MasterCard Inc. and Barclaycard US have retooled their Best Western International cobranded rewards card, which was introduced in 2002.
"Best Western customers told us they want more value as a reward for usage," Scott Young, the general manager of partnerships at the Wilimington, Del., unit of Barclays PLC of London, said last week. "We think this really addresses the need of the target consumer in this economic climate."
Cardholders earn five rewards points, up from 3.3 previously, per dollar spent at Best Western hotels, and they earn one point for every dollar they spend on other purchases. Other terms include up to 5,000 bonus points to new cardholders for balance transfers; a 0% interest rate on new cardholders' balance transfers for the first six months and point-redemption discounts and offers tied to purchases of gasoline, car rentals, dining and gift cards.
Travel rewards remain popular despite the recession's damper on consumer spending, said Megan Bramlette, a managing associate at Auriemma Consulting Group in Westbury, N.Y. "People are still spending money on travel, and the general trend is that they're looking for deals."
"It's a good time in general for refreshing loyalty schemes and brand messages because issuers can reconvey the value of the product to customers," she added. "It's not been the best year for the card industry from a public relations perspective. So giving consumers more is a good message."