Wyndham Rewards has been named the best hotel rewards program by US News & Travel, but has not found the same love from frequent travelers and experts – mostly due to the lack of high-end hotels for redemption of reward points for dream trips. Now, Wyndham is addressing that problem by adding more than 17,000 condos and homes to the program, allowing reward redemptions at many more places – find out if that will make the program more attractive for you!
Wyndham manages, like many other hotel companies, a number of time share properties. There are 39 Club Wyndham and Shell Vacations Club properties in the US, including in popular vacation destinations like Hawaii, Florida, Arizona and California. They also market condos and homes as vacation rentals in 11 US destinations. Wyndham has partnered with cottages.com to give you access to homes in 20 destinations in the UK, Ireland and France.
While this adds a lot of choice in popular destinations and is especially attractive to families, their claim of “over 25,000 hotels, condos and homes” is misleading: It makes them sound much bigger than any other hotel program, because they count each condo individually, when really they are adding the equivalent of 70 hotels to the program (with lots of rooms).
Reward Prices: Wyndham Rewards introduced simple & innovative award pricing, offering each hotel room at 15,000 points/night. That still holds true, although now with the addition of “per room” – so, a 3 bedroom condo will cost you 45,000 points – or a cash value of $450. While I consider it fair to ask for a higher price for a large home or condo, it does require you to look carefully, if it is still good value to rent a larger home with points, rather than paying cash for it!
Availability: Each reward program is only as good as the availability of flights or rooms! And while I found great availability among Wyndham hotels, even in peak season, that is not true for condos and homes in this program addition. I checked favorite destinations like Hawaii, California or ski resorts – and didn’t find any availability during peak season at many properties. While I can understand that condo owners rather take high cash prices during peak season, it does take away a lot of the initial attraction of the condo & home addition to the program.
If you do find a condo or home to your liking, you’ll have to call to book – they are not available to book online at this time!
Bottomline: It’s refreshing to see Wyndham Rewards to continue to innovate in an industry that has mostly made news with devaluations and elimination of perks. Wyndham Rewards members gain access to additional, higher-end redemption options in popular destinations. And despite the inflated numbers, the higher prices and the limited availability, this is overall great news – more options are always a good thing. It also puts pressure on other hotel rewards programs to respond – it will be interesting to see if Marriott/Starwood or Hyatt will add all their time share properties to their respective programs!
If this sounds like a great reason to look into Wyndham Rewards, check out their temporary Wyndham Rewards credit card offer, giving you 45,000 points or three free nights/rooms!
You can find all the condo and home options on the Wyndham Rewards website!
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