Wyndham Earner vs. Plus: Which Is Right for You?

Frequent Wyndham guests may want to examine their spending on hotel stays and gas to decide between the two cards.

Sally FrenchSeptember 29, 2020
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Wyndham Earner vs. Plus: Which is Right For You?

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Wyndham Hotels & Resorts launched a new set of credit cards that could appeal to road trippers, largely thanks to one standout spending category: Gas.

Wyndham’s two new credit cards for consumers, issued by Barclays include:

  • Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Credit Card ($0 annual fee).

  • Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card ($75 annual fee).

Both cards earn big bonus points on purchases at participating Hotels By Wyndham, but perhaps even more appealing is the points earned on qualifying gas purchases:

  • 5 points per dollar spent with the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Credit Card (worth 4.5 cents based on NerdWallet’s valuation of one Wyndham Rewards point at 0.9 cent).

  • 6 points per dollar spent with the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card (worth 5.4 cents).

Those kinds of gas rewards are ultra competitive with our top gas credit cards, and sometimes even better — as long as you’re okay that rewards are earned as Wyndham points rather than something more flexible, like cash back. That’s on top of other benefits like a sign-up bonus that could be worth as much as six free nights at participating Hotels By Wyndham, elite status and bonus points in other spending categories, including restaurants.

Here are some of the key differences between the two cards:

Credit Card Perks and Benefits

Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Credit Card

Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

$75

Sign-up bonus

Earn 30,000 bonus points, enough for up to four free nights at participating Hotels By Wyndham, after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Earn 45,000 bonus points, enough for up to six free nights at participating Hotels By Wyndham, after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Points per dollar at Wyndham

5

6

Points per dollar on gas purchases

5

6

Points per dollar on dining and grocery (excluding Target and Walmart)

2

4

Points per dollar on everything else

1

1

Automatic elite status

Gold

Platinum

Anniversary bonus points

7,500 points after spending $15,000 (worth $67.50)

7,500 points (worth $67.50)

How to choose the best Wyndham credit card for you

While you can redeem your Wyndham Rewards points for things other than stays at Wyndham properties (including gift cards or transferring to some airline loyalty programs), you typically get the most value when using them to book Wyndham hotel rooms.

If you’re a devoted road tripper (or you’ve at least become one since coronavirus altered your travel style), you’ll likely find value not only from the elevated gas rewards, but you might find yourself staying at a Wyndham hotel anyway. Wyndham operates over 9,000 hotels across more than 80 countries — and many of them are the kinds of hotels you’ll pass by during a road trip, including Super 8, Days Inn and Ramada.

Though, if you don’t like the idea of being tied to Wyndham hotels, skip both cards — and consider a more general travel rewards credit card instead.

Best for most Wyndham travelers: Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card

The big reason to opt for the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card over its no-annual-fee mate is bigger spending rewards and a higher level of elite status.

Assuming you only use your Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card on the two highest-earning bonus categories — gas and Wyndham stays — you’d need to spend about $1,390 annually across both categories to break even on the annual fee based on our valuations.

On average, Americans spend about $2,000 annually on gas (according to the September 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). That right there gets you on your way to two free nights annually and well past the break-even point for the annual fee.

That $1,390 figure also doesn’t include other benefits such as dining rewards (4x points), the value of Platinum status or the value of the 7,500 anniversary point bonus (about $67.50). Start adding it all up, and if you’re a Wyndham customer, the math looks pretty good.

What does Platinum elite status entail?

The Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card comes with automatic Platinum elite status, but temper your expectations here.

At Wyndham, Platinum is not the most exciting type of hotel status you’ll ever get — no suite upgrades, no club lounge access, no spa credits that you might expect from other, more luxury-focused hotel brands. Still, Wyndham Platinum status includes late checkout and early check-in, which can be a reprieve for weary roadtrippers, plus a 15% point earning bonus for Wyndham stays.

Where Platinum status really comes in handy is its powers to help you earn status with partner travel loyalty programs. Wyndham Platinum status earns free upgrades on qualifying car rentals in the U.S. and Canada at Avis or Budget.

It also allows you to match status at the Caesars Rewards program, which includes more useful benefits (including a 15% discount at casino shops, complimentary valet parking at many Caesars destinations and pre-sale access to some shows).

Caesars Rewards members also get access to limited time offers that can be ultra-lucrative. For example, Platinum members are eligible for a complimentary two-night stay at The Beach at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas, if booked and completed by Jan. 31, 2022. Of course, keep in mind that few things are truly free; with that particular offer, you’ll still be on the hook for expenses like gratuity and resort fees.

What can the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card sign-up bonus get me?

Earn 45,000 bonus points, enough for up to six free nights at participating Hotels By Wyndham, after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Wyndham redemptions typically start at just 7,500 points per night (and cost as much as 30,000 points). But as a cardholder, you're entitled to an even better deal: You'll get a 10% discount on points redeemed for award nights, meaning award nights range from 6,750-27,000 points when you hold a Wyndham credit card.

If you’re heading on a National Parks road trip this fall, you might find yourself spending three nights at the Baymont by Wyndham Gatlinburg On The River, not far from the Great Smoky Mountains. Rooms are an affordable 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points per night, or 13,500 points when you factor in the discount received as a Wyndham credit cardholder.

Maybe you’re heading somewhere a bit warmer. In Las Vegas, options on the Strip, include The LINQ Hotel (15,000 points per night, or 13,500 as a cardholder) or Paris Las Vegas (30,000 points per night, or 27,000 points as a cardholder).

Best if you like Wyndham, but don’t want to commit (or just hate annual fees): Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Credit Card

In most spending scenarios, you’ll earn more rewards with the annual fee version. But the decision to add a new credit card is more than a simple math problem, and you should consider factors like feeling the need to justify an annual fee, or when/how you’ll redeem rewards.

The Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Credit Card might be better if you want high gas rewards but only stay at Wyndham hotels occasionally. Or, you’re someone who stays at Wyndham hotels regularly, but you’re averse to paying annual fees on principle (and that’s OK too). While you’ll have to settle with earning a lesser rewards rate, you won’t have to pay a premium for an annual fee.

What does Gold elite status entail?

Don’t get too excited about Gold elite status either. You’ll be granted a few minor extra benefits, like late checkout and preferred room choice. You do also get a 10% point earning bonus every time you stay at Wyndham.

What can the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Credit Card sign-up bonus get me?

Earn 30,000 bonus points, enough for up to four free nights at participating Hotels By Wyndham, after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. That’s not quite as lucrative as the annual-fee version’s offer but a nice bonus for no fee.

» Learn more: Wyndham sweet spots

The bottom line

If you’re a traveler who utilizes Wyndham with any sort of regularity and also spends often at gas stations, you’ll have no trouble making the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card worth the annual fee after spending $1,390 annually. Take that road trip, charge the gas bill to your Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card, and be on your way to racking up Wyndham Rewards.

Between the bigger sign-up bonus, the anniversary points and increased spending rewards (gas especially), it’s not tough to justify the annual fee on the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card for Wyndham members.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

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