Pop quiz: What’s the largest hotel group in the world? Did you guess Marriott Bonvoy? Or Hilton? The winner, with over 9,000 properties in its portfolio, is Wyndham. Despite its size and the value of its rewards program, Wyndham remains a lesser-known brand among travel rewards enthusiasts.
Wyndham is best known for its namesake hotel brand, as well as budget-friendly options like Days Inn and La Quinta. However, its brand roster does include a few boutique and luxury options:
- Days Inn.
- Hawthorn Suites.
- Howard Johnson.
- La Quinta.
- Super 8.
- Wyndham Garden.
- Wyndham Grand.
In this article we’ll explain how to get started with the Wyndham Rewards program, how to earn and manage its reward points, and how to pick between its two branded credit cards. The program uses a bevy of confusing, similar-sounding terms like “go free,” “go fast,” and “go get ‘em,” which you can mostly ignore (as we will throughout this article).
How much are Wyndham points worth?
Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values Wyndham Rewards points at 0.9 cent apiece. To determine the value of reward points, we compared cash prices and reward redemptions for hotel stays across several destinations and dates. We divided the cost in cash by the cost in points to determine a “cent per point” value for each flight, then averaged this value across several searches. Read more about how we arrived at these figures.
This is therefore a baseline value for Wyndham points, based on real-world data collected from hundreds of hotel stays, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award bookings that offer 0.9 cent or more in value from your Wyndham points.
To determine the value of your points for specific bookings, divide the cash value (minus any fees associated with the reward booking) by the number of points required. So if a hotel room would cost either $100, or 15,000 points + $10 in resort fees, the math would be as follows:
($100 – $10) / 15,000 = 0.006, or 0.6 cent per point.
Earning Wyndham points
Earning points is relatively straightforward. You’ll earn 10 points for each dollar spent on qualifying nights, or 1,000 points — whichever is higher. So if you stay one night at a property that costs $75, you’ll earn 1,000 points (since 75 x 10 = 750, which is less than 1,000). Note that “qualifying nights” are paid nights (not award nights) with an average nightly rate of $25 or more per night.
Elite status members (see below) will also receive bonus points: 10% extra for Gold, 15% for Platinum and 20% for Diamond members.
Points can also be earned by using the Wyndham credit cards (see below), through limited-time offers, and promotions including DoorDash orders, Avis car rentals and others here. Points can also be purchased directly, though this is rarely a good value unless you’re topping off points for a specific redemption.
Redeeming Wyndham points
Compared to other programs, Wyndham offers a refreshingly simple rewards redemption structure. Each room falls into one of three tiers that cost 7,500, 15,000 or 30,000 points per night. No dynamic pricing, no peak season rewards — just three price points.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Wyndham Rewards award chart
Wyndham also provides an option to pay with a combination of points and miles (called “go fast” for some reason). These are also broken into three tiers based on the number of points: 1,500, 3,000, or 6,000 plus cash. Simply multiply the number of points used in this case by 0.9 cent and add it to the cash cost to see if it’s a good deal compared to the all-cash rate.
In addition to hotel rooms, you can redeem points for gift cards, gas and other purchases too. But in general, these are not a good use of points unless part of a promotion or offer (or if you absolutely need to burn some points).
Wyndham Rewards elite status
Wyndham offers an elite status program that, like most hotel loyalty programs, offers benefits to brand-loyal guests, like room upgrades and extra points-earning. True to Wyndham’s budget-friendly roots, however, this program isn’t as valuable as other higher-end programs like Hyatt.
Earning elite status
The program includes three elite tiers: Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Status can be earned either by staying enough nights at Wyndham properties within a calendar year or by carrying one of the Wyndham branded credit cards.
|Earn this many qualifying nights||5||15||40|
|Or carry this card||Wyndham Rewards® Visa® With No Annual Fee||Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card|
Note the huge jump between Platinum and Diamond status, and the fact that Diamond status cannot be earned from a credit card. You’d think Diamond status would therefore offer high-end perks (free breakfast, anyone?) — but as you can see in the table below, it’s not really that much better.
|Point earning bonus||10%||15%||20%|
|Late checkout (when available)||✓||✓||✓|
|Early check-in (when available)||✗||✓||✓|
|Caesars Rewards status match||✗||✓||✓|
|Suite upgrades (when available)||✗||✗||✓|
|Welcome amenity at check-in (food or beverage)||✗||✗||✓|
|Gift Gold status to a friend||✗||✗||✓|
Elite status benefits
This list of benefits might look impressive, but it’s pretty underwhelming compared to other hotel loyalty programs. For example, Hilton offers a 20% points bonus for its lowest tier (Silver) and a 100% bonus for its highest tier (Diamond).
Considering switching to Wyndham Rewards from another program but don’t want to start from scratch? Wyndham will match your status from another hotel program. Check out the full details, including which tiers from other programs map onto the Wyndham tiers, by visiting their status match page.
You have a choice of two Wyndham credit cards, which are (confusingly) both called the Wyndham Rewards® Visa®. However, one card has no annual fee while the other carries a $75 annual fee. Make sure to double-check which one you’re applying for.
|Wyndham Rewards® Visa® With No Annual Fee||Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn 15,000 bonus points after your first purchase or balance transfer – enough to redeem for up to two free nights.||Earn up to 30,000 bonus points - Enough for up to 4 Free Nights. Earn 15,000 bonus points after your first purchase. Plus, earn an additional 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.|
|Earning on Wyndham purchases||3 points per $1 spent||5 points per $1 spent|
|Earning on eligible gas, utility and grocery store purchases||2 points per $1 spent||2 points per $1 spent|
|Earning on other purchases||1 point per $1 spent||1 point per $1 spent|
|Anniversary bonus points||N/A||6,000 per year|
These cards are good options for those either looking to spend a lot on Wyndham purchases or score some extra points with low or no annual fees. However, the low earning rate on regular purchases (and even gas and grocery stores) are lackluster compared to many other travel credit cards.
How to maximize your rewardsYou 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:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card