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For a few years now Wyndham, the world’s largest hotel chain, has had a unique rewards program. Every hotel costs 15,000 points for a free award night. Under this system the obvious choice was to use your points to book free nights at expensive resorts or downtown locations.
Today they announced the introduction of a new 3-tiered award chart. Starting on April 3, 2019, top-tier properties will cost double (30,000 points) and bottom-tier locations will be half price (7,500 points). But the good news is that almost a third of Wyndham hotels will be dropping into the new bottom tier.
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Wyndham Adding New Award Chart
Wyndham has given us a good 6 weeks to plan for these changes. But, as The Points Guy notes, we don’t know which individual hotels are moving up or down. So this information isn’t quite as helpful as it could be, even though we know that ~3,000 hotels will drop in price to 7,500 points per night and 200 are increasing to 30,000 points per night.
If you’re worried that the award night you want to book will drop in price, you can book the stay now, and as long as the free cancellation period extends past April 3, 2019, you can just cancel and rebook if the price drops.
The price of Wyndham’s Go Fast awards (cash + points stays) will also be changing to the following:
- Lowest tier – 1,500 points + cash
- Middle tier – 3,000 points + cash
- Highest tier – 6,000 points + cash
Last year, Wyndham acquired La Quinta, and on April 3, 2019, La Quinta’s rewards program is ending. If you have any La Quinta points, you can transfer them over to Wyndham at a 1:1 ratio until March 31, 2019. After then, Gold elite members or higher will have their points automatically converted over to Wyndham at a 1:1 ratio. But if you don’t have elite status, your La Quinta points will only be automatically converted at a 2:1 ratio. So you’ll want to transfer them over before the end of March.
Wyndham is also making a few other changes. Beginning in April, elite members will receive the following bonus base points per $1:
- Gold – 10% bonus
- Platinum – 15% bonus
- Diamond – 20% bonus
My Thoughts About the Wyndham Award Chart Changes
I don’t frequently stay with Wyndham and their points aren’t particularly easy to earn outside of paid activity – they don’t partner with any major transferable points program. But overall this change should make your Wyndham points more useful. Previously, it wasn’t enticing to redeem 15,000 points for a Super 8 in Elk Grove, Illinois, when you knew those same points could have gotten you a free night on the beach in Jamaica.
And while being able to book thousands of hotels for only 7,500 points definitely makes Wyndham and their Barclays credit cards more useful, they aren’t quite on the same level as Hyatt and other major hotel chains.
For example, a Category 1 Hyatt only costs 5,000 points per night. And Hyatt points are much, much easier to earn because they transfer at a 1:1 ratio from Chase Ultimate Rewards. So any of these cards could get you loads of free Hyatt nights:
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
When you consider that a Category 1 Hyatt House or Hyatt Place is almost always an exponentially better hotel than a low-level Days Inn, the choice is clear.
However, Hyatt’s achilles heel is their relatively small number of hotels. After this change, Wyndham will have 3 times more low-level hotels than every category of Hyatt combined!
So even though Wyndham points aren’t as valuable, they can be more practical especially if you’re not traveling to a bigger city.
What are your thoughts? And what has your experience been with the Wyndham loyalty program?
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