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Update 10/11/16 11:08am ET: Wyndham has suddenly pulled the promotion less than an hour before it was due to begin.
Update 10/11/16: Wyndham now has a page detailing this offer.
Wyndham’s looking to woo award travelers to its program and away from Starwood Preferred Guest with an interesting approach. Today, if you donate all your Starpoints to charity, Wyndham will give you 4x that number of points in the Wyndham Rewards program, in addition to matching your SPG status — your new Wyndham status will be valid through 2017. This offer won’t be sticking around for long, though; you only have from 12pm to 11:59pm EST today to qualify.
To participate, you need to donate your entire balance of Starpoints to a charity of your choice through SPG (options include the American Red Cross, Clean the World and UNICEF) and then send proof of your donation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Since you can donate Starpoints in fixed increments ranging from 500 to 20,000, you may have a small number of points left over — you’ll still be eligible for the promo if your balance is less than 500 points after completing your donations.
Here are the Starpoints donations you’ll be able to choose from, and what the charity will receive in return:
|Points Donated||Clean the World||American Red Cross||UNICEF|
|500||1 month supply of soap and hygiene education to one classroom.||N/A||Provides learning materials (e.g. rulers, erasers, pens, pencils, and books) for a child for a whole year.|
|1,000||6 month supply of soap and critical hygiene supplies to one family.||N/A||Could provide a football that helps children learn through play.|
|5,000||1 month supply of soap and hygiene items for a homeless shelter.||N/A||Could provide a uniform and essential gender-specific tutorials for a female student in Ethiopia to thrive.|
|10,000||6 month supply of soap for a clinic serving families in extreme poverty.||N/A||Could provide training for 1,250 teachers in Burkina Faso, including HIV education curriculum.|
|20,000||1 year of soap and hygiene education programs for an entire school.||N/A||Could pay for 10 chalkboard sets for classrooms in South Africa.|
And here’s what status you can expect from a Wyndham match:
|Starwood Status||Nights Required||Matched Wyndham Status||Nights (Normally) Required|
You need to send the following screenshots: one showing confirmation of the point donation, and one showing your SPG account activity page with a balance of fewer than 500 points after you’ve made the donation. There’s no cap on how many points you can earn, and you should receive your Wyndham points and status match within 10 days. Also note that these donations aren’t tax-deductible.
Donating points to charity is definitely admirable, but not every award traveler will want to drain their stash of Starpoints. Especially now that Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood has closed, SPG members have access to an even bigger portfolio of properties, and they can receive an automatic status match with Marriott Rewards.
Since this promotion’s terms specify that you need to transfer all your Starpoints to charity to qualify, you might be considering transferring some Starpoints to Marriott Rewards (at a 1:3 ratio), then back to Starwood Preferred Guest after receiving the Wyndham match. Unfortunately Wyndham is stating that you won’t be eligible if you’ve transferred points to Marriott or other members today, so keep that in mind before donating points. (It’s not clear if transfers from Marriott are eligible.)
However, if you’ve only accumulated a handful of Starpoints over the years and don’t hold elite status with the hotel chain, you might not have much to lose — which makes the opportunity to earn 4x Wyndham points that much more appealing. In his latest valuations, TPG pegs Starpoints at 2.7 cents apiece, while Wyndham points come in at 1.2 cents each. You’re getting 4x points with this promo, which ups the theoretical value to 4.8 cents for each Starpoint you donate to charity.
As an example, if you have 25,000 Starpoints and decide to leverage this unique promo, you’d get 100,000 Wyndham Rewards points — enough for six award nights since the program charges a flat rate of 15,000 points per night at all of its properties, with points left over. You can get some great value out of your points if you redeem them at in-demand Wyndham hotels such as the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach or The Mills House Wyndham Grand in Charleston, South Carolina.
This is definitely a unique way to court award travelers and drive business away from one of Wyndham’s biggest competitors — and thanks to the 1:4 point-swapping ratio, it does offer some solid value. This opportunity won’t make sense for everyone, but if you’re new to the award travel game or simply aren’t a Starwood (or Marriott) loyalist, it could make sense to donate whatever Starpoints you do have to earn quadruple rewards with a program that offers all award nights for just 15,000 points.
Featured image courtesy of Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach.
Will you be taking advantage of this promo?
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