As part of my Battle of the Budget Hotels, I became very familiar with the Wyndham Hotel group and their Wyndham Rewards program. And while the Wyndham group consists of mostly budget hotels, it’s far from easy to find the best price on a room at one of their more than 7,800 hotels. To make sure you always get the best deal, read my Travel Made Easy tips Wyndham Hotels – How to book & save!
I have booked hundreds of hotel nights online and used most online booking tools and large hotel chain websites in the process, yet Wyndham was one of the most difficult to make sure I got a good deal. That’s partly due to their outdated IT infrastructure and web site, which cause significant issues in booking a room and managing your booking. And partly due to the many small franchisees running the different budget hotels, who don’t seem to follow good business practices for the hospitality industry in pricing their rooms! Here are my top tips to ensure you always get a good deal:
1. Sign up for Wyndham Rewards
Wyndham Rewards has been ranked the top hotel rewards program for the value it offers. I have reviewed it here and I largely agree with the evaluation! Sign-up is free and easy and I recommend to do it, even if you don’t stay often! In addition to special member rates, you earn points on each stay reflecting a 10% discount. You also can buy points or use points for free nights or points & cash nights that offer great value!
2. Sign up for Allied Business Network
Wyndham has a partnership with the Allied Business Network (ABN), offering its members discounts of up to 20%. And the best news is that anybody can sign up for free! It takes a few minutes to do and will provide you with the code “8000000066”. You can enter this under “special rates & codes” when booking on the Wyndham website as “Corporate Code” and see the member rates as “Member Benefits” or “Network Preferred Corp”. In the US, I regularly got a 20% discount of standard rates and better rates than as Wyndham or AAA member.
3. Booking Step-by-step
Wyndham has individual websites for each of its brands as well as the corporate Wyndham Rewards site and mobile app. Unfortunately, none of it seems to work together properly, making it the worst online presence in the industry and unnecessarily difficult to book a room and manage your reservation. To get the best price and keep track of it, here are my step-by-step tips:
1. Search on Wyndham Rewards
Start your search on wyndhamrewards.com and sign is as a member. This will give you access to Wyndham member rates as well as GoFast and GoFree reward nights! Enter your destination, dates and number of guests to specify your search. DO NOT enter any special codes quite yet. This will provide you with a list of hotels in the area, as well as the best available rate AND GoFast/Free rates, if available. You can filter the results by brand, price, distance, amenities or Tripadvisor rating and also sort by price, distance and (new!) Tripadvisor ratings. I applaud Wyndham for including the Tripadvisor ratings for all hotels and making it this easy to use them. There are a lot of pretty bad properties in the Wyndham group (apparently Wyndham knows that) and this allows guests to select the best hotels and puts pressure on the hotel operators to shape up! Given my experience with bad hotels like the Howard Johnson South Lake Tahoe, I recommend to look closely at those ratings!
Take note of the hotels and rates that look best to you. Next, add the ABN code 8000000066 to the “special rates” field and search again. You will get the lowest rate again, usually lower than before.
I value Wyndham Rewards points at 1ct/p, making it easy to compare: A GoFree award at 15,000 points equals a price of $150, a GoFast award is 3,000 points or $30 plus the cash component and the cash price (including taxes, fees) is on the detailed pricing page. Just pick the best price for your booking!
If you don’t have enough points, you can purchase up to 5,000 points – enough for at least 1 GoFast award night – at a price of $11 for 1,000 points, close to the value of the points.
2. Check rates on hotel comparison site
Wyndham is one of the worst chains to enforce pricing discipline among its properties, so you frequently will find better rates for their hotels on other sites, despite their “best rate guarantee”. That makes it necessary to double-check their rates on a hotel comparison site, like Trivago, TripAdvisor or HotelsCombined. Enter your destination and dates, find/filter the Wyndham hotel you’d like to stay at and verify their rate. If the Wyndham site has the best price, you are ready to book. You might want to take this time to also check or other hotels nearby. While Wyndham hotels are often the lowest-priced chain hotels around, sometimes their prices shoot up (for no particular reason) past much nicer hotels.
If you find a lower price than on Wyndham’s site, take a screenshot or note the information of the competing site – you can try to claim the difference back through Wyndham’s ‘Best Price Guarantee”.
3. Book your room
I usually book my travel from a computer, but Wyndham is the one chain where booking on your mobile device is the way to go. I recommend to download the app, sign in with your Wyndham Rewards account and search for the hotel you want to book. Double-check (there it is again…) the price and book the hotel. The app will store a record of your booking, so it will be easy to manage your reservation, potentially change or cancel it.
If you don’t have a mobile device or want to book on your computer, complete the booking there. Make sure to take a screenshot of your reservation or write down your confirmation number. Wyndham Rewards (still) does not link your reservation to your account, so you won’t have access to it from your online profile. They usually send you a confirmation email, but I did not receive one about 50% of the time! The only way to find your reservation again is with the confirmation number. From the Wyndham home page, you can select the “Review Reservation” tab, enter your name and confirmation number and manage your reservation.
4. Claim “Best Rate Guarantee”
Like many other hotel chains, Wyndham offers a “Best Rate Guarantee” for any booking made on their site or mobile app. Should you find a better rate somewhere else within 24h of booking (at least 48h before arrival) for the exact same room & conditions, Wyndham promises to match the lower rate AND give you 3,000 points (a $30 value) for your troubles.
While it sounds like a safe bet to book direct, most guarantees are not worth the digital ink they are written in. The travel blogs and message boards are full of the bad experiences of travelers trying to claim those guarantees, just to be told that it doesn’t apply due to one loophole or the other. I consider them a mostly empty marketing promise with a small chance of getting the money. I recommend to only go for it when you make a refundable booking (that you can cancel if they don’t honor the lower rate) and when you are sure it’s the exact same booking, including the same room, same occupancy, same amenities (i.e. breakfast), same cancellation policy, same currency and you find the better rate on a public site, ie no membership required (even a free sign up). You can find the rate claim form and all the conditions here.
5. Issues and Oddities to look out for
As mentioned at the beginning, there are plenty of issues with Wyndham’s web site and how operators are managing their hotels. Here are my tips for things to look out for:
Wyndham brand sites – each of the Wyndham brands, like Super 8 or Days Inn, have their own web site. Curiously, they may or may not show the same prices as the Wyndham Rewards site. I often would not see GoFast/GoFree award availability on the brand sites, even though wyndhamrewards.com showed it! Always go to the rewards site to find award availability!
Wyndham mobile app – even though the mobile app makes it easier to keep track and manage reservations, there are pricing issues as well. I also had problems finding matching cash or award rates on the app, so always start your search on the rewards web site, if you can.
Disappearing award rates – the GoFast/GoFree awards also tend to disappear when entering special rate codes, like the ABN code I provided above or AAA codes. If that happens during your search, just close the browser window and start over, the rates will magically re-appear.
Inventory management – many operators don’t seem to follow standard practices you’d expect from a large chain when managing their room inventory and prices. I have seen very unusual prices in my searches, for example sky-high prices for bookings made well in advance, rooms, rates and availability change drastically from one day to the next. For my stay at the Days Inn San Francisco, rates were changing so erratically that I pieced together my stay from 3 separate reservations made over a period of a few weeks, whenever a room would come available at a reasonable price for that hotel. So, just be patient and check back, if you can’t find a room or rate you like.
All of these oddities have contributed to people avoiding Wyndham. But if you have some time and patience, you can extract very good value from Wyndham Hotels – which is how they earned the No1 ranking for their award program! Following the tips above, you should find a good Wyndham property at the best possible price. I also like that the GoFast / GoFree awards are flexible rates that can be cancelled last minute, making them great backup reservation for far-away trips that I can replace when something better comes along! Good luck getting the best value out of Wyndham hotels!