The Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard has a split schedule for rewards and bonuses. It offers you several levels of points earning potential and has no annual fee to worry about. The company says that this card lets cardholders earn points faster than other cards, allowing up to 15 points per eligible dollar spent. Of course, the word “eligible” here refers to dollars spent at Best Western locations around the globe. Speaking of that, there are more than 4,000 BW locations to cater to your needs when away from home. Here’s some of the specifics concerning how to earn points with this hotel rewards credit card:
You will receive 16,000 bonus points when you use your Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard for the first time. This bonus can be earned via either a purchase being made or a balance transfer being initiated. You will also be awarded a $400 (40,000 points) bonus if you spend at least $1000 with the card in the first 90 days of ownership. The bonus points will show up on the first billing statement that occurs after the purchase or transfer. Here are the other ways to accumulate points:
You earn 10 points per spent dollar on Best Western “qualified stays”. A stay becomes qualified if it is for one or more consecutive nights at a qualifying location (not all are), a qualifying rate that is eligible for earning points. Now, this, to me at least seems a little crappy. I mean, I’m going to apply for, get approved and then start making purchases with my Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard – -however, I am not even earning rewards points with every purchase I make? Not even when it’s paying for a stay at a Best Western location? Hmm.
You also earn 5 points for every dollar spent on net purchases from Best Western locations. Additionally, you earn one singular point for every buck you may spend on any and everything else. That’s about it; nothing great, nothing great at all.
You see, I happen to know that these branded credit cards are not staying in business to make their cardholders rich. No, no. Instead, they are trying to find the right recipe of “rewards” that will keep the majority of cardholders marginally satisfied; enough so that they continue renewing their Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard each year. And the card issuing companies (every single one of them) are getting richer. They are the ones that reap the millions sands millions in profits. These millions are raised through interest charges and the transaction fees.
My point is to never feel bad about questioning the real, intrinsic value that a credit card presents to you. To me at least, if the Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard wants my loyalty and patronage, then they will have to work more than to simply make me marginally happy. For once, I’d like to see a credit card issuing company really break the mold; to take a hit and let the cardholders regain some real rewards. Rewards should be exciting. Don’t you think? Anyway, let’s take a look at the APRs and transaction fees.
Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard Transaction Fees and APRs
Your Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard will have an APR set when you receive it. Based on your credit goodness, you will either have a 13.99% purchase APR (not so bad at all) or the more often earned 24.99% rate. You should be aware that the 13.99% availability will be reserved for those applicants with the absolute best credit histories. The majority of the masses of card hopefuls will be “rewarded” with the 24.99% APR, almost as high as the penalty rate for most cards, including itself.
Balance transfers will have the same APR attached as do your purchases. The APR for cash advances is set at 25.24%. And, strangely, the APR for penalty charges is only 27.24%, slightly less than the 29.99% that the majority of all cards charge for penalty interest. If you incur any interest charges on you Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard, the minimum amount charged will be $2.
There is not an annual fee for the Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard. There are, of course, various transaction fees to endure. This card has a set of fees that, like the most-likely-to-get 24.99%, seem rather high to me. For instance, balance transfers cost the greater between $10 and 4% of the amount of the transaction. Cash advances cost either $10 or 5%, one of the highest fees for cash advances I have seen. Most other cards don’t milk their customers this hard. Trust me: I do this a lot. Fees for foreign transactions are a straight 3% of the transaction amounts, converted to US dollars. Finally, like almost all credit cards, the fee for a returned or late payment is $35.
The bottom line about the Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard
The issuers of the Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard are, in my opinion, out to get you. They are out to get you with high APRs and high transaction fees. They are out to get you with lacking passive benefits and features. And they are out to get you with a rewards program that’s actually insulting. You see, they structure the rewards program with big point numbers promised. You know, just look at the website for the card and see, big and bold: “BONUS OFFER: EARN 16,000 POINTS”. Well how’s it make you feel to know that you’re going to need at least 316,000 points to even have enough for a 1-night stay, for 1 person only, at a Level 3 Best Western location.
I feel that the issuers of the Barclays Best Western Rewards MasterCard are taking advantage of their customers, and that they don’t even care. They operate with high fees and APRs that are intentionally advertised lower rates and charges. They show you what you can have, maybe, and then stick you with lees for you; more for them. However, don’t let my opinion stop you from demonstrating your untiring, unwavering Best Western loyalty. Enjoy every minute, and dollar of it.