Instant Hotel Savings With The New Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham completely revamped their loyalty program back in the spring. It was such a major change that Ben actually called it revolutionary, and earth-shattering. Strong words indeed.

To recap, there were two major changes to the program.

  • Go Free flat rate award pricing with all properties costing 15,000 points per night
  • Go Fast cash and points awards

We’re now several months into the new Wyndham Rewards and the results are impressive. I dare say that they could have called this an enhancement. Of course if you’re one of those folks like Ben who wouldn’t stay at a Wyndham if they paid you, then this program still isn’t for you.

But for those who just want a roof of their head at the lowest price possible, this may just be the ticket. The best part is that you don’t actually need to have any Wyndham points to take advantage of this.

Wyndham-Rewards-2

Go Free Flat-Rate Awards

Most of the focus on the new Wyndham Rewards has been on the flat-rate award pricing which Wyndham refers to this as Go Free. Basically, if a room is available for award, it costs 15,000 points. End of story.

A lot of people had visions of getting aspirational properties for 15,000 points per night, rooms that previously might have gone for as much as 50,000 points.

There are two problems with this thinking:

  1. There just aren’t many aspirational properties in the Wyndham portfolio
  2. Most folks don’t actually have many Wyndham points

Therefore I’m going to focus on the the Go Fast awards, which are easily bookable by anyone, even those who are brand new to Wyndham.

Go Fast Cash And Points Awards

The idea of Go Fast awards is that you spend some points and some cash for the room. I assume they call it Go Fast because they won’t want the occasional traveler to have to wait years until they accumulate enough points for an award stay.

The points portion of these awards is fixed at 3,000 points — we’ll see why this is important in a moment — and the cash co-pay varies by the price of the property, at least theoretically.

It’s worth noting that these cash and points awards are capacity controlled. That means rooms won’t always be available, but this is generally true of other cash and points programs at other chains as well. In my anecdotal experience, Wyndham Go Fast availability is decent, and it can be searched on-line, unlike Hyatt’s version.

Gaming Wyndham Go Fast Awards

I’m excited about the new program because anyone can play, even if you don’t have any Wyndham points yet. Wyndham will sell you all the points you want for 1.1 cents eachThat means that you can buy the 3,000 points you need for a cash and points award for just $33. 

Buying Wyndham points is easy
Buying Wyndham points is easy

The cash co-pay on Go Fast awards varies, so we won’t know for sure how good of a deal this is until we do a search. But in my experience, most of the cash co-pays range from $25 to $75. That means you can get rooms for as little as $58.

I don’t know if you watched the low-end of the hotel market lately, but that’s a pretty good deal. I usually figure that the cheapest room I’m going to get anywhere is about $80-$100 a night these days — even at a Wyndham — so saving $20-$40 is non-trivial.

And in some cases, the savings can be significantly more.

Colorado Ski Country For $88 Per Night

There are a lot of great ski resorts in Colorado, and they all have prices to match. My formative years of skiing were in graduate school where we would pack 10 people into an already cheap room. If that’s still your idea of a ski trip, these Wyndham deals could be for you.

I searched Dillon, Colorado, for a Friday night in March, 2016. This could position you to ski Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapaho Basin, and other resorts.

Two properties are available for both Go Fast and Go Free awards, the Super 8 and a Baymont, in Dillon, and Frisco, respectively.

wyndham dillon colorado

The Go Fast awards have a $55 co-pay in both cases, which is kind of interesting considering that the revenue rate at the Baymont is actually $30 higher. Like I say, the co-pay is only loosely tied to the revenue rate.

Say you want a room at the Super 8. You could pay $139+, or you could buy 3,000 points at $33, and then pay $55 for a total of $88. That’s a savings of 37%.

The value is even better over at the Baymont. The room still costs $88 (even though it’s probably a nicer property) but now the retail price is $190 meaning that you are getting a 53% discount.

Or we can flip the analysis around and think about it as though you were ready, willing, and able to pay cash for one of these properties. That means that you are using 3,000 points to offset $102 in cash, in which case you are getting a redemption value of 3.4 cents per point, on points that you literally just bought 30 seconds ago for 1.1 cents each!

Can you say arbitrage?

San Francisco For $88 A Night

I’m not terribly familiar with the San Francisco hotel market, but I know that it can be pricey. So I was curious to see how the Wyndham properties pencil out in a city.

wyndham san francisco

Any of these could be good value on the Go Free flat-rate award price of 15,000 points, with redemption values greater than 1.5 cents per point. But it would take you three years to amass that many points in one account. So let’s focus on the Go Fast option.

The Travelodge isn’t available for Go Fast on that date, which stinks, but it is what it is.

You can book the other two properties, however, for $88 per night including the cost of the points that you just bought. That seems pretty good, and is in fact a redemption value of over 5 cents per point.

How many investments do you know of that will pay 500% within minutes? 

What If I Want More Than One Night?

Remember how I said that Wyndham will sell you as many points as you want? Well, that’s not exactly true.

Technically you can only buy 5,000 points per year. That’s basically means you can only buy enough for one Go Fast award each year.

But that’s per account.

So if you traveling with your partner, you could buy 3,000 points for one night, and they could buy 3,000 points for a second night. Now you’ve got a weekend getaway.

Why stop there?

You could open Wyndham accounts for your Mom, Dad, and Grandmother. Maybe even your dog. Then you could buy 3,000 points in each of those accounts. Wyndham even lets you book award rooms for other people right from the website.

I just booked a room at the Days Inn Houston for Ben. I'm sure he'll thank me later.
I just booked a room at the Super 8 Houston for Ben from my account. I’m sure he’ll thank me later.

When you think about it like that, there’s really no limit to the amount of points you can buy, so long as you don’t mind buying them 3,000 at a time.

Bottom line

I don’t say this very often, but I actually think that Wyndham enhanced their loyalty program with the introduction of Go Fast cash and points awards.

The beauty of Go Fast awards is that you don’t have to be a Wyndham regular, or even a speculative buyer of Wyndham points — you can literally start from nothing and book your first Go Fast award within minutes.

For times where you were planning to stay in a Wyndham property anyway, there’s a pretty good chance that this will result in a cheaper room. And face it, you’re probably staying at Wyndham because you’re cheap, so you might as well make the room as cheap as possible.

Have you booked any Wyndham Go Fast awards yet? What do you think of the new program?

Comments

  1. Great post Travis. You have easily become my favorite guest blogger on Ben’s blog.

    This works similar to SPG and Hyatt’s Cash + Points, which you should always check before booking. I assume these rooms will be inventory controlled as well.

    But are these Wyndham cash + point stays qualifying for their elite program, or even points-earning under their new ‘flat’ earn rate for cheaper properties?

  2. Haven’t managed to book anything yet, but did pick up the Wyndham card for my wife and me. Due to some odd things happening when they first put the bonus in place, now have about 110000 points, so can do go fast awards for more than a month! Burning off a lot of club Carlson points in the next year, booked before devaluation, so likely looking at using them for 2017.

  3. You figure the cheapest room anywhere is $80-100? Are you like Ben and only “travel” between lounges and chain hotels, or have you actually traveled around the world?

    In most of Asia for example,you can get a nice hotel for $50 or under, many that aren’t part of a chain, making most chain hotel awards useless there. I was even able to stay in fairly nice Wyndham properties in Australia for $100 or less, and that’s an expensive country. In south east Europe even cheaper is possible, especially if you expand to apartment rentals.

    Wyndham is an ok program if you can get a 15k room in very expensive cities where low end price range is hard to find, like London or Paris, otherwise I wouldn’t waste time on it.

  4. Rick B —

    In the US, which is where the majority of Wyndham’s are located, the low-end of the hotel market is around $80-$100 per night. Agree that if you travel mostly around Asia or even Europe, Wyndham won’t be of much use. This is about making cheap hotel rooms in the US cheaper.

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. Thanks for pointing this out. I knew about the free nights but not the “Go Fast” cash + points. A couple of things I noticed just now after playing around with the points option: 1) If you use a corporate code, the “Go Free” will appear but not the “Go Fast” option. After removing the corporate code, “Go Fast” appears. 2) The Best Available Rate is in some cases cheaper than the “Go Fast” cash + points (yes you heard me correctly). Then that rate can be lowered even further with the use of a corporate code if you have one.

    I would recommend thoroughly checking out any Wyndham property online first (Tripadvisor, etc.). Most of these properties are run down and may not be in the “safest” area. There are a few new ones, but they are sparce. Sometimes there is no alternative when I’m out in the boonies, so I have to settle for a Super 8 or a Days Inn which makes the Go Fast option a good deal.

  6. Great post , thanks Travis !
    I did sign up because the Go Fast award does sound like a really good deal.
    I’m planning a family trip to New York (4 persons) in the spring so i started checking availability.Unfortunately the hotels that I’m interested in – The Wyndham Midtown 45 and The New Yorker are not part of the Go Fast promotion ..I see only the Go Free for 15,000PTS points..
    Shame that not all hotels participate in the Go Fast promotion..
    Do you know if i book a stay there via booking.com i’m eligible to earn points ?

  7. I wonder if there will be Wyndham points on sale during the next go-round for Discover America as has happened in the past…

  8. Great post, Travis; I appreciate the engineer’s technical thoroughness always apparent in your posts. This is not something I’ll use frequently, but it is a good trick to have up one’s sleeve. I can think of a situation this past summer where I didn’t take a trip because the hotel rates were too high, but now I see there are actually a lot of Wyndham properties in the area I was looking at, so this might have been an option.

  9. Thanks Travis,
    This is timely as we are looking at condo rentals early Jan on the Big Island and I see they have several Wyndham Vacation properties. Do you know if they operate the same way as the hotel chains do?
    (Wondering if I should be signing up and buying points to book cheaper rates?)

  10. Hello Travis – thanks for the helpful post. I have 18K Wyndham points that will expire in early Nov. Will it extend the expiration date if I buy some points? Any other suggestions to keep the points from expiring since I most likely won’t be able to go anywhere in the next 3 weeks? Thanks!

  11. Laura —

    I know there is some subtlety to the properties in Hawaii, but I’m not an expert at it. It looked like there was a vacation property that did Go Fast, but I read something about how you have to book two rooms (or something confusing like that). And I didn’t look into any further. There’s also a property which I remember reading has very intermittent award availability (or might even be leaving Wyndham). So yeah, there may be an opportunity, but I haven’t really looked into it.

    Also, I would definitely NOT speculatively buy Wyndham points, at least at 1.1 cents. You might as well do your research, make sure there’s an opportunity to use them, and only then buy them right before you book. I just don’t see any reason to stockpile them at 1.1 cents each.

  12. Gymrat — Yeah, I have some Wyndham points that have to be close to expiration. Did you call to find out when they expire? I’ve read that there’s no way to tell on the website, and that matches my experience.

  13. CP@YOW — Yeah, I don’t stay at many Wyndham’s either — probably one or two nights per year. I think the Go Fast awards are really good for folks like us since you can just buy the points you need to make a single stay cheaper.

  14. Nick — Go Fast is definitely not a great deal every time. But cash and points really never are. Always gotta do the math!

  15. Eponymous Coward — Good question. I’m still working down my stash of Wyndham from the Discover America deal several years ago. Seems like the Discover America deals haven’t been as good lately, and the probability of being able to buy some gets worse. So we’ll see I guess.

  16. Nick — Also, I’m going to have to disagree with you that most Wyndham properties are run down and in bad parts of town.

    If anything, I would say that’s more likely to be true of Wyndham’s in big cities. But once you get in the sticks — which is where most Wyndham’s are anyway — most are generally fine for what they are.

  17. I used the Go Fast rate for a room at the Days Inn, Hyde Park in London this past August. Three nights cost me 9000 points and 185 GBP total during a week when I couldn’t find a double occupancy room for under 185 GBP per night. The room was a decent size and included breakfast.

  18. Travis – Have to disagree there. Wyndham properties in “the sticks” are definitely not always safe and are usually somehat run down. Check them out some time. I’ve had one in ohio where someone tried breaking into my room (while I was inside). I had one in Fort Collins where there were people actually living in cars in the parking lot. I was extremely concerned for my vehicle at that one, and I will never go back. I had one in Wyoming where the TV was secured to the dresser with A CHAIN. This was not like a chain, lets say, one would use to lock up a bicycle. This was a huge, THICK chain. Makes me wonder what goes on there. Like I said, be very careful when booking at Wyndham!

  19. Nick — I think you are confused. I’m not saying that every Wyndham is great — nobody is going to say that LOL. They are what they are. I just think it’s ridiculous to trash a chain that has 1000’s of properties because you had a few bad experiences. Of course you should read reviews first, but I would say that’s true of any property anywhere in the world — regardless of whether it’s the Park Hyatt or the Motel 6.

  20. Disagree. You said, “But once you get in the sticks — which is where most Wyndham’s are anyway — most are generally fine for what they are.” This is a general statement and in most cases not true at all. Do the math.

  21. I think the program is great for one reason – the Wyndham Grand Orlando. I was already choosing to stay there for $200/night before the change on our vacations, and 30,000 points/night was definitely not a good deal. Now at 15,000 points/night and 60,000 points for signing up for the credit card (don’t know why I got 60k instead of 45k), we can stay four nights on our next trip, worth over $800. Great value and a 4+ star hotel experience with a lot of things to do on the property. Since my spouse and another family member also got the card, we now have 11-12 nights at the property to use!

  22. I concur that the GoFast program can produce some great values, and not just “at the low end.” In my recent use of the program, I found much better availability AFTER I logged in to my account. (among examples of bundles to be saved… 80% off decent Days Inns in remote Rockie Mountain NP tourist areas at peak season (e.g. Utah, Wyoming, etc), and even at Va Beach.

    I hadn’t realized though we were limited in our buys of points to just 5,000 per year. I’m also dismayed to realize that Wyndham apparently doesn’t partner with AMEX GR or Chase UR (for further point infusion) Guess I’ll need to be more creative with family accounts.

    But I’m not blue. Thanks to the 45k stash from the Wyndham credit card, we have our eyes on 3 “GoFree” nights on the Mexican Riviera at an all-inclusive Viva resort. (over the holidays even) Ok, maybe it’s not a Hyatt Zilara (been there, done them), yet should be quite rewarding, all the same.

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