PHOTO: Coomatloukane Cottage, County Kerry, Ireland, is one of the vacation rentals now available for Wyndham Rewards Redemptions. (Photo courtesy of WyndhamRewards)
Loyalty programs are great for vacations. Spend for business travel, collect points, then stay free when you take the family on the annual trip to the beach or the ski resort. Leisure properties are perennial favorites when it comes to redemptions, particularly in popular vacation destinations such as Hawai‘i.
Now, a standard room with a king bed might be great for single-night stays on the road, but there are many families who prefer the more home-away-from-home atmosphere provided by a condo or a vacation rental. What do they do when they want to burn their points?
Wyndham Rewards announced last week that members could begin redeeming points in the program for stays at 17,000 condos and homes in addition to the 8,000 participating hotel and condo properties in their system. This is a redemption tier that I haven’t really seen matched by other loyalty programs when you take out their respective condo and timeshare properties. The real difference here is the vacation rentals – I don’t know of another loyalty program that is offering redemptions for vacation rentals for entire homes.
Looking through Wyndham’s portfolio, it looks like they’ve got home rentals in some in-demand places. Through cottages.com there’s a selection of houses in the British Isles; stateside there are vacation homes available in destinations popular with that type of lodging, such as Palm Springs, Park City, and Panama City Beach (the alliteration is completely coincidental).
Redemption levels appear straightforward: 15,000 points for a free night at Wyndham properties, and 15,000 points per bedroom, per night for redemption at multi-bedroom condos and vacation rentals. There’s also the option to redeem 3,000 points plus cash, and earning is straightforward too: ten points per dollar or a minimum of 1,000 points per stay, whichever is higher.
In addition to Wyndham-branded properties at various tiers, the most familiar brand names that participate in Wyndham Rewards are in the Economy and Midscale tiers, such as Days Inn, Super 8, and Howard Johnson. Redemptions are available now at select properties (you have to call to book), and Wyndham is planning on completing a participation rollout across the majority of their network by 2018.
The Takeaway: Wyndham Rewards members can now redeem for vacation rentals at a predictable redemption rate
Good For: Vacationers who prefer the privacy afforded by a home or condo accommodation instead of a hotel.
Not Great For: Travelers who prefer luxury or upper-upscale accommodations. Wyndham Rewards properties are concentrated in the Economy and Midscale segments, with limited Upscale and no Luxury properties in their network. Online redemption for condos and vacation rentals is also currently not available.