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Wyndham completely overhauled its free night awards earlier this year, introducing fixed redemptions at 15,000 points for any property in the chain’s portfolio. Whether you want to stay at the New Yorker in Manhattan or a Super 8 in Shenzhen, free nights are a flat 15,000 points. The chain also introduced Go Fast redemptions for a fixed 3,000 points plus $35-$75 in cash per night, which offer excellent value at some properties. While the program got off to a bit of a rocky start, it’s been a tremendous hit with customers.
Now, the next stage of the program’s evolution is to overhaul elite status, making Wyndham Rewards much more attractive for frequent guests. Currently, Wyndham offers a straightforward incentive called “Gold Status.” Essentially, guests earn 15,000 points (good for a free night) after every 20 qualifying nights in a calendar year, up to a total of 45,000 points. Bonus points must be redeemed within four months and can only be applied to award stays. Bonus points are awarded in addition to the 10 base points per dollar you’ll earn with each stay. Wyndham says that its Gold Status program has been popular, with hundreds of thousands of free nights awarded in 2015. That program will go away at the end of this year.
Then, sometime in 2016, the chain will launch its revamped frequent-guest program, complete with elite status tiers and what Wyndham is describing as a “truly first-of-its-kind benefit that people are going to love” — which has yet to be announced. Your qualifying nights will still be tallied up, though, and your status tier in the new program will be assigned based on stays in 2015 and 2016. We don’t have specifics to share now, but we’re expecting to learn more in early 2016.
Wyndham is also changing up the design of its co-brand credit cards, which now feature the “blue wizard smoke” you may have noticed in some of its commercials. Through December 14, you can earn 45,000 points (good for three free nights) after you spent $1,000 in the first 90 days with the Wyndham Rewards Visa card. The card includes a $69 annual fee and earns you a bonus 5 points per dollar spent at Wyndham hotels and 2 points per dollar spent everywhere else, in addition to 5,500 bonus points on your account anniversary each year. Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.