Editorial Review

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 $59.

Melissa LambarenaFebruary 20, 2020

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.8

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.

Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®

Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®

Annual Fee

$59

Regular APR

18.99% - 24.99% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$59
Annual Fee
$59
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • High APR

Alternate Pick: Flexible, versatile rewards

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Redeem for a variety of travel purchases

Earn 2 miles per dollar spent everywhere and redeem them for credit toward a variety of travel-related purchases, including hotel stays. New cardholders get a rich sign-up bonus: 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. It has an annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$89

Regular APR

17.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

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 $59.

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.

Nerd 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: $59.

Sign-up bonus: 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.

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 airline miles 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 18.99% - 24.99% Variable.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

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

  • 10% off when you select the Best Western Rewards Rate at bwrcarddiscount.com.

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: 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. The average free-night stay at Best Western costs 16,000 points, according to the hotel chain’s website, so that’s roughly three nights if you snag the initial spending bonus — and possibly four 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 8,000 to 36,000 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 room upgrades (when available), a thank-you gift or extra points upon arrival, an exclusive reservation line and no blackout dates. Also, separately, cardholders can receive 10% off when they select the Best Western Rewards rate at bwrcarddiscount.com. It’s an exclusive promotional rate available only to Best Western members.

Why you might want a different credit card

There's an annual fee

The $59 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:

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 Club 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 a total of 25 points per $1 spent on IHG hotel stays; 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else. It has an $89 annual fee.

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 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per $1 spent on travel and dining and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. 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.

THERE'S NO INTRO APR PERIOD

If you want to finance a vacation or some purchases, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card can offer time to pay off your balance. It offers an intro 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49% - 24.49% Variable APR. You’ll also collect 1.5 points per $1 spent and 3 points per $1 spent when you book eligible travel through the Bank of America® Travel Center. It has a $0 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.

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