Update – Several readers report being denied for the card. I double checked my credit report and can confirm I had 4-5 inquiries on Experian from the prior 6 months, when I applied and got approved for this card (about a year ago; they did call to confirm identity). YMMV. Note, I say 4-5 because I applied for multiple cards on the same day and can’t remember the order.
I’m talking about the Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard from FNBO, which has a sign up bonus (SUB) of 50,000 points after $1,000 spend. The landing page advertises it as “up to 4 free nights.” You can do better with a current promotion.
Normally, a free night starts at ~10k, with decent properties in the 30-40k range (redemption rate is dynamic based on high/low season, a la Hilton). However, a few weeks ago Doctor of Credit posted about a fantastic promotion where a free night anywhere in North America costs a flat rate of 10k through January 31, 2018.
So, with the credit card SUB of 50,000 points, you are guaranteed 5 nights through Jan 31. I tried to put my own SUB to good use…
BW is Perfect for Speculative Booking
I noticed after making a few bookings that points weren’t deducted from my account. Hmm? After some research, it turns out points aren’t deducted until check-in. This is great for speculative bookings. As far as I know, this is pretty rare among loyalty programs – only Marriott and Korean Air let you book without sufficient points at the time of booking, but this is easier as it’s built-in online. Just be sure to set cancellation deadlines on your calendar, and make sure you have sufficient points for the stays you decide to uphold.
It Gets Better
If you read the data points on Flyertalk BW forum (and you should), many mention points not being deducted at all, long after the stay. The theory is that many BW employees don’t know how to do it. This is where I suggest you can end up with potentially more than 5 nights (potentially a lot more), depending on luck. But you’re guaranteed at least 5 nights through Jan 31.
If you over-commit, it’s not without risk. For example, it could happen that stay #1 doesn’t deduct pts until the day of stay #2, at which time it’s probably too late to back out. As always, decide for yourself.
If you get the card now…
If you have BW points, you can immediately put them to use. If you’re thinking of getting the credit card now, you can expect the points to post a few days after the closing of the statement in which you met the minimum spend requirement. You might be able to book now even if you have zero points – I don’t know because my account does have points. If so, book away now and just make sure the SUB posts in time for your stay.
Do read more about the card in the DoC link.
Need Some Inspirations?
There are countless BW properties in North America, some of which are quite good. For example, here’s Best Western Pioneer Inn Maui for a one-night stay in January (I don’t see many nights left, sadly):
You can have one stay of 5 nights or split up the nights in multiple stays. Let me know if you take advantage of this deal. Good luck!