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Update: Per this Flyertalk post, Wyndham has now dropped the Wingate by Wyndham down 10,000 points to 35,000 points per night. That is still a huge increase, but still better than 45K and they did say they would do a better job of communicating in the future.
This devaluation of some redemption options can be described no other way than epic meltdown. This is why people say that points are worthless – because in this case they seemed to have almost made it that way for some folks overnight with no warning and no grace period. I have written about Wyndham Rewards many times over the last year, and while I know many folks were most interested in them to redeem for airline miles, I thought there were fantastic ways to use them for actual hotel stays. Were being past tense. Here was the “award chart” for hotel stays:
You can use your hotel points for free nights at Wyndham family hotels. Those include: Wingate, Hawthorn, Ramada, Days Inn, Super 8, Baymont, Mircotel, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, and Knights Inn. Within the US and Canada, free nights range from 6,000 to 16,000 points per night.
- 6,000 points for a night at a Tier 1 hotel
- 10,000 points for a night at a Tier 2 hotel
- 14,000 points for a night at a Tier 3 hotel
- 16,000 points for a night at a Tier 4 hotel
There were some other brands like Dream, Tryp, Night Hotel, and Wyndham properties that use their own award chart that differed from the one above and had more expensive properties. However, you could book any Wingate, Ramada, etc. in the US or Canada for a max of 16,000 points per night. In some cases, like in Manhattan at the Ramada New Yorker Hotel or the Wingate by Wyndham Manhattan Midtown this resulted in outstanding value. In fact, I have a review of my parents stay at the Wingate that will be ready in the next day or two.
In doing some research to write that post on the Wingate in Manhattan I noticed the epic meltdown of Wyndham Rewards. Annual tweaks to rewards programs or redemption prices are normal. However, what has happened here is not normal (or in my mind acceptable). As is pointed out in this Flyertalk thread, the Wingate my parents just stayed at for 16,000 points per night has just skyrocketed to 45,000 points per night. Apparently Wingate properties can now be up to 45,000 points on the award chart as that wasn’t even possible on the old chart.
A 281% increase in the number of points required with no warning is insane and embarrassing. What happens to folks that have been loyally saving up their points to take a trip to NYC? The Ramada New Yorker went up a “modest” 218% to 35,000 points per night.
Here are the old rates:
Here are the new rates:
The excitement doesn’t stop there. Now you get to call to make reservations for international properties. I can’t swear whether you had to do that before or not, but I never heard about it. I do know you used to be able to search for international properties and it would tell you how many points were required – I assumed you could go ahead and book the hotel, though admittedly I never tried that step. There is still a list of how much the international properties cost here. I assume those prices are still correct.
The “good news” is that there are many properties that are still 16,000 points or less – including the Days Inn Connecticut Avenue in DC where my parents stayed on points a couple of years ago. Even the Ramada Place Waikiki is still just 16,000 points. You can even get a night in Manhattan for just 14,000 points per night, if you are willing to stay on the Upper West Side at the Days Inn New York City – Broadway. The Ramada Eastside is now 25,000 points per night. Many other locations around the country are still topping out at 16,000 points per night, but if you want to stay in some of the more desirable NYC Wyndham properties be ready to open your points wallet much wider than you needed to a few weeks ago.
The other good news is that airline transfer rates have remained the same (and I am liking that option a bit more than I did in the past). They are 8,000 Wyndham points: 3,200 airline miles; 17,5000 Wyndham points: 7,000 airline miles; and 30,000 Wyndham points: 12,000 airline miles. In all cases 2.5 Wyndham points = 1 airline mile. Some of the airline programs available at that redemption rate include Aeroplan, American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, Frontier Early Returns, US Airways Dividend Miles, and United MileagePlus. Southwest Rapid Rewards points are also available at a transfer rate of 8,000 Wyndham points = 2,400 Rapid Reward points and they have historically been Companion Pass qualifying points.
Clearly hotels have every right to change redemption rates, but is it too much to ask for a little notice or warning? I have a recent email from Wyndham informing me I can now redeem points for magazines (meh), but I couldn’t find anything telling me that NYC redemption prices have increased up to 281% since the last time I looked. That sits even worse with me given their recent promo that touted I could stay one night at a participating property and earn 16,000 points – enough for a free night. Well sure, but not where I want to go.
On the off chance that Wyndham sees this – can you please do what other chains like Priority Club are doing and give a grace period of a couple months where members can at least call in to book with the old rates? My Wyndham points came easily via promotions like the Daily Getaways, but I am sure that some members earned them the old fashioned way – by stays. In my opinion dramatic changes likes this aren’t fair to people who displayed loyalty to this program. What they get in return is a good swift kick in the pants. I like(d) Wyndham Rewards, but I need to be able to trust that I won’t wake up tomorrow and have a bunch of Wyndham Pesos burning a hole in my pocket.