Wyndham Rewards recently sent out a survey to a number of their members asking for feedback on some potential enhancements to their co-branded credit cards. With the move from a fixed, single-tier award chart to three tiers, they probably saw an uptick in card cancellations. I know that I am leaning that direction when the fee hits on mine next month.
Wyndham’s Co-Branded Credit Card Predicament
Wyndham has a pretty sad co-branded credit card. Unless you have a constant need for Wyndham points, the card is pretty useless. The earning rates aren’t good, and with the best properties now costing twice the number of points, the value of their points has decreased dramatically. Not to mention the all-inclusive properties were all pulled from the program.
This isn’t to say there aren’t any sweet spots (SEE: 10 Remaining Gems After a Brutal Wyndham Devaluation). If you have travel plans to particular locations, Wyndham might still be a great option. But in general, their card is a loser. This is probably what is prompting the survey. They need to sell more points to Barlcays to make the relationship work.
Potential Changes to the Wyndham Credit Card
I have to say that some of Wyndham’s proposed changes are intriguing. A common option was a $50 statement credit after spending $5,000 in the card. This is a 1% return on top of the Wyndham points and could certainly tip the scales in favor of at least some limited card usage.
A number of the options presented include increased earning rates. Only when you see these climb into the 5x to 7x range do things begin to make sense for putting spend on the card. Even if you value Wyndham points at only 0.8 cents each, earning 7x on gas (as an example) is ~4% return on gas. I know there are other great cards out there for gas purchases, and this wouldn’t eclipse the quarterly 5% rate on a Chase Freedom or Discover, but it would be nice option to have.
Another intriguing one is to set up a number of recurring payments and receive a free night. I’m not sure if this would be one-time or annually, but in either case, this would be a great perk. However, this is almost too easy, and easy to game. You could set up a number of subscriptions in the $5-15 range that you pay anyway and call it good.
Other possibilities include offering a complimentary annual night. Wyndham does play games with award availability, but this would most solidly move the card into keeper status. A free night after meeting a spend threshold was also introduced.
A number of options included a 15% rebate on points when booking award nights. This would definitely be welcome. Likewise, the 10-15% discounts on stays booked online using your card could be helpful (if they are indeed a discount off the lowest available rate).
If Wyndham added an annual free night that could be used at any Wyndham hotel, this would move their product into keeper territory for many folks. Increasing the annual fee by $10-20 would probably be justifiable. Increased earning rates are intriguing, but unless they are willing to offer 5x to 7x on some category other than Wyndham hotels or travel, this probably won’t turn many heads.
In any case, they should add a spend threshold for some lucrative perk. Earning a free night after $10,000 in spend (even capped to Tier 1 and 2 hotels) would be a decent deal for some. I’d be interested if you could earn two free nights every year, if they also added an annual free night with payment of the fee.