Best Western Replaces Plastic Rewards Cards with Digital

Executive Summary

By 2015, Best Western International (BWI) had a well-established global membership rewards program with over 20 million members. However, with costs rising from printing plastic membership cards and distributing them via direct mail, it needed a more efficient and cost-effective way to manage its membership rewards operations. That’s when BWI’s search for a solution led to PassKit.

11 million+

digital membership cards distributed

$$ million

reduction in operating costs

Best Western and PassKit

About Best Western International

Best Western Hotels & Resorts, headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of 4,200† hotels in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide. Best Western offers seven types of hotels to suit the needs of our guests for any travel occasion: Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Vīb®, Best Western Premier®, Glō® Executive Residency by Best Western® and BW Premier Collection®.


Best Western Rewards is one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. BWI was looking to centralize its rewards program through a single point of operations in Arizona. With over 250,000 new member enrollments every month, the costs to print plastic membership cards and distribute via direct mail continued to rise. Customers also had to wait several weeks to even receive and use their plastic membership card.

BWI was looking for a robust, digital solution that would be able to scale to deliver and manage the millions of digital membership cards on a daily basis. They were also looking for a technology partner that was able to fully integrate with BWI’s CRM and proprietary systems.

The Solution

PassKit kicked off by delivering a workshop to the key stakeholders across the management, marketing, and IT teams at BWI. The workshop provided education on mobile wallet, inspiration on what opportunities lay ahead, and alignment in objectives across all stakeholders.

PassKit worked closely with BWI on solution design, systems mapping, and integration to CRM, email, and other proprietary systems. Digital membership card templates for 5 tiers were simultaneously set up for Apple Wallet and Android Pay using best practices on design and copy. PassKit also delivered training on mobile wallet, mobile wallet marketing, and API integration so that marketing and IT staff were able manage the rewards program with confidence.

Today, BWI has completely stopped distributing plastic membership cards and fully transitioned to digital. Best Western Rewards members receive an email with a link to their digital membership card, which includes their membership information, latest points balance, and links to the BWI app & customer support. Members now have a more convenient way of accessing and using their membership cards without the need to carry plastic cards. By using PassKit’s platform and tools, BWI now has the ability to also send targeted messages to members via the digital membership card.


By partnering with PassKit, BWI saved US$XYZ million per year on plastic cards and direct mail distribution alone. BWI also successfully centralized its global membership rewards program to 1 location and reduced operating costs even further. As of March 2017, over 11 million members have received their digital membership cards.

While this is only the first phase of its initiative to go digital, BWI is committed to leveraging the latest technologies to deliver a world class rewards program that increases customer engagement and loyalty.

Best Western Digital Membership Cards

“Best Western's partnership with PassKit has yielded significant return on investment since day one - not only in incremental revenue from our mobile wallet development but also in more innovative marketing strategies resulting from the brainstorming sessions and raw energy of PassKit’s team. PassKit challenges us to more rapidly prototype, test, analyze, learn, and improve."

- Jacob Scott, Product Manager

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