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In Time for the Holidays, Best Western Bonuses for Gift Cards

The Best Western network includes more than 4,000 hotels in 80 countries. A gift card good for a stay at any of those hotels might make a good Christmas present for the traveler on your list. And there's a bonus that makes giving rewarding for the giver as well.

Offer Details

Through December 31, Best Western Rewards members who purchase a $100 Best Western gift card will receive a $10 gift card (from Best Western, Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart, or Carrabbas, Flemings & Outback), or 2,500 Best Western Rewards bonus points.

The bonuses may be earned an unlimited number of times, but require separate transactions.

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Registration as a Best Western Rewards member is required.

Deal or No Deal

I'm not a big fan of gift cards. While they purport to be "cash-like," in practice their utility is limited, often leading to consumers not redeeming them, or redeeming them only partially. Their value suffers accordingly.

The Best Western gift cards, for example, can only be used for Best Western stays, and the other store-specific cards are similarly limited in their usability.

Nevertheless, the cards do offer potential value—even face value—for those who can use them, and make it a point to do so. In that case, the $10 gift card amounts to a 10 percent discount. Not bad, but the bonus points option might be the better deal.

In Best Western's program, members earn 10 points for every dollar spent on stays, so the 2,500-point bonus is equivalent to the points earned after spending $250.

Looking at it from a different angle, free Best Western nights can be booked for between 8,000 and 36,000 points. So 2,500 points are 25 percent of the points required for a free night at the chain's cheapest properties. That's substantial.

Unfortunately, hotels in that entry-level award category are few and far between. A test-check on hotels in the Los Angeles area turned up 67 hotels, none of which could be booked for 8,000 points. There was one hotel available for 12,000 points (the Best Western Pine Tree Motel in remote Chino), but the majority of the listed hotels were priced at 20,000 points per night. At that rate, the 2,500-point bonus puts you 12.5 percent of the way toward a free night.

This is a case where the promotion's value isn't so much in the eye of the beholder as it is in the behavior of the beholder. There's solid value to be had, if the gift cards are redeemed for their face value, or if the points are used for free room nights.

Reader Reality Check

Are gift cards on your Christmas shopping list?

Any experience, positive or negative, with gift cards?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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