Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® vs. Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®: Which is right for you?

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In a Nutshell

The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® offers discounts to brand-loyal travelers for no annual fee, while the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® offers more-substantial rewards perks. But both these cards are only worth it if you’re a loyal Best Western customer. Otherwise, you may be better off with a different travel card.

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Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® vs. Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®

Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®
Sign-up bonus Good sign-up bonus Good sign-up bonus
Best rewards rate 13 points for each $1 spent on Best Western stays 20 points for each $1 spent on Best Western stays
Hotel status Offers automatic Gold Elite status Offers automatic Platinum Elite status
Annual fee $0 $0 annual fee for the first year; $59 after that

What you need to know about each card

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of these cards, you should understand what you’d be getting with the Best Western Rewards® program.

The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® grants you automatic Gold Elite status while the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® bumps you up to Platinum Elite status, which is also automatic. But regardless of which card you go with, you’ll be eligible for loyalty program perks, including …

  • Points that never expire
  • Best-available-room upgrades
  • Bonus points for your eligible stays
  • No blackout dates
  • Approximately 4,500 properties to choose from, in nearly 100 countries

The points you earn have to be redeemed through Best Western Rewards portal. But the good news is that there are a variety of perks to redeem your points for, though those rewards may not go too far.

If you want more flexibility in how you redeem your points, you might want to check out some other great picks for travel cards. But if you’re happy to collect and redeem your points through Best Western Rewards, then one of these cards might work out for you.

Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®: A good pick for budget travel

The main reason to consider the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® is for the discounts on hotel stays at Best Western properties — all for no annual fee.

The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® offers 13 points for each $1 spent (10 points as a Best Western Rewards member, three points for using your credit card) on Best Western hotel stays. And you can also earn two points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

In terms of what you have to gain, this card can be outmatched by other travel cards. Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s sign-up bonus: You can earn 60,000 bonus points — worth $750 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards — when you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And there’s also the simple, flexible rewards of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

The sign-up bonus offered by the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® gives you 16,000 bonus points after your first purchase, plus 16,000 bonus points on your first stay at a Best Western hotel. That equals up to two free rewards nights with this card, based on the average cost of a hotel night of 16,000 points.

If you’re a semifrequent traveler who sticks with Best Western–brand hotels, you may want to consider this card. But if you want to rack up points that have more redemption flexibility, you’ll have better luck with other options.

Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®: Best for rewards

The Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® takes the original and turns it up several notches.

For example, the card offers 50,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three billing cycles of account opening. And if you spend $5,000 on purchases within each 12-month billing cycle, you’ll get an extra 20,000 bonus points. You can redeem those points for approximately four free rewards nights per year, based on the average cost of a hotel rewards night.

The earning potential for the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® is definitely more significant than the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®. With the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®, you can earn 20 points for every $1 spent on Best Western hotel stays — that’s 10 points you can earn as a Best Western Rewards® member, and an additional 10 points for using your credit card for eligible purchases. You’ll also get two points for every $1 spent on everything else.

All this means that you have the potential to bring in some significant travel savings if you’re a frequent traveler. You won’t have to pay an annual fee the first year either, but after that the card will cost you $59 a year.

If you’re going to spend at least $5,000 per year, earning you bonus points you can redeem for free rewards nights, and spend quite a bit of time in Best Western hotels, the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® can save you some serious money in the long run.

Our winner: Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®

The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® lacks appeal, even for Best Western fans. You’re bound to earn more on travel, and rake in better everyday perks, with other cards. For example, you’d get better straightforward rewards — with no annual fee — with a card like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card.

Another option is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which in addition to the sign-up bonus, also offers two points for every $1 spent on travel and restaurant-dining purchases, plus one point for every $1 spent on everything else. Keep in mind that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a $95 annual fee.

Still, the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® has a lot to offer its loyal members. If you’re considering the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® and travel frequently, you might want to just pay the $59 annual fee (waived the first year) and upgrade to the Premium version.

What to consider when applying for a hotel credit card

The most important factor in considering a hotel-specific card like these two Best Western credit cards is whether it’s worthwhile to stick to one brand.

Do you travel frequently enough, staying at the same hotels, for it to be cost-effective? How desirable are the perks and bonuses that come along with it?

Look at your preferences when you travel. If you like more freedom, a travel card with more general rewards would probably be a better fit. But a Best Western Rewards® card could suit you if you’re a frequent traveler who doesn’t want to stray from the chain.

Not sure either card is for you? Consider these alternatives.

If a Best Western Rewards credit card isn’t doing it for you, maybe one of these might win you over instead.