with higher cash rates generally cost more points.
Viewing award-night pricing is simple. Just head to the Best Western website, enter your search criteria and select the Rewards Points option in the Rates drop-down menu. When your search results load, you will see all Best Western hotels near your destination alongside their points cost. Click the yellow View Rates button to see all available rates when you find a hotel you like.
You can use Best Western Rewards points to book standard and premium rooms, with premium rooms costing more points. Simply browse through the available room choices and click the Select button to the right of the room you’d like to book. Then, follow the on-screen prompts to finalize your booking.
One word of caution, though: always check the cash rate before you book an award night. Many of Best Western’s hotels are meant to be budget-friendly and have low cash rates. Instead of using your Best Western Rewards points to book cheap nights, you’re usually better off paying the cash rate and saving your points to cover a more expensive stay in the future.
Further, you may get more value by booking cheap stays through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal and paying with your Ultimate Rewards points. This isn’t the best use of Ultimate Rewards points, but it will minimize your out-of-pocket expenses and let you redeem points at a predictable rate.
There’s no rush to use your Best Western points either — points never expire, so you can save your points for a time when they’ll give you the most value.
The best hotels to book with Best Western Rewards points
Best Western has thousands of properties worldwide, but some of them offer better value for points redemptions than others. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll usually get the best value for your points when you redeem them at high-end properties during special events and holidays.
If you need a bit of inspiration on how to use your points, look no further. Here’s a look at some interesting Best Western Rewards redemptions.
Paris — Best Western Plus, Sydney Opera
(Photo courtesy of the Best Western Plus Sydney Opera.)
The City of Lights is home to many Best Western properties, including the conveniently-located Best Western Plus Sydney Opera. This property is located within walking distance of the Concorde Place and Opéra Garnier, and the Louvre and other major Parisian attractions are just a quick taxi ride away.
You can expect a clean room, modern lobby and all the services you’d expect from a three-star hotel. Regardless, its stellar location makes rooms pricey at $375 per night after taxes in October. Alternatively, you can use 56,000 Best Western Rewards points to book the room, giving you just under 0.67 cents per point in value.
San Francisco — The Cartwright Hotel- Union Square, BW Premier Collection
(Photo courtesy of Cartwright Hotel Union Square.)Planning a trip to San Francisco and want to stay in the heart of the action? The Cartwright Hotel is a BW Premier Collection property located in Union Square, putting you in walking distance from all of SF’s main attractions. And since you’re close to the Powell Street BART stop, the rest of the Bay Area — including the airports — is easily accessible. The Cartwright Hotel is a solid property too. Reviews note that it’s no frills, but that the rooms are clean, the staff is friendly and the location can’t be beat. Weekend nights usually hover around $271 after taxes or 40,000 Best Western Rewards points. This gives you a nice 0.67 cents per point, making it an excellent Best Western Rewards redemption.
Chicago — Grant Park Hotel, Best Western
(Photo courtesy of the Grant Park Hotel)
The Grant Park Hotel in Chicago puts you gives you access to everything that Chicago has to offer. It’s just steps away from Grant Park and the Art Institute of Chicago, and a quick L ride from the Magnificent Mile shopping district. Because of this central location, the Grant Park Hotel is a wonderful option for Windy City first-timers on a time budget.
The hotel costs roughly $252 per night after tax when booking a weekend night in the fall. Alternatively, you can use just 40,000 Best Western Rewards points for a solid 0.63 cent per point redemption.
Transfer Best Western Rewards points to airline miles
You can also transfer your Best Western Rewards points to different airline programs. This won’t give you as much value as if you booked award nights, but can still be a good way to top up airline account balances if you need to redeem points for a specific ticket.
Transfer ratio (Best Western:Airline Partner) Air Canada Aeroplan 5,000:1,000 Aeromexico 5,000:1,600 Aer Lingus 5,000:1,000 Alaska Airlines 5,000:1,000 Alitalia 6,000:1,000 Asiana 5,000:1,000 British Airways 5,000:1,000 Air France/KLM Flying Blue 6,000:1,000 Iberia 5,000:1,000 Avianca LifeMiles 5,000:1,000 Southwest 5,000:1,200 Vueling 5,000:1,000
You can transfer your Best Western Rewards points to a number of different airlines including hard-to-earn mileage currencies like Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and Asiana Club. Best Western has a different transfer ratio for each airline partner, so refer to the chart above and find the transfer ratio for your airline of choice.
Again, these mileage transfers are not the best use of Best Western Rewards points, but they may be helpful if you find yourself a few points short of a specific award ticket.
Best Western Rewards elite status
The Best Western Rewards program has five different membership levels: Blue, Gold, Platinum, Diamond and Diamond Select. Points never expire, and all members have access to a dedicated reservations line and earn points on all Best Western stays.
You’ll earn elite status based on the number of nights, stays or points you earn in a single calendar year. These are the qualification requirements for each status tier:
Blue — Entry level Gold — 10 nights, 7 qualifying stays or 10,000 points Platinum — 15 nights, 10 qualifying stays or 15,000 points Diamond — 30 nights, 20 qualifying stays or 30,000 points Diamond Select — 50 nights, 40 qualifying stays or 50,000 points
In terms of benefits, those with Gold or higher status receive a complimentary bottle of water during each stay and are eligible for space-available room upgrades. The higher the status you have, the higher chance you have of clearing a free upgrade.
These members are also eligible for a thank you gift or an unspecified number of points at check-in. Thank you gifts are usually limited to a free drink from the hotel’s grab-and-go snack counter, so you’re usually better off taking the points.
Elite members also earn bonus points on all Best Western stays — this bonus is based on the base rate of your stays (the total bill minus taxes):
Gold: 10% Platinum: 15% Diamond: 30% Diamond Select: 50% Status match from another hotel program
Have status with another hotel chain? You can take advantage of Best Western’s status match promotion to match your existing hotel status to Best Western for free. To request a status match, fill out this form on the Best Western website.
Best Western doesn’t specify which hotel statuses are eligible for status matching, so it’s hard to say which Best Western Rewards status tier you’ll be matched to. Regardless, we recommend taking advantage of this match just in case you end up staying at a Best Western property during your travels.
Your status will be valid through Jan. 31, 2022, if you request a status match in 2020. Then, you must meet the qualifying requirements for your status tier in 2021 in order to extend your status through the 2022 calendar year.
While Best Western’s properties won’t make for the most aspirational award bookings, your Best Western Rewards points can come in handy for on road trips, for stays in small cities and other times when you just need a place to sleep for the night.
We highly recommend enrolling in the program even if you don’t stay at Best Western properties often. Points never expire, so you can accrue points without having to earn or redeem them at a specific time.
Featured photo by Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock.com
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