Hotel Points to Airline Miles Exchange – Wyndham Rewards vs. Starwood
Starwood Hotels scores well in most major surveys in the upscale hotel sector for frequent guests. Wyndham Rewards is the economy hotel traveler’s domain with brands like Ramada, Days Inn, Travelodge, Howard Johnson, and Super 8.
Wyndham Rewards, like Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), offers a relatively good value for exchanges of hotel points into airline miles. Loyalty Traveler took a closer look to see how well Wyndham Rewards matches up with SPG when it comes to trading in your hotel points for miles.
Wyndham Rewards hotel points can be exchanged at three redemption levels:
8,000 points for 3,200 miles,
17,500 points for 7,000 miles,
30,000 points for 12,000 miles
All three levels have the same rate of exchange at 2.5 hotel points = 1 mile.
Wyndham Rewards Airline Partners (11)
Domestic Airlines International Airlines
American AAdvantage Air China Phoenix Miles
Continental OnePass Air Berlin Top Bonus
Delta SkyMiles Air Canada Aeroplan
Northwest Airlines WorldPerks
Spirit Airlines Free Spirit
United Mileage Plus
US Airways Dividend Miles
Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Partners (28)
SPG has eight domestic airlines, however, SPG domestic partners include Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, but two Wyndham Rewards airline partners, Midwest and Spirit Airlines, are not available through SPG points-to-miles exchange. Starwood has a far greater number of international airlines and with airline alliance frequent flyer agreements, there is the option of using most international airline miles for a variety of other airlines including USA domestic tickets. SPG does not have points-to-miles exchange with Wyndham Rewards partner Air Berlin Top Bonus.
By the Numbers:
The rate of exchange for Starpoints-to-miles with most airline partners is a straight
1 Starpoint = 1 mile.
SPG points-to-miles transfers provide better value when exchanges are made in 20,000 Starpoints increments and SPG automatically adds a 5,000 Starpoints-to-miles bonus.
20,000 Starpoints = 25,000 airline miles with 22 of the SPG airline partners.
Wyndham’s Competitive Advantage
“You don’t have to be a star(point), baby, to be in my show”
United and Continental have a lower exchange rate than most Starpoints-to-miles transfers:
2 Starpoints = 1 mile with United or Continental or
20,000 Starpoints = 12,500 miles with United or Continental Starpoints to miles exchange.
Wyndham Rewards exchange rate is 30,000 points for 12,000 miles with all the major domestic airlines, including United and Continental.
Essentially the question becomes – How do you compare the ability to earn 20,000 Starpoints to 30,000 Wyndham Rewards points?
Relative Earning power for Wyndham Rewards and SPG Starpoints.
A general member in Wyndham Rewards earns 10 points per dollar at Wyndham family hotels.
Basically 30,000 points is $3,000 spending.
SPG general member earns 2 Starpoints per dollar at Starwood hotels; 20,000 points = $10,000 in spending. An elite member earns 3 Starpoints per dollar; 20,000 points = $6,667 in hotel spending.
A comparison of regular points earning rates without consideration of promotional bonuses favors Wyndham Rewards for persons wanting to exchange points for United or Continental miles.
American, Delta, Northwest, and US Airways transfer 1:1 Starpoints-to-miles so 20,000 Starpoints = 25,000 miles. Wyndham Rewards requires 60,000 points for 24,000 miles.
$6,000 in spending with Wyndham Rewards for 60,000 points or 24,000 miles is not significantly different from Starwood’s 20,000 points or 25,000 miles for $6,667 in spending for an SPG elite member (at least 10 hotel stays in a calendar year). But Wyndham Rewards has a definite advantage for the frequent guest who does not have the Starpoint earning power of SPG elite status.
[See this post on why using 2 or 3 Starpoints/$1 hotel spending underestimates the earning power of the SPG hotel loyalty program in a comparison of hotel loyalty programs.]
Wyndham Double Rewards Points Promotion
Bonuses can make all the difference in value. And for the next four months, Wyndham currently has the advantage over Starwood with their Wyndham Double Rewards Points promotion. Register and earn 20 Rewards points per $1 through January 8, 2009. Unfortunately, the terms and conditions for this promotion limit double points to only four stays during the promotion period, so multi-night stays are more advantageous.
$100 in eligible spending with Wyndham Rewards hotel brands and earn 2,000 points.
$100 in eligible spending with Starwood Hotels earns 200 to 300 points, perhaps as much as 1,200 to 1,300 points with current promotions like the FlyerTalk 500 points/night promo or platinum amenity points. There are numerous variables in Starpoints earning due to many hotels offering site specific bonuses and SPG regional bonus points offers. Your travel pattern will influence your earning ability with the SPG program. Wyndham Rewards is a simple program and there are few regional or site specific special offers for additional points.
The bottom line is Wyndham Rewards has favorable points-to-miles exchanges, on par, and sometimes better than Starwood Preferred Guest. While the two hotel loyalty programs cater to different market segments, the option to transfer hotel points to miles at a reasonable exchange value is not just for the Starpoint elite travelers. Wyndham Rewards can put you up for the night and help you get that flight too at a good exchange rate for hotel loyalty programs.
Wyndham Rewards Flights vs. SPG Flights
Sample ticket price is 53,500 points for a USA domestic ticket up to $360 value. SPG flights charges 30,000 Starpoints for a $360 ticket. Wyndham Rewards member can currently earn 20 points/$1 (for up to four stays) compared to 2 or 3 points per $1 with Starwood and whatever SPG bonus points offers can be combined with your stay.