May302008

Wyndham Rewards-The most hotels loyalty program


Ramada Amsterdam and watching Tour de France 2006


It was a bed-in experience

Amsterdam Centraal view from Ramada


Amsterdam city center view from Ramada Hotel


The plaza across from Ramada, Amsterdam


Sink, Ramada Amsterdam

I thought I could dash off a quick review of Wyndham Rewards.

The hotel brand members of Wyndham Rewards followed by 2008 average room rate:
1. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, $116.61
2. Wingate by Wyndham, $91.84
3. Ramada Worldwide, $79.69
4. Travelodge, $67.68
5. Baymont Inns and Suites, $65.66
6. Amerihost, $63.38
7. Howard Johnson, $63.11
8. Days Inn, $61.99
9. Super 8, $56.78
10. Knights Inn $40.88
(Hotel brands are ordered by average daily room rate for first quarter 2008 which correlates with relative market segment for hotel brand).

The problem I found with making a quick assessment of the Wyndham Rewards hotel loyalty program is that upon a closer look there are a large number of facets to the benefits available to members. This is just an introduction to Wyndham Rewards because I have been seeing loads of press releases the past couple weeks in their marketing campaign to promote brand recognition, but nobody lays out the details of the loyalty program for the traveler.

And getting the details involved more work than I anticipated. Wyndham Rewards needs a website makeover to be traveler friendly.

Case in point: There are 10 hotels in Monterey participating in Wyndham Rewards. Even after joining Wyndham Rewards as a new member, I had to call the member services telephone line to find out how much a free night would be at each of the 10 Wyndham Rewards member hotels within a 4-mile radius of me. That is a ridiculous hotel loyalty program website omission to not provide the redemption rates for a free night at any particular hotel and make it easily available to a website visitor.

The point of a hotel loyalty program promoting free nights is to allow the frequent guest to acquire the information necessary to plan and prepare for a vacation. The hotel guest planning to use hotel points needs to know how many hotel points are needed for a free night. That information should be available on the hotel loyalty program website.

Let’s Spend the Night Together

Wyndham Rewards has launched the Play Together, Stay Together contest to promote hotel brand recognition and the new hotel loyalty program name change from TripRewards.
The main boast of Wyndham Rewards hotel loyalty program is its size with over 6,000 hotels and with 50% more hotels worldwide than InterContinental Hotels Group, twice as many hotels as Hilton or Marriott, and many times more hotels than Starwood or Hyatt, each of those programs with under 1,000 hotels.

Another program main attribute, and also the program’s detractor, are the large number of budget-priced hotel brands in the program.

Wyndham Rewards brings together ten hotel brands under one loyalty program umbrella:

AmeriHost are located in 22 US states and each hotel features an indoor pool.

Baymont Inns and Suites have about 125 hotels in the USA, primarily in Southeast and Central USA. These are a midscale hotel property with free internet and complimentary continental breakfast.

Days Inn – about 2,000 hotels

Howard Johnson – more than 450 hotels in 16 countries. Four tiers of properties from budget motels to full service Howard Johnson Plaza hotels.

Knights Inn – more than 250 hotels in North America.

Ramada Worldwide 850 hotels in 25 countries

Super 8 – More than 2,000 hotels. This brand announced a logo and image makeover this month. Race car theme seems to be prominent.

Travelodge – info on the number of Travelodge hotels is something I have not yet found, however, Travelodge properties in Canada do not participate in Wyndham Rewards.

Wingate by Wyndham -business style hotel

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts – full scale hotels with many resort locations in USA and internationally.

Earning Points: Simple 10 points/$1 of hotel rate.

Redeeming Points: Wyndham Hotels maintains its own hotel points redemption program.

Elite Program: Wyndham ByRequest – details are vague, but supposedly member preferences will be noted and some additional amenities might be provided to frequent guests.

The Wyndham Hotel properties can be looked up online for the points redemption rate. Rates vary from:
Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino, Bahamas 15,000 points
Wyndham London Chelsea Harbour, UK, 45,000 points
Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 25,000 points
Wyndham Sapphire Beach Club & Resort, St. Maarten, Netherland Antilles 20,000 points

The redemption rate for international properties can also be looked up online. There are other hotel chains eligible for free nights using Wyndham Rewards points besides the member brands listed above.

Sample redemption rates:
Ramada Amsterdam Hotel & Suites 15,000 points
Ramada Prague City Centre 30,000 points
Melia Cariari, Costa Rica 10,000 points
Tryp Corobici, Costa Rica 8,500 points

Ramada Resort, Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand 10,000 points
Cozumel – Days Inn 10,000 points
Melia Cabo Real, Mexico 30,000 points
Gran Melia Cancun, Mexico 30,000 points

Melia Caribe Tropical, Dominican Republic 30,000 points

I was “Born in the USA”

The large majority of Wyndham Rewards hotel members are located in the USA and three brands represent 70% of the USA Wyndham Rewards hotel member properties: Ramada, Super 8, and Days Inn.

There are four tiers of hotel redemption levels for US domestic hotels.

Tier 1 = 6,000 points for a free hotel night
Tier 2 = 10,000 points for a free hotel night
Tier 3 = 14,000 points for a free hotel night
Tier 4 = 16,000 points for a free hotel night

Unless you already have sufficient Wyndham Rewards points to actually book a hotel stay, the member is unable to find out through the website to which of the four tiers a particular hotel belongs. The website will simply reply with a message to the member of insufficient points for a free night.

To get USA hotels redemption information for the vast majority of Wyndham Rewards hotel members requires a phone call. My phone call for Monterey area hotels revealed that Salinas has some Tier 2 hotels, but all the Wyndham Rewards member hotels for the Monterey Peninsula are Tier 3 and Tier 4. The hotels here are the same price as the Amsterdam Ramada.

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts – The Flagship Brand of Wyndham Rewards
I do agree that Wyndham Rewards is a good name change because they are taking the flagship hotel brand as the loyalty program name.

There are nice Wyndham hotels and resorts. I walked through the Wyndham Palm Springs last month one evening and there were about a 20 people hanging around the lobby socializing. The ambiance was casual and elegant, and the pool area large.

The focus of the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program should be its size and the ability to get points for low cost hotel stays. A rebate of 10% or more for your paid stays when earned hotel points are redeemed for future free nights should be possible. The abundance of Wyndham Rewards hotel members makes it worthwhile to keep an eye on this program when you are traveling where few upscale loyalty hotels are located.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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