Wyndham Introduces Elite Benefits and Makes Free Nights More Rewarding Than Paid Nights

Wyndham Rewards is the loyalty program that covers a wide array of hotel brands.

A year ago Wyndham launched a new program that gave members a single award chart price of 15,000 points per night. That’s 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.

Like most programs, Wyndham devalued at the beginning of 2013. Some properties went up by as much as 87.5%. The new program, though, reversed course on the price increases for top end hotels while nearly tripling the price of the least expensive hotels (which are the majority of Wyndham’s portfolio).


    Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, Puerto Rico

Now, a year into the new program, Wyndham is introducing elite tier benefits and they’re adding a new benefit every time you redeem free nights all while not taking anything away from members. There are changes, and they’re all positive.

I spoke with Noah Brodsky, Wyndham’s Senior Vice President for Worldwide Loyalty and Customer Engagement, yesterday about the new initiatives. He was excited by the reception the new program has had over the last year, that it’s an easy to explain value proposition, and new member signups are up 60% since the roll out last May. Wyndham Rewards now has over 41 million members.

Here’s the New Elite Tier Benefits

These are the new tiers, requirements, and benefits.

Gold status: offers upgrades to preferred rooms and late checkout.

Platinum status: Adds early check-in, 3000 bonus points, and Avis and Budget car rental upgrades.

Diamond status: Adds 6000 bonus points, upgrades to suites, a welcome amenity, and the ability to gift gold status.

They’re introducing rollover nights towards elite status. This works even at the base level. So if you spend 3 nights in year one — not enough for status — then 2 nights will be enough to earn Gold in year 2. Diamond member excess nights can roll over more than one year — Stay 160 nights in a year and you’re Diamond for four years when your nights roll over.

Early check-in and late check-out: is subject to availability 2 hours before standard check-in (for early check-in benefit for Platinums and Diamonds) and 2 hours after standard check-out time (for Golds and above).

Upgrades: Hotels will determine what constitute preferred rooms, but suites are not limited to standard suites, properties are expected to make all of their suites available to Diamond members if available when they pull the day’s arrivals report and block rooms.

New benefits go live May 18.

Wyndham serves as the program for many midscale brands, not predominantly for the upscale hotels you’ll find weighted more heavily in other chains with rich loyalty programs. So the benefits are going to be a bit different, and with Wyndham heavily franchised (rather than operating hotels even if they don’t own the properties) there may be some inconsistencies at the property level especially in the early days of these new rules.

Nonetheless Wyndham is committed to delivering on the benefits promised and encourage members to reach out if a hotel isn’t delivering.

Reward Nights are Now Better Than Paid Nights

When you redeem points at one of their top 25 destinations since of course these things take time and effort to roll out, they’re going to give you added benefits on reward stays.

You’ll get “access to special discounts and savings on unique local experiences” from $5 per night for base level members to benefits valued at $150 per night for top tier Diamond members.

On free night awards (“go free”) the benefits are:

  • Base member: $5 Voucher for a local experience each night
  • Gold: $10 Voucher for a local experience each night
  • Platinum: $10 Voucher for a local experience each night
  • Diamond: 2 Free Tickets valued up to $150 (“from gastronomic tours in Mexico to desert safaris in Dubai.”)

On cash and points awards (“go fast”) the benefits are:

  • Base member: $5 Voucher for a local experience each night
  • Gold: $5 Voucher for a local experience each night
  • Platinum: $5 Voucher for a local experience each night
  • Diamond: $10 Voucher for a local experience each night

Wyndham is in the Market for a Merger

Since I had Noah Brodsky’s attention, I asked whether Wyndham had any acquisition plans. They were rumored to have been in the market to acquire Starwood. So many Starwood employees left to join Wyndham that the chain was being referred to as ‘Wynwood’ a year ago.

Obviously I wasn’t going to get a full answer, but he did say that Wyndham’s “executive leadership is excited about the market,” and that they are “proactively looking at every deal that comes along.” Clearly they’re still in the market for a merger!

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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Comments

  1. So as an elite I can get free Wi-Fi AND the Jacuzzi suite at Super 8 ?
    Do I still get color TV and HBO for free ?

  2. Do any of their properties have Executive lounges? If some do, what is their accessing policy? Some people including me value access to executive lounges very much.

    Thanks.

  3. Do we know what qualifies as their “top 25 destinations”? I have some reward nights booked for December, and a little extra something would be a nice surprise.

  4. In expandinding this corporation at such a rate some of the properties representing Wyndam of late have lost site of the true purpous of being an inn, basic customer appreciation. I recently stayed at a Super 8 inBaketsfirld California where my car was smashed into with a crow bar the first nite of my three week stay in this shit hole. Upon finally seeing a rather full disinterested GM This Einstein of the hotel industry told me while standing two feet from my car that I must of left the doors opened, and he’s not response able, not even looking at the missing lock and the damaged trunk where the crow bar left its trail.
    Adding insult to injury on my final day of my stay a big car show came to town rooms went up to 200.00 a nite , I was thrown out of the hotel for being drunk and louf at four in the morning, I don’t vdrink and generally sleep at nite, I did hear the noise of people partying all nite.
    Every item I owned from underwater clothes dentures shoes was stolen from me and was literally thrown out in the street.
    This corporate entity must sgtep back and address it’s basic inadequacies before forging ahead.
    Do not stat St these properties they do not share the same good values of most of America’s great inns.
    I know I stay in hotels traveling over 300 nites every year…. Michael J Wallace

  5. Just wanted everyone to know about benefits I received being a diamond member during a stay at Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek Orlando. Stayed 4 nights using reward points and we were given many options for free tickets. We chose 4 free tickets for a 45 min helicopter ride over Orlando and 4 free tickets to IFLAY an indoor skydiving. This was a value of over 1,000$. Thank you Wyndham.

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