Best Western Rewards Premium Card: Rich Rewards at a Reasonable Cost

Best Western loyalists earn rich rewards, automatic Platinum status and the chance to earn anniversary bonus points, for an annual fee of $89.
Aug 17, 2021

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Our Take

3.9

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

It doesn’t offer the free-anniversary-night perk often found on more expensive cards, but those beholden to Best Western can still get a lot of value from it for not a lot of money.

Jump to: Full Review
Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®
Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®
Annual fee
$89
Regular APR
19.49%-26.49% Variable APR
Intro APR
N/A
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • New cardholder bonus offer

  • Luxury perks

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • No free anniversary night

  • Rewards have limited flexibility

Alternate Pick: Flexible, versatile rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
2X on travel and dining

Earn bonus rewards in a variety of popular spending categories, including dining and travel. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel booked through Chase — including for hotel stays — or you can transfer your points to more than a dozen airline or hotel programs. There's an awesome sign-up bonus, too. All for a reasonable annual fee.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$250

Regular APR

13.49%-24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.49%-24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

18.24%-25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

If Best Western is or could be your hotel bestie — which isn't too difficult, given the chain's 4,200 properties in nearly 100 countries — the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® deserves a look.

The card delivers rich bonus rewards on all purchases, plus perks such as discounts and automatic elite status, all for a reasonable annual fee of $89.

But while that fee is on the lower end among cards in its class, what you won't get is an automatic free anniversary night benefit. Other co-branded hotel cards with slightly higher annual fees offer this valuable perk, which can easily outstrip the yearly cost of card ownership.

The Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® does offer the opportunity to earn additional bonus points each year that could go toward a free night, but you must meet a spending threshold first.

Nerdy tip: Another co-branded Best Western card is the $0-annual-fee Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®, which offers less robust rewards and perks. See a full review of that card here. Both cards are issued by First Bankcard, a division of First National Bank of Omaha.

Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®: Basics

Card type: Hotel.

Annual fee: $89.

Sign-up bonus: Earn up to 7 FREE NIGHTS in Bonus Points: 80,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 billing cycles after the account is opened, plus 40,000 points when you spend $5,000 every 12 billing cycles.

Rewards:

  • 20 points per $1 spent on Best Western stays (10 points as a Best Western Rewards member and 10 points for using the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®).

  • 2 points per $1 spent on all purchases.

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.

In general, redeeming points for free nights at Best Western will represent the best value. Other redemption options include airline miles, gift cards, merchandise, charitable donations and more, but point values vary depending on the redemption option. For instance, transferring Best Western points to most airlines offers a poor 5:1 ratio, meaning that for every 5 Best Western points you transfer, you get only 1 mile in exchange.

APR: The ongoing APR is 19.49%-26.49% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

  • Automatic Platinum Elite status in the Best Western Rewards loyalty program, which gives you 15% bonus points per stay and other perks.

Why you might want the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®

Elevated rewards on everything

Some travel credit cards offer bonus rewards only in certain categories. Not so with the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®. You'll get the most points back, of course, for spending directly with the brand: 10 points per dollar spent on Best Western stays, on top of the 10 base points you get as a Best Western Rewards program member. (The Best Western Rewards loyalty program is free to join.) But all other spending will earn 2 points per dollar spent, so it could be a good card for everyday use, too.

Valuable sign-up bonus

The card offers the following incentive for new cardholders: Earn up to 7 FREE NIGHTS in Bonus Points: 80,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 billing cycles after the account is opened, plus 40,000 points when you spend $5,000 every 12 billing cycles. The average free-night stay at Best Western costs 16,000 points, according to the hotel chain’s website, so that’s roughly five nights if you snag the initial spending bonus — and possibly six if you earn the additional and ongoing one. Note, however, that 16,000 points is merely the average needed; the hotel chain says it may range from 5,000 to 70,000 points per night. Hence, the actual number of free nights you can get may vary depending on the hotel property you choose.

Automatic Platinum status and other perks

As a cardholder, you don’t have to work your way up to earning Platinum status; it’s automatic. This grants you 15% bonus points per stay, as well as, an exclusive reservation line and no blackout dates.

Why you might want a different credit card

There's an annual fee

The $89 annual fee is relatively low for this kind of card, but it could still be a blocker for some. If you're a Best Western loyalist but are dead-set against paying an annual fee, consider this card's little brother, the $0-annual-fee Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®.

Here’s how they compare:

NO-FEE CARD

ANNUAL FEE CARD

Annual fee

$0.

$89.

Bonus offers

Earn up to 3 FREE NIGHTS in Bonus Points: 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 billing cycles after the account is opened and another 20,000 points when you spend $5,000 every 12 billing cycles..

Earn up to 7 FREE NIGHTS in Bonus Points: 80,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 billing cycles after the account is opened, plus 40,000 points when you spend $5,000 every 12 billing cycles.

Rewards

  • 13 points per $1 spent on Best Western stays: 10 points as a Best Western Rewards member, 3 points for using the card. (The Best Western Rewards program is free to join.)

  • 2 points per $1 spent everywhere else.

  • 20 points per $1 spent on Best Western stays: 10 points as a Best Western Rewards member, 10 points for using the card.

  • 2 points per $1 spent on all purchases.

Elite status

Automatic Gold status, which includes:

  • 10% bonus points per stay.

  • Exclusive reservation line.

  • No blackout dates.

Automatic Platinum status, which includes:

  • 15% bonus points per stay.

  • Exclusive reservation line.

  • No blackout dates.

There's no free anniversary night

The Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® offers the chance to earn ongoing bonus points each year, but it’s not an automatic free anniversary night like you might find on other credit cards. If you're not beholden to Best Western, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card doesn't make you meet a spending threshold to earn its free night at eligible IHG properties after each account anniversary year. It earns up to a total of 26 points per $1 spent on IHG hotel stays; 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations and restaurants; and 3 points per $1 spent everywhere else. It has an annual fee of $99.

General travel cards offer more value, flexibility

If you want to be able to use your rewards on more than just hotel stays with one brand, a general travel card is a better fit. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns bonus rewards in a variety of popular spending categories, including dining and travel. Crucially, unlike the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®, points are generally worth at least a full cent each — and, even better, you can redeem them on travel bookings through Chase at 1.25 cents apiece. What's more, this card has a fairer 1:1 exchange ratio when transferring points to eligible airlines and hotel loyalty programs. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a $95 annual fee.

Is the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® right for you?

If you frequently stay at Best Western properties, the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® can be a rewarding companion. You can get even more value if you make it your go-to card for all expenses and earn the ongoing bonus every year.

But for the flexibility to hunt for the best travel deals regardless of brand, a general travel credit card can reward you more generously.

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.