Wyndham Rewards adjusting redemption categories – use your points now!

Wyndham Rewards as announced that they will adjust on February 11, 2020 the award categories of approximately 800 hotels in their portfolio of more than 8,000 hotels, with 500 being less expensive and 300 more expensive. While I appreciate a heads-up, Wyndham is not announcing which hotels are going up or down and previous changes have drastically reduced the value of possible redemptions, so your best bet is to redeem your points now and hope for the best!

Wyndham Worldwide has more than 8,000 hotels worldwide, the vast majority are budget hotels in the Americas (read Wyndham Facts & Figures for more). For a few years, they had a very valuable hotel program with all hotels available for a flat rate of 15,000 points, offering great value at select properties, and equally valuable cash & points rates. I was able to save more than 50% on hotels with their program and stayed at very nice properties like the Silverado Napa Resort!

Silverado Resort & Spa

They first devaluated the cash & points rates, making the cash portion depending on the current price, then introduced three categories of 7,500, 15,000 and 30,000 points per night, doubling the price for the most interesting properties, including the Tryp New York, the Wyndham Santa Monica or the Silverado Resort Napa above!
I had to look much harder to find value in the program, with nice properties like the Canterbury San Francisco still available for 15,000 points/night despite the sky-high hotel prices in San Francisco!

Now, Wyndham Rewards is making the first category adjustment and is announcing to do so every year going forward. That is not unusual for hotel reward programs and on the face of it, the adjustment of less than 10% of hotels with the majority moving down in price doesn’t sound to be too bad. But the devil is in the details of the Wyndham Rewards program: I value Wyndham Rewards points at 0.8ct/pt (reduced from 1ct/pt prior to the last devaluation), resulting in a free night being equivalent to $60 (7,500pt), $120 (15,000pt) and $240 (30,000pt). But even their high-end Wyndham brand has an Average Daily Rate of only $105/night, leaving you with few properties that would justify 15,000 points/night or even 30,000 pt/nt. In the latest adjustment, 80 more properties will be moving from 15,000 to 30,000 points/night and I don’t expect many reward bargains to be left after this carnage!
To make matters worse, Wyndham is not publishing which hotels will change, so you have not much to plan for.

If you still have Wyndham Rewards points left and you have your high on a high-value redemption, I recommend to make a booking now at the old rates. If the price goes up as expected, you are protected at the old rate. If it goes down, Wyndham will adjust the price to the new, lower rate. And if it stays the same, you can still change or cancel it later at no penalty!
I have used my last remaining points for a booking at the Opera Inn San Francisco – a good deal at 15,000pt/nt in expensive San Francisco. That’ll likely be my last stay at a Wyndham property for the foreseeable future. 

I hope you find a good use for your points. You can find the announcement and a chance to book at the current rates before February 11,2020 here!

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