My Previous Post is here: A Deeper Look at Wyndham Rewards Revolution: Game Changer or a Dud?
I did a lot of work to prepare this post, boys and girls. A lot of tedious, menial, time-consuming work. And I loved every minute of it! Something’s gotta be seriously wrong with me, and no, this is not a joke!
As a result, I think I might know where Wyndham is going with their seemingly insane, fixed, 15,000-point redemption scheme.
As you might remember from my previous post, I didn’t — for the life of me — understand how Wyndham could possibly get ahead with that scheme. It is in our nature to try and get more for less. Of course, people will redeem their free nights at better properties as long as it costs them the same in points, so how could it possibly work for the chain?
I think the answer is in the numbers. There are exceptionally few aspirational hotels in the Wyndham portfolio, and almost all of those are in the United States. While Wyndham has an extensive international footprint, there are amazingly few hotels where you would get a good bang for your points. Even though we all had know that Wyndam was a more budget oriented hotel chain than everyone else (except Choice Privileges), this extreme shortage of truly exceptional international properties still caught me by surprise.
Parameters of Research
For this post, I have researched properties that would give me an exceptional value: at least 2 pennies on a point.
In other words, the cost of a Wyndham hotel (including taxes) would have to be around $300 to qualify for the honor of being included in this list.
You might counter that it ain’t no SPG, and what exactly I’ve been smoking. In the end, there is nothing wrong with a redemption value of 1 penny on a dollar, since most hotel chains have a much worse value than this.
Well, let’s say, for the argument’s sake, that I can’t write blog posts that would last forever. Of course, there is nothing wrong with redeeming a hotel reward at a penny for a point, and you will find plenty of excellent Wyndham hotels around the world fitting this description.
And, please, before you insist that the value is in the eye of the beholder, let me just say that I couldn’t agree more. However, if you happen to want to travel to the city where a particular hotel is located, this becomes a less theoretical proposition. So yes, the price tag of a hotel room is the most important parameter.
However, there are more.
1. Is the city or a place expensive (think London, Paris or Tokyo)? In other words, would I be able to book a decent hotel for fewer points or dollars? If yes, I might go for another property.
2. Is the city or place relatively cheap, but the property is a destination hotel? If yes, I might want to blow some points there even if I can find another decent and more affordable place.
3. With all other things being equal — do I have elite status with other chains that offers me some tangible benefits (free upgrade, breakfast and/or access to the lounge). Enough with this free water nonsense, already!
Having said that, keep in mind that I am not a luxury traveler. I’m perfectly fine staying at a good clean hotel, so if you have only luxury hotels in mind, your perception of a great value can be a little (or a bit) different.
Ready? Let’s begin.
High-Value Redemption Wyndham Properties in the United States
While there is a zillion of good and very affordable lodging options around Orlando, this hotel really stands out. It’s comprised of villas and condominiums, which is perfect for a true family vacation, and it has its own water park. Well, and the reviews speak for themselves.
Keep in mind, though, that a hotel room at the Reunion goes for about $200 during the off season, so plan accordingly. 🙂
This hotel has a great address in Miami Beach and mostly excellent reviews, although many reviews mention how small the rooms are.
This is not a luxurious property, but the location is fantastic, the reviews seem to be quite good, and the value of 15,000 points would be hard to beat — at least during peak travel times.
Great location, great reviews, and excellent value!
Excellent location and great reviews. Some reviewers mention large rooms, but weak WiFi.
The reviews for this hotel are mixed, but this is Santa Monica. If you have to be there, the 15,000 reward seems to be perfect for the price. 🙂
Mostly great review. Some reviewers note weak cellular signal.
This hotel is an institution in Colorado Springs. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, although one reviewer is fuming that they didn’t give him doggy bags (for the pet).
Galveston is known for its cruise terminal (at least to me), but it also has miles of excellent beaches, and this historic hotel looks like a great place to spend a couple of nights. Reviewers mention incredibly high ceiling and low water pressure. 🙂
Wyndham has recently acquired an upscale hotel group Dolce Hotels and Resorts. There are some interesting US properties that belong on this list.
Looks like a perfect home for a wine-tasting tour of Napa!
Aspen! Need I say more?
Lovely boutique hotel in downtown Indianapolis
This one is a no brainer for 15,000 points, me thinks.
It looks like a great property, although the reviews are mixed.
High-Value Redemption Wyndham Properties in the World
Here is the damnedest thing. I found none. No, not kidding. 🙁
There is not one international hotel in the Wyndham portfolio that I would want to book on points. There were a few, but it seems they’ve gotten rid of them recently (for example, they sold one of their best hotels, Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour to the Millenium Hotels). It seems to me, that they strategically shifted — although shifted is not the right word — it’s more like they moved further toward becoming even more budget-oriented chain than they were in the past.
Don’t get me wrong — they seem to have a lot of interesting, reasonably priced international hotels, but as a normal (LOL) traveler, I wouldn’t probably use points to stay at these hotels. I would pay cash in order to earn points, but since there are no international hotels where I would like to burn these points, the question is what their points are really worth.
Keep or Burn?
- If you are interested in any of the above properties, you are good.
- If you value your points at around 1 cent or slightly less, you are still good. You will not run out of options domestically or internationally, and sometimes you’ll do a bit better.
- If you find yourself often staying at cash-cheap, point-expensive hotels, you are good, too — even if the cost of your points is below a penny, you’ll still do better.
- However, if you stay or plan to stay at low-cash, low-point properties, get rid of your points before May 11 when the change is taking place.
As a reminder, if you think you will be able to use your Wyndham points at a rate considerably better than 1 cent or so, you can buy them right away for $11 per 1000.
Will You Be Able to Use Your Points at All-Inclusive Resorts
This is what their rules say:
The go free award will be valid only for the room rate for one (1) single or double standard hotel room for up to the maximum occupancy of the room, including local taxes but not including incidental charges, except in the case of all-inclusive participating Wyndham Hotels and Resorts 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 togo free awards.
I seriously doubt they will allow you to book an all-inclusive room at the Wyndham’s best properties for 15,000 points, hence the participating hotels clause. I asked Wyndham which all-inclusive properties will be available for points and hope they will clarify it for us.
What About a Sweeter Credit Card Bonus
Right now the Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards sign up bonus is measly 30,000 points. I wouldn’t touch it.
However, The Points Guy talked to one of their top people and reported this:
This summer, Wyndham will launch the richest bonus offer in its history on its Wyndham Rewards Visa card—though no firm amount or date has yet been specified. Presently, the $69 annual fee version of the card offers a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points with first purchase, and earns you 5x per $1 on hotel stays and 2x per $1 on everything else, and offers a cardmember anniversary bonus of 5,500 points, the old program’s redemption rate for one night at a Wyndham Tier 1 hotel. The no annual fee version offers a sign-up bonus of 12,000 bonus points with first purchase, and earns 3x per $1 on hotel stays and 2x per $1 on everything else.
Now, their best bonus up to date was 45,000 points. If they are really going to launch their “richest bonus offer in its history” then it would be 50,000 points or more. That would make me think, I promise. 🙂 We’ll see.
OK, so this post has gotten over 1700 words (or closer to 20,000 if you are counting pictures). It is about to stop…
Want to know more about free travel hacks? Sign up for my weekly digest (top left) and don’t miss the good stuff.