Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard Review

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The Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard, issued by First National Bank of Omaha, is a way to earn extra rewards points when you stay at Best Western hotels. As hotel cards go, the rewards rate is quite generous, especially for the modest annual fee.

Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®

Overall Rating
3.2
Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $59
Rewards Earning Rate 10 points per dollar on Best Western stays, 2 points per $1 spent everywhere else.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.9
for Fees
2.9
for Rewards
2.9
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

Earn 70,000 points. 50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 billing cycles, plus an additional 20,000 points when you spend at least $5,000 during each of your first 12 billing cycles.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker
  • Avatar for Brand Loyalist Persona
    Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
    Brand Loyalist

If you have good credit and stay at Best Western hotels somewhat frequently, the Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard may be a worthwhile way to boost your cache of rewards points good toward future hotel stays. Chances are you’re already a member of the Best Western Rewards program, which is free to join, if you’re a Best Western fan. But with this credit card, you’ll earn twice as many rewards points for every dollar you spend with the chain.

Keep in mind that some of the least expensive award nights are for the SureStay brands, which tend to be smaller roadside motels. In fact, not many of Best Western’s 18 brands have resort-style vacation properties. If you want a rewards credit card with a wider range of upscale properties and resorts, you may want to consider another credit card, perhaps even one that lets you use rewards toward your choice of hotel brands.

Pros
  • Generous rewards on hotel stays

  • Low annual fee

  • Automatic Platinum Elite guest status

Cons
  • Mediocre value for points

Pros Explained

  • Generous rewards on hotel stays: You’ll earn 10 points per $1 you spend with Best Western hotels—about twice as many as some other hotel cards offer, even ones with higher annual fees. Plus, as a member of the free rewards program, you’ll earn another 10 points per $1, for a total of 20 points.
  • Low annual fee: At $59, the annual fee is pretty reasonable, especially considering it pays bigger rewards on hotel stays than cards that charge $95.
  • Automatic Platinum Elite guest status: This card gives you automatic Platinum status, which offers some extra amenities and a 15% boost in points on eligible stays. Most stages of Best Western’s elite status, including Platinum, are otherwise earned with a certain number of qualifying stays or points, but this eliminates those requirements. 

When choosing a hotel card, make sure to compare only the rewards you’ll earn with the credit card. Most hotel chains offer rewards points as part of their free rewards programs, but these can be earned without the credit card. 

Cons Explained

  • Mediocre value for points: It’s a good thing you’ll get so many points per dollar you spend at Best Western hotels, because the average value per point is 0.71 cent when redeemed toward a hotel stay, better than competitors including Radisson and Hilton, but not as high as Hyatt or Marriott Bonvoy, according to valuations by The Balance. This means you may not get as nice a room with the same number of points. 

Bonus for New Cardholders

The Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard awards new cardholders 50,000 points when they spend at least $1,000 within their first three billing cycles. Since Best Western points are worth about 0.71 cents each when redeemed for hotel stays, according to our valuations, that’s a bonus worth $355.

This is decent for a hotel card, especially since the spending requirement is relatively low. You’ll have enough points for up to 10 award nights at a low-tier hotel or a few nights at a mid-tier property. Since you can earn another 20,000 bonus points every 12-month period you spend at least $5,000 on your card, you may even have enough for a top-tier Best Western property after your first year. As an example, 70,000 points will get you a reward night at the Best Western Plus Hospitality House in Manhattan, New York. 

Earning Points & Rewards

You’ll earn 10 points per $1 spent at 18 participating Best Western brands including SureStay, Best Western Plus, BW Premier and BW Signature. Plus, as a Platinum Elite member, you’ll get a 15% points boost on those stays. For every $1 spent everywhere else, you’ll get 2 points. Your points will never expire.

If you’re a big enough spender, you can also earn extra points every year. For every 12 billing cycles, starting with your first cycle with the card, you’ll get an extra 20,000 points if you spend $5,000 on your card during the period.

If you’re not already in the Best Western Rewards program, you’ll need to sign up. This will ensure the points from your card go to your rewards account. Best Western Rewards members receive a separate 10 points per $1 on hotel stays whether they have the credit card or not. 

Redeeming Rewards

While Best Western says award nights range from 5,000 points to 70,000 points, the average for a night in the U.S. is 26,900 points, according to our research. Points redeemed for hotel stays are worth an average 0.71 cents—under the benchmark 1 cent reward seekers look for, but not as valuable as competing chains including Hyatt or Marriott, our calculations show. The average point with Hyatt is worth 2.01 cents; Marriott, 1.11 cents. You can also redeem points for charitable donations, gift cards, memberships, and merchandise, though you may very well not get the same value per point. 

In addition, you can exchange your points for airline miles with 13 frequent flyer programs but we wouldn’t recommend it, since the transfer ratios are quite poor. You typically need to trade in 5,000 or 6,000 Best Western points just to get 1,000 airline miles. 

Airline partners you can transfer points to include:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeroplan
  • Alaska Mileage Plan
  • Asia Miles
  • Asiana Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Flying Blue / Air France
  • LifeMiles
  • Vueling Club
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • Aeromexico 
  • Alitalia
  • Iberia

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Besides spending enough to earn the 50,000-point bonus, redeem your points for hotel stays rather than other items to get the best bang for your buck.

If you only stay at Best Western brands occasionally and don’t want to commit to a card with an annual fee, consider the Best Western Rewards Mastercard, a sister card which pays 3 points per $1 spent on hotel purchases and offers automatic Gold Elite status.

Excellent Perks

Credit cards come with lots of potential benefits, but editors at The Balance have narrowed down the list of ones with exceptional value. On this card, one makes the cut:

  • Cellphone coverage: Covers stolen or damaged phones up to $600 per claim and $1,000 per year (maximum of two claims each year). To get the benefit, you have to pay your cellphone bill with your card.

Other Features

  • Travel and emergency hotline
  • Free shipping through ShopRunner membership

There is a possibility that First Bankcard may approve you for the Mastercard Platinum version of this card, which offers lower rewards rates and fewer benefits.

Customer Experience

First Bankcard, the division of First National Bank of Omaha that issues this card, has its own mobile app you can use to check credit card balances, track your purchases, pay bills, and more. This card also gives you free access to your FICO score. 

Security Features

First Bankcard offers standard security features on its credit cards including zero fraud liability, encryption, virus protection, and automatic timeouts after periods of inactivity.

Fees to Watch Out For

The Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard comes with standard fees for this industry. Since it doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, you don’t need to worry about purchases made abroad.

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®
overall rating
3.2
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $59
Rewards Earning Rate 10 points per dollar on Best Western stays, 2 points per $1 spent everywhere else.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Best Western Rewards. "Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard." Oct. 13, 2020.

  2. Best Western Rewards. "Redemption Mall." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.

  3. Mastercard. "Travel Credit Cards: World Mastercard." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.