Best Western Credit Card Review: OK for Best Western Fans, but You Can Do Much Better

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Best Western Credit Card Review:  OK for Best Western Fans, but You Can Do Much Better

AlexBest Western Credit Card Review:  OK for Best Western Fans, but You Can Do Much BetterMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Best Western Credit Card Review

Alex:   If you like Best Western, or often travel to smaller cities and towns where there are usually Best Western hotels, you might consider the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard.

This card isn’t on the radar of most miles and points enthusiasts because it’s not issued by a major bank.  And for most folks, there are better hotel cards that earn more valuable points and have superior perks and flexibility.

But if you’re a Best Western fan, or already have a lot of cards from other banks, it’s worth a look.

We don’t earn a commission from the Best Western credit card, but we’ll always tell you about interesting deals!

Best Western Credit Card Review
When You Meet Tiered Minimum Spending Requirements, You Can Earn up to 70,000 Best Western Points in Your First 12 Billing Cycles

Here’s a closer look at the card.  And which cards are better for similar travel goals!

Should You Consider the Best Western Credit Card?

Link:   Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard

Best Western is a favorite among road warriors and families because you can find their hotels pretty much everywhere.  They’ve got over 4,200 hotels in 100+ countries, and are known for being in spots you might not find other mainstream hotel chains, like small towns.

Many are family friendly, with pool and spacious rooms.  And most locations offer complimentary breakfast to everyone – no elite status required!

Best Western Credit Card Review
Most Best Western Hotels Offer a Free “Build Your Own Breakfast” – Great for Families!

When you open the Best Western credit card, you’ll earn 50,000 Best Western points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 billing cycles.  Plus another 20,000 Best Western points when you spend at least $5,000 on purchases during each 12 billing cycle period thereafter.

So in total, you could earn 70,000 Best Western points in the first 12 billing cycles if you meet the full $5,000 spending requirement.

The card also offers:

  • A total of 20 Best Western points per $1 on Best Western stays (this includes 10 points per $1 you would always get as a Best Western Rewards member, and another 10 points per $1 for using this card)
  • 2 Best Western points per $1 on everything else
  • Automatic platinum elite status (15% bonus points per stay, room upgrades, 10% discount on award redemptions)
  • 10% discount off paid Best Western stays when cardholders use their card and book through bwrcarddiscount.com
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $59 annual fee (waived the first year)

This card is issued by First Bankcard, which is part of First National Bank of Omaha.  So it could be an option for folks who’ve maxed out the number of cards they’ve gotten from other major banks.

How Does the 70,000-Point Sign-Up Bonus Work?

The total sign-up bonus of 70,000 Best Western points is made up of 2 parts.

First, you will earn 50,000 Best Western points after you spend $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 billing cycles.  That’s not a huge spending requirement to earn a chunk of Best Western points.

But to earn an additional 20,000 Best Western points, you’ll have to spend a total of $5,000 on purchases in 12 billing cycle period.  You’ll earn this bonus every year, provided you spend $5,000 in each 12 billing cycle period.

Best Western Credit Card Review
Use Your Best Western Points to Stay Across the Street From Disneyland at Best Western Anaheim Inn!

While 50,000 Best Western points sounds like an impressive sign-up bonus, remember not all hotel points are created equal.

And although the 20,000 Best Western points bonus for spending $5,000 on purchases each 12 billing cycles seems like a good incentive to use this card, there are far more valuable cards with better bonus categories to put that kind of spending on.  Or you could use those expenses to unlock a sign-up bonus on one of the best credit cards for travel.

What Are Best Western Points Worth?

Again, it’s important to compare apples to apples when you’re considering sign-up bonuses and spending on rewards cards.  For example, 50,000 Best Western points are worth far less than 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, like you’d earn after meeting minimum spending requirements with a new Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

I spoke with a Best Western representative to talk about the value of the points in their rewards program.  They told me that point values are determined based on each hotel, and can vary from location and date around the world.  However, they did tell me that:

Best Western free night stays range from 8,000 to 36,000 Best Western points per night

Theoretically, 70,000 Best Western points could be get you up to 8 free nights (70,000 point bonus / 8,000 points per night).  That’s only if you can find the elusive 8,000 points per night deals.

These must be pretty rare because the Best Western representative could not find an award night for me at this price.  She admitted to me that their literature states an average free night stay worldwide is 16,000 Best Western points, and that’s what they estimate the value of the sign-up bonus from.

The 16,000 point “average” will give you 4 FREE NIGHTS with your 70,000 bonus Best Western points (70,000 point bonus / 16,000 points per night) during the first year.

Best Western Credit Card Review
Point Prices Aren’t Exactly Tied to the Actual Cash Price of a Hotel

Based on comparing the paid prices of hotel nights, and the number of Best Western points you would need to redeem to get that same room for free, I found that on average that Best Western points were worth ~0.6 cents each.  The best earning rate I found was ~0.9 cents (see the Newark airport example in the image above, the best deal I found), while a few hotels gave a value per point as low as ~0.35 cents.

Using an average of ~0.6 cents per point, you could consider the 50,000 Best Western point bonus worth $300 in hotel stays (50,000 points X 0.6 cents per point).  Or, if you unlock the full 70,000 point bonus after 12 billing cycles, you’d get a value of $420 (70,000 points X 0.6 cents per point).

These values are considerably lower than points from other programs.   For example, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card miles are worth 1 cent each towards paid travel, including hotels like Best Western.  And Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card and redeem points for travel (also including hotels) through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Other Cards Get You Better Value and Flexibility

Before deciding if the Best Western Rewards card is right for you, consider these other cards.  You’ll get potentially much more value from your miles and points.  And you won’t be locked into spending your rewards with a single hotel chain!

1.   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Our Review of Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you are new to miles and points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card to consider starting with.   You’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening the card.

You’ll also get:

  • 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide
  • 1x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on everything else
  • Primary car rental insurance – Covers damage due to theft or collision to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your card
  • Trip delay reimbursement – Get up to $500 back per ticket when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours
  • NO foreign transaction fees

The $95 annual fee is waived the first year, which means you can use the card for free for ~10 or ~11 months.  Then, decide if you like the benefits enough to pay the annual fee.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a much better deal than the Best Western credit card50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred are worth $650 when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.  And potentially much more when you transfer them to airline and hotel partners like Hyatt or United Airlines!

You’re NOT committed to a single hotel or airline program when you collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  In fact, you can book Best Western hotel stays (in addition to nearly any other hotel) through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

And you’ll have the flexibility to transfer your points to airline and hotel partners for award flights or hotel stays!

Best Western Credit Card Review
If You Rent a Car Often While Traveling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Makes More Sense for You Because It Offers Primary Rental Car Insurance, Which Can Save You a Ton of Money (and Grief!)

Many Best Western hotels tend to be in more rural locations, so folks might find themselves frequently renting a car while staying with Best Western.  If this is the case, I highly recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because it offers primary rental car insurance, as opposed to the secondary car insurance offered on the Best Western credit card.

2.   Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Link:   Capital One Venture Rewards

Link:   Our Review of the Capital One Venture Rewards

The Capital One Venture card is popular with folks who prefer a straightforward rewards program without having to worry about bonus spending categories or complicated award charts.

It’s easy to save on travel with the Capital One Venture, because you can purchase hotels the way you normally would.  Then, sign into your account within 90 days of the purchase and redeem your Venture miles to “erase” the transaction from your card.  This makes it super simple to use miles for Best Western (or any hotel) stays!

Plus, you can redeem miles for a wide variety of travel purchases beyond hotels, including airfare, Airbnbs, Uber, cruises, travel agents, and much more.

The sign-up bonus for the Capital One Venture is 50,000 Venture miles (worth $500 in travel) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.

You’ll also get:

Best Western Credit Card Review
Through Capital One’s Hotels.com Link, You Can Book Just About Any Popular On-Site Disney World Hotel and Earn 10 Venture Miles per $1 (Effectively 10% Back) With Your Capital One Venture Card

Capital One Venture miles are worth 1 cent each towards travel.  That’s almost double the average value of Best Western points (~0.6 cents each).  And because this card allows you to “erase” almost any travel purchase, you’re not just limited to redeeming miles at Best Western hotels!

Having trouble deciding between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture?  Here’s a comparison between the 2 cards.

Bottom Line

For folks who stay at Best Western hotels often, the Best Western credit card is worth a look.  With the Best Western credit card, you’ll earn 50,000 Best Western points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 billing cycles.  Plus another 20,000 Best Western points when you spend at least $5,000 on purchases during each 12 billing cycle period.

But Best Western points are only worth, on average, ~0.6 cents each.  So 50,000 Best Western points are worth ~$300, and 70,000 Best Western points worth ~$420.

You’ll do much better (and get a TON more flexibility) with other top travel rewards credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture.

Those cards have sign-up bonuses that are worth much more.  And you won’t be locked into a single hotel rewards program, but instead have the ability to redeem rewards for a wide variety of travel purchases, like hotels (including Best Western) or airline tickets.

Would you consider the Best Western credit card?  Or if you already have it, I’d love to hear how you like it in the comments!

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Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I have the card without the annual fee so slightly different but I always get a room upgrade by using the card. Not many of their hotel brands would be considered top tier but a free decent breakfast is worth at least $10 per day per trip.

I have soooo many cards, it’s nice to get one from a different chain/banks.

I got the business, so it won’t show up on my 5/24.

Hi J R – Awesome! What was the biz application like? It’s a whole different sign-up bonus.

If you don’t mind, would you be willing to report back to confirm the business card didn’t show up on your personal credit report? This could be a very good option for folks looking to stay / get under 5/24.

Thanks for sharing!

FBofO reports my old LaQuinta personal, but not my Business Best Western.

The bonus was 48k, $1k spend and +32k, $2k/mo spend extra, I believe.

I’m just did the 48k $1k spend.

Aug 1st I’m down to Chase 1/24.

My plans are Aug 1st, Ink 80-100k business, still keeping me at 1/24

SW business 60k in late Nov, staying at 1/24.

SW Personal 50k, early Dec, companion pass 2019-20, =2/24.

My wife who is at 60+/24 is starting the 24 months, so by 7/2020 she’ll be eligible for the SW companion pass 2021-22.

For the past 2 years, she has gotten every business AND personal card of value.

For the past 2 years, I’ve only gotten business bonus cards, about 12, while my 5/24 came back into line.

Starting July, I’ll be open for personal cards of very high bonus and my wife will be on the sidelines.

It was a standard business app.

I think I had to call in for verification.

Sole Proprietorship.