A year and a half ago Wyndham launched a new program that gave members a single award chart price of 15,000 points per night. That was an increase for the cheapest hotels, and a decrease for the most expensive hotels. (They also introduced cash and points awards that are capacity controlled costing 3000 points plus a variable amount of cash.)
Then in May Wyndham Rewards rolled out elite status levels and improved benefits on reward stays (indeed, making redemption stays more valuable than paid stays).
Now they’ve got a huge new expansion in the number of places you can redeem points, and next year where you can earn points and receive elite recognition too.
I spoke with Noah Brodsky, Wyndham’s Senior Vice President for Loyalty, about this. Noah offered, “I love that we get to add things without taking anything away.”
Wyndham’s Direction, Strength, and Gaps
Noah Brodsky offered that:
- Loyalty programs have gotten too complicated
- Customers think, “the stuff I want has gotten insanely expensive”
Their 15,000 point per night redemptions at any property have led members to stay more and redeem more, and redemptions are unsurprisingly skewing towards the best properties.
If there’s a knock on Wyndham, it’s that they’ve got strong coverage at the lower end of the hotel market and they don’t have many higher-end properties at which to earn and redeem.
Now Redeem Points at Timeshares and Individual Homes and Condos
What Wyndham Rewards is doing starting today is allowing redemptions at timeshare and managed vacation rentals.
They’ve got over 17,000 homes and condos that are part of Wyndham Destination Network and Wyndham Vacation Ownership set up for redemption already. They will be integrating the majority of Wyndham’s 120,000 properties into the system by the end of 2018.
They’re highlighting the aspirational nature of many of these places — from multi-bedroom homes in Palm Springs to a real expanded presence in Western Europe. Places like:
- 5 Bedroom Cottage nestled in the vineyards near Bordeaux & Toulouse
- Architectural dream in Palm Springs, CA
- Ring of Kerry cottage overlooking the Atlantic in Ireland
- Slope-side retreat in Deer Valley
Firestone Estate Vacation Rental Palm Springs, credit: Wyndham
Pricing is still 15,000 points per night… sort of.
Their model is 15,000 per bedroom, so a 2 bedroom is 30,000 points and a 4 bedroom is 60,000 points per night.
For now you can search properties online but have to call to book. They plan to introduce these new options for online redemption mid-next year.
New Redemption Page, credit: Wyndham
Availability at timeshare properties isn’t going to be the same as for hotels, where there aren’t capacity controls or blackout dates. They think there’s going to be great availability, but there’s “no single policy across all locations” and there will continue to be “priority availability for timeshare owners” compared to Wyndham Rewards members. I sought clarification and was told that “Wyndham Rewards members will have access to inventory as early as 9 months out.”
They claim to have ‘tripled their redemption portfolio’ to over 25,000 properties, suggesting they’re now offering more choices than their 5 biggest hotel chain competitors combined. That’s not really fair, it treats an apartment or house they’re managing like a hotel. A fairer comparison would be the number of rooms in their portfolio. Nonetheless, it’s still significant expansion and increased choice.
Points-Earning and Elite Status Recognition at These Properties is Coming
Mid-next year they will be offering earn at timeshare and managed rentals in addition to redemption. And they’re working on elite status recognition on these stays for next year as well although already redemption nights at these properties do count towards status.
Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort, credit: Wyndham
The Wyndham Points and Status Match, and Changes to their Credit Card
Earlier this month Wyndham had an aborted attempt to steal Starwood customers. That wound up getting pulled before it officially started, though folks who contacted them and had already redeemed Starwood points had the points and status match made good.
Since I had him, I asked Brodsky whether we’d be seeing anything else like it in the near future. And while he offered that they don’t normally do status matches, they’re “working on an accelerator promotion for [status] next year.”
I also asked him about reduced earning on their co-brand credit card — the new offer comes with Platinum status but no longer earns 2 points per dollar on all spend — and he emphasized that existing cardholders can keep the card they have if they wish so current card customers aren’t disadvantaged at all, and the new product as new benefits.