Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to earn Avios or Virgin Points at Best Western – and get a status match

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Best Western is the most recent major hotel chain to become a British Airways partner.  Whilst you have been able to earn Avios for the past couple of years, many people still seen unaware of the partnership so I thought I’d run through it again today.

When I ran a reader survey a few years ago on which hotel chains you used, Best Western performed surprisingly strongly.  As you can earn Avios and Virgin Points with them it is worth knowing more about Best Western Rewards, especially as they have a generous status match scheme.

You can either earn a flat 500 Avios points per stay OR collect Best Western Rewards points as usual and then convert them into Avios as a lump sum.   You can credit the points to any Avios scheme – BAEC, Iberia Plus or Vueling Club.  Aer Lingus AerClub is not on the list but if you selected Vueling Club and gave your 3081xxxxxx number it should work OK.

If Avios is not your preferred scheme, Best Western is also a Virgin Atlantic partner.  You earn 500 Virgin Points per stay.

The ba.com page outlining the Avios / Best Western partnership is here.

How big is Best Western?

The Best Western brand covers 4,700 hotels worldwide in 100 countries.  What differentiates the group from chains such as Hilton is that every hotel is independently owned and managed and they are given far more leeway in terms of how they operate.

The hotels are generally smaller in terms of room numbers than you would find from the bigger chains and the average rating is probably around a three star.

In February 2019, Best Western bought WorldHotels, a marketing group representing 300 luxury hotels across the world – see our article here.

Sure is a growing economy brand, positioned below the main Best Western brand.

Today there are 280 Best Western hotels in the UK (website here).

The UK breakdown by brand is:

  • 130 Best Western
  • 32 Best Western Plus
  • 1 Best Western Premier (Yew Lodge in Kegworth)
  • 20 BW Premier Collection
  • 36 BW Signature Collection
  • 4 Sure Hotel
  • 36 Sure Hotel Collection
  • 1 WorldHotels (The Caesar, London)

Best Western Rewards

Best Western Rewards

The Best Western Rewards scheme is free to join via this page.  You start off at Blue.  There is also a status match deal I will outline below.  The tier levels are outlined here and are:

Gold – requires 10 nights, 7 stays or 10,000 points.  The only benefit is a 10% points bonus.

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

Diamond – requires 30 nights / 20 stays / 20,000 points per membership year – Platinum benefits plus a 30% points bonus

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

Status runs on a calendar year basis.  Once you hit the target for the next tier, you are promoted immediately and retain it for the rest of the current calendar year and all of the following year.

Earn Avios from Best Western hotels

Earning Best Western Rewards points

You can retro-claim points for stays from up to 30 days before you joined, so you haven’t necessarily missed out if you had a recent stay and were not a member at the time.

You will earn 10 points per $1 spent on your entire bill when paying eligible rates.  You do NOT earn points on restaurant charges or anything else charged to your bill apart from the room rate.

You can earn points on up to three rooms per night as long as they are all booked in your name and you occupy one of them.

Alternatively, you can take airline milesBoth Avios / British Airways and Virgin Atlantic offer 500 miles per stay.  A list of other participating airlines can be seen in the dropdown menu on the sign-up page – it includes Lufthansa (500) and Flying Blue (250) amongst others.  US Airways is also on the list, for those of you with long memories ….

You cannot transfer points from American Express in the UK (you can in some other countries) and there is no UK credit card.

Points can be transferred free of charge between members who share the same address.

How can I spend Best Western points?

There are a variety of hotel and non-hotel rewards options as you can see here (log-in required).  Best Western Rewards points do not expire so you don’t need to hurry to use them.

Digital Select gift cards are priced at 20,000 points for £50.  These can be spent at many online retailers including Amazon.  Given that this would require $2,000 (£1,435) of ex-VAT spend, you are looking at a 3.5% return.  This is not great, although it improves if you have status.  Remember that you only earn on your room rate and not incidental spend.

Best Western gift cards offer far better value.  These start at 1,300 points for a £5 voucher.  A £50 voucher only requires 13,000 points, compared to 20,000 points for a £50 Digital Select gift card.  1,300 points only requires $130 (£93) of ex-VAT spend, which is an improved 5.4% return.

Free room nights in the UK cost between 8,000 and 36,000 points.  Some hotels make ‘better’ rooms available for a premium.  As a Blue member you are looking at spending, before VAT, £575 to £2,600 to earn a free night worth, say, £75 – £200.  This is not a bad return if we assume you are getting 7%-12% back on average.  Free nights in overseas hotels start at 4,000 points.  These must be booked via telephone.

Best Western UK is no longer a Tesco Clubcard partner.  The website still states that redemptions have been ‘temporarily’ suspended but this has now been the case for a couple of years.

Avios wing 15

You can convert points to Avios … but is it the best option?

You can also convert your existing Best Western Rewards points balance into Avios.  5,000 Best Western points will get you 1,000 Avios.  

You should compare Avios with other redemptions though.  20,000 Best Western Rewards points will get you 4,000 Avios or a £50 shopping voucher.  This means that you are ‘paying’ 1.25p per Avios and I think that is too much.

If Avios is your goal, you need to have a think before each Best Western stay – should you take the fixed ‘500 Avios per stay’ or you should you take the points and convert them later?

Unless you are likely to be a regular Best Western guest, I would take the Avios.  You now need to spend £1,400+ ex-VAT to claim a £50 shopping voucher, and I doubt most readers will do that.

For cheaper stays of under £200, 500 Avios is the best value option anyway.  I would only consider taking points if it was a far more expensive stay and I had some confidence that I would eventually get up to 20,000 points to order a £50 shopping voucher.

For clarity …. you CANNOT convert lump sums of points into Virgin Atlantic or any other airline scheme.  They only appear to allow this for Avios, following the instructions on ba.com here.

Best Western Rewards will match your existing hotel or Virgin Atlantic status

Best Western has a generous status match policy.  If you have status with any other hotel chain, it will be matched.

A couple of years ago I tested their responsiveness by sending a copy of my IHG Rewards Platinum Elite statement (this was before Spire Elite became the top tier) to the UK office.  It took 10 calendar days to receive an email confirming my match to Diamond status.

The form you need to send them can be found on the Best Western website here (PDF).

You can also match Virgin Flying Club status.  A Virgin Silver will receive Best Western Platinum whilst a Virgin Gold receives Best Western Diamond.  Full details are on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

Conclusion

Best Western Rewards is a decent scheme but not a hugely exciting one.  It is hampered by the very loose relationships between the group and its properties and the very varied nature of the hotels, which makes standardised benefits impossible.

If your travels take you to occasional Best Western properties, my suggestion is to get a status match via any other hotel or Virgin Atlantic status you have – the benefits are modest but you will be front of the queue for upgrades.   You should then take the flat 500 Avios or Virgin Points per stay as your reward unless you are running up large room bills or are confident of eventually earning enough points for a free night.

I would think twice before converting lump sums of Best Western Rewards points into Avios, because you are ‘paying’ 1.25p per Avios compared to redeeming for online shopping vouchers.  That is not a great deal in my view.


Hotel offers update – November 2021:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points? There is currently a special offer running with Hilton Honors (100% bonus to 7th December), Marriott Bonvoy (45% bonus to 8th December) and World of Hyatt (30% discount, equivalent to a 43% bonus, to 30th December).

Comments (28)

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    So if “ You will earn 10 points per $1 spent on your entire bill when paying eligible rates. You do NOT earn points on restaurant charges or anything else charged to your bill apart from the room rate.”

    In what manner would you get 10 points per $ on the entire bill if only the room rate part of the bill qualifies?

  • Chris Heyes says:

    Rob We use Best Western a lot especially in America I Agree totally hotels are mostly 3 + star , but we have never stayed in a bad one, (that doesn’t mean there are none)
    I’ve found the Breakfasts to be of a good standard
    Although our bill is always above $1400 but we do tend to stay 7/10 days each one (3/4 week trip)
    The fact that points “never expire” is a big plus
    I find your following statement odd though “. It is hampered by the very loose relationships between the group and its properties and the very varied nature of the hotels, which makes standardised benefits impossible”.
    That to me is a plus point you can ask the individual Hotel for anything and if it’s reasonable they can grant it without needing to follow guidance
    We are back to “Best Western Plus Arroyo Roble” Sedona AZ in Aug hopefully
    We ask for the “North Sig Room” private just round corner from main Hotel

    • Memesweeper says:

      Glad to hear you’ve never stayed in a bad one in the states. I’ve found a few decent ones abroad too, and they make a nice alternative to identikit cheapo chains. But as a UK traveller I’ve never stayed in a good one, and my last was so shockingly terrible I will never stay with them again. I’d rather sleep in the car.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Memersweepet to add we have never stopped at any Best Western in the UK

    • Mikeact says:

      We had that North Room in Sedona a year back..lovely area and decent hotel..nothing too much trouble.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        It looks lovely!

        I’ll add it onto the ludicrous list of places to visit post pandemic, any recommendations nearby?

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Chrisasaurus, Shop and dine at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village
          short walk down pics & list of early cowboy films made in Sedona
          Pink jeep tours
          Helicopter ride, hot air balloon, a church in the rock, casino near
          Wheatsheaf Bread company half a sandwich & a bowl of soup delicious !
          lots of walks (none of us drive so ideal location), day trip to Grand Canyon although we stayed at Hotel Torvar Grand Canyon just used day trip to get us there

    • Chrism20 says:

      Best Western UKs USP is that they allow their franchisees much more freedom than they would get with other brands such as IHG and they actively market that.

      They have reinforced the basic standards a lot more over the last few years though and the majority of the properties are better than they were although some absolute dogs still exists – Hallmark/Sure Carlisle I’m looking at you!

    • AndyGWP says:

      We should be in the Matterhorn then which appears to be just over the road – will give you a wave!

      • David D says:

        Stayed in both the Richmond in Liverpool and Murrayshall in Scone and both were rather nice, so there are a couple of good ones at least in the UK.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        AndyGWP We arrive Sedona around around 19/20th Aug we are going to Bolder 1st
        flying to Denver stopping at Hotel Boulderado then flying AA to Phoenix, shuttle to Sedona will drop you off at your hotel from airport (bookable)
        we are then flying down to Page az stopping at Lake Powell Resort (Condor Airlines)
        before flying back to Phoenix for flight back uk
        Lake Powell Resort is not a good place to stay (Our Opinion)
        But Lake Powell IS Upper Canyon, Lower Canyon brill to visit (lower canyon bit of climbing down ladders) they are run by two separate business (Native Indians)
        Horse Shoe Bend if you are driving, plus River Rafting around it as well on Colorado River (no rapids so perfectly safe)
        Horse Shoe bend from the top (taking photos) is safe ish but 2/3 people fall off every year caution recommended, partner wouldn’t go near edge
        Trips on Lake Powell as well or hire a boat book in advance and say on it for a week or two

      • Chris Heyes says:

        AndyGWP Yes Matterhorn is just across from Best Western Arroyo Roblo looked very nice i think they was refurbishing it as well so should be even better just further along is a place called trading post (almost opposite Best Western
        You wouldn’t think of looking in, BUT DO all sorts of weird things for sale (or just look)
        cant miss it up a tiny hill sculls outside, We bought a Brothel token one time use only
        plus another unlimited uses (friends thought it hilarious) i thought about a genuine Indian Bow and Arrow, but partner said no, might be stopped at customs

  • lumma says:

    Best Western Roker Hotel in Sunderland is a nice hotel if you ever find yourself needing to stay up there.

  • Rick says:

    My experience within Best Western Rewards is getting a status match back in 2018 to diamond from Hilton gold, which is still applied to my account. Could be COVID related extension, but expected it to expire before the pandemic.

    I also got points posted despite being a 3rd party booking. Just gave the hotel my card details. Only stayed in that 1 BW though, so not necessarily representative

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      I’m 0 for 4 on getting credit for 3rd party bookings, be interesting to know what the incidence of it working is though – I had assumed was a flat no and stopped bothering

      • Bagoly says:

        I have always received credit at a hotel (I take M&Ms) in Switzerland even thought client was booking and paying.
        I think the “loose” comment is spot on, but it can work either way.

  • Si says:

    I had IHG Spire Elite status matched to Diamond Select last year for a wedding at a BW.

    Wasn’t too sure what a BW on the outskirts of Norwich could offer me but thought I might as well. Wedding was postponed until late this year so will have to wait a little longer to see what I win….

    I looked this morning and my status has returned to blue but hoping I’ll just be able to status match again as required. I’m pretty sure it’s worth a piece of fruit and a drink at the bar or something similar from what I could find out!

    • Si says:

      P.s. no bendy Ernie love so far this morning. Will try again later

  • JohnT says:

    Be careful if you change airline with them – although from a couple of years ago – I changed over the airline online, but the points from next stay still posted to the old airline. Seems their IT at that time could hold multiples but used oldest, but online only shows latest! Eventually sorted out with a phone call, but no idea if still a risk..
    Some nice UK ones – eg Grims Dyke (Watford/Harrow) has lovely grounds.

  • AnotherUser says:

    How long does the status match last for, and do they allow more than one match? Sorry if I’m missing something obvious!

    • Rob says:

      Not sure if they allow it more than once. It is a few years now since I did mine so I can’t remember how long it lasted, but it was at least a year.

      • AnotherUser says:

        Thanks! By the way, I’ve had a couple of decent experiences being upgraded when a friend with status made the booking at BWs

        • Chrism20 says:

          They do allow matching more than once. I think I have done it three times now over the last eight years or so

  • Alan says:

    Never had a bad experience with BW. Used them on holidays all over the US. Even managed to get a 100USD best rate guarantee credit on one stay. Status matched to diamond so always received additional amenities and upgrades. Not stayed at so many in U.K. but without doubt the best one I have stayed at is the BW Premier Mount Pleasant nr Doncaster. 4 star. Huge rooms, fantastic service and superb restaurant which had all been refurbed last time I stayed there maybe 18 months ago. Highly recommended!

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