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I got pretty upset with the Wyndham Rewards program when they dramatically changed the number of points required as some New York City properties a while back without any notice. The number of points required jumped from 16,000 to as much as 45,000 points per night overnight. They then did back it down to 35,000 per night, but that is still more than a 2x increase without notice. To their credit, they did seem to be willing to work with folks one on one if that increase impacted reservations they were trying to make (though I didn’t end up taking them up on that so I can’t speak for certain how it played out), and they did eventually apologize for the poor communication around the changes. So we are passed all of that now, but looks like another change is on the horizon, and this one seems to be much larger in scale…. Here is the new award chart that will go into effect in a couple weeks.
First the good news – the lowest redemption cost for Category 1 properties is going from 6,000 to 5,500 points. They are adding a tier at 8,000 points, so the jump from a Category 1 to a Category 2 property is not as substantial as it previously was. They are capping the highest redemption level at 30,000 points, and thus eliminating the 35,000 and 45,000 point categories. This means that the NYC properties will have to come down to 30,000 points. So, the news isn’t all bad, but we all know that the news won’t be all good.
The bad news – currently most of the properties were tapped out at 16,000 points per night. With the exception of the NYC properties that recently increased in redemption cost, all of the Days Inn, Ramada, Wingate by Wyndham, Super 8, etc. properties within the US tapped out at 16K points per night. The other brands (that I hadn’t really heard of) like Dream, Tryp, and Night were a higher points price, as were international properties. My fear now is that it is fair-game for all brands to go as high as 30K points per night, which obviously won’t be good when it comes time to redeem.
We won’t know which properties are moving up or down in points cost until the new award chart goes live on 3/14, but you can always make a speculative reservation now if you have a redemption in mind (just be sure to look at the cancellation policy to be sure) and then adjust it later if the property goes down in points price. At least they gave some notice that changes are coming this time around, so that is an improvement.
Alternatively, you can just transfer your Wyndham Reward points to airline miles at a decent rate. I cleaned out most of my Wyndham Rewards recently for my parents’ upcoming trip to Utah and some of the Southwest. Hotels were silly expensive in some of those small towns for their dates (couple hundred per night for 2-3 star properties), but available for 16K Wyndham points or less each night. Whatever you want to do with your Wyndham points, I would not advise just sitting on them and hoping for the best. The likely outcome is they will be less useful for you post-3/14 for many properties than before….though I would love to be wrong about that.
Thanks to View From the Wing for a head’s up about this upcoming change.