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Comparing Canada and US Best Western Credit Card

Best Western Rewards is one of my favourite loyalty programs, even though it is not considered one of the more luxurious brands, so it may not be as popular in the frequent flyer community. I think the two main reasons why I like them is because of the no points expiry policy and the fact that they offer a very competitive co-branded credit card in Canada. Without a credit card option, they probably would not be so high on my list of favourite hotel programs.

Below is the highlights of a list of co-branded Best Western in Canada and the United States.

Canada MBNA Best Western MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 40,000 sign up bonus points after your first purchase
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Best Western properties
  • Earn 1.5 point for every $1 on all purchases
  • Awarded Gold status upon first use of your credit card
  • Awarded Diamond status when you spend $10,000 in a calendar year
  • Receive: lost luggage assistanceextended warranty, purchase assurance and travel protection

US First Bank Best Western Rewards Premium MasterCard

  • $59 annual fee (first year fee waived)
  • Earn 70,000 sign up bonus points (earn 50,000 after spending $1,000 in first 3 billing cycles and earn 20,000 after spending $5,000 in the first 12 billing cycles)
  • Earn 10 points for every $1 on spent at Best Western
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive Best Western Platinum Elite Status
  • Receive 10% discount with select Best Western Rewards Rates
  • Receive: Free FICO score
  • Receive: travel accident insurance, auto rental insurance, extended warranty and purchase protection

US First Bank Best Western Rewards MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 32,000 sign up bonus points (earn 16,000 after the first purchase, earn 16,000 after the first Best Western stay)
  • Earn 3 points for every $1 on spent at Best Western
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive Best Western Gold Elite Status
  • Receive 10% discount with select Best Western Rewards Rates
  • Receive: Free FICO score
  • Receive: travel accident insurance, auto rental insurance, extended warranty and purchase protection

The US also has a Best Western Rewards Secured MasterCard and a Best Western Rewards Business MasterCard (watch for the 80,000 sign up bonus promotion when it comes around), which are more specialized cards. What I mean is, Secured credit cards are for people who want to build a credit history, and the Business card is only for business owners,  so they are not as wide accessible for everyone.

Furthermore, since Canada does not have an equivalent version anyway, I will focus my comparison on similar products.

Annual Fee

Just the fact that the Canadian version does not have any annual fee, I will definitely give them the edge.

That being said, when would it make sense to pay the annual fee of the US version? The only real benefit of the annual fee version is the 10 points per dollar spent at Best Western, compared to only 3 points for every $1 spent. Unless you are earning at least $59 more worth of points, it may not make sense to keep the card beyond the first year, when the fee is waived.

Winner: Canada

Sign Up Bonus

The Canadian version has offered up to a 60,000 sign up bonus promotional offer. But I go with a more black and white approach when determining who is the winner for a specific category. So the winner goes to the card with the highest sign up bonus offer.

Note that the normal sign up bonus on the Canadian version is 20,000. The is a special link for the 40,000 version.

Winner: U.S. Premium

Earning Ratios

The Canadian version cannot win, because they only offer 1 point per dollar on all other purchases, while both US cards offer 2 points per dollar. Either way, having the option of earning 10 point per dollar at Best Western wins out.

Winner: U.S. Premium

Elite Qualification

Hands down the Canadian version is the winner. Having the ability to qualify for Diamond status, compared to only Platinum or Gold with the US versions.

This is exactly the type of benefit that I like to see when rewarding cardholders after reaching a certain spending requirement. I would love to see more credit cards have such offers.

Winner: Canada

Other Benefits

The US version does offer better overall additional benefits, namely  auto rental insurance, free FICO score and purchase protection. Since the benefits are the same whether it is the annual fee version or no annual fee, the winner is obvious!

Winner: U.S. no annual fee version

Conclusion

As you can see, the Canadian version is highly competitive compared to the US version. I am very happy to see this and I hope that the Canadian version continues to stay strong.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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