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There’s new management on the scene at Wyndham, which includes, Wingate, Hawthorn, Microtel, Ramada, Baymont, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Travleodge, Knights Inn, and Dolce properties – over 7,000 hotels in all.
And they are shaking up the Wyndham Rewards program.
Starting May 11th you can use just 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points to get a free night at any Wyndham related property via its new ‘go free award.’
There are no tricks here.
Every standard room in the hotel will be available for 15,000 points, so hotels can’t play games like holding back rooms during high demand periods.
You can see the fine print here:
“Our go free award will replace our Free Night Stay program. The go free award will allow you to redeem 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points for one free night at any of our participating hotels worldwide – any standard room (up to max. occupancy), any participating property, down to last room available. No blackout dates.
The go free award will be valid only for the room rate, including local taxes but not including incidental charges, except in the case of certain participating all-inclusive properties, where a go free award will also include meals and other amenities for up to two (2) guests for the free night. See revised Wyndham Rewards program terms and conditions on or after May 11, 2015 for more details, including information on cancellation policies applicable to go free awards.”
But not everything is a win. Here’s the good and bad and how to play this change.
Good: Tier 5-9 hotels will come down in price.
Wyndham Rewards currently has 9 hotel award price tiers. There aren’t a lot of really fancy Wyndham hotels, but its nicer tier 5-9 hotels currently cost from 16,000 – 30,000 points a night, and if you are saving up to stay at one of them, this is great news for the value of your existing points.
Most New York City properties run around 30,000 points a night, so they will get their prices cut in half, which is good news, as even he most basic of hotels in New York often costs $300 or more a night.
Unfortunately the nice Dream Hotels are no longer part of the Wyndham network, so you’re left with the standard Wyndham, Tryp, and Ramada hotels. The former CEO of Wyndham Hotels now runs Dream and its affiliated hotels, so their participation in Wyndham Rewards is a casualty of the management change.
All but one of Wyndham’s all-inclusive Viva resorts will be cheaper, with prices now ranging from 16,000 – 30,000 points per night. The go free awards include the meal portion of an all inclusive resort for up to two guests, which is a nice perk.
Wyndham also recently acquired Dolce hotels, which runs some middle high end business conference style resorts, mostly near golf courses, and typically run $200-$300 a night.
These aren’t yet bookable with Wyndham Rewards points, but most will be with the new program at 15,000 points a night.
In general, if a hotel is running $300 a night or more in cash, you’re getting a really good deal at the new 15,000 point per night rate, as long as there isn’t a nicer hotel with another chain that’s at a better price. That’s 2 cents or more in value per point, which is strong for hotel points that are easy to earn.
In addition to the above, you’re going to want to consider Wyndham Grand locations, which include:
These aren’t all true 5 star luxury hotels, so they aren’t comparable to the top tier hotels with Hyatt, Starwood, or Marriott. But at 15,000 points a night they don’t have to be. Here’s the view from the rooftop pool of the Wyndham Grand Istanbul Kakamis Marina.
And there are a bunch of middle quality regular Wyndhams across the U.S. and in some mostly 2nd tier international locations. They can be good deals when rates are high during busy times of the year, like Spring Break in Florida. There’s a list of locations here.
Bad: All Tier 1 – 4 hotels will go up in price.
If you tended to use your points at places that currently cost less than 15,000 points a night, naturally you will lose out in this change.
That includes most Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, and Super 8 hotels in the Wyndham program. Many are available for as few as 5,000 points.
Basically, Wyndham is using that part of the change to subsidize rewards at nicer hotels. And we can now only recommend focusing on Wyndham points if you plan to use them at hotels that cost $200-$300 or more per night.
How to play this: Get
3 2 free nights + a 4% rewards card
There are too few nice Wyndham properties for this to be a better primary hotel rewards program than Starwood or Hyatt, the most rewarding programs around now.
Hyatt offers comparable hotels for 15,000 – 30,000 points a night and Starwood for 12,000 – 35,000 points a night.
In many major cities like Washington D.C., it’s impossible to find anything more than a Days Inn via Wyndham.
But if you are planning to go somewhere that has a good quality Wyndham, it’s now really easy to jump in and earn free nights that can save you hundreds of dollars.
The current sign on bonus for the Wyndham Rewards MasterCard is
45,000 30,000 points after your first purchase, so you can earn earn 3 2 full free nights with the card for a $69 annual fee. That can be $1,000 $700 or more in value if you choose expensive hotels.
On top of this the card earns 2x points on all purchases.
While there are some changes in store for the card that have not yet been disclosed, at 2x points on all purchases, it’s easy to earn 4%+ rewards on your spending.
As long as you use your points to book hotels that are worth $300 or more a night, that 15,000 point rate is getting you 2 cents or more in value per point, and the 2x points on all spending doubles it, for 4 cents in value for every dollar you spend.
Now may be a good time to jump on the card, in case they deem the current sign on too lucrative. [UPDATE 4/2 – THEY DID DEEM THE BONUS TOO LUCRATIVE, AND NOW IT’S DOWN TO 30,000 POINTS, JUST 2 FREE NIGHTS].
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