(Read this article en Español)
In today’s travel world, rewards programs have many loopholes and stipulations compared to just 10 short years ago. Back then, you gained your reward points in a reasonable amount of time, redeemed a moderate number of them to book your travel and had very few blackout dates. However, this isn’t the case anymore – leading many to no longer see the value and abandon rewards programs altogether.
A couple years ago I got a dose of just how watered down rewards points can be nowadays. I experienced this first-hand when my wife and I had to use more than 100,000 airline miles to visit Italy on one of the world’s largest airline carriers. If having to use hundreds of thousands of our miles wasn’t outrageous enough, we faced numerous blackout dates, paid nearly $1,800 cash and needed two connecting flights and an overnight stay in Germany to reach our destination of Naples, Italy.
Even though this airline, and other rewards programs, don’t offer much in today’s world, I’m grateful that, in sharp contrast, our hotel loyalty program with Best Western is rock solid.
In fact, the Best Western’s Rewards® program is so strong it’s been named a top three best hotel perks program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Here’s why I think Best Western does it right:
It’s easy to earn free room nights – and Elite status. For every dollar spent on qualified hotel room rates, I earn 10 points and also receive a discount of up to 20 percent on room rates at Best Western hotels with their AAA hotel discount program. And with Best Western, you can achieve Elite status with just 10 nights, the fastest way to Elite status.
Best Western points don’t expire. No one likes to be forced to use their points because they will expire – myself included. With Best Western, points never expire so it’s never a use-‘em-or-lose-‘em situation. The freedom to plan a vacation on the fly, or well in advance, is flexibility that any frequent traveler will appreciate.
There are no blackout dates. The dreaded blackout dates that some hotels and airlines never speak openly about do not exist at Best Western. Best Western allows me to book my travel whenever and wherever I prefer.
I can exchange my points for other rewards and discounts. Best Western Rewards® can be used on a host of services, including restaurants, airlines, retailers and rental car companies. Partners that caught my eye, in particular:
Points can be used for international destinations. One of the most interesting features of Best Western Rewards® is that the points are not only usable in the United States, where Best Western has more than 2,000 hotels, but that they can also be used internationally. Best Western operates over 4,200 hotels in more than 100 countries. Now that’s what you call true worldwide redemption.
Extreme loyalty earns even more perks. If you are a power traveler who is super loyal to Best Western, you may qualify for even deeper discounts and benefits. Best Western Rewards® has additional levels: Gold, Platinum Elite and Diamond Elite. One of the main differences between them is that the more you stay at Best Western, the higher the points you collect per night stay. Diamond Elite, for example, gives a 30 percent point bonus per stay. Best Western also gives Elite Members a special “Thank you” recognition gift for every stay!
I can transfer my Elite Status from another program. With Best Western’s Status Match…No Catch® program, the brand will match the elite status you have with another program – free of charge.
BWR Exclusive Member Rates – Save up to 10% when you book with your BWR account on bestwestern.com and starting at the end of May, a new promo will feature a $10 gift card for every night you stay at Best Western.
From top to bottom, the more I look at everything Best Western Rewards® offers, the more I am convinced that all travel loyalty programs should be mimicked after this one. Maybe if that unnamed airline did half as much as Best Western does with its program, I would still be as loyal to them as I used to be.
What loyalty programs do you belong to? How do they compare to Best Western Rewards®?