The Epic Meltdown of Some Wyndham Rewards Redemptions

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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 staysWere 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.

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  1. […] Maybe we weren’t spending all day gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, but it was a solid relationship with each of us contributing. But then came 2013, and you changed. I don’t know if you were having troubles at work or making ends meet, but all of a sudden you were giving us the silent treatment. You were making decisions without even telling us… and they were bad decisions. Like raising the points price at your New York City hotels by 281% without any announcement whatsoever. […]


  1. “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.”
    And still are, as of a couple days ago.
    Bad devaluation, but not totally unexpectedly they’d do something drastic after they gave out all those zillions of points last year for cheap. Time for everyone to express displeasure by refusing to stay there.

  2. Wow! I stayed in that Wingate Midtown using points last fall when the wife and I went into the city for a concert. It was a great value – I purchased 25k points in the Daily Getaways promo, and was able to not only get that stay, but have enough points saved to do a Grand Slam transfer (obv, those points are still in my account waiting on next year). However, if I had redeemed 45k points for the room we stayed in, I would have been seriously bummed. But that’s why they say “earn ’em and burn ’em” right?

  3. Wow, that stinks. I’ve been holding onto my points from the Daily Getaways in case I ever decide to stay at one of their hotels, but now I’m thinking of transferring to miles. Anyone know how long the transfer takes?

  4. I am glad you wrote this up! I was just looking at NYC options last night and wondering if I had gone crazy. I think a grace period should absolutely be given.

    Not only is it unfair to people who’ve displayed loyalty, but don’t feel guilty that your points came from promotions–it’s also unfair to people who have taken advantage of such deals, including the Daily Getaways and the “Revere” promo. Simple bait n switch. I certainly wouldn’t have done any Revere mattress runs this past fall if I had suspected a HUGE devaluation could come so soon and without even an announcement.

    Imagine if Club Carlson had surreptitiously and dramatically changed their award chart after their big promos last year. People would be up in arms. Wyndham, make this right and give us an ample grace period!

  5. I was fortunate to redeem most of my WR point balance at the tail end of last year, leaving me with just a small five-figure balance that I have substantially diminished as of last weekend. [I did use up a chunk of my points on hotel bookings for later this year and now I will make sure they get used up one way or another.]

  6. Even Milan Italy and Zurich Switzerland are 45,000 points. I think I will just transfer to Southwest what I bought on the Daily Getaways last spring for my companion reward now!

  7. They just killed their rewards program. The most reasonable response to this is to transfer your points into airline miles while you still can, and then never stay with them again. If enough people do this, the ensuing meltdown of their occupancy rates will be ample warning to other chains not to follow suit.

  8. When Choice Hotels devalued their point redemption, I stopped staying at their properties. Now I can add these guys to the list.

    Maybe I’ll just transfer my remaining 10,000 points to an airline.

  9. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Wall Street Journal and/or some other major publications — USA Today is perfect for this market — decided to do a story about hotel point devaluation and used this as one of the examples of how devaluations are done?

  10. I just checked their location on Kauai to see if they also went up. I already have 2 nights booked but I am working on the points for one more night. Thank goodness it has stayed at least for today. Those 1 bedroom condo rooms go for $279 a night pretty much all year long. After all the frustration with their last promotion this is the only Wyndham I will ever stay at. Anything I earn from this stay will be credited in miles.

  11. It sucks but I did revere and Daily getaways to transfer them. New york and Hawaii would be the only hotels in the wyndham portfolio I would stay in. If or more likely when club carlson does it that would seriously suck. I think we will start seeing alot of changes to several programs soon.

  12. Dumped my 48k into 19.2k AA. I like flexibility in an award program, and considered staying there, but none too happy about this. Trust is not a sufficient condition for loyalty, but it is a necessary one.

  13. Wyndham has proved untrustworthy and I refused to do any business with them several years ago after they did something shiesty to my account after staying with them for several nights over a week+ long road trip.

    This kind of action is completely not surprising and I continue to encourage people to avoid doing business with this company at all cost.

    There are just too many options in the world of travel to subject oneself to the Wyndham experience.

  14. This isn’t new. This past summer when I participated in the bonus promotion for the newly acquired Hawthorne properties I had in mind a stay at the NY Wyndham. Back in August 2012 the NY Wyndham was 45K a night.

  15. Thanks for the heads up. In the past, I’ve had to call in international hotel redemptions b/c they could not be done online. I will have to reevaluate whether or not to participate in the daily getaway deal this year.

  16. I’m super pissed. I had been saving enough points for a 6 night stay this spring and now its only worth 2 nights. If they had given a grace period, they would not have lost my business for good.

  17. I am in the camp that tries not to put too much weight in calculating the return value of points. I know it’s important in the grand scheme of things, but I am frugal in strategy in that if I have the points, I better use them. Because in the end, my mindset is it’s better than paying full price. I am really glad I made that decision recently, as I just used all my Wyndham points from the recent promo phantom runs with Hawthorne Suites. I used them for a recent trip to the Philippines. One of the hotels I used was Microtel Boracay. Their redemption per night was only 16k at the time. But, to counter that, their hotel cash rate was only $100 per night. It was affordable even if i didnt use my points. So it was not a great return value, but I only paid $55 for those 16k during the promo phantom runs. The decision came down to I rather pay almost half off on a vacation I know I am taking, rather than hoarding the points for something better that I have not planned yet. Some may think that’s a poor choice to use points, but based on this scenario it worked out lovely. I dont even know how much it is to redeem now because they require me to call in to book when prior I booked my award online. I will call when I have some free time to just inquire, but based on the comments here, I am pretty sure it went up.

  18. I have a 3 nights booking using points at the Wingate Wyndham for Feb 2013. Redeemed them in Nov last year. Hope they will honor it since it was awarded before the change… Any has a concrete answer on this?

  19. I just moved my 64000 promo-fueled Wyndham points into SkyMiles (I have my reasons) and only after I submitted the request did I get a message that the transfer will take…wait for it…six to eight weeks!

    Glad I got out of this program early on.

  20. I know where you are going with this post…but, I don’t think the term “meltdown” is what you are shooting for. If you missed a connection and the airline customer service agent insisted it was weather related when you knew it was a mechanical delayed, I could see the customer having a “meltdown.” But, hotel changing its redemption requirements isn’t a “meltdown,” I don’t believe. It’s just abysmal customer treatment.

  21. Disappointing that the airlines and hotels continue to treat their customers so poorly. No notice? They must have been afraid people would redeem at lower prices and they would “lose” money. Only 1 real way to vote and that’s to walk from Wyndham.

  22. MP,

    Thanks, great article, good to see that this made the blogosphere and was not swept under the rug. I purchased 50k points last year during the Daily Getaways (thanks mommy) and used 16k in the summer when I stayed at the Wingate in midtown NYC for one night (small hotel, but great value of points).

    I was planning on booking a 2 night stay for this upcoming MLK weekend using the remaining points in my account (plus have 2k leftover). As of early last week when I logged on to my rewards the hotel only required the same 16k per night. However, on Wednesday, when I finally decided to book the hotel stay I noticed that same hotel now required a whopping 45k per night. I was kind of PO’d to say the least.

    At first I thought that this was a mistake. When I logged back on a few hours later I noticed the point requirements didn’t change, so I called the rewards program to inquire if this was a mistake. Customer Service (very nice guy) told me that I was not the first person to question the unusual increase. He did confirm that the 45k was correct. I complained that I found it to be absurd to go from 16k (level 3) to 45k (level 7) especially WITHOUT any written notice. I asked him if he could do anything for me. After putting me on hold for a few minutes I was quite surprised when he came back on line and told me that he would “add points” to my account to help cover the cost of my stay.

    So to everyone out there I recommend that before transferring the points to a different reward program (or even letting the points expire) that you give them a call to complain and ask them what they can do for you.

    Best of luck, and remember at this stage there is not much to lose.

  23. I cant believe this, my husband and I have been saving points from all our business trips for years to take our family on a spring vacation and now this happens.
    FORGET THE WHOLE POINTS PROGRAMS. We have canceled all my points credit cards. Its really just a waste of time to even get involved in this shame and game. I guess bloggers make money on this scheme but for the rest of us its just a scam.
    How can you, and anyone else in this business, in good faith ask your readers to even bother with points, its just all about your personal profits?
    Just as its irresponsible to encourage people to invest in Zimbabwean dollars, to spend time and money on points should be considered the same. Really, its practically a crime for anyone pushing this dope. And its certainly immoral.

  24. Well that’s what I get for twiddling around for a month to transfer my daily deals points to Southwest. Visa gift cards here I come…

  25. If you people think 16,000 points is horrific for a free night in New York…You are not going to believe this story! Frequently we go to Council Bluffs Iowa to the casinos. We usually stay at a rather dumpy Days Inn, because we spend about 5 hours sleeping while there. The points you receive for it are just over 600. We decided to use our “free night” points, to stay there. On a weeknight, in a “no one stays town”, in a dumpy Days Inn..they wanted 14,000 points. What a joke. It is only 52.99 cash to stay there on a weekend? Wyndham has lost all credibility as far as I am concerned. Back to Choice hotels for me.

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