Wyndham Rewards – How Much for a “free” night?
In addition to the Personal Choice I mentioned last month Wyndham have also been pushing the benefits of Wyndham Rewards very heavily. This is the scheme where you can convert credits to “Wyndham Rewards” points if you have Elite Privileges or above and then use those credits to book “free” nights in Wyndham branded hotels around the world. I won’t go into the full details of it in this article as I did look at this in my Redseason Newsletter October 2015 so you can review it there.
For this article I am going to work out exactly how much each “free” night is actually costing based on upgrading to each Privileges level using a similar logic to my Personal Choice article. There are a couple of things I didn’t really cover in that previous newsletter article so before I get started on the costing some things to note about Wyndham Rewards are:
Each Wyndham hotel can choose whether to participate in the rewards system or not and if they do they get to choose how many rooms they will offer for free nights and at what times of the year. This means that many hotels only offer rooms at quieter times of the week/year (so you may find you can get free rooms some nights and not others or only in the less busy times of the year) or they simply don’t participate at all.
Using 15000 Rewards Points will only get you a hotel room generally sleeping 2 or 3. There are some hotels overseas that offer family suites BUT you pay 15000 points PER BEDROOM – so a 3 bedroom suite would cost you 45000 Rewards Points PER NIGHT. As far as I have been able to determine there are no hotels in Australia or NZ offering anything bigger than a hotel room.
So on to the costing. For this exercise I am going to assume our fictitious couple Mr & Mrs Smart have 10,000 credits purchased from Redseason and have been offered a number of different upgrade options to get either Elite, Diamond or Platinum Privileges (as the Rewards points work differently at each level) and they are looking at the options with the idea of using their membership for a European holiday where they can use Rewards Points to book various hotels in Paris, London and Amsterdam. Again as they are a smart couple they know they can reduce the cost of an upgrade by purchasing some credits from Redseason. We are going to assume a cost per credit of $2.70 for Wyndham credits, $0.65 for Redseason credits and that they fund any purchase using their home loan redraw at 4% interest rather than using Wyndham finance (of course if you do the calculation assuming all credits purchased from Wyndham on their finance it comes out a wee bit more expensive!).
Option 1 – Upgrade to Elite by purchasing 10,000 credits from Wyndham (which will convert their current credits to Privileges as well). This will give them 20000 credits per year and access to Elite Privileges which means you need 3000 Worldmark credits to get the 15000 Wyndham Rewards points per “free” night. That means they could convert 18000 credits to get 6 nights accommodation for Europeand pay a conversion fee of $199.
Option 2 – Upgrade to Diamond by purchasing 7000 more credits from Redseason and then 18000 credits from Wyndham. At Diamond level you 2500 Worldmark credits for each 15000 Rewards points so they could convert all 35000 credits to get 14 nights accommodation and pay a conversion fee of $149.
Option 3 – Upgrade to Platinum by purchasing 21000 more credits from Redseason and then 32000 from Wyndham to get to 63000 Privileges credits. At Platinum the conversion rate is 2000 Worldmark credits for each “free” night (15000 points) so they can convert 62000 credits to get 31 nights accommodation through Rewards if they wanted to and they pay a conversion fee of $99.
If we add up the costs we get:
|Cost of current credits|
|Extra credits – Redseason|
|Extra credits – Wyndham|
|Total Cost of membership|
|Annual Interest Cost @ 4%|
|Rewards Conversion Fee|
|Total Annual Cost|
|Nights of hotel stays|
|Cost per night|
So if the Smart’s upgrade to Elite and then use their credits to book hotels through Wyndham Rewards each “free” night in a hotel room is really costing them $525, at Diamond the cost comes down to $370 per night and at Platinum it is $292 per night. However one thing missing from this calculation is that if in 20 years the Smart’s can no longer use their membership and need to sell it they lose most of what they paid Wyndham as their $106550 Platinum membership would only be worth around $30000 on the secondhand market. If you include that loss of value and assume a 20 year usage then the nightly cost becomes $720 for Elite, $520 for Diamond and $413 for Platinum.
So would they save any money? I picked a some random dates in September this year and looked at hotels with both Rewards and Cash pricing (prices are in A$).
For London the most expensive hotel with rewards bookings availablewas Days Hotel London Hyde Park which for a 3 night stay was $201 per night so even with Platinum you are $91 a night WORSE off using the “stay free” option.
For Paris the closest hotel that actually had Rewards available was Dolce Chantilly which is 40 minutes out of town and had a nightly rate of $260 so you are again worse off. (There is a TRYP by Wyndham in Paris but I could not find any available Rewards dates in September – cash rate was about $320 per night).
For Amsterdam we have the Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre available with rewards or a cash rate of $195 per night so again you are between $97 and $330 per night worse off using Wyndham Rewards points!
As with the Personal Choice we looked at last month it seems that upgrading a membership to gain access to Wyndham Rewards just does not add up financially. Even using the minimum possible purchase price (by buying half the credits from us) and a very low interest rate of only 4% each “free” night in a hotel room ends up costing you between $292 and $525 without allowing for the depreciation on the credits you purchased. Even using the points in some of the most expensive locations to stay (Paris, London and Amsterdam) doesn’t save you that much per night. (By the way if you redo the calculation for Platinum but assume all credits were purchased from Wyndham and allow for the depreciation over 20 years then the “free” nightly cost works out at around $600 per night).
Wyndham sales people are constantly pushing these extra Privileges options for only one reason – they use up a lot of credits and therefore you will have to buy a lot more from them if you want to make use of them. By using terms such as “Go Free” and the old favourite “your points come back every year” they try to make it look like a fantastic saving when in truth it is not. Yes your credits come back each year but so do the levies and other costs of owning a membership so you need to make sure you are getting enough value from your membership to cover those annual costs. Staying in Worldmark or RCI resorts does this (I am planning on covering this next month) but using them in Wyndham Rewards or Personal Choice does not.
By the way if you do already have Privileges membership level that gets you Wyndham Rewards and you do look at using it I would strongly suggest looking at the “GO FAST” option rather than “GO FREE” – this gives you a discounted nightly rate in exchange for 3000 rewards points rather than a free night for 15000 rewards points. GO FAST is not available at as many properties but when it is you can save 25-50% off the cash price using only 3000 Rewards Points which is better value than using five times as many points to get it free. For example the GO FAST option was available at the Amsterdam option above (but not London or Paris) and reduced the nightly rate to around $100 per night plus 3000 Rewards Points.
As always if you have any questions on this just email me or give us a call and we are more that happy to have a chat.
*Analysis prepared March2018 by Terry Bradford from Redseason Pty Ltd, holder of Australian Financial Services Licence number 491352. Information onWyndham Rewards conversion rates and feesand Wyndham credit pricing taken from Wyndham Privileges documentation and Wyndham Product Disclosure Statement current as at February 2018. Interest rate for home loan based on current CBA Variable Rates (rounded down for simplicity).