Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!
When it comes to “diamond in the rough” hotel programs, I think a strong case can be made that Wyndham Rewards fits that description. Everyone talks about Hyatt, Marriott/SPG, Hilton, etc., but you don’t often see Wyndham Rewards mentioned (despite it being one of the largest hotel programs in the world). With the Wyndham Rewards Visa card now offering a 45,000 sign-up bonus, it might be time to give them a closer look.
- Earn 30,000 bonus points after your first purchase. Plus, earn an additional 15,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
Bonus category earning potential
- 5X per dollar spent on eligible Wyndham properties
- 2X per dollar spent on eligible gas, utility and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart)
- 1X on everywhere else
You’ll receive automatic Platinum status, which comes with the following benefits:
- Earn 6,000 bonus points annually after your account anniversary every year (this is in addition to the 3,000 offered each year due to Platinum status)
No foreign transaction fees
- $75 annual fee (not waived)
- Barclaycard sometimes only pulls from Transunion (although not always) so this is a great way to give your Experian and/or Equifax credit report (just remember YMMV).
Back in the spring of 2015, Wyndham completely overhauled their reward program to make it more simple. The most significant change was that they did away with standard redemption tiers/categories that most other hotel programs use (category 3, 4, 5, etc.) and they put in a new redemption scheme where properties can be redeemed for 15,000 points per night (that means you can get 3 free nights with this card). This made some of the cheaper properties more expensive but cut the price in half for some of their higher properties, making them much more obtainable and that’s why this card is an exciting offer.
You might be a little surprised to find out that Wyndham has a surprisingly wide network. You’ll find them in pretty much every major city in the US and in many smaller cities as well. And they have a large presence overseas, too. In fact, Value Penguin reports that internationally there are more Wyndham properties than Starwood or Marriott. With such a large footprint, it shouldn’t be hard to find availability.
Now, it is true that most of the Wyndham properties are hotels (motels?) you probably aren’t dying to stay at. These are the Days Inn, Super 8, Knights Inn, etc. Full disclosure: I’ve never stayed in one of those before but I’ve seen what some of these properties look like (and where they’re located) and they haven’t appealed to me. I’m sure there are some “lower level” properties that aren’t that bad, but I don’t think most of those properties are what first pops into your head when you first think about luxury travel.
If you are looking for luxury travel, the great news is that there are a number of awesome Wyndham properties that will fit that bill. And with redemptions starting at 15,000 per night, you can get some serious value from these redemptions. Some of these “higher end” properties will admittedly be harder to book due to limited availability but with enough planning you should be able to find a property with availability.
Here are a few lists of some of the sought after properties for both domestic and international travel.
- Doctor of Credit’s list (includes a huge list of the some of the top properties)
- The Points Guy list
- Mommy Points’ list
As you can see from reviewing those lists, some properties can really be worthwhile and if you’re able to snag a suite or other premium room, your redemption’s value in cents per point can be over 3 to 4 cents (which is excellent for a hotel redemption).
Points plus cash
The final thing to note is that Wyndham offers a points plus cash redemption for some of their lower properties. This can be a great way to optimize value if you’re really into stretching your points.
Some properties will allow you to redeem 3,000 points + cash for a booking. Value Penguin recommends that you stick to redemptions for under $75 for this option because above that threshold, the value in cents per point lowers to a level that it might make more sense to just use cash for the night.
I really like this offer for a number of reasons. The easy sign-up bonus of 30,000 points after a single purchase and then only $2,000 more required in spend for an additional free night is very obtainable. While there are a lot of Wyndham properties I wouldn’t care to stay at, there are a lot of properties (all around the world) with very valuable redemptions. For those looking to stretch points, the points plus cash option could really get you pretty far without breaking the bank, too. And finally, this is one of the few true churnable cards, making it all the more valuable. So don’t sleep on this card!
Cover photo: Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.