Wyndham Hotels group has more than 8,000 properties in 66+ countries. Their loyalty program Wyndham Rewards gives free night for 15,000 points (Go Free) or you can redeem for points+cash rate starting at just 3,000 points (Go Fast). So why bother about Wyndham Rewards Program?
You can reap great value from their redemption scheme of 3,000 or 15,000 points. (Note: Wyndham has been known to make changes without notice so do know that investing a lot in this program has its own risks). Below are few quick reasons why you should give a thought to their rewards program:
They do have few important "cons" to consider though:
That being said below are couple of example of value from Wyndham Rewards program.
Go Free night stay at Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa for 15,000 points:
This is one of nice vacation location and the weekend nights do not come cheap. The room rates can easily run $250+/night and thus represents a great value for just 15,000 Wyndham Reward points.
Go Fast Stay at Howard Johnson Long Island City for 3,000 points:
Although not a high end hotel but still it would save you some dollars at this nice location in Long Island in lieu of 3,000 Wyndham reward points.
So, next time you are planning short 1 or 2 night stays do look at the Wyndham rewards program as you can use them for good value redemption.
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In my earlier post on Daily Getaways Return, I mentioned about the offers for the first 2 weeks of this sale. There are still few of those deals available specifically The Diamond Resort Stay, CityPass, IHG Points and Wyndham Rewards points. Although they are not great deals, they might be useful for someone's particular travel or stay scenario. Daily Getaways has announced the remaining deals for next 3 weeks and there are few hotels points and Car rental deals I want to highlight in this post. The deal which most traveler are interested would be the Hyatt Stay Deal. Let me list down these here:
Note - None of the credit card links in the post earns me any revenue. Thanks for reading!
Broadly Speaking there are three kinds of Hotel Stays:
Let's assume your intent is to "pay the lowest price". In that case this article would give you various resources which will help you making that decision better and faster (Hopefully!). Below are few websites/tools which will quickly allow you to narrow down your search to few of the hotels in your desired area.
This is a pretty useful tool where you can enter your desired hotel location and it will quickly show up the hotels and the points required to stay there. Since, it uses Google Maps as the backdrop, it is very easy to map the hotels with your desired place of stay. Currently the website supports following Hotel Chains:
All you need to do is to enter your "Destination" in the search box and it will pop up hotel property names and price in award points for them. This makes it very easy to short-list the hotels and gives estimate on price you would have to pay (based on your valuation of the points) if you chose to stay on "award". For e.g. I have searched "Bali, Indonesia" below and as you can see that there are several options to select from based on where I want to stay and price I am looking to pay. Of-course there are certain limitations of this tool, as it does not list the "exact rates" for your dates as well as it does not specify the availability of award for your dates, but you at least get to know available properties and the points required which makes your selection easier.
Wandering Aramean Hotel Tools:
This tool gives specific information about the hotels as well as comparison between the "cost of award stay" and "cost when payed with cash". The comparison does require your "Fair value of points input", but it is pretty neat in that it will only show hotels with availability on your dates. It requires you to create your "login ID" before performing the search and currently supports Rates comparison for following Hotels:
Now you have done your reward stay research it's time to check if there are hotels available (may or may not be brand affiliated hotels) which are better bargain then redeeming your points. HotelsCombined is hotel aggregate site which searches for the hotels in your "desired location" and gives you whole bunch of criteria to narrow down or refine your search. The best part is it will show various "OTA as well as hotel websites" where you can book online along with their price comparison. For e.g. searching for hotels with only "5 stars" gives us prices ranging from $21 for a shared dorm to a price of $2299 for a resort room. You can further filter down on brand name and other bunch of criteria to get best bang for your buck.
Enter TripBam! This is a useful tool once you have done the search through HotelsCombined and have booked a "refundable room" for your stay. You can use this "TripBam" to send you alert if the price of your reserved hotel goes up or down on your desired dates of stay. You can also set the criteria if there are other hotels of your interest where you can possibly stay if the price is within the desired range of the price you paid for the current reservation. TripBam can send you an email alert about the price changes for your set of desired hotels so you do not need to keep searching for lower price once you have booked your reservation. For e.g. you can select the set of hotels you are interested in as shown below and you are on your way to savings if the price drops below your price paid or desired price.
Although there are numerous other sites which can help you search Hotels such as Kayak, but the above are just a few gem of tools which would help you make your hotel search better and faster.
BUY UNITED MILES FOR ~1.8CPM
There are two promotions going on currently which can help you earn United Miles at ~1.8 cpm (cent per mile). Although this might not be a cool way to earn united miles, but if you are short of miles for you next award and want to get there quickly this could be for you rather than buying it directly from united at a cost of ~3.5 cpm.
There are currently two promotions going on which both co-incidentally run till November 30th, 2013.
Wyndham points can be purchase in the blocks of 1000 points with each 1000 points costing $11. So let's say you purchased 20,000 Wyndham points you would essentially pay $220 for 24,000 points (20,000 + 4000 [bonus]). Wyndham points convert at ratio of 2.5:1 to United Miles. Thus you would trade 24,000 Wyndham points to 9600 United Miles. Since United will give you 25% bonus on received miles which is 2400 additional miles (9600 x 25%). Thus you get 12,000 miles (9600 + 2400) for a payment of $220 which is ~1.833 cent/mile.
There is one more way of earning United Miles for same price as above if you do not mind renting a car at Alamo if it is available for cheap (This is YMMV and thus proceed with caution). For details of this promo offer which earns 1000 miles for 1 day rentals check here.
As you keep collecting hotel program points for reward stays it's worth understanding the value you are getting out of your investment. Everyone has a different value on points they hold and in which program the points are available. But knowing what value you can get of those points is of importance. The intend of this post is to highlight different program "sweet spots" so you know your choices and where to look before deciding to use your points for hotel award night stay. The loyalty programs we will be looking at are listed below:
This article will focus on Hyatt Gold Passport and Hilton Honors. For IHG (Priority Club) refer to my post on IHG Big Win. The value proposition for IHG (Priority Club) comes from Point Savers Award. For details on Marriott, Club Carlson and SPG do check my next article in this series.
Hyatt Gold Passport
Most hotels in Hyatt brand represent high tier and luxury class hotels. Hyatt award night starts from mere 5k points for category 1 hotels and the highest category 6 hotels cost 22k points for standard room. The reward chart representing the hotels in different categories can be found here. The category 6 hotels include Park Hyatt Tokyo, Park Hyatt Maldives and Park Hyatt Sydney that retails upwards of $900+. Thus redeeming 22k points for standard room at this hotels is extremely awesome value proposition if you are looking for Style and grand experience. On the lower end of it you could redeem 5k points for hotels such as Bali Hyatt which goes for ~$120+. So if you are looking to stay at decent to good brand hotel, I would suggest looking at Category 1 & 2 hotels to see if any hotels exits for the destination you are planning to visit which provides great redemption value for award nights rather than paying cash.
Although Hilton has massively devalued their program in recent time by increasing award night redemption cost's almost 2x and introducing variable points reward rate based on seasonality; there are still quite a few value hotels for budget conscious travelers who want to experience Hilton brand. You should use this useful tool here to determine how many points are required for standard room stay at the location you plan to visit. Once you know the points, you can visit the brand hotel website and scroll all the way to the bottom to see the award night rate for your stay. Look at the example below for Double Tree Hilton Goa. The Hotel's average night cost is INR 11,000 which would roughly equate to ~$180 but the points cost is only 5k points. That's awesome value proposition for Hilton Honors points.
As you can see from above it is still a good value proposition redeeming Hilton Honor points for lower category hotels and thus maximizing value of your points for free award night stays.
So in short if you are looking for value from above programs look for lower or mid category hotels in Hyatt and lower category hotels in Hilton Honors program
The Upcoming Daily Getaway for Wyndham Points on 2nd July is essentially an opportunity of buying Airline Miles at at cost of 1.35c/mile. So if you are looking for a specific redemption and are short of few thousand miles or want to buy miles for real cheap then this is the opportunity for you. I would recommend not to buy Wyndham points speculatively unless for specific redemption because Wyndham is known for unannounced devaluation of their points.
With tomorrow's deal you would be buying different point packages at a fixed rate of 0.6 cent/point (0.54 cent/point if you use AMEX Credit Card as you get 10% discount). Wyndham allows points to miles conversion for most US carriers at a ratio of 2.5 Wyndham point = 1 Airline Mile, thus giving a cost of 1.5 cent/mile (1.35 cent/miles with AMEX card). Note that this ratio of conversion is True for Major US Carriers such as US Airways, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Airlines. You could also convert the points to South West airlines (3 Wyndham point = 1 Airline Mile), Frontier Airlines, Amtrak Points and few foreign airlines miles such as Air Berlin, Czech Airlines, Air China etc. To view the complete list and the ratio of conversion you will need to have Wyndham Rewards account and click "Redeem for Airline Miles and Partner Points" on the link here.
There are different points packages available with limit of 1 package type per account except the 14000 points package which can be purchased in the quantity of 2. Thus you can purchase all the different point packages to have larger stack of Wyndham Points. Below are the package available and their cost. Note that you could still use the points to stay at Wyndham branded hotels and you are not just limited to stay at the hotel advertised, but any hotel room available for given amount of points. Also the points expire 4 years from the date of deposit and after 18 months if there is no earning or redemption from the account. All the packages are at same rate of 0.6 cent/point (0.54 cent/point with AMEX).
The points go on sale at 1 p.m. EST so make sure you are online before that as the points usually sell out in a matter of minutes. Best of luck and hope this is useful for buying points for your award flight,
The upcoming Daily Getaway promotion for sale of Choice Privileges points is one of the upcoming sale promotion. It is scheduled for 27th June and has variety of points set on sale for a price as low as ~0.377 cents/point.
The offer is a "buy" if you are looking to use them primarily for your stays in Europe where the off-season hotel room costing $200 can be had for as low as 8000 points. The other good use of the choice points is for a family travel stay. Since a Choice Hotel Reward stay can have up-to 4 guests on a single reservation with no difference in points required, it would give a good bargain for stays where otherwise 2 rooms would be required or there would be extra cost for more than 2 guests. Also do remember that you are buying "Choice Privileges Points" regardless of what the Daily Getaway advertisement says, so you are not guaranteed stay at the hotels mentioned for the amount of points mentioned nor you are limited to use your points at a specific Choice hotels mentioned. You can essentially spend the points as you like. (even transfer to airline miles if you wish to, although I would advice against it unless you are topping of your mileage account for specific redemption)
Below are the offers available with limit of 2 per package type and in total of 8 per Choice Privilege account.
Note: If you are looking to solely purchase the points to transfer to Airline Miles than the Wyndham Reward Points Daily Getaway Sale on 2nd of July is something you would be interested where essentially you are buying points at a cost of 1.35 cent/airline miles. (8k Wyndham points transfer to 3.2k Airline miles into AA, UA, US and DL airlines mileage program)
There is a current promotion going on which caught my eye today. Aeroplan is running a great promotion where you earn bonus miles when you transfer your financial services, car rental, hotels and points.com points to Aeroplan till 13th of May 2013. Below are the partner list and chart of points earned.
As I had discussed in my earlier post of 50% bonus on transferred hotel points to US Airways, how to take advantage of the transfer using Marirott and Wyndham, I would not discuss that here, but in addition there are few other pluses in this transfer:
1. SPG is also a partner, so for every transfer of 20k SPG points you already earn 5k bonus miles from SPG, but in addition you would now also earn bonus miles of 4k from Aeroplan. So 20k SPG points would get you 29k Aeroplan Miles.
2. The bonus is calculated after considering the total miles you accumulate by transfer from all the partners cumulatively. That means you can transfer over points from various hotel partners to earn a maximum of 40k Aeroplan bonus miles when you get 150k Aeroplan miles deposited in your account.
Note: Transfer from American Express Membership Rewards does not count towards this bonus. You can check out the full list of terms & conditions on the bonus offer page here.
There is a hidden value in the transfer which makes this promotion more interesting and that's "points.com".
If you head over to "points.com" you will realize that Aeroplan Miles can be exchanged (minimum of 15k Aeroplan miles required) for US Airways miles at a ratio of 1 : 0.84. Not only that if you look closely you will find out that you can transfer your points to Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific) at a ratio of 1 : 0.724 as well as to Hawaiian Airlines miles at ratio of 1 : 0.672 which are really good if you are short of few thousand's miles on those account for your redemption. Considering that you cannot directly convert Wyndham points to either of Asia Miles and Hawaiian Airlines miles and adding a bonus factor to it could be a really cool value. You can see the snapshot from pionts.com below as well as conversion chart factoring in the bonus miles earned.
Thus if you missed the US Airways 50% bonus promotion (which was limited to only 1st transfer), you could very well use this promotion to get US Airways miles, but in addition to that you could very well get Asia Miles and Hawaiian Airline miles at reasonable loss in miles value (as well as transfer from Wyndham Rewards becomes a possibility).
US Airways is running promotion where you get 50% bonus miles when you transfer the "participating" hotel points into miles. This promotion is valid till April 30th and you are limited to "ONLY ONE TRANSFER BONUS OF 50%". Below are the transfer partners:
Although hotel points transfer to Airline miles is rarely a good value and a good partner like "SPG" is excluded. There are couple of good value to have above.
Wyndham Rewards Transfer:
Wyndham Rewards points transfer to US Airways miles with a ratio of "2.5:1". Adding 50% bonus the ratio becomes "2.5:1.5".
For e.g. Transferring 8000 Wyndham Reward Points with will you 4800 US Airways Dividend Miles.
Marriott Rewards Transfer:
There are two different ways of getting US Airways miles in exchange for Marriott Rewards Points:
1. Air Mileage: Marriott Rewards Points can simply be converted to US Airways miles with a variable ratio ranging from "5:1" for 10k points transfer to maximum of "2.5:1" for 125k points transfer. Thus with 50% bonus you will earn anywhere from "5:1.5" to as good as "2.5:1.5". Here is the link to get started.
e.g. 1: Transferring 10k Marriott Reward Points would yield 3k US Airways Dividend Miles.
e.g. 2: Transferring 125k Marriott Reward Points would yield 75k US Airways Dividend Miles.
2. Hotel + Air Package: Marriott Rewards Points have an option for redeeming for "Hotel + Air Package" deal. One of the good redemptions here is "7 nights in category 1-5 hotels + 120k miles" for 270k Marriott Reward Points. The good deal about this package is you not only get 7 nights worth of stay in category 1-5 hotels (which by the way you could finalize at later point in time) but you would get a transfer ratio of "2.25:1" without bonus. Adding the 50% transfer bonus would yield "1.5:1" transfer ratio which is "awesome" considering you get 180k miles + 7 nights of hotel stay as well.
Do note that the 50% bonus is only applicable for "1 transfer only" but you could always transfer the points to your spouse account as well and get similar benefits. Both Wyndham Rewards and Marriott Rewards allows such transfers. If you do not have either Wyndham Rewards Points or Marriott Rewards Points but are having "few thousand points lying over" in any other participating hotel program, now would be a good time to get a good 50% bonus on them.
HOTEL POINTS TO MILES
One of the way’s to accumulate miles in the airline frequent flyer program is to collect points in one of hotel programs which allow point conversion to miles. Most often than not the conversion ratio from points to miles is bad but still there are few exceptions to this. So, why would you want to transfer points to miles?
Let’s look into more details about the good hotel programs purely from points to miles conversion perspective.
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG): SPG is one of the few programs which provides great transfer value:
Wyndham Rewards (WR): WR is another program which provides great transfer value:
Apart from Starwood Preferred Guest and Wyndham Rewards there are bunch of other hotel programs which could potentially earn higher miles at times due to lucrative seasonal promotion offers. Some of the hotel programs which are useful for points to miles conversion are listed below.
Hyatt Gold Passport
I love traveling / backpacking. This blog focuses on below 3 aspects of travel:
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