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The MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard is the worst hotel credit card in Canada, but it only has one competitor.
The only other hotel credit card in Canada is the Marriott Bonvoy American Express, and it blows the MBNA Best Western card out of the water.
But that doesn’t mean the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard is a bad credit card!
In fact, I think it is a great credit card when you analyze it objectively and don’t compare it to the Marriott Bonvoy Amex card.
The MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard has no annual fee, comes with a sign-up bonus that gets you a free night hotel stay, and has an unbeatable points earning of 5x points for every $1 spent at Best Western. It is the best no-fee travel credit card in Canada. Hands down.
It is also one of the most underrated travel credit cards in Canada.
Not many people know about MBNA and the cards they offer. I sure didn’t before I got into the travel hacking game.
The MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard is a hidden gem and should not be ignored or pushed to the side.
At the end of this post, I’m going to tell you the best secret hack I have for MBNA credit cards. You can make MBNA work for you, and earn a lot of extra points!
For a no annual fee credit card, the MBNA Best Western card has a lot of highlights and perks.
A lot more highlights and perks than the average no-fee credit card. Heck! Most no-fee credit cards don’t give you a sign-up bonus, and MBNA gives you a juicy sign-up bonus with the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard!
You get a certain happy, squishy feeling when you get a sign-up bonus on a no annual fee credit card!
Some of the top highlights of the MBNA Best Western card that you should know about are:
- No annual fee
- 20,000 Best Western Rewards as a sign-up bonus (enough for one free night’s stay!)
- 5x points on purchases made at Best Western
- Automatically receive Gold Status at Best Western (and all the associated perks) after you make your first purchase with the card
- Rental car insurance
That’s a lot for a no annual fee card to be offering! It is quite impressive, really.
Pros and Cons of the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard
- No annual fee and can add up to 9 additional users at no cost
- Great sign-up bonus and solid rewards on Best Western purchases
- Can be used in conjunction with other MBNA cards to get more rewards
- Low points earning on non-Best Western purchases
- Can only redeem at Best Western properties
- MBNA has strict rules about who they will approve for credit cards
You earn and redeem Best Western Rewards with this card.
There is no option to transfer your rewards to a partner program, and you can only use your points to redeem for free nights at Best Western properties.
There is nothing wrong with that though!
Some people look down on Best Western like it is a gross hotel or you’re poor if you stay there.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Best Western hotels are actually pretty nice, and they get upgraded all the time! They are a great option for budget travellers or people who aren’t too fussed about where they stay.
You get what you expect when you stay at a Best Western property.
The rooms will be clean, the beds comfortable, and no extra fuss or extravagance.
I like Best Westerns, and I think they are the perfect hotel to stay at when you have to spend one night near an airport to catch an early flight.
I’ve stayed at many airport Best Western hotels and have nothing but great experiences!
You receive 20,000 Best Western Rewards after you make your first eligible purchase with the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard.
Pretty much anything and everything counts as a first purchase!
Use the card to buy a $1 cup of tea, and your bonus points will show up in your account within a few weeks (after the first billing cycle most likely)!
That is enough for one free night at most Best Western properties!
That’s a very generous sign-up bonus for a no-fee credit card, and you can’t complain at all about it.
In fact, I think it is quite generous!
As mentioned earlier, you earn Best Western Rewards with this card.
The points earning categories are really straightforward and easy to remember. You earn:
- 5x points on all eligible Best Western purchases. This includes purchases like food made at Best Western properties and hotel bookings
- 1x points on every other $1 spent
The points earning for everything outside of purchases at Best Western properties is awful!
I don’t recommend you spend much (if any) money on the MBNA Best Western card outside of Best Western hotel purchases.
It simply isn’t the best way to earn points, and there are much better travel credit cards out there where you can earn a lot more points per dollar spent.
The American Express Cobalt card is the perfect travel credit card for anybody who does a lot of spending on food and groceries. You can read my full review of the card here.
On the other hand, the points earning for Best Western purchases is really good!
It is on par with the other (more premium) hotel credit card in Canada the Marriott Bonvoy American Express.
You will earn a lot of Best Western points really quickly when you use the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard for all your Best Western purchases.
Say hello to free hotel stays!
It is super easy to redeem Best Western Rewards!
All the points you earn through the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard will automatically show up on your Best Western Rewards profile.
You don’t have to worry about figuring out how to get your points from MBNA to Best Western because the process is done automatically for you behind the scenes!
Best Western has a really smooth redemption process on their site.
You simply search for the hotel you want to stay at and click the “use points” box before you click the search button.
Your search will results will show the price in Best Western Rewards rather than in Canadian dollars.
All you have to do is choose your hotel, and book the room the same way you normally would if you paid with cash.
The points will be deducted from your Best Western Rewards profile, and you don’t have to do anything else.
The next thing you have to do is show up at the hotel and be ready for a great stay!
It really is as easy as that!
Best Way to Redeem Best Western Rewards
It can take a bit of work to figure out the best use of your Best Western Rewards.
In general, using them for pretty much any hotel stay is a good use of your points, but you can work to find the best value for your points.
I like to look at my travel calendar for the year and search each city I’m visiting that year.
I look at the cost in points versus the cost in dollars for each hotel and use my points at the hotel that gives me the best value.
I’m not going to lie. This can be very tedious.
Most people don’t want to and won’t go through that time consuming process.
I don’t blame you!
In that case, I recommend you looking for a hotel in whatever city you’re visiting and book the hotel you want with your points. The only thing to look out for is to make sure the hotel isn’t on sale. In that scenario, it is probably best to pay with cash and save your points for stay where it will save you more money.
I also recommend you look out for any hotels that are running promotions where you save X% off the price when you pay with points or you get an extra night free if you pay with points.
They don’t happen often, but they are the golden gem you should look out for!
Worst Way to Redeem Best Western Rewards
Normally this is the point in the article where I tell you it is foolish to use your points to buy merchandise or gift cards.
You don’t have that option with the MBNA Best Western card or Best Western Rewards.
You can only redeem your points for hotel stays, so it is pretty hard to use your points in a wasteful way.
The only realistic way you could spend your points in a terrible way is if you don’t use them and let them go to waste.
You should always use your travel points!
There is hardly anything worse in the travel hacking sphere than letting your points collect dust and never use them.
Don’t be that person.
Be sure to use your Best Western Rewards and keep your precious money in your pocket!
There is no annual fee for the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard!
To be eligible for the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard you must be the age of majority in your home province and be a Canadian resident.
MBNA has a 5/24 rule, and it applies to the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard.
This rule states that you will not be approved for any MBNA credit card if you have applied for 5 or more credit cards (with any issuer) in the past 24 months.
Keep that in mind when you apply for the MBNA Best Western card and any other MBNA credit card you’re interested in.
Who Should Get the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard
There is no downside to the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard!
It has no annual fee, so it cost you nothing to keep it in your wallet.
The MBNA Best Western card is also super practical, and you can earn a lot of points quickly even if you don’t frequent Best Western properties.
On top of all that, the card has a sweet sign-up bonus, and you get a free hotel night for doing absolutely nothing but making a small purchase on the card to get the bonus.
There really is no downside to the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard.
There is the reason I crowned it the best no-fee travel credit card in Canada!
Who Should NOT Get the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard
The only way I can see it not being a good idea to have the MBNA Best Western card is if you’re in danger of being rejected because of the 5/24 rule.
You definitely need to have a strategy when you apply for MBNA credit cards thanks to that pesky (but practical) rule.
You’ll want to read the next section if you want to learn how to get around that rule!
Top Secret MBNA Credit Card Hack
Okay. Here’s the deal.
MBNA doesn’t like travel hackers like us, and the 5/24 rules proves that.
But there is a sneaky way around that rule, and I’m going to share it with you.
Here is the step-by-step process to beat MBNA at their own game:
- Step One: Apply for and receive the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard. You need to apply for this card near the start of your travel hacking journey, so you don’t get in trouble with the 5/24 rule
- Step Two: Get the sign-up bonus from the Alaska Airlines card and keep it open for at least 8-12 months (the closer to 12 months the better)
- Step Three: Call MBNA and ask them to downgrade you to the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard
- Step Four: Apply for the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard one year or more after closing it. Probably get rejected because of the 5/24 rule
- Step Five: Call MBNA and explain that you aren’t looking for any more credit than they have already extended you. Ask them politely if they will split the credit limit from the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard and put half the credit limit on the new MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard. MBNA has no problem doing this.
- Step Six: Initiate evil laugh because you just beat the system!
There you have it! My short (but sweet) review of the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard.
This is a small but mighty card.
There is no annual fee, but you get enough points for a free night’s stay after your first purchase!
It is an underrated gem the travel hacking gods have bestowed upon us humble travel hackers who want to pay as little as possible for travel.
Don’t let the fact that you have to stay at Best Western hotels discourage you from applying for the MBNA Best Wester Rewards Mastercard. Best Westerns are much nicer than they used to be!
I personally love this card, and it is a keeper card for me.
There is no cost to you the user for holding this card, and you can use it to your advantage to get even more travel points out of MBNA in the future.
It rewards you now and will reward you again in the future when you want to top up your Alaska Airline miles.
Do the secret MBNA hack described above, and then keep the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard in your wallet forever!
It is truly one of the most underrated travel credit cards in Canada, and it deserves more love than it gets!