Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
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.
Generous rewards on hotel stays
Low annual fee
Automatic Platinum Elite guest status
Mediocre value for points
- 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.
- 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.
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
- Alaska Mileage Plan
- Asia Miles
- Asiana Airlines
- British Airways
- Flying Blue / Air France
- Vueling Club
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.