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 LambarenaApril 11, 2019

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

3.0

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®

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

20.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • High rewards rate

  • No annual fee

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons
  • High APR

Alternate Pick: Flexible, no-fuss rewards

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Redeem for a variety of travel-related purchases

Get 1.25 miles per dollar on all purchases. Through January 2020, earn 10 miles per $1 spent on hotels booked via hotels.com. Annual fee: $0.

Read our review

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.

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.

Points are worth an average of 0.6 cent apiece, according to NerdWallet valuations. 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.

  • 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 (waived during the first year).

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: 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, early check-in, late checkout and room upgrades.

You can get 10% off every stay: As a cardholder, you 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. This valuable perk combined with the points you earn can add up to significant savings.

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 17.24% - 25.24% 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.