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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.

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Wyndham Gold Status details.

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’s blue wizard smoke co-branded credit cards.

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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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