The card's lack of an annual fee and the status it grants you are nice features. But for luxury perks or greater value on rewards, look elsewhere.
No annual fee
New cardholder bonus offer
Low rewards rate
Rewards have limited flexibility
No 0% intro APR
Compare to Other Cards
17.24%-28.24% Variable APR
21.49%-28.49% Variable APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Detailed review: Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®
The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® — issued by a division of First National Bank of Omaha — is a frugal choice that offers rewards and perks for Best Western loyalists. But the value of those rewards falls short in comparison to the offerings of some other no-annual-fee hotel credit cards and general travel credit cards.
This card does come with a sign-up bonus, and you'll also get automatic Gold elite status, which means additional incentives like 10% bonus points per stay and room upgrades (when available). And with 4,700 Best Western properties in nearly 100 countries worldwide, you won't have much trouble finding places to use those perks.
But if Best Western isn't always your first choice for travel, plenty of other cards can offer more value and flexibility.
If you are a Best Western devotee, you might do better with this card's cousin, the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®. It has an annual fee of $89, but it offers more robust rewards and perks (although neither card offers a free anniversary night, a common perk among many hotel cards). See a full review of the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®.
Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®: Basics
Card type: Hotel.
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points for up to 3 free nights- 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 billing cycles after the account is opened and 20,000 points when you spend $5,000 every 12 billing cycles..
APR: The ongoing APR is 28.24%-29.74% Variable APR.
Earn 13 points per $1 spent on Best Western stays: 10 points as a Best Western Rewards member, 3 points with the card. (The Best Western Rewards program is free to join, and cardholders are automatically enrolled.)
Earn 2 points per $1 spent everywhere else.
Redemption options include nights with Best Western, airline miles, gift cards, merchandise and charitable donations. The value of points varies depending on which option you choose.
Foreign transaction fee: None.
Automatic Gold status, which gives 10% bonus points per stay and other perks.
Benefits and perks
$0 annual fee
The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® packs reasonable value for a $0-annual-fee credit card. Its relative, the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®, offers better benefits and perks, but it has a $89 annual fee.
Here's how the two cards stack up:
ANNUAL FEE CARD
Earn 60,000 bonus points for up to 3 free nights- 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 billing cycles after the account is opened and 20,000 points when you spend $5,000 every 12 billing cycles..
Earn 120,000 bonus points for up to 7 free nights- 80,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 billing cycles after the account is opened and 40,000 points when you spend $5,000 every 12 billing cycles.
Automatic Gold status, which includes:
Automatic Platinum status, which includes:
Solid sign-up bonus
The card’s sign-up bonus can be enough to jump-start your travel goals. Earn 60,000 bonus points for up to 3 free nights- 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 billing cycles after the account is opened and 20,000 points when you spend $5,000 every 12 billing cycles. According to Best Western's website, you can get a free night starting at 5,000 points, so this bonus alone could snag you a multiple-night stay. However, the company also notes that the range is from 5,000 to 70,000 points per night, so it will depend on which Best Western property or location you choose for redemption.
Automatic Gold status
By becoming a cardholder, you automatically get bumped up to Gold elite status. Members at this level receive 10% points bonus, no blackout dates and other perks. To reach this tier without the card, you would have to accumulate eligible stays or nights, or earn 5,000 points from eligible stays only. With the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®, you don’t have to put in that work to reap the status benefits.
Drawbacks and considerations
Other cards offer greater rewards value
True, the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® offers a hefty number of points for spending with the hotel chain: 3 points per $1 spent on Best Western stays, on top of the 10 base points you already earn as a Best Western Rewards program member, on top of the 10% points bonus at the Gold status level. But general travel credit cards will earn you points that are both more valuable (worth at least a penny apiece) and more flexible, meaning they can be used on things other than stays with a single hotel brand. A good example is the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. It earns 1.5 points per $1 on all purchases, and points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel. It also features a good bonus offer.
You’re not loyal to Best Western
Earning rewards will be a slow process if you don’t frequently stay at Best Western properties, and redemption values are a mixed bag, depending on what you choose. If you prefer a card with more flexibility, consider the Discover it® Miles credit card. It has a $0 annual fee and earns 1.5 miles per $1 spent. You can redeem miles for cash back or as credit toward travel purchases made with your card, including airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and other commuter transportation. No matter how you redeem, 1 mile equals 1 cent.
You want some interest-free breathing room
Like many hotel cards, the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® does not offer an interest-free promotional period. If you’re looking to finance a vacation or your purchases, the aforementioned Discover it® Miles would again be a good pick.
Get 1.5 miles per dollar on all purchases. Miles can be redeemed for credit on your statement against a wide variety of travel expenses. There's a $0 annual fee, plus a bonus offer for new cardholders: UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover will automatically match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
How to decide if it's right for you
The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® is right for you if you want to earn automatic Gold elite status for a $0 annual fee. If you aren't loyal to a particular hotel chain, however, and you want flexibility in how you redeem your rewards, another travel credit card can offer more value.
To see how your options stack up, visit NerdWallet's roundup of the best credit card offers.