Your Guide to Booking Award Nights With Best Western

Lissa PoirotSeptember 26, 2019
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Best Western is known for its generally budget-friendly collection of properties, with 13 hotel brands and more than 4,500 hotels worldwide. Here's what to know about earning and redeeming award nights through Best Western Rewards.

How many points are needed for a free night?

Best Western doesn’t publish an award chart, and redemption rates vary by hotel. There are no blackout dates, and points don't expire.

Best Western doesn’t organize its properties into categories for award-redemption purposes, which can be frustrating. You can search by brands, however. The Best Western brand generally offers the best redemption rates, but the amount of points you'll need to book a given room will vary based on location and dates.

Best Western's portfolio includes budget properties as well as midscale, upscale and boutique hotels:

  • Best Western.

  • Best Western Plus.

  • Best Western Premier.

  • Vīb.

  • Glō.

  • Executive Residency by Best Western.

  • BW Signature Collection.

  • BW Premier Collection.

  • Sadie.

  • Aiden.

  • SureStay.

  • SureStay Plus.

  • SureStay Collection.

How many Best Western Rewards points will I earn on hotel stays, and how can I use them?

Best Western members earn 10 points per $1 spent at hotels, and free nights range from 8,000 to 36,000 points per night.

NerdWallet values Best Western points at 0.7 cent each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 0.7 cent or more in value from your Best Western points.

Redemption rates vary by hotel, location and date. For example, 28,000 points can get you a free night at the Best Western Plus Bayside Inn, in the heart of San Diego.

But head to San Francisco, and you’ll pay 36,000 points per night at the BW Premier Collection Cartwright Hotel - Union Square.

Don’t be fooled: Those points are not a brand category price point. In Paris, where there are far more properties and brands to select from, Best Western’s Gaillon Opera and Best Western Premier’s Opera Opal locations both require 36,000 points, while the Best Western Plus Opera Batignolles can be redeemed for 32,000 points.

Best Western says free nights can be booked for as low as 8,000 points, but the lowest price point we found in multiple searches was 16,000 points.

Need more points? Loyalty is rewarded

Best Western rewards its most loyal travelers with extra points and also offers status-matching opportunities; simply complete a form proving your elite status with another hotel loyalty program and you'll be matched, Best Western says. When you reach elite status, you can earn bonus points when staying at Best Western properties:

  • Gold elites earn 10% bonus points.

  • Platinum elites earn 15% bonus points.

  • Diamond elites earn 30% bonus points.

  • Diamond Select elites earn 50% bonus points.

Elite status can be achieved by nights, stays or points accumulated in a calendar year:

Gold: 10 nights, 7 stays, 10,000 points.

Platinum: 15 nights, 10 stays, 15,000 points.

Diamond: 30 nights, 20 stays, 30,000 points.

Diamond Select: 50 nights, 40 stays, 50,000 points.

Earn more points with the Best Western credit card

Best Western Rewards has two co-branded credit cards. The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® has $0 annual fee and comes with automatic gold elite status. The card also earns with 3 points per $1 spent Best Western hotels.

There's a welcome bonus offer available, which the issuer phrases this way: "Earn up to 32,000 Bonus Points: Earn 16,000 bonus points after your first purchase and 16,000 bonus points on your first stay."

Another option is the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®, which earns 10 points per $1 spent at Best Western. This card has an annual fee of $59, as well as instant elite status.

The issuer phrases the welcome bonus offer this way: "50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in first 3 billing cycles after account is opened plus 20,000 bonus points when you spend at least $5,000 during each 12 billing cycle period. "

How else can you use Best Western Rewards points?

Best Western Rewards points don’t have to be used for hotel nights. You can elect to earn airline miles or spend your points in the program’s Redemption Mall on things like:

  • Merchandise rewards, such as Black & Decker tools, Calphalon cookware, Weber grills and more.

  •  Gift cards for nationwide retailers, such as TJ Maxx stores, Sephora and Bed Bath & Beyond.

  • Gift cards for restaurants such as Subway, Carrabba's and Starbucks.

  • Donations to nonprofits (500 points per $2) like the Make-a-Wish Foundation, American Red Cross and Best Friends Animal Society.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

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