A Deeper Look at Wyndham Rewards Revolution: Game Changer or a Dud?



Viva Wyndham Maya

In my Sunday post, I touched a little on the new Wyndham Rewards rules. I’m sorry for touting my own horn, but it won’t take long, I promise.

Everyone and their mother have written about the new revolutionary (well, kinda) transformation of the Wyndham Rewards program. Everyone, but me. Yep, that’s right. The reason I haven’t written about it is not because I’m lazy — although I am, indeed — but because I still don’t know what to think of it. Simply put, they are setting their redemption rate at 15,000 points for EVERY Wyndham property in the world after May 11. That’s, well… unusual. Imagine Delta pricing their awards — coach, business, and first class — at the same mid level! Now that you have laughed your heart out, please explain how it is even possible! They are either visionaries who can see into the future, or they are dumb as a bag of hammers.

Now, I will say this: I do not really believe that people running a huge transnational corporation can be dumb (although, of course, it’s not impossible). What Wyndham has set out to do–and that runs contrary to everything that all other hotel chains are currently doing–is to reward their most loyal members with a cnance at aspirational travel. Wyndham can’t reasonably expect that people in their sound mind would choose to spend 15,000 points to buy a night at some Days Inn in the middle of nowhere rather than grab a room in the South Beach or Manhattan — and they seem to be OK with that. While Hilton, Marriott, IHG, SPG, and Club Carlson are going out of their way to limit their members’ access to the best and most expensive properties,  the Wyndham is going in the opposite direction.

Will they succeed?

I sure hope they will! Let’s try and consider the possibility that they know what they are doing. 🙂 And if they do succeed, it might make other hotel chains to start taking notice.

What is Wyndham Hotel Group?

Wyndham consists of 6,000 hotels and resorts across 15 brands:

Wyndham Hotels

Wyndham Hotels

  • Baymont Inn & Suites: lower moderate; think La Quinta or Fairfield Inn by Marriott. Large rooms, pools and free continental breakfast.
  • Days Inn (worldwide): think Sleep Inn or Red Roof.
  • Dolce Hotels and Resorts: 23 upscale properties in the US and Europe.
  • Hawthorn Suites (US): upper moderate; think Hilton’s Homewood Suites, Marriott’s Residence Inn, and IHG Staybridge Suites. Pools and free hot breakfast. 
  • Howard Johnson’s (US and Canada): from motels to full service mid-range hotels.
  • Knights Inn (US and Canada): motels.
  • Microtel Inn & Suites: economy hotels in  in Argentina, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, and the United States.
  • New Yorker Hotel: midrange hotel in the heart of Manhattan.
  • Ramada (worldwide): from budget to lower upscale international properties.
  • Travelodge (US and Canada): budget chain with nice amenities.
  • Tryp by Wyndham (worldwide): hip midrange hotels, think SPG Aloft or new Marriott Moxy.
  • Super 8 (US, Canada, and China): motels with free continental breakfast.
  • Wingate By Wyndham: think Hyatt Place or Courtyard by Marriott; free breakfast.
  • Wyndham Garden Hotels (mostly US, also South and Central America and Germany): located mostly in suburbs and business parks.  
  • Wyndham (worldwide): upscale hotels and resorts.
  • Wyndham Grand Collection: top Wyndham brand.

Apparently, to maximize this new 15,000-point redemption option, you will want to book your reward stay at Dolce, Wyndam or Wyndham Grand in most cases.

What Are the Changes

Indeed, there are more to their strategy than just introducing one 15,000-point redemption level. Says CEO Geoff Ballotti.

“Our second biggest opportunity is our commitment and focus on building our brand and brand equity and improving the quality and consistency of every one of our brands.”

General Changes

1. Most of Wyndham hotels are budget properties, and the brands are not that much different from each other. Wyndham has hired a brand strategy firm to try and change that.

2. They aggressively weed out low quality room. in the last year, Wynham removed three times as many rooms, as they did in two previous years combined.

3. Personalized upgrade offer after booking a room in select hotels.

Wyndham Rewards Changes

1. Single 15,000-point redemption level

2. Points plus cash. You pay 3,000 points and $25-95 for the room. How is it going to work with properties that go for $400-500 per night? I have no idea!

3. Guests earn x10 per dollar they spend on a hotel room; however, they will earn 1,000 points per stay, even if they pay less than $100.

4. Wyndham will stop charging hotel owners a fee for signing guests up for the Wyndham Rewards program (I was surprised they did that, sounds counterproductive to me). Instead, they will fine the owners $250 a month, every time the hotel does not sign up at least 10 guests a month.

Honestly, I’m afraid they hotels might start pestering guests to sign up for the program even if they have no desire to do so.

Any questions?

Yes, I know!

A million dollar question on everyone’s mind, I’m sure, is how is that even feasible? Wyndham pays the rack rate for an award night when the hotel is at 95% of the capacity. And if it’s less, they have upped the pay rate by 5% this year. So if most folks begin redeeming 15,000 points at the best Wyndham properties that normally go for $400-500 a night — how is Wyndham going to handle that?

I have no idea, but I hope they have an ace or two up their sleeve. They’re gonna need it!

Next part: Best Wyndham hotels for 15,000-point redemptions.

Photo By: andrewarchy

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Definitely a head scratching move considering the majority of properties are a lot more expensive at the flat 15K level. Consumers will get screwed on the low end by being forced to pay much more than in the past. And on the few top level properties, the property owners will get screwed. An odd combination.

Really be interesting to see what drove this move to fixed price redemption.

Kent C

I know all the blogs are reporting that the 15k applies to EVERY property but the website, https://www.wyndhamrewards.com/trec/consumer/special.action?partner=gofreegofastgogetem&eid=wrt:hero1:about:umbrella_coming_soon&variant=

says that not all hotels are participating in the program. So it is ALL the hotels, all the hotels, that are participating that is. Even if they include the best hotels, they can easily restrict availability using points to non-existent.

Kent C

I’d like to think they will allow a free for all, but the first thing they did literally within hours after the announcement is reduce the credit card bonus from 45,000 to 30,000. They probably went uh oh, what hath we done. Nice write up though, I’m still considering the card anyway.

Kent C

Some fine print:

“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. “

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