On February 19 I wrote about the massive devaluation to the Wyndham Rewards chart that’s coming March 14. Some properties are going up in price by 87.5%.
Equally bad was that Wyndham wasn’t telling us which hotels were changing categories, we were going to have to wait until that happened in order to find out. That, to me, is always the worst form for any program — major changes without advance notice.
Now Wyndham has listened and responded to that critique, although I do not find two weeks’ notice to be anything close to sufficient.
They’ve come to the comments on this blog (something they’ve done on occasion in the past as well), and shared a list of hotels going up in category (.pdf). I didn’t bother counting how many properties this is — when I copied and pasted the file into Excel it took up over 6000 lines (some hotels listed out on one line, and some on as many as three). An absolute bloodbath.
They’ve also provided a list of hotels going down in category (.pdf) That list is about one-fifth as long.
Here’s what they explain in the comments,
In response to the feedback that you requested a list of hotels that are changing categories beginning March 14, 2013, we have posted a chart..
While we have a large number of properties changing categories, we have not made overall changes to our hotels in more than 3 years. Now that hotel prices are changing in many markets, we are making some adjustments. Note that we strive to make free nights as accessible as possible for our members so we are lowering our first tier hotels from 6,000 to 5,500 points, lower than our major competitors. We are also eliminating our top two tiers of 35,000 and 45,000 to make our higher-end hotels more affordable.
Wow. If the claim is that they haven’t increased the award price of any of their hotels in more than three years, that’s simply not true.
And if the claim is that they haven’t created new award categories during that time either, that’s fairly misleading.
Through the end of 2012, the top redemption category for U.S. Wingate, Hawthorn, Ramada, Days Inn, Super 8, Baymont, Mircotel, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, and Knights Inn hotels was 16,000 points. In January some of those jumped to 45,000 points.
They are eliminating the brand new 45,000 point cost, leaving the most expensive tier at 30,000 points.
And they claim to be doing us a favor (“strive to make free nights as accessible as possible for our members so we are lowering our first tier hotels from 6,000 to 5,500 points..”).
Surely hotel rates are higher than they were in late 2008 and 2009. But they’re not materially higher than in 2006 and 2007. Certainly not to the extent that the gutting of the Wyndham Rewards chart can be attributed to it.
Thank goodness they haven’t devalued mileage transfers at this point.
But at least folks now can know which properties will be changing categories, and make plans accordingly — book hotels now (even speculatively, since most award nights can be cancelled without penalty within cancellation guidelines) that you think you may need in the future if the property is going up in price, request a refund in points if it happens to be going down.