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.
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
“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.
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? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)