This post originally appeared on Best Western’s YouMustBeTrippin.com’s blog, where I regularly contribute stories. I was compensated for this post but the opinions are mine.
In today’s travel world, rewards programs have so many more 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.
Earlier this year 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 major 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, 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, Best Western’s Rewards® program is so strong it was named the third 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. 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. Just this past summer, for example, Best Western had a promotion that for every three nights stayed at different Best Western hotels, guests earned one free night.
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 almost more than 4,000 hotels in more than 100 countries.
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.
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.
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 from 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®?