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(Program Reviews - Side by Side Comparison - Website Reviews)
Rated: June 2012- The loyalty program of Best Western hasn't been called Gold Crown Club since 2008, when it celebrated its 20th anniversary and changed its name to Best Western Rewards. When we last reviewed the site in December 2009, we said, "perhaps it's time to change the URL from the old name of the program, Gold Crown Club, to the new name, Best Western Rewards." It appears that Best Western Rewards has a tendency to be nostalgic, because the URL still contains the old name and the site itself hasn't changed much in the last three years either. Members can navigate through the site via a menu near the top of the screen where they can choose from five menu topics: Membership Benefits, Earn Rewards, Spend Points, Rewards Offers and Rewards Customer Care. There are no dropdown menus but when you mouse over the headings, a more complete description is displayed.
Best Western Reward's summer promotion is featured prominently on the home page, and to the left is a box that briefly explains why you should join the program with a link to join and learn more. Registration is a one-page online form and new members are automatically signed up to receive marketing materials from Best Western and their business partners unless you opt out. You can also choose your earning preference of points or partner awards such as airline miles. Your email address will be your login name. Near the bottom of the page are featured partners and offers, including links to the Best Western to Go mobile app and the program's generous Status Match, No Catch program, which allows elite members of other loyalty programs to get a status match with Best Western Rewards.
When searching for hotels, members can choose to have room rates shown as Reward Points instead of currency to see how many points are required for an award night. If a night is unavailable as an award night, there is an option to check alternate dates and find rooms available for points on other days.
Members looking to earn more points can check out the latest bonus points and bonus miles offers by region and also view a list of offers available nationwide. International offers are listed separately.
Best Western has a number of customized reward programs for AAA, CAA, motorcycle enthusiasts and racing fans. Links to these programs can be found under the Membership Benefits page, which gives a basic overview of the Best Western Rewards program. Best Western has a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions that answer most questions members may have about the program. If you booked your stay at bestwestern.com or called a Best Western reservation center, you can request missing points or miles online. For stays booked in other ways, you'll need to send in a form along with your receipt.
Sticking with a tried and true website can be a good idea since it's familiar to members who are accustomed to the way a site looks and works. The Best Western Rewards site is functional and user-friendly, but it would be even better with an updated look and some new tools, such as drop-down menus.