Wyndham Rewards Visa as a Good ‘Backup’ Card for Light Spenders to Use Where Amex Isn’t Accepted

Earlier in the week I was answering questions about why the Wyndham Rewards Visa wasn’t nominated in this year’s Frequent traveler awards. And the only reason is that it’s a new card in the summer of 2010, and the awards are based on offerings available in 2009.

But I admit, it’s the first time I gave the card a look, and so it’s an interesting coincidence that Loyalty Traveler analyzes the card this week.

It’s a no fee visa that could be useful even for folks without an interest in points in the Wyndham Rewards program, because their points conversion to airline miles is fairly reasonable. For the most part you earn 2 points per dollar spent and 2.5 points transfer to an airline mile — so you’re earning 0.8 miles per dollar.

Ok, not your killer app for mileage earning! But if nearly all of your spend is on an American Express card and you’re just looking for a free card to put occasional charges at merchants who don’t take Amex while still getting something for your spend, not to mention flexibility to transfer to a wide variety of programs, this could be your ticket. (Still worth weighing against a cash back card, but I lean in favor of flexible mileage to top off accounts and Wyndham does have an extensive list of partners — including Fortune Wings Club so you could sse their pretty favorable award chart to fly Hainan Airlines Seattle-Beijing, hah!).

Personally I favor my Diners Club card and Continental card in the Mastercard space (I run enough spend through and use the various ancillary benefits enough to make these cards with fees worthwhile, Diners Club with their flexible points and primary rental car insurance and the Continental Mastercard especially for double miles on spend via the Continental online shopping portal). And for Visa products I like the Hyatt Visa (because I’m partial to Hyatt and like their no foreign transaction fees, though I haven’t gotten the card yet) and Alaska Visa (a true annual $99 companion ticket, useful even on paid first clsas fares).

But none of the above are free cards, so for the light spender this could well be the ticket as a second card for when Amex isn’t accepted.

Note that there are two different offers for the card, one comes with a $39 annual fee, the incremental benefits are an extra 6000 points (thus 2400 airline miles if you prefer) and more points earning for Wyndham stays. If you aren’t a Wyndham regular it’s probably not worth the fee, just sticking with the free card.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thanks for posting this — it was just what I was looking for. Too bad it most likely won’t arrive by Friday.

    I’m staying at a Super 8 on Friday, not a common occurrence. Not only that, it’s $99.99!!! For a Super 8!!! It’s the only decent hotel with rooms within 60 miles of my destination in north-east South Dakota.

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