The Best Western Rewards® Business Mastercard® is a small business credit card with no annual fee and a hotel rewards program that favors regular Best Western guests. As a cardholder, you earn unlimited 3 Best Western Rewards points for every $1 you spend on stays within the Best Western hotel and resort family, and unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Those points accrue on top of the 10 base points per $1 spent that all Best Western Rewards members earn.
Best Western Rewards Business Mastercard accountholders automatically earn free membership in the Best Western Rewards loyalty program and receive complimentary Platinum Elite Status, the program’s second-lowest status tier. All employee cardholders (authorized users) automatically earn Gold Elite Status. Gold Elite’s benefits include 10% point bonuses on all paid stays (turning 1,000-point stays into 1,100-point stays) and access to a members-only reservation and customer service hotline. Platinum Elite’s benefits include 15% point bonuses on paid stays, complimentary check-in gifts, free room upgrades where available, and access to the same dedicated hotline.
Best Western Rewards points are redeemable for free nights at more than 4,000 Best Western properties worldwide. All told, there are 6 Best Western hotel and resort brands: traditional Best Western, upscale Best Western Plus, hip Vib, sumptuous Best Western Premier, long-term Best Western Plus Executive Residency, and the boutique-like Best Western Premier Collection.
Cardholders can also redeem points for general merchandise, entertainment and events, memberships in organizations such as AAA, gift cards issued by Best Western and other merchants, and more. However, Best Western redemptions tend to offer the best value.
You get 48,000 bonus Best Western Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 within 3 months of opening your account. That’s enough for 6 free nights at budget-friendly Best Western hotels.
Earning Best Western Rewards
This card earns unlimited 3 Best Western Rewards points per $1 spent on Best Western stays. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent. Rewards earned at Best Western properties accrue on top of the 10 base points per $1 spent that all Best Western Rewards members earn.
Redeeming Best Western Rewards
The most common and cost-effective way to redeem Best Western Rewards points is for free award nights at Best Western International properties. You need at least 8,000 points to redeem for 1 free standard room night at Best Western’s most budget-friendly properties, at which basic rooms typically cost less than $100 per night.
You need up to 36,000 points for 1 free standard room night at Best Western’s most expensive properties, where basic rooms can cost well over $300 per night.
Best Western does not segment its properties by category or tier, unlike some competitors. Instead, properties’ price points and quality level dictate the number of points required for a free night. Points have no fixed redemption value, but are typically valued at less than $0.01 apiece when redeemed for free room nights.
You can also redeem accumulated points for general merchandise, entertainment, memberships in organizations such as AAA, and gift cards (including Best Western gift cards that function as cash at Best Western International properties). However, non-hotel redemption methods usually undervalue points relative to free night redemptions, so they’re only useful for business travelers who accumulate too many Best Western Rewards points to use in any reasonable time-frame.
Airline Point Transfer
Best Western Rewards members are entitled to transfer the accumulated points to more than a dozen airline partners, including popular U.S. carriers such as Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
You usually need at least 5,000 Best Western Rewards points to execute such a transfer. The transfer ratio is generally in the neighborhood of 5 Best Western points to 1 partner point. For instance, you get 1,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan points and 1,200 Southwest Rapid Rewards points for 5,000 Best Western points.
Best Western Gold and Platinum Elite Status
Best Western Rewards Business Mastercard accountholders in good standing automatically enjoy Best Western Platinum Elite Status, the second-lowest of Best Western Rewards’ 4 status tiers. Employee cardholders automatically enjoy Gold Elite Status, the lowest tier.
Gold Elite Status members get a 10% point bonus (turning a 1,000-point stay into a 1,100-point stay) and a special toll-free number for hotel reservations and other customer service requests. Platinum Elite Status members get a 15% point bonus on paid Best Western stays, complimentary gifts (such as fruit baskets) at check-in, complimentary room upgrades where available, and the special toll-free number.
Higher status tiers come with additional benefits, such as larger point bonuses on Best Western stays (up to 50%). To achieve Diamond Elite Status, the tier above Platinum Elite, you normally need to earn at least 30 nights, 20 stays, or 30,000 Best Western Rewards points within a calendar year. However, the point, stay, and night requirements are halved for cardholders who’ve already achieved Platinum Elite Status, and reduced by 33% for Gold Elite Status holders.
Annual Spending Bonus
You’ll earn 32,000 bonus points, good for up to 4 free nights at budget-friendly Best Western properties, when you spend at least $25,000 with an anniversary year (12 billing cycles beginning on your cardmember anniversary date).
Discount on Best Western Stays
All Best Western Rewards Mastercard cardholders, including Best Western Rewards Business Mastercard users, receive a discount of 10% off paid Best Western stays reserved at bwrcarddiscount.com, as long as you select the Best Western Rewards rate during booking. This discount accrues regardless of stay length, date, cost, or brand.
This card has some attractive Mastercard-backed benefits, such as:
- Travel accident insurance, a bare-bones form of travel insurance for catastrophic eventualities
- Rental car insurance (loss and damage) for cars paid in full with your card
- Purchase protection for items lost or damaged within 90 days of purchase, up to $1,000 per incident
Mastercard Easy Savings
Qualifying purchases at participating merchants earn exclusive discounts. Visit mastercard.com/easysavings to learn more about the program.
There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $10 or 5% thereafter. Cash advances cost the greater of $15 or 5% from day one. Returned payments cost $35, while late payments cost up to $39.
This card requires good to excellent credit. If there are any notable credit issues in your recent past, your application is likely to be denied.
- No Annual Fee. Best Western Rewards Business Mastercard has no annual fee, so it’s perfect for occasional, penny-pinching business travelers whose spending can’t offset the recurring charge.
- Automatic Elite Statuses Mean Faster Rewards Earning and Other Perks. Best Western Rewards Business Mastercard automatically confers Best Western Platinum Elite Status to the primary cardholder, and Gold Elite Status to employee cardholders. These statuses normally require, respectively, at least 10 paid stays, 15 paid nights, or 15,000 paid-stay Best Western Rewards points, and at least 7 paid stays, 10 paid nights, or 10,000 paid-stay Best Western Rewards points. Platinum Elite Status holders enjoy priority customer service, 15% faster point earnings, and some other useful perks, while Gold Elite Status holders enjoy priority service and earn points 10% faster. Many competing travel credit cards forgo automatic loyalty statuses altogether.
- More Than 4,000 Hotels to Choose From. The Best Western hotel and resort family boasts upwards of 4,000 properties distributed across much of the world. No matter where business takes you, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to rest and recharge at a local Best Western – making this a great credit card for businesspeople looking to save on international travel. Despite great associated credit cards, some smaller hotel families suffer from limited choice and uneven geographical coverage. That’s the case with Starwood and its associated Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, which is otherwise quite well received.
- Best Western Discount Cuts the Cost of Paid Hotel Stays. Best Western Rewards members save 10% on paid Best Western stays – cutting the cost of a $200 hotel room to $180, for instance – when they select the Best Western Rewards Rate during booking.
- Decent Sign-up Bonus. This card has a decent sign-up bonus worth up to 6 free nights at the budget-friendly Best Western properties available. It takes just $1,000 in spending within the first 3 months to qualify – not a stretch for most business owners.
- Annual Point Bonus for Heavy Spenders. When you spend at least $25,000 within any 12-month period beginning and ending on your cardmember anniversary, you get 32,000 bonus points. That’s good for up to 4 free nights at participating Best Western properties – a nice bonus for your continued loyalty, to be sure.
- No Penalty APR. Best Western Rewards Business Mastercard has no penalty APR, which is great news for business owners who occasionally face cash crunches and need to delay credit card payments. Following a single missed payment, many competing business and consumer travel cards charge penalty APRs that range up to 30% and last indefinitely.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. This card charges a 3% fee on all foreign transactions, a relatively unusual feature in the travel rewards niche. A foreign transaction fee can be problematic for international travelers, especially in light of Best Western’s sizable overseas presence. Most popular business travel cards waive foreign transaction fees.
- Modest Point-Earning Power. Best Western Rewards Business Mastercard has a pretty modest return on spending: just 3 Best Western Rewards points per $1 spent on Best Western stays (atop the 10 base points earned by all Best Western Rewards members), and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. Since Best Western Rewards points are usually worth less than $0.01 apiece at redemption, this really isn’t a great value. Frequent Best Western guests are better served by the Best Western Rewards Premium Credit Card ($59 annual fee), which earns 10 points per $1 spent on Best Western stays. Unfortunately, that card has no business equivalent.
- Relatively High Balance Transfer and Cash Advance Fees. Best Western Rewards Business Mastercard might have no annual fee, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bargain. After a short promotional period, balance transfers cost at least $10, and cash advances always cost at least $15. If you’re looking to transfer a high-interest balance or bridge a cash crunch by drawing on your available credit, look to another card.
- Airline Point Transfers Usually Aren’t Worth It. Best Western Rewards Business Mastercard’s airline point transfers are not customer-friendly. It usually takes 5 Best Western Rewards points to earn 1 partner point – for instance, you get 1,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for every 5,000 Best Western points. By contrast, popular business cards such as Chase Ink Plus offer 1-to-1 point transfers to popular airline and hotel loyalty programs – so, with Ink Plus, you’d only need 1,000 points to earn 1,000 AAdvantage miles.
- No Anniversary Bonus. This card has no anniversary bonus. Such bonuses are fairly common elsewhere, earning cardholders 1 to 2 free nights per year.
With no annual fee, it’s easy for business owners who already frequent Best Western properties to make a case for Best Western Rewards® Business Mastercard®. As long as you and your employees use it on every Best Western stay and avoid using it on other purchases (such as dining and gas, on which other business cards offer much better rewards), it’s worth keeping around. The 10% paid stay discount and automatic Gold and Platinum Elite Statuses justify its existence by themselves.
That said, this card isn’t really meant for serious business travelers who spend large chunks of time on the road, or who entrust road warrior employees with company credit cards. If you want a travel card with great point values, lots of value-added benefits, and flexible redemption options that help maximize your return on spending, there are better options out there.