Wyndham Rewards, which has over 60 million members, has just announced some major changes.
Wyndham Rewards’ radical 2015 program changes
For context, I think it’s important to briefly talk about the changes that Wyndham Rewards made in 2015.
At that point they overhauled their loyalty program in a way that almost no other program has before. They decided they’d charge the same number of points for reward nights at all properties, regardless of whether you’re staying at Wyndham’s cheapest or most premium properties.
All properties cost 15,000 points per night. While Wyndham doesn’t have that many “aspirational” properties, this was certainly exciting for those of us who like to redeem at premium properties, though perhaps it alienated a lot of people as well.
Well, Wyndham is now basically completely undoing that.
New Wyndham Rewards program
Wyndham Rewards has announced some major program changes that kick in as of April 3, 2019.
Here’s what you need to know:
Wyndham is introducing tiered award pricing
First of all, Wyndham is introducing tiered award pricing. Currently awards at all hotels cost 15,000 points per night, while going forward they’ll have three tiers of hotels, which will cost 7,500 points, 15,000 points, or 30,000 points per night.
Whether these changes are positive or negative depends entirely on how you’d usually redeem. It’s a massive devaluation if you’re redeeming at Wyndham’s top properties, since the cost of stays is going up 100%, while it’s a big improvement for those who just want to redeem at Wyndham’s cheapest properties, where we’re seeing the cost of stays go down by 50%.
While we don’t yet know exactly which hotels will fall in which categories, View from the Wing says that about one third of properties will drop to 7,500 points per night, most properties will remain 15,000 points per night, and around 200 properties will increase to 30,000 points per night.
La Quinta is joining Wyndham Rewards
In early 2018 it was announced that Wyndham was acquiring La Quinta. La Quinta has nearly 1,000 hotels around the world, and Wyndham is already the world’s largest hotel group in terms of the number of hotels (but not in terms of the number of rooms, as that title goes to Marriott).
Now La Quinta will finally be joining Wyndham Rewards. As of April 3, La Quinta Returns will be discontinued. Through March 31 you can manually convert your points from La Quinta Returns to Wyndham Rewards at a 1:1 ratio, and then Gold members and above will automatically have points converted in the new program.
However, those who aren’t elite members and who don’t proactively convert will have points transferred at a ratio of 2:1 rather than 1:1, so make sure you transfer points before the deadline.
Wyndham is changing elite bonuses
In 2016 Wyndham Rewards introduced an elite program. They’ll be making some changes to the benefits soon.
Starting in April 2019, Wyndham Rewards Gold, Platinum, and Diamond members will earn extra points for qualifying stays:
- Gold members will earn 10% more base points
- Platinum members will earn 15% more base points
- Diamond members will earn 20% more base points
This replaces the annual bonuses that members received. Platinum members received an annual bonus of 3,000 points, while Diamond members received an annual bonus of 6,000 points.
Since members earn 10 base points per dollar spent, that makes the breakeven point for Platinum members $2,000 of spend, and for Diamond members $3,000 of spend.
It’s interesting to see Wyndham Rewards alter their program so much after the changes they made several years ago.
At the time they said the new program was being introduced so it was simple and rewarding, and they’re now providing similar reasoning for these new changes. As Wyndham’s SVP of Global Loyalty and Partnerships describes it:
“We know members love the simplicity and generosity of Wyndham Rewards but we also know they want greater flexibility when it comes to where and how they can redeem their points. With these changes, we’re making thousands of hotels available for half the points and what’s more, drastically expanding the ways in which they can earn and redeem those points, making it easier than ever for them to engage with the program.”
Are you happy to see Wyndham introduced tiered award pricing, or sad to see the fixed cost awards go?