Updated my credit card bonuses pages.
But first the news!
I have some affiliate links now
I know, I know. And you Brutus…
Well, the way I see it, if you want to support this blog (please do!) and want me to post more frequently, this is the easiest way. I started it back in 2012, and never even tried to monetize aside from posting the links to my books. Alas, I’ve come to the point when it’s not sustainable anymore. I need to change my hosting company, get more storage, completely revamp the blog and hire some smart people to do that. In addition, being a busy freelance writer means I lose money every time I write for my blog instead of writing for the client. While I’m not trying to turn this blog into a commercial enterprise — this is not why I’m doing it — I need some money to start coming in. It’s that easy.
Which brings us to the affiliate links. The only links I’m putting up here are the ones with the highest bonuses. For all these years, I’ve always listed the best credit cards, and I’m going to keep doing the same thing. And you can’t go wrong either. If you don’t want me to receive the affiliate commission, just scroll down and use the direct, non-affiliate links for the same cards with the same bonuses. It’s your choice. I value your trust more than these commissions, and nothing is going to change that.
OK, so what else is new? 🙂
The combination of these Best Western Rewards credit cards is a killer!
Per Mile Cards, First National has raised the bonus for its Best Western business card from 20,000 to 48,000 points and added another carrot. Here are the details.
- 48,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in first 3 billing cycles.
- 32,000 bonus points when you spend at least $25,000 during each 12 billing cycle period.
- 13 points per $1 on BW stays (10 points as a BW member, 3 points for using the card).
- 3 points per $1 on business expenses.
- 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else.
- Platinum status.
- No annual fee.
I would ignore the second 32,000-point part. The prospect of spending $25,000 a year with a really weak return sounds like meh to me, but getting the initial 48,000 points for spending $1K is a no brainer, because…
There is another Best Western card, a personal one, which has a good offer, too.
- 50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in first 3 billing cycles.
- 20,000 bonus points when you spend at least $5,000 during each 12 billing cycle period.
- 20 points per $1 on Best Western stays (10 points as a BW member, 10 points for using the Card).
- 2 points per $1 on everywhere else.
- $59 annual fee waived for the first year.
- Automatic Platinum Elite Status.
So let’s recap. After meeting the spending requirement, you will get at least 129,000 points if you apply for both cards (most probably more if you hit some of the bonus categories). And there is no annual fee for the first year. But the question is: can 129,000 Best Western points buy you anything decent?
Best Western Rewards redemptions
I have two words for you: National Parks!
Most Best Western properties in the U.S. are motels or cheap roadside hotels, but here is a kicker. There are “230 Best Western hotels [in North America] located within 10 miles of a national park, from Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, to Everglades National Park in Florida.”
Best Western Rewards doesn’t have categories, instead its rates fluctuates between 8,000 and 32,000 depending on the season. Even so, bargains are to be had. Here are just a few examples.
Best Western Rewards: Yellowstone
Best Western Rewards: Banff National Park
Best Western Rewards has upscale properties, too
The Best Western Rewards program does have upscale hotels and luxury resorts, especially (if not only) overseas, and these might be your best bet for maximizing the award. While in the U.S. you usually get a value of 0.5 cents per dollar, which is on par with other chains, it can get considerably better in some world locales. I didn’t do the whole deep research, but I still managed to find some quick fixes.
Best Western Rewards: Stockholm
Best Western Rewards: Phucket
And, by the way, am I crazy or does this resort actually offer a two-bedroom suite for the same number of points?
Although there aren’t any hotel chains that sound more American than Best Western, it has a huge international footprint. Every second time I look up a destination in a far, far away place, I see a Best Western. I see them even in places where there are no other major chains. I’ve never paid much attention to the brand due to the weak credit card offerings, but I think, I’m going to from now on. Maybe another research, a bit deeper this time, is in order.
Should you apply?
The Best Western credit cards are issued by First National, which is terrific (because it ain’t Citi, Chase or Amex). On the other hand, First National can be really anal denying people with plenty of recent applications according to some reports. So if you have just completed your app-o-Rama, better wait a little, or if you’re about to do another one, start with the Best Western cards.
I don’t know if applying for both cards, personal and business is advisable, and I didn’t find a lot of info on the topic so far. But I would try exactly that — and have my partner do the same thing to get 260,000 points in one seating. If anyone knows more about First National behavior patterns, please tell us here.
Barclaycard Arrival + has increased the bonus from 40,000 to 50,000 after spending $3,000 in 3 months. It’s always welcome news when a bonus gets upped, but I don’t find the card itself nearly as useful after they raised the redemption threshold to 10,000 points. That was a shitty thing to do. Consider that Capital One Venture doesn’t have a redemption threshold at all; you can redeem for $1 if you want. If you consider applying, Chuck at DoC has a good post on its churnability.
The Chase Southwest Plus 50,000-point bonus is back, but Southwest hides it because (I guess) the card carries a lower $69 annual fee. You need to scroll this page down and click “MORE” at the bottom of the page. HT: DoC again.
The AMEX Business Gold Rewards 50,000-point bonus is available again. ‘Nuff said. 🙂
The Barclays Lufthansa 50,000-Mile Offer is finally ending on Oct. 2. Lufthansa miles are great for using on U.S. domestic business class — only 35,000 miles roundtrip. If you want this bonus despite a high $5,000 spending requirement, mark your calendar.
That’s it, folks. I’m heading to San Diego for #FinCon16. Flying in first from JFK via LAX on AA transcon and in business on the way back. The best of both worlds 🙂 One of the last redemptions before AA butchered the chart (sigh).