Editorial Review

Best Western Rewards Card: Plenty of Perks, No Annual Fee

Solid rewards? Check. Discounts? Check. Automatic status? Check. But if you're not a Best Western loyalist, check in elsewhere.

Melissa LambarenaFebruary 20, 2020

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This page includes information about one or more products not currently available on NerdWallet:

  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date. See our NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards page for updated offers.

Our Take

2.6

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: It lacks some of the luxury perks found on more expensive cards, but Best Western devotees can get a lot of value out of this card nonetheless, as long as they don't carry a balance.

Barclaycard Best Western Credit Card

Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®

2.6

NerdWallet rating 
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

20.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • No annual fee

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • High APR

Alternate Pick: Flexible, no-fuss rewards

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Redeem for a variety of travel-related purchases

Get 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases. Points 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: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

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Full Review

The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® — issued by a division of First National Bank of Omaha — meets many of the qualifications for an ideal travel buddy.

Its rewards and perks can help Best Western loyalists earn free stays at 4,200 properties in nearly 100 countries worldwide. The inviting $0 annual fee also keeps more money in your pocket for travel.

Still, you won't get the premium perks that cards with annual fees can offer, such as free anniversary nights. And if Best Western isn’t always your first choice for travel, you'll get more value out of other travel credit cards.

Nerd tip: Another co-branded Best Western card is the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®. It has an annual fee of $59, but it offers more robust rewards and perks (although you won't get a free anniversary night with this card either). See a full review of the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®.
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Key benefits of the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®

Card type: Hotel

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: 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.

APR: The ongoing APR is 20.99% - 24.99% Variable APR.

Ongoing rewards:

  • 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.)

  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent everywhere else.

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 options include nights with Best Western, but also airline miles, gift cards, merchandise, charitable donations and more. The value of points varies depending on what option you choose.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other benefits:

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

  • Automatic Gold status, which gives you perks like 10% bonus points per stay and room upgrades when available.

  • Travel accident insurance and auto rental insurance, plus extended warranty and purchase protection.

Why you might want the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®

$0 annual fee

The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® packs reasonable value for a $0-annual-fee credit card. Its sister card, the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®, offers better benefits and perks, but it has a $59 annual fee.

Here's how the two cards stack up:

Solid sign-up bonus

The card’s sign-up bonus can be enough to jump-start your travel goals. 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. According to Best Western's website, the average free-night-stay requires 16,000 points, so this bonus alone could potentially snag you two free stays. However, the company also notes that the range is from 8,000 to 36,000 points per night, so it will depend on which Best Western property/location you choose for redemption.

Elevated rewards on everything

If you prefer to sleep on Best Western pillows when you travel, you'll quickly rack up bonus rewards for your 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 Reward program member). But you'll also earn double points back on all other purchases, meaning the card can be a decent choice for your everyday spending, too.

Automatic Gold status and other perks

By becoming a cardholder, you automatically get bumped up to Gold elite status. To reach this tier without the card, you would have to accumulate eligible stays or nights, or earn 10,000 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. Members with Gold elite status receive perks such as a 10% points bonus, a welcome gift at check-in, and room upgrades when available. Separately, as a cardholder, you also qualify to receive 10% off when selecting the Best Western Rewards rate at bwrcarddiscount.com. It’s a promotional rate available to Best Western members only.

Why you might want to go with another card

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 a direct deposit 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. If you’re brand-agnostic and you’re OK booking hotels via an online travel site, take a look at the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card. It can offer up to 10% back in rewards on Orbitz hotel bookings that span a variety of different brands. It has a $0 annual fee.

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. Or you could consider the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, which also offers a lengthy introductory period: 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49% - 24.49% Variable APR. That card earns 1.5 points per $1 spent and 3 points per $1 spent on eligible travel booked through the Bank of America Travel Center. It has a $0 annual fee.

You want a bit more flash

If you want some premium perks with a $0 annual fee, the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card offers a $100 annual air travel credit, as well as reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees. It also earns 3 points per $1 spent on travel (or 4 points for PenFed Honors Advantage members) and 1.5 points back on all other purchases. You have to be a PenFed Credit Union member to qualify for the card, however.

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

For Best Western devotees, the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® can make a lot of sense. You'll get decent rewards and perks, with no cost of card ownership.

If you aren't loyal to a particular hotel chain, however, and you want flexibility in how you redeem your rewards, consider another travel credit card.

To see how your options stack up, visit NerdWallet's roundup of the best credit card offers.

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