Sometimes I find the simplest promotions offer great value. Best Western Rewards free night after 2 stays promotion from February 4 to April 14, 2019 was limited to only one free night for two stays. U.S. resident members of Best Western Rewards could earn the free night with a Best Western hotel stay anywhere worldwide. The main limitations of the promotion were the free night is only valid for hotels in USA, Canada and Caribbean and the certificate was valid for only 60 days. Only one free night could be earned during the promotion.
Originally I looked at a trip to Morro Bay, California where a Best Western in the seaside town of San Luis Obispo County was $85 in February. That trip never materialized.
Then I considered booking a Best Western Felix in Warsaw for $35 during the three nights I would be in that city in March, but I decided I did not want to spend my limited time in Warsaw making a trip to a hotel I did not plan to stay. I used my three nights in Warsaw to complete the IHG Free Nights Faster promotion and earn 60,000 IHG points.
Loyalty Traveler – IHG Free Nights Faster final tally 60,757 points earned on $291 for 3 nights (March 18, 2019).
A Best Western hotel turned out to be the most viable option for our trip with friends to California’s Gold Country and a St. Patrick’s Day festival in the small town of Murphys in the foothills of Calaveras County. Best Western Cedar Inn & Suites Angels Camp is one of the closest hotels in the area, eight miles from Murphys, where hotel rooms were severely limited due to the 20,000+ people who attended the festival. Calaveras County only has a population of 45,000 and there are not an abundance of hotel rooms within 50 miles of Murphys. I booked a $197 after tax two-room suite with three Queen beds and our friends paid $97 toward the room cost.
Loyalty Traveler – Best Western Cedar Inn & Suites Angels Camp, California half-way to free night (March 26, 2019).
With one hotel stay completed, my incentive increased to book another Best Western hotel night before the end of the promotion. When this promotion originally came out I decided it would make a good value opportunity to visit San Francisco, a city with prohibitively high room rates for an overnight stay in recent years.
Best Western Amedia Prague
My only other need for hotel rooms during the promotion were during our 10 day trip to Europe. I had already lined up 7 nights in Choice Hotels at 8,000 points per night for Clarion Collection Hotel Temperance in Malmo, Sweden (my hotel review) and Clarion Prague Old Town (my hotel review). We also used 20,000 Choice Privileges points for The Thief, Oslo.
Malmo, Oslo and Prague all have Best Western hotels.
Best Western Amedia Praha (BW website) is one of the Best Western Hotels in Prague I have been curious about for the past few years. This hotel generally has the lowest room rates and reward rates of the Best Western hotels in Prague.
The distance from Prague city center always knocked BW Amedia Praha out of consideration for my trips to Prague. Best Western had more hotels in recent years in Prague with BW Hotel Kinsky Garden and BW Hotel Pav. Those hotels rebranded in the past year or two.
I had a reservation for Kinsky Garden Hotel one time and ended up staying at Park Inn Prague to earn their Free Fridays promotion. Kinsky Garden has a nice boutique hotel character. Hotel Pav is next to Brewery U Fleků, the oldest brewpub in Prague (1499) and one of the city’s most popular tourist restaurants. Kremencova, Prague is the street I call one of the city’s major party streets and some of my favorite pubs are there.
Loyalty Traveler – Trip Report Day 3 Prague party street Křemencova Nové Město (Oct 9, 2017). This article mentions Best Western Kinsky Garden and Best Western Hotel Pav.
One annoying aspect with Best Western Hotels are many of the most charming hotels I discovered in cities around Europe rebranded soon after my visit.
April 2019 in Prague for six nights at Clarion Hotel Prague Old Town meant I had plenty of time to make a trip out to Best Western Amedia Praha. I simply checked room rates for each date of our stay and found the nightly nonrefundable rate ranged from 34.50 EUR to 40.50 EUR. I booked the 34.50 EUR advance purchase rate, which came out to $39.14 on my credit card.
We had walked for several hours around Old Town Prague the day of my reservation and Kelley took a nap while I Google Mapped my way to Best Western Amedia. The hotel was far enough away that about half of the route options were under 30 minutes and half over 30 minutes, which meant the difference between using a 24 CZK ($1.05) 30-minutes transportation ticket and a 32 CZK ($1.40) 90-minutes ticket.
I liked the option to take the Metro B line from Namesti Republiky Metro to Smíchovské nádraží Metro station across the Vltava river and then ride a bus back across the river again so I could check out the city landscape. Anděl in Prague 5 district is up and coming urban renewal of a former industrial district and also the location of the Staropramen Brewery. And the farthest I had been in Prague in that direction. Smíchovské nádraží Metro is one station past Anděl. My journey to Best Western Amedia was a chance to expand my geographic knowledge of the city.
I left Clarion Hotel Old Town with 8 minutes to make the metro. I found myself rushing down the left side of the Namesti Republiky Metro escalator at rush hour to make the train to Smíchovské nádraží station in time for the bus out to Praha 11 Chodov for the Best Western Amedia.
During our week in Prague I found Google Maps to be an incredible resource for planning public transportation around the city. There were only one or two times that a bus or tram was more than a minute behind schedule and even then the time was made up to be on schedule for stops further down the line.
I rode Bus 125 across the Vltava and through the hills into the suburbs of Prague where single family houses and large modern apartment blocks share the residential landscape with malls and business complexes. I exited the bus at Chodovec after an 11km ride in 20 minutes.
Readers occasionally comment how inexpensive it is for ride sharing cars in different cities around Europe. For me, public transportation is enjoyable to be surrounded by local people going through their regular routine for traveling to and from work and school and shopping.
The eyes of a young kid around ten years old checking me out had me wondering if I am so obviously not a local. I was alone and had no reason to speak. Then again, it is probably uncommon for him to see someone on a local bus in the suburbs using his mobile to snap photos out the bus window.
Best Western Amedia Praha is 450 meters from Chodovec bus stop. I was able to travel from Prague Old Town by metro and bus in 28 minutes.
There were a couple of people in the lobby bar area as I walked up to reception. I checked in, received my key card and went upstairs to photograph the room. I kind of hoped for a complimentary beer as a Best Western Platinum elite, but I guess that is primarily an IHG Rewards Club benefit. I received 500 bonus points as a Platinum amenity gift. Considering beer in a Praha Chodov pub is less than $2, the 500 points have better value.
I checked out beer prices at the Best Western bar. Czech Budweiser 55 CZK/$2.41 for 0.5l, Kozel 55 CZK and Pilsner Urquell 45 CZK/$1.97 for 0.33l. Not bad for a hotel, but about 25% higher than average pub prices in Prague.
Breakfast was included in my room rate, but I had no plans for being around the hotel the following morning.
My room was floor 7 of the 8 floor hotel. A utilitarian room with nothing exceptional to note.
I had seen the Kentucky Fried Chicken near the hotel and 10% off caught my attention. There are KFC franchises all around Prague. I’d never visited one, but I was feeling dinner hungry and a light snack seemed in order before heading back to Old Town.
Despite thought leader Gary Leff’s condemnation of California environmental regulations and personal paranoia favoring tiny plastic bottle toiletries in hotel rooms, I appreciate the conscientious environmental decision common in European hotels to provide refillable dispensers, even if the motivation may be more for economic reasons. Any little concession eases a miniscule fraction of our profligate climate changing impacts from frequent flying.
The room window view offered little to behold.
The slower traffic heading into Prague helped sway my decision to skip the bus and take Metro back to Old Town.
There were a couple of signs for Best Western Rewards in the hotel lobby.
About ten minutes after check-in I was on my way out of Best Western Amedia Praha. Outside the hotel I looked at Google Maps walking directions for Chodov Metro C station and it looked like a confusing 10 minutes walk. I went back inside to reception for directions and was handed a walking map to Chodov Metro.
First stop on my way to Chodov Metro was checking out that KFC 10% discount.
Amazing to me were the number of cars in the drive-through lane for KFC. Gasoline is about $6/gallon in Czechia and I would expect drivers to conserve their fuel.
I stepped inside the door, glanced at the menu to see prices from 105 to 125 CZK/$4.60-$5.47 for food items and walked out. 10% off would still have been overpriced food for Prague.
Arriving by bus was certainly the easier way to the hotel than the walk to Chodov Metro rewuiring crossing one highway and walking underneath the autobahn to the back side of Chodov Shopping Centre. Even though Prague seems safe, I would not like to make that walk in the dark.
Prague Cheap Eats Tip – a common feature of Metro stations in Prague are convenience stores and the ubiquitous pizza slice eatery, where 35 CZK/$1.53 buys a quick bite to eat.
32cm/12 in. pizzas were priced from 95-120 CZK/$4.16-$5.25 and 45cm/18in pizza 170-230 CZK/$7.44-$10.07.
Prague tourist tip – A habit I have learned traveling around Prague is to keep change in my pocket for stations where only cash ticket machines are available. I think there were credit card machines at Chodov Metro, but I have been to stations where only cash machines were available to buy tickets. The other lesson I have learned for times when I plan to use public transportation frequently is buy multiple tickets and keep 4 to 6 tickets 24 CZK on hand since I have also been at tram stops with no machines and then you have to find a convenience market nearby selling transportation tickets.
Prague Metro is fast. I was back at Namesti Republiky Metro in about 25 minutes.
Best Western Rewards Free Night
My hotel stay at Best Western Amedia Praha cost $39.14 and earned 960 BWR points as a Best Western Platinum member.
Yesterday, two weeks after my stay in Prague, the free night e-certificate code came to my email.
The short validity of the free night voucher was one of the main deterrents for this promotion. The advantage of waiting until the end of the promotion to earn my free night means we can redeem the free stay after my wife finishes her school teaching year in early June.
The plan is redeem the free night for Best Western San Francisco Cartwright Hotel at Union Square along with a my IHG Rewards Club credit card annual free night for InterContinental Mark Hopkins.
Loyalty Traveler –The Cartwright Hotel Union Square San Francisco 10K points reward night review (Nov 27, 2017).
Loyalty Traveler – How to redeem IHG Rewards Club Chase Anniversary Free night (Sep 20, 2018).