Major changes coming to Best Western Rewards – probably for the better

Best Western is popular with Head for Points readers.  When I did my hotel survey in February, roughly 1 in 6 HFP readers said they had stayed in one during 2014.

You may have wondered why I don’t write more about Best Western Rewards in that case.  The reason is that, for historical reasons, UK residents are enrolled into a separate scheme to most of the rest of the world.

You can still earn and spend points at Best Western Hotels globally.  However, UK residents are not eligible for any of the many Best Western Rewards promotions that run on a regular basis.

This is about to change.

From January 1st, the UK version of Best Western Rewards will be merged with the global programme.  The global programme itself will also be changed.

Full details of the changes can be found on their website here.

Best Western Rewards

I will look at the changes in more detail when we have all of the information.  Here is a summary:

New tier benefits, applied globally

At present, the benefits you receive in the UK may be different from those you receive in other countries.  These will now be standardised.

The current tier benefits in the UK are outlined here.  Here are the new tier levels:

Gold – everyone used to get this as soon as they joined.  It will now require 10 nights, 7 stays or 10,000 points.  The existing benefits are taken away – no more upgrade, early check-in, late check-out – to be replaced by a 10% points bonus.

Platinum – still requires 15 nights / 10 stays / 15,000 points per membership year – Gold benefits plus room upgrade and recognition gift.  Points bonus increased from 10% to 15%.

Diamond – still requires 30 nights / 20 stays / 20,000 points per membership year – Platinum benefits plus a 30% points bonus, up from 15%.  ‘Partner stays free’ benefit removed.

Diamond Select – a new tier which requires 50 nights / 40 stays / 50,000 points.  Diamond benefits plus a 50% points bonus.

Diamond For Life – appears to have been removed

Points no longer expire

Self explanatory!

“Increased” free room availability with dynamic pricing

Hotels will now be able to have a high and low price for reward nights, based on anticipated demand on any particular date.

Changes to earning rate

I assume that the current ’10 points per 55p’ will change to the ’10 points per $1′ used elsewhere.  At present you do not earn points on incidental spend at hotels outside the UK – I expect this to change.

Removal of some redemption options

Here is the full list of UK redemption options at present.  I assume that the ‘UK focussed’ redemptions, eg high street shopping vouchers, will disappear.  It is not clear if the Virgin Atlantic deal of 500 miles per stay if you choose not to earn points will remain.

American Express becomes a partner?

Best Western Rewards is an American Express Membership Rewards partner in some countries.  With the UK programme now merging into the main global one, there is a possibility that this is extended to UK Amex cardholders. Remember that there are 270 Best Western hotels in the UK – it is a huge chain.

Conclusion

Some of the changes above, such as the changes to tier benefits, do not seem great at first glance.  However, I believe that most UK guests at Best Western hotels will benefit from being able to access some of the generous promotions which are currently not offered here.

I will take a further look at this in January when we have full details of the changes.  You can see the current announcement on the Best Western UK site here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Hi Rob.
    About time too. All of my nights (30+ last 2 years) earned me 15% bonus verses the 30% that the USA residents earned, even though all of the nights were in the USA and I’m not eligible for the gift cards they offer for the stays either. I’ve just reached Diamond for Life so my points no longer expire, but that’s still good news as Diamond for Life members will be mapped across onto the new Diamond Select tier (so my bonus earning next year will leap from 15% to 50%. Further down the page the BW site mentions the changes to Diamond for Life

    Changes to Diamond for Life members
    As of 1st January 2016, the Diamond for Life tier will be replaced by the new Diamond Select tier. If you are already a Diamond for Life member or reach this tier by 31st December 2015, you will automatically become a Diamond Select member and receive the great new benefits that come with this tier.
    You will never be downgraded from this tier, unlike members who reach the Diamond Select tier after 1st January 2016, and you will retain your Diamond Select perks and privileges forever.

  2. American Express & Best Western are ending their relationship in the States shortly, so I can’t see that one coming true in the UK.

  3. The improvements, particularly the promotions appear to be a step in the right direction.

    Alas I fear that the continual status matching year after year may no longer be a go-er. Even without that though the changes definitely look pretty good.

  4. wetboy1uk says:

    Any news yet on the hotel tonight changes to referrals – I would have thought this would have been high on your list as you probably have quite a few referrals waiting for bookings and now cannot stack any credits you earn!

    • It is what it is, it seems ….

      • wetboy1uk says:

        No post planned on it then to outline the changes – seems an ods comment to make as the changes to best western are what they are. You seem reluctant to post anything in a negative way about hotel tonight not even the fsct their prices are very uncompetitive. In fact all the posts have been positive about them.

        • I don’t think a change in a referral model justifies an article – a change in their business model does (and I did one when they went to 7 day booking).

          FWIW the four bookings I have done with them, burning referral credits, were no more expensive – and in one case aggressively cheaper – than booking direct.

          However, it is fair to say that the percentage of people who book compared to registering via the HFP link is low – because, frankly, the business model is not yet perfect.

          • wetboy1uk says:

            Ok if thats your view on it – personally I have never found a hotel that is the same price or lower than booking elsewhere – either you have been lucky or I have been unlucky. I could probably look for days and not find a hotel cheaper on their sites – I suppose mind they have been kind to you with the credits they given to you are prizes for your site. Obviously you have a different view on them to me. Thanks

          • Erico1875 says:

            And I have never found a hotel I wanted on Hotels.com that I wanted cheaper than on other sites so I havent booked any. Lots of people have, so have been able to take advantage of their generous 1 in 10 scheme.
            If you cant find anywhere suitable, why are you even worried about their referral scheme?
            Don’t like it? Start your own better blog. If its better, you can earn referral commission too.

  5. I’ve been Diamond via Amex Plat for about 18 months now, but it won’t renew until Feb. I’m working on the assumption I won’t make Diamond for Life now and can only keep Diamond via Amex, unless they cancel this benefit/relationship.

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