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If you are following other points and miles blogs, you are probably already aware of this, but there are some major changes coming to the Wyndham Rewards program. Typically when massive changes to an award chart are presented it is never in the consumers favor. However, this is one scenario where I am actually really excited about the changes (although there are definitely going to be people out there that are not excited!). Like many other loyalty programs, Wyndham Rewards has a tiered redemption structure where higher award categories require more points. In the Wyndham program, for example, the highest level category requires 50,000 points for a free night.
But, come May 11, 2015 that will all change! A new award structure will present itself where ALL hotels will required a fixed rate of 15,000 points per night. It does not matter if it is a Super 8 or a Wyndham Grand Resort in the Caribbean – they will now all be the same! While this is not great for those that liked to redeem their points at low level hotels, I personally would only redeem my Wyndham points for the higher award categories so this is a huge plus for me. Typically those low level awards are very inexpensive anyways, so being able to redeem for a free night at a nice hotel for less points is more beneficial for me. Although, when you look at all of Wyndham’s hotels, there are currently more hotels that require less than 15,000 points than those that are more than 15,000 points. So overall, this is a devaluation for the program overall, but I think more people are happy about being able to redeem a high end resort for less than for a Super 8. Although keep in mind, over the past few years Wyndham upped their award chart immensely, so this is just getting those high end categories back where they were a few years ago.
On top of the fixed rate of 15,000 points per night, Wyndham is introducing a Cash + Points award option where you can redeem 3,000 points + some cash for a “free night.” The cash portion has not yet been disclosed, but my assumption is that it will vary per hotel and not a fixed amount. This is the exact same way Club Carlson has their Cash + Point structured.
Now, I really do hope that when they say ALL hotels they really mean ALL hotels. In the past, Wyndham has been pretty deceiving so I do not fully trust them just yet. Examples of their shady ways include: Cutting the transfer rate of their points to airlines with no notification, Changing the number of points needed for a free night with no notification, Changing the terms of a 16,000 point offer for every stay.
While the Wyndham Rewards program is not on most peoples radar, I currently have about 180,000 points. Up until this point I really had no idea where I was going to use their points since any hotel that I’d want to stay at pretty much cost 40,000-50,000 points. Initially, I accrued their points as an easier (cheaper) way to get the Southwest Companion Pass. I did in fact transfer many of my points to the Southwest program a few days prior to the transfer partner devaluation, but I still had a number of points remaining. So, instead of these points getting me 3-4 free nights I’ll be getting 12 free nights! Finally, a change where I am personally benefiting tremendously! Although, I still have some doubts. Wyndham currently also has capacity control on award availability, and if they do not lift that, I do not see there being much availability at popular hotels ever. That is a huge reason for my skepticism as well. While my fingers are crossed, I am not getting my hopes up that this will be as good as everyone else thinks.
What do you think? Will this get you to consider Wyndham hotels more?