May182016

I will Go Fast to Wyndham Rewards elite status in 2016

All these changes to Wyndham Rewards in the past 12 months reminds me of Club Carlson 2010-11. I wonder if Wyndham Worldwide is positioning its hotel chain to lure its own Chinese buyer? Here is a detailed examination of Wyndham Rewards hotel loyalty program member benefits in 2016 and how I will Go Fast my way to Wyndham Rewards elite status for 2016.

Wyndham Rewards starts a new elite member tiered program today May 18, just like all the other major hotel chains have had for years. Changes to Wyndham Rewards over the past year placed this program in my list of high value hotel points when before Go Fast Rewards I placed a high end value on WR points at about $6 per 1,000 points. Since May 2015 I find my Wyndham Rewards points have a value around $40 to $60 per 1,000 points. That is why I purchased 30,000 Wyndham Rewards points in this year’s U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways.

Wyndham Rewards Four Membership Tiers

  • Blue level is base level for new members and members with less than 5 hotel nights in calendar year.
  • Gold level is 5 to 14 nights
  • Platinum level is 15 to 39 nights
  • Diamond level is 40 or more nights.

A “Qualifying Night” is any of the following:

    • A paid, stayed night during a Qualified Stay at a Participating Hotel (so long as the Qualified Stay has an average daily rate of at least $25 per night and satisfy other requirements as outlined here);

    • A paid, stayed Go Fast Award night at a Go Fast Award Participating Hotel;
    • A stayed Go Free Award night at a Participating Hotel.

Wyndham Rewards elite levels

1. Only one room per member per Qualifying Night counts towards unlocking new levels.

2. On property perks are for Qualified Stays, Go Free Award stays & Go Fast Award stays, subject to availability, & not all participating Hotels offer all benefits. To the extent available, changes to check-in time, check-out time and room type are upon request.

3. Qualified Stays only. Points typically earned for dollars spent on room rate only.

4.Members can redeem 15,000 points for a free night at any Participating Hotel, subject to availability.

5.In participating cities. Available Summer 2016.

6.Snack or beverage offered at select brands

Elite Nights Rollover

One of the big improvements is elite nights rollover to next calendar year. The example given in Wyndham Rewards FAQ, shows a more generous rollover nights program than Marriott Rewards.

Wyndham Rollover Nights

Normally rollover nights work on calendar years, but this chart does not show it that way. In this chart the Gold level member in 2016 with 7 nights, gets 2 rollover nights for 2017.  This member does not stay at all in 2017 and still has 2 elite nights rollover in 2018. That is better than other rollover programs like Marriott Rewards, where elite nights only rollover one calendar year.

Wyndham Rewards Elite Benefits

Gold elite primary benefits are preferred room upgrade and late check-out, up to two hours beyond normal check-out time.

Platinum elite adds 3,000 bonus points annually and early check-in, up to two hours before normal check-out time..

Diamond elite has some major benefits with suite upgrades, including reward night stays, a welcome amenity and the option to gift one other member Gold elite each calendar year. Also, 6,000 bonus points annually deposited January 1.

Go Fast Plus and Go Free Plus not as big a deal as you might think

Much of the media I read over the past week about these Wyndham Rewards changes focused on the Go Free Plus and Go Fast Plus benefits available on reward stays in 25 markets. If like me, you read this information quickly, you might think  $5 and $10 vouchers are some kind of $5 to $10 hotel benefit in one of these cities. The fine print states you actually receive an email coupon discount from third party vendor Viator for a local attraction. That may have some value to you or no value at all, depending on if the coupon is something you actually redeem.

What is “Go Free PLUS”?

Blue, Gold and Platinum Level Members:

When you book a Go Free Award night at a Participating Hotel in a Participating City, you will receive a promotional gift code which will provide a discount on a local attraction. (We refer to this code as the “Go Free PLUS” award or discount.) The value of the Go Free PLUS discount will vary based on your Member Level:

  • Blue: $5 Value

  • Gold: $10 Value
  • Platinum: $10 Value

Diamond Level Members: When you book and complete a Go Free Award night at a Participating Hotel in a Participating City, you will receive 2 complimentary passes to a unique, local experience in the Participating City, chosen especially for you by Wyndham Rewards!

Go Free sounds most rewarding for Diamond Members who get two complimentary passes.

Go Free PLUS promotional gift codes and passes do expire, so be sure to book in advance and use them during your stay! To learn more about Participating Cities, attractions and experiences, please visit WyndhamRewards.com/plus.

  • The Go Free PLUS discounts for Blue, Gold and Platinum Level Members described above are available on applicable Go Free Award night bookings beginning May 18, 2016 with an arrival date on or after July 11, 2016.
  • The Go Free PLUS passes for Diamond Level Members described above are available on applicable Go Free Award night bookings beginning May 18, 2016 with an arrival date on or after May 18, 2016.
  • Go Free PLUS benefits are subject to additional restrictions; for more information, Blue, Gold and Platinum Level Members can click here and Diamond Level Members can click here.
What is “Go Fast PLUS”?
When you book a Go Fast Award night at a Go Fast Award Participating Hotel in a Participating City, you will receive a promotional gift code which will provide a discount on a local attraction. (This code is what we refer to as the “Go Fast PLUS” award or discount.) The value of the discount will vary based on your Member Level:

  • Blue: $5 Value

  • Gold: $5 Value
  • Platinum: $5 Value
  • Diamond: $10 Value

Go Fast PLUS promotional gift codes do expire, so be sure to book in advance and use them during your stay! To learn more about Participating Cities and attractions, please visit WyndhamRewards.com/plus.

  • The Go Fast PLUS discounts described above are available on applicable Go Fast Award night bookings beginning May 18, 2016 with an arrival date on or after July 11, 2016, and are subject to additional restrictions.
  • Each Go Fast PLUS discount will entitle the Diamond Level Member who receives it a ten dollar ($10.00) discount on a local attraction which such Member can choose and reserve from options described in an e-mail sent to the e-mail address provided on the Member’s Wyndham Rewards account; such offerings are provided by Viator, Inc., and are subject to all terms and conditions of Viator, Inc.. Go Fast PLUS gift codes will vary by, date and availability of local attractions. Discounts will be available in USD, EUR, CAD and GBP increments and such other currencies as Sponsor may designate from time to time. The currency type of each Go Fast PLUS gift code will be determined based on the country of residence of the Member booking the Go Fast Award stay, as indicated on such Member’s Wyndham Rewards Member profile.

  • Go Fast PLUS discounts will be delivered up to seven (7) days prior to the Member’s Go Fast Award check in date and will expire on the date that is seven (7) days after such check-in date. The discount must be used during the Go Fast Award stay.

(Wyndham Rewards T&C).

List of Participating Cities

  1. Atlanta
  2. Beijing
  3. Berlin
  4. Boston
  5. Branson, Missouri
  6. Charleston, South Carolina
  7. Chicago
  8. Dallas
  9. Dubai
  10. Hong Kong
  11. Istanbul
  12. London
  13. Mexico City
  14. Montreal
  15. Nashville
  16. New Orleans
  17. New York
  18. Niagara Falls
  19. Orlando
  20. Pigeon Forge
  21. San Antonio
  22. Shanghai
  23. Singapore
  24. Southern California
  25. Vancouver

I will Go Fast to Wyndham Rewards Elite in 2016

The primary impediment to earning Wyndham Rewards elite status is the requirement to stay in Wyndham brand hotels. There are some very nice hotels in Wyndham Rewards 15 brands. I find many international Ramada hotels generally high quality in the upscale and upper upscale market place for those cities. The primary reason I have not stayed in Wyndham Rewards hotels more frequently is the high quality Wyndham Rewards hotels in the USA are harder to find. In most USA cities and resorts where there is a high quality Wyndham, other chains provide major competition and often better value. I generally locate a better value hotel with one of the other chains like Starwood, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, IHG, rather than a Wyndham brand hotel as the best value.

Wyndham Worldwide has been the largest hotel chain in the world by number of hotels for the past decade, currently more than 7,600 hotels globally. Most of these hotels are in the USA, and by a large majority, Wyndham Rewards hotels are in economy brands like Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Microtel, Knights Inn and Suburban.

Most of us in the points and miles game got into this lifestyle to stay out of economy brand hotels.

I play the Go Fast game

Wyndham Rewards made a major effort to recreate its hotel loyalty program in May 2015 with Go Free and Go Fast rewards. The increased value of Wyndham Rewards points with Go Fast, Wyndham’s version of points and cash, was so significant that I proclaimed Wyndham Rewards most improved hotel loyalty program for 2015.

Go Free rewards made all hotels worldwide one fixed rate at 15,000 points for a free night using points. This has advantage and disadvantages in that all those economy brand hotels are now 15,000 points per night. The limited value of Go Free rewards is for high priced hotels in the chain full-scale brands of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Dolce Resorts. I have not redeemed a Go Free reward in the past year. I play the Go Fast game with Wyndham to maximize points value and conserve the hard to get points I do not earn by  frequent stay.

May 2015 was a game changer for me when Wyndham Rewards introduced its Go Fast points and cash option. There are great values to be found for reward nights at 3,000 points + a copay ranging from $25 to $150+. When the relaunch of Wyndham Rewards happened last May the high copay on a GoFat Reward night was $95. Unfortunately, this increased to $150 since then, significantly reducing the number of high end hotels that went from good value at $95 + 3,000 points to still high-priced at $150 + 3,000 points. Yet, there are some fantastic values to be found with Go Fast reward nights.

This summer I have several nights booked in Switzerland at Ramada brand hotels on Go Fast rates in places that are luxury resort destinations, based on the average hotel rate in summer season. Redeeming 18,000 points shaved over $1,000 off hotel rates in these places. I should become Wyndham Rewards Gold this summer. With rollover nights I will likely earn Wyndham Rewards Platinum easily next year.

The ability to book hotels using Wyndham Rewards Go Fast nights at more competitive rates than other hotel options in places like Amsterdam and Switzerland, while saving money and earning elite status for potential hotel stay benefits, is a welcome change from the world’s largest hotel chain for this loyalty traveler.


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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Comments

  1. I am Platinum and mainly do business stays in the DC area when other room rates are too crazy or promos call for is (5K Visa Checkout bonus, etc.). I rarely need early check-in/ late check-out, but normally find the property will do it when needed. My stays are not likely to be in participating cities.

    Last year I got in enough stays to get the 15K bonus under the old program (ended in 2016). I am not sure the new program has anything that offsets that.

  2. I have a question that I can’t find an answer to. When I got the Wyndham card last year during the 45,000 point sign up bonus all information said you would get 15,000 point bonus each anniversary. Mine is coming up in June but their website now shows 6,000 bonus points on your card anniversary. Should it remain 15,000 for those who signed up last year?

    We used 4 Go Fast nights last month and have enough points for 1 more, wondering if I am getting 15,000 bonus points or 6,000 next month.

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