The New Wyndham Rewards: Everything We Know So Far & What You Need To Do

Wyndham Rewards recently announced some fundamental changes to how many points you’ll need to redeem for free nights. They’re saying farewell to flat rate award nights and welcoming back category levels.

They also announced some other changes regarding elite earning, points transfers from La Quinta and new ways to earn and redeem points. Here’s a more in-depth look at the updated Wyndham Rewards scheme to help you identify new opportunities and try to avoid the devaluation of any points you’re sitting on.

Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort

The Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort is probably going to cost 30,000 points from April 3, 2019

New Category Levels

For reservations made before April 3, 2019, free nights at any Wyndham property will cost 15,000 points per night. For reservations made after April 3, there will be three category levels:

  • 7,500 points: ~1/3 of properties
  • 15,000 points: ~2/3 of properties
  • 30,000 points: ~200 properties

Wyndham Rewards hasn’t yet released a list of which of their hotels will fall into which categories. According to Doctor of Credit, they have no plans on releasing this list before April 3. It’s highly likely though that 30,000 points will be required at properties like TRYP Times Square and The New Yorker in New York, Hawaii hotels and their all-inclusives. I’m not too familiar with Wyndham Rewards properties, so let us know in the comments below about any other properties you suspect will be made more expensive.

If you’d been intending to use your points at one of Wyndham’s premium properties, you’ll need to book that stay before April 3 to lock in the 15,000 per night cost. The good thing is that if the property you book drops in price, Wyndham will automatically credit your account with the additional 7,500 points per night.

Go Fast Awards

Wyndham Rewards has its own version of Points + Cash called Go Fast awards. The introduction of three category levels for award nights means they’re introducing three levels for Go Fast awards too:

  • 1,500 points + cash
  • 3,000 points + cash
  • 6,000 points + cash

You’ll now earn points on the cash portion of the stay. When checking the existing terms for Go Fast awards, I couldn’t find any mention of this policy at the moment, so this is at least a small improvement.

My Thoughts

I wasn’t a huge fan of Wyndham Rewards before these changes were announced. I have an account with them, but that was only to collect the points I earned from going to a Wyndham Timeshare presentation. In my opinion, their existing scheme holds very little value on both the earning and redeeming side, although there have been the occasional sweet spots like a 4 bedroom villa in Florida and a 9 bedroom English cottage, both of which cost only 15,000 points per night.

We stayed 11 nights in Wyndham properties last year, but all those nights were booked through Hotels.com. For me, buying Hotels.com gift cards at a 20% discount and earning 10% back in Welcome Rewards offered better savings than booking those stays directly and earning Wyndham Rewards points. The only time I’ve been tempted to book directly has been during their Masterpass promotions, but those have never lined up with our plans.

The introduction of three category levels virtually destroys any lingering value the program had. The only interest I – and likely many people – had in the program was booking their top properties for only 15,000 points per night. Now that those hotels will cost 30,000 points per night, they’ve devalued their loyalty scheme by 50%.

Having only three category levels simply doesn’t offer enough nuance when assigning point values to their hotels. Allocating ~9,000 properties into only three categories doesn’t feel like a great way of sorting things, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see additional categories added in the future. A flat rate of 15,000 points for every property at least made a modicum of sense as award stays at nicer properties became attainable.

I’d like to think the Wyndham Rewards guy is agreeing with my assessment above

Elite Earning

Unlike most hotel loyalty schemes, Wyndham Rewards hasn’t offered bonus points on paid stays to members with elite status. Instead, Platinum members earned 3,000 bonus points and Diamond members earned 6,000 bonus points each year, with Gold members earning nothing.

That’s all changing on April 3. The awarding of annual bonus points will be eliminated, with bonuses being awarded on paid stays as follows:

  • Gold – 10%
  • Platinum – 15%
  • Diamond – 20%

My Thoughts

This is obviously an improvement for Gold members as they don’t currently get any bonus. Platinum members will need to spend $2,000 per year and Diamond members $3,000 per year in order to earn the same number of bonus points.

That’ll likely be a devaluation for Platinum members who barely stay the 15 nights required to earn the status. At 15 nights per year, they’d need to spend $133.33 per night before taxes to earn 3,000 bonus points, although that per-night cost will go down the more nights they stay.

It’s less of an issue for Diamond members who earn the status through stays, although it could still be a devaluation. You need to stay 40 nights to earn Diamond status, so from April 3 you’ll have to spend $75 per night before tax to earn 6,000 bonus points. Given the low cost of some of their hotels, you still might not end up earning 6,000 bonus points.

These bonus point tiers are still underwhelming though. Staying 40 nights and spending $3,000 won’t earn you enough bonus points for a free night stay, even at a 7,500 point hotel – a property that’ll be of questionable quality.

Let’s compare that to IHG. Staying 45 nights earns you Platinum status which gets you 5 bonus points per dollar spent at most of their brands. If you spend $3,000 with Platinum status, you’ll earn 15,000 bonus points. That’s enough for a free night at a 10,000 or 15,000 point property, or up to three nights at a 5,000 point property on the PointBreaks list.

Similarly, staying 40 nights earns you Gold status with Hilton which offers 8 bonus points per dollar spent at most of their brands. Spending $3,000 with Hilton Gold status will therefore earn you 24,000 bonus points, enough for two free nights at one of their 10,000 point properties or almost five free nights at one of their 5,000 point properties overseas.

La Quinta Point Transfers

You can currently transfer points between Wyndham Rewards and La Quinta Returns on a 1:1 basis. If you have any La Quinta Returns points, you have until March 31, 2019 to transfer them on that basis. From April 3, you’ll only get 1 Wyndham Rewards point for every 2 La Quinta Returns points if you’re a Silver member, although Gold and Elite members will still have theirs transferred on a 1:1 basis. La Quinta Returns will be no more, so there’s no arbitrage opportunity for Silver members transferring in the other direction.

I’m not sure what happens if you transfer on April 1 or 2, as the dates listed by Wyndham and La Quinta specifically mention March 31 and April 3. It might be that transfers are suspended on those days while their systems are updated.

My Thoughts

The change from April 3 is ridiculously customer-unfriendly for Silver members. For as bad as the Marriott/SPG transition has been handled over the last 6 months, they at least automatically converted Starpoints to Marriott Rewards on a 1:3 basis for every member regardless of status.

For La Quinta members with Silver status, this could devalue their points by 75%. At the moment, 60,000 La Quinta Returns points can be transferred to Wyndham Rewards and used to get four free nights at one of Wyndham’s top hotels. If they neglect to transfer their points by April 3, they’ll end up with only 30,000 points. That’ll only be enough for one free night at a top Wyndham hotel in the future.

For loyal La Quinta members who travel with pets, this is a second blow after the introduction of pet fees at some La Quinta properties.

New Earning & Redemption Options

Along with these changes will come some new opportunities to earn and redeem Wyndham Rewards points. Here are the new partners and my thoughts.

Gas

Wyndham members will be able to both earn and redeem points at Marathon gas stations. Strictly speaking, this is already possible as La Quinta has had a partnership with Marathon for the past year. La Quinta Rewards points earned from that partnership could then be transferred to Wyndham.

Wyndham have yet to confirm the earning setup. At the moment, you earn 2 La Quinta Returns points per gallon (not per dollar), so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see something similar. If so, that wouldn’t be a reason to seek out a Marathon gas station, but would be a nice bonus if you happen to find yourself at one.

With United’s partnership with BP, you can redeem MileagePlus miles for discounts on gas, albeit for poor value. I suspect redeeming Wyndham Rewards points for gas discounts won’t be worthwhile either unless it’s to use up orphaned points.

Viator

Viator is a company through which you can book tours, activities, etc. Wyndham is teaming up with them to offer the opportunity to both earn and redeem points on Viator bookings.

IHG already has a partnership with Viator that offers 1,000 bonus points on the earning side, so it’s likely Viator will power a similar site for Wyndham Rewards. Note that you can also go through a shopping portal to earn cashback on Viator bookings which will probably provide better value for more expensive bookings.

This partnership has potential, but it’s completely reliant on what kind of rewards Wyndham offers for making a booking on Viator.

IHG’s current partnership with Viator

DoorDash

IHG Rewards Club has Grubhub, while Choice and Radisson Rewards have Delivery.com. Wyndham will soon be joining the hotel/food delivery ranks by allowing you to earn and redeem points with DoorDash. I’m not aware of any other companies DoorDash partners with in this way, so this is at least one positive development.

Let’s just hope Uber Eats and Postmates team up with Marriott and Hilton so you’ll be rewarded no matter what service you use.

Shopping Portal

Wyndham will also be launching their own shopping portal. I’ll reserve judgment on whether this provides value or not until we know what kind of rates it’ll be offering. At this early stage though, I’m not holding out much hope. Both the Marriott and Hilton shopping portals bit the dust, so I’m curious if Wyndham’s portal can avoid the same fate in the coming months and years.

With the devaluation of free night awards at their top properties, they’ll have to offer some rewarding rates to make it worthwhile picking them over all the other shopping portals out there.

Credit Cards

Wyndham hasn’t announced any changes to their credit cards, but those of you holding the current version of the premium card will need to reevaluate its worth as it’ll be devalued in two ways.

At the moment, the $75 annual fee card offers 6,000 bonus points on your anniversary date. As the card comes with Platinum status, you also currently get 3,000 bonus points each year. If you paid the annual fee for two anniversaries, you’d end up with 18,000 points – more than enough to get a free night at any property as things currently stand.

April 3 changes all that though and makes keeping the card much less worthwhile. One reason is that Platinum members will no longer receive 3,000 bonus points each year, meaning you’ll only get 6,000 points for paying the $75 fee.

The second reason is that if your plan has been to redeem points at their top properties, you’ll now have to pay $375 in renewal fees over the course of five years in order to earn enough for one free night. Needless to say, that’s highly unlikely to be worth it.

The calculation for holders of their old premium card will be different. That card has a $69 annual fee and comes with 15,000 points each year on your anniversary date. Although the value gained from the card will be going down due to the 200 properties moving up to 30,000 points per night, you’ll still be getting enough points for one or two free nights each year. Alternatively, you’ll be paying $138 every two years for enough points for one night at one of their top hotels. That’s not amazing, but there’s still some value there.

Question

What are your thoughts on these Wyndham Rewards changes? Are you more optimistic for some reason, or will you be losing interest and looking elsewhere? Let us know in the comments below.

About Stephen Pepper

Stephen Pepper is on a 5 year, 50 state road trip with his wife Shae and their dog Truffles. Finding opportunities to earn miles and points is one of the ways they can afford to do this, so he'll try to help you do the same for your own travels.

More articles by Stephen Pepper »

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Ron
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Ron

In terms of redemption, I think you are missing a fairly important point as you seem only to be focused on higher-end properties.

There are occasions where one needs a motel/hotel room while on the road or visiting family away from a large metropolitan area. Sometimes, a Super 8, Ramada Inn, or Baymont Inn may be the best available option for your needs. 15000 points for such a redemption seems wasteful under such a circumstance. 7500 points per night is much more reasonable.

Ben O.
Guest
Ben O.

The Wyndham Resort at Avon was a great property to book for skiing at Beaver Creek in CO. That’ll likely go up to 30,000 points as well.

Omer
Guest
Omer

The devaluation is of 100% not 50%

Brands
Guest
Brands

The 30,000 points hotels will cost twice as much, so the points will be half the value they used to be. So it depends on how you look at it.

Steven
Guest
Steven

You need to work on your math. A devaluation of 100% would mean that the points are literally worth nothing.

Omer
Guest
Omer

Maybe you need strengthen you math skills. Devaluation always refers to the original number. since you need twice the points for the same night that’s 100% devaluation. If they would rack the price to 45000 a night that would be 200% devaluation as you need 3 times the original point price. 60000 a night would mean 300% devaluation and so on

JAMES WAGNER
Guest
JAMES WAGNER

Hoping the Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront stays at 15K. Its not a great hotel, other than location. It is north of all the other hotels in VA Beach, surrounded by beach house rentals. Perfect location for a quieter family vacation, yet minutes from everything else. I was able to tack on a few days to my work trip that was near Richmond. The stay at this beachfront property was earned with some random stays at Super 8s during Masterpass promos.

P-nope
Guest
P-nope

Can barely find availability for their Hawaii properties. Hopefully this change will rectify that.

Mike
Guest
Mike

I get 15,000 points a year on my Wyndham card. And it was fine to spend $15,000 on my card to get second night free. And get a weekend out of it. I would buy points too. However, I will cancel card now. It was always troublesome to fit in stays at one of the few Grand Wyndham properties. Just isn’t worth the trouble of tracking these points anymore once there is a 50% devaluation when the nice Wyndham hotel footprint is really really small.

Seems all hotel chains going route of airlines. No value to be loyal to any hotel brand. Book through hotels.com with 10% rebate and using hotels.com gift card is way to go.

escot
Guest
escot

I’ve kept one of those legacy wyndham cards too — with the 15k annual bonus. Yet on the spend side, it’s 2 points for every dollar spent — thus $7,500 spend for each additional free night. (which we’ve largely used for the 2nd tier all-inclusive fare. (Those spends were lot of work to be sure…. will reserve my decision on closing card til after April 3rd & we can see the extent of the changes.)

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[…] Check out this post where we go more in-depth looking at what these changes mean and suggestions for how to maximize your points before the changes go into effect on April 3. […]

PFenske
Guest
PFenske

Which one is the “old card” that earns 15k points annually? I currently have a the previous version Visa signature that earns 2 points on all non-Wyndham purchases, which made it an okay card for NYC and SF stays. Wyndham sometimes neglects to award promo points unless I call to remind them; makes me wonder if I’m being shorted on annual points?

Nick Reyes
Editor

Adding a good value to the list: the Wyndham in Santa Monica has a perfect location directly across from the Santa Monica pier. The lobby was bright and clean. Rooms were a little dated, but perfectly clean. I got upgraded to a very spacious room there without any Wyndham status. Nightly rate was in the $250 range + tax, so a nice value for 15K. I’d stay again at 15K (not at 30K). Note they charge for parking, but there are cheaper options nearby.

escot
Guest
escot

Thanks for the idea, Nick.. Might be quite useful (and interesting) for you, Stephen, and f.m. to prepare a post (or series of posts) with ideas of the best Wyndham properties — to consider reserving at the 15k rate, before April. (or sooner)…. Readers could amplify with their own ideas and experiences. For ex., I could add a detail comment on the 2nd tier Wyndham all-inclusives on the Mexican Riviera…. (yet would luv to hear comments about the other A-I’s in D.R. and the Bahamas, as well as the Hawaii options… )

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[…] The New Wyndham Rewards: Everything We Know So Far & What You Need To Do […]

Paul Moeller
Guest
Paul Moeller

Bye bye Wyndham. Thanks for the memories.

Mel
Guest
Mel

I’ve been trying to book the Viva Wyndahm V Samana in the DR for about a week using points and I can not get the pages to load no matter what browser I use. Anyone else having trouble with booking right now using points?

David
Guest
David

I have the old 2x card that has worked out great for me w/ the current 15K pt per night. I’ve only used pts @ higher end properties & condos over the years. I’ve have a stash of 300K pts that I’ve been sitting on for the new, (delayed) Barbados & Nevis Grand Wyndhams. This devaluation has totally disrupted my plans. Will keep the card but have to make some decisions where to burn pts before the devaluation begins.

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[…] the gory details from a hotel loyalty program that has a consistent record of screwing its members: The New Wyndham Rewards: Everything We Know So Far & What You Need To Do. Maybe what you need to do is give them the finger and move on? Just a […]

Paul
Guest
Paul

How far out in advance can you book Wyndham reward stays?

trackback

[…] remember, Wyndham Rewards is undergoing significant changes on April 3. Check out this comprehensive Frequent Miler article for details on the Wyndham Rewards changes. And if you want to make award bookings at Wyndham’s top hotels at the current 15,000 […]

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[…] There are a number of other changes happening with Wyndham Rewards in the next few days. One, the La Quinta Returns program is ending as of 3/31/2019. For elite LQ Returns members, points will auto-convert to Wyndham Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. But if you’re non-elite in LQ Returns, you’ll lose half your points in the auto-conversion. Instead, you need to manually transfer your LQ points to Wyndham by Sunday 3/31. For more detail, see our article, Convert Your La Quinta Returns Points Into Wyndham Rewards by March 31. Two, there are other changes happening with Wyndham Rewards as of 4/3/2019 aside from the major change to award redemptions. This article by Stephen at Frequent Miler is the most complete summary and analysis we’ve seen: The New Wyndham Rewards: Everything We Know So Far & What You Need To Do. […]

Craig at Middle Age Miles
Guest
Craig at Middle Age Miles

Hi Stephen – This was a great article summarizing the upcoming Wyndham Rewards changes. I didn’t have anything to add, so I just linked to you! I took my best educated guess at the properties most likely to double to 30,000 points. I came up with 221 higher-end Wyndham-family properties and just published a new article with that list on Middle Age Miles. If you or any FM readers are interested, please take a look.

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[…] bonus points are worth less now than they used to be (see: The New Wyndham Rewards: Everything We Know So Far & What You Need To Do), so I wouldn’t go out of my way to take advantage of this promotion. However, if you were […]

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[…] the Wyndham Rewards “deal”. Daily Getaways is charging $175 for 15,000 points which, following their recent program change, would likely only provide good value in 0.1% of […]

Wayne
Guest
Wayne

According to the Wyndham site, Viva Wyndham all-inclusive properties are no longer participating in Wyndham Rewards as of June 1, 2019. This a huge devaluation in my opinion.

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[…] Rewards used to charge 15K points per night for award stays at all hotels, but they recently devalued and now charge 7.5K, 15K, or 30K per night depending on the property (count on most properties you’d want to stay at charging 30K). […]