Jun112009

Best Western’s Free Night after Two Stays Lacks Redemption Value

I was developing a piece on Best Western’s Free Night summer promotion and today I came across Tim Winship’s piece on SmarterTravel.com. I hadn’t considered the airline miles earning angle in my Best Western promotion analysis. Ironically, the central topic my July InsideFlyer column is earning airline miles from hotel stays. Since I did not include Best Western Rewards in my magazine column, I will present the airline miles option here with a discussion of the free night promotion for two stays.

Best Western Rewards loyalty program offer: Summer promotion 2009 earns a free night voucher for every two stays between June 21, 2009 and August 16, 2009. A maximum of two free night vouchers may be earned.

There is also a Best Western Rewards online booking bonus of 250 points per completed stay for reservations booked online during promotion.

Restrictions:

– Promotion limited to residents of US, Canada, and Caribbean Islands.

– Free Night Voucher is equivalent to a level 3/16,000 points voucher – a relatively low level hotel redemption.

– Free night voucher expires six months after issue.

Loyalty Traveler Analysis:

My first thought on reading the terms and conditions of this promotion is a 16,000 points voucher is not valid for many hotels in my area. I made a survey of the hotel category for the 66 Best Western properties shown within 100 miles of Monterey, California.

Best Western free hotel nights are based on the hotel level. There are eight Rewards levels for Best Western hotels starting at 8,000 points per free night and increasing by 4,000 points for each level. A Best Western hotel will be categorized at one of the eight redemption levels for a free night:

Level 1 = 8,000 points

Level 2 = 12,000

Level 3 = 16,000

Level 4 = 20,000

Level 5 = 24,000

Level 6 = 28,000

Level 7 = 32,000

Level 8 = 36,000 points

Hotel Level for 66 Best Western Hotels within 100 miles of Monterey, California

8,000

12,000

16,000

20,000

24,000

28,000

32,000

36,000

NA*

0

0

6

 28

4

 8

 12

 4

 4

 

* NA = Four hotels were not available using points for the date I checked. The hotel level was not indicated for these four hotels. I did not bother to search for an available free night date to find the hotel level for these four hotels.

To see the redemption level for a specific hotel requires the Best Western Rewards member be logged into the website and search for hotels using points. There are 66 Best Western hotels within 100 miles of Monterey. Only 6 of these hotels are at level 3 which is the free night voucher level. The other 60 hotels are higher points levels for the free night. It is unclear from the terms of the promotion whether a 4,000 points upgrade voucher can be used with this promotion to get a 20,000 points room.

My free night hotel choices within 100 miles of Monterey consist of 6 Best Western hotels. Nothing here looks too enticing for my travels. These are all inland valley places and I try to stay along the California coast as much as possible.

1.       Best Western Apricot Inn, Firebaugh, CA

2.       Best Western Villa del Lago, Patterson, CA

3.       Best Western Pleasanton Inn

4.       Best Western Luxury Inn, Tracy

5.       Best Western Town House Lodge, Modesto

6.       Best Western Executive Inn, Manteca

 

Best Western can be a good program for padding airline miles

While the free night voucher may not be a widely useable free night, I find there are good miles earning options with Best Western Rewards. There are 17 airline partners for earning miles from your hotel stays and most earn 250 miles per stay. Southwest is 0.5 credit and Miles & More is 500 miles per stay.

1.       Air Canada Aeroplan

2.       Air Berlin

3.       Air France/KLM Flying Blue

4.       Alaska Airlines

5.       Alitalia

6.       American Airlines

7.       Asiana Club

8.       China Southern

9.       Continental

10.   Czech Airlines

11.   Delta

12.   Hainan

13.   LanPass

14.   Miles & More (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, LOT Polish) = 500 miles per stay

15.   Northwest

16.   Southwest = 0.5 credit per stay

17.   US Airways

Special Bonus Miles Hotel Offers

In addition to setting your earning preference to airline miles instead of Rewards points, there are also special hotel specific bonus mile offers.

Example: Best Western Inn Santa Clara Double Miles per minimum 3-night stay. This offer will earn double the normal 250 miles for 500 miles with most airlines or 1,000 miles with Miles & More.

The best special offer I saw was Halifax, Nova Scotia for triple miles on a one night stay.

Best Western Travel Cards and Bonus Airline Miles (link)

Tim Winship mentions American Airlines miles or Southwest Rewards credits as an additional promotion bonus miles when buying Best Western Travel cards. There are actually six other airlines for earning miles with these cards. Air Canada Aeroplan and American AAdvantage have the best earning at 500 miles per $50 Gift Card. Alaska, Continental, Delta, Northwest, and US Airways are 500 miles per $100 gift card. The Southwest Rewards offer of 0.5 credit per $100 is not as good as Aeroplan or AAdvantage miles in terms of the percentage of award miles earned towards a free domestic ticket.

All in all the limitation of the free night to the lowest hotel levels diminishes the value of this promotion in my evaluation. Don’t go out of your way to take advantage of this deal.

But keep in mind the opportunity to earn airline miles through Best Western hotel stays and Best Western Travel card purchases. This is a good way to pick up miles when you find yourself needing a Best Western hotel.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. Best Western Free Night SCAM!!!! You have two months to use the voucher and 90% of the hotels dont allow you to use the free night. Best Western SUCKS.

  2. The Best Western Free Night is not valid for 6 months. It is valid for 2 months. When you try to book a night they tell you that there are no free night rooms available. Best Western free night is a scam. Best Western SUCKS!!!!!!

  3. @Pisse Off – My recent experience contradicts your statements. Every hotel I found availability with for Best Western Rewards points also allowed a reservation using the free night voucher from the February-April 2011 promotion for a free night after three stays.

    I was able to redeem my free night voucher on the day of arrival for a free night at the Monterey Beach Resort where the AAA room rate was $257 after tax or 36,000 points for a reward night.

    I think I got great value from my Best Western free night that cost about $250 all-in to earn with hotel stays in Napa, California in February.

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