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Best Western Rewards: An Easy Program to Maximize Points Potential

With over 3,745 properties around the world and simple ways to redeem points, the Best Western Rewards program is great for any frequent Best Western guest. You may use Best Western Points to book free nights at one of their properties, transfer for airline miles, buy gift certificates to restaurants or gas stations, or even get passes for hotel stay expenses. Our analysis puts the average value of a Best Western point at 0.41 cents per point across all redemptions and 0.57 cents per point for hotel stays. That value may drops to as low as 0.23 cents or as high as 1.4 cents based on different factors.

Overview

Overall, redeeming for free nights garners the most value for your points. The other redemption options are not nearly as valuable, but we explain their merits below. On top of this, accumulating and holding onto rewards are easier with the Best Western program. Rewards points do not expire for those in North America, allowing you to build up points year after year much easier than programs whose points expire. Other perks include being able to amass points in a joint account with people you live with. Below we list the values associated with the different redemption options Best Western offers.

Redemption

Point Value (cents)

Hotel Stays

0.57

Dining/Gas Certificates

0.41

Car Rental Certificates

0.40

Carnival Cruise Certificates

0.38

Airline Transfers

0.25

Hotel Stays

Best Western utilizes a category system like most other loyalty rewards programs; each category is separated by 4,000 points. Category 1 hotels are 8,000 points a night and that goes up to category 8 hotels which can be redeemed for 36,000 points a night. The average point value across all hotel categories is 0.57 cents per point based on our research of nearly 300 reservations.

Category

Points NeededPoint Value (cents)

Category 1

8,0000.80

Category 2

12,0000.76

Category 3

16,0000.53

Category 4

20,0000.54

Category 5

24,0000.59

Category 6

28,0000.60

Category 7

32,0000.54

Category 8

36,0000.58

We found the same trend in other hotel rewards programs, where the lowest two categories have the highest values. In this case, Best Western category 1 and 2 hotels garner nearly a quarter of a cent more per point than the other categories. However, as is also the case with other hotel brands, the lower tier hotels are much harder to find than the higher tiers. In our study of 294 reservations across eight cities, we could not find a single category 1 hotel, and only 15 category 2 hotels. In contrast, we found 75 category 4 hotels. When we expanded our search to 30 cities, we were able to find two hotels redeemable for 8,000 points. Since our dataset was so small, the average we obtain for the category isn’t as dependable as the rest, but does fit in with the trend where the lowest category has the highest value.

When we examined other parameters, such as day of week or how far away the stay is from the booking, we also found mostly consistent data that ranges between 0.55 cents and 0.59 cents.

There is however a significant difference between domestic and international bookings as you may see below. Domestic bookings garner nearly 33% higher point values than international bookings. Overall, only 27% of the 180 domestic bookings we examined had a point value under 0.57 cents per point while 68% of 116 international bookings had point values below that mark. This could be particularly troublesome considering Best Western's much greater than average representation in Europe.

When and WherePoint Value (cents)

Week

0.59

Weekend

0.56

2 months from stay

0.60

6 months from stay

0.56

Domestic

0.64

International

0.47

When it comes to finally booking your hotel you should always try for a redemption above our average of 0.57 cents per point. Settling for anything below means not maximizing the potential of your points. When you find a hotel you like, find the monetary price and then the point value and divide the two values to insure its above 0.57 cents per point. With domestic bookings, it should not be difficult to find a hotel redemption above or around that mark, in fact, 31% of domestic bookings we analyzed were above 0.70 cents per point. International bookings on the other hand may be more difficult. A diligent search however can still unearth a great deal at an international Best Western hotel.

Where are Best Western Properties Located?

Best Western has four brands spread throughout the world with one more on its way. 60% of its 3,745 hotels are located in North America, with nearly 2,000 within the United States. What separates Best Western from other hotel chains though is its representation in Asian and European markets. The 1,260 properties in Europe is nearly 2x as many as IHG and nearly 4x as many as Starwood, Marriott, Wyndham, and Hilton. In contrast, the 156 properties in Asia is the fewest of any of those brands. Also noteworthy is Best Western's higher than average prevalence in Australia and New Zealand where there are nearly 5x as many hotels as the nearest competitor, IHG, who only has 35 hotels in the Oceania region.

“Number

The brands of Best Western can be seen in the table below, along with how many of each are in the world.

Brand

Number of Properties

Best Western

2,522

Best Western Plus

1,070

Best Western Premier

136

BM Premier Collection

17

Gift Certificates: Cruises, Car Rentals, Dining and Gas

The point values for all gift certificates ranges from 0.38 cents per point to 0.41 cents per point. Compared to the potential value you may get with a hotel stay, we would recommend staying away from this option. Nonetheless, Best Western points can be used to buy $50 or $100 Carnival Cruise gift certificates. Points may also be used to purchase $50 certificates toward car rentals through Alamo, Avis, Budget, and National. Best Western also has a partnership with Exxon and Shell gasoline where you may buy $25 gift certificates. Best Western also offers “Travel Cards” that can be used to pay for expenses incurred during your stay at a Best Western property.

Airline Transfers

Best Western offers fewer airlines to transfer points for miles when compared to other programs. However, because there is at least one representative from every major airline alliance, the problem is circumvented due to being able to transfer miles between aligned airlines. Below is the full list of airlines and the number of points needed for miles for each.

Airline

Best Western Points NeededMiles Received

American Airlines

5,0001,000

AeroMexico

5,0001,600

Aeroplan

5,0001,000

Air Berlin

5,0002,000

Air France

6,0001,000

Alaska

5,0001,000

Alitalia

6,0001,000

Asiana Airlines

5,0001,000

Avianca

5,0001,000

Southwest Airlines

5,0001,200

TAM Airlines

5,0001,000

Beside the Starwood Program, most hotel rewards programs have a poor ratio of hotel points to miles, and Best Western is no exception. The majority of transfers are 5:1, or 5,000 Best Western points for 1,000 miles. If we take the average value of a frequent flyer mile to be 1.2 cents per mile, and the average value for Best Western points to 0.57 cents per point, you will be transferring around $28 worth of points for $12 worth of miles. While this is actually better than Hilton’s transfers which are usually 10:1, it still is not a great redemption since you are devaluing your point by essentially 2x.

However, one rather good transfer to consider would be the transfer for Air Berlin miles. Topbonus miles, Air Berlin's brand, transfer 5,000:2,000, meaning in this case you are trading $28 worth of points for $24 worth of miles, basically 1:1. Why Air Berlin you may ask? Since Air Berlin is a member of the Oneworld alliance along with American Airlines and British Airways, you can use those Air Berlin miles to book flights on those airlines. Rather than directly transferring for 1,000 AAdvantage points, transfer for 2,000 Air Berlin miles and use them for American Airlines flights.

Final Thoughts

Always a Good Redemption

Repeating what we say above, any redemption that fetches a value over 0.57 cents per point will be a good deal. When you book a hotel, no night should be less than that benchmark. Transferring for Air Berlin miles could also be a good redemption if you look up reward space on Air Berlin's site (make sure Google translate is on) and find American Airline flights to use the miles.

Sometimes a Good Redemption

If you are stuck having to book a hotel in a city with few options, or internationally, you may have no choice but to settle for a point value less than 0.57 cents per point. We would not recommend going lower than 0.45 cents per point; the value just above the other redemption options like gift certificates and most airline transfers.

Bad Redemptions

Using your points for the certificates or transferring to airlines other than Air Berlin are fairly bad deals. There should always be a hotel above 0.45 cents per point, regardless if the hotel is domestic or international. Unless you only need a few more miles to redeem a free flight, we would recommend staying away from any of the redemptions below 0.45 cents per point.

Comments and Questions

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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.