Well, it looks like it’s been four years since my wife and I both picked up the Wyndham Visa card. I jumped when the card had an initial offer of 45,000 points plus 15,000 points every account anniversary after paying the $69 annual fee. This was essentially a free night every year for $69. Not a bad deal at all.
Except now it really isn’t a free night. All of the top properties now cost twice what they did. Wyndham really gutted the value of their program. There are a much smaller number of good properties available at the 15,000-point level. Sure, you can now get two nights for 15,000 points at some properties, but only if you’re looking at properties like the Days Inn just off the highway outside Dayton, Ohio.
Plus, we have a different problem with my wife’s Wyndham points.
Wyndham Points Expiration Policy
Unlike most hotel programs, all Wyndham points eventually expire. Most programs just require you to have some activity to keep the points alive, and any qualifying activity keeps all of them alive. With Wyndham, this doesn’t matter. They have an 18-month window for maintaining activity. But all points also expire 48 months after you earn them. You cannot indefinitely stockpile points.
As it turns out, we’ve only used 15,000 of my wife’s points. Kinda silly to keep paying for a card where we aren’t using the benefits, but I didn’t want to give it up. Plus, I’ve tried to use them a number of times but always end up canceling due to various reasons. We’ve used lots of mine. A total of 105,000 to be exact. These were spent at a few different properties where we got over $1,200 in value for the points used. Totally worth paying that $69 per year.
The Plan For My Wife’s Points
With expiration of ~30,000 of her points looming in just over a month, I’ve decided what to do with them. Rather than try to use them for a hotel stay, transferring them will be easiest. Wyndham points can be transferred to a number of programs, but generally not at a good rate. You can check out all the transfer partners here.
Of these, one stuck out to me where we would maintain decent value: Amtrak. A number of others could be marginally useful, such as AAdvantage Miles, LifeMiles, Aeroplan Miles, United Miles, or even Turkish Miles&Smiles. The rest (Aeromexico, Air China, China Eastern, Fortune Wings, Frontier and Hawaiian) can be written off.
The transfer rate for all of these partners is 6,000 Wyndham points to 1,200 partner points or miles. If I’m generous and assign a value of 1 cent per point to Wyndham Rewards points and 1.5 cents per partner mile, you’re trading $60 in value for only $18 in value. It’s a terrible rate, but at least you’re getting something for your miles. If you have a specific use and can get 4-6 cents per airline mile, it might be a wash.
In the case of Amtrak, it’s still not a win, but it is much better. Amtrak points are worth ~2.9 cents each. At this rate, you’re getting about $35 for $60 worth of Wyndham points. If you only value Wyndham points at 0.8 cents each, you’re keeping over 70% of their value transferring to Amtrak.
We don’t have any imminent plans to take Amtrak, but we could easily augment a small stash by picking up the co-branded Bank of America card. We’d quickly have enough for a long-haul trip across the country, which would be a great experience with the kids.
Transferring Wyndham points to Amtrak is not an ideal solution, but with a “use it or lose it” policy like theirs, it’s better than nothing. Plus, it might be a plus to just dump the card and be done with them. After the recent changes and the awful blackout dates for many of their condo and timeshare properties, I’m pretty much over the program.
What would you do with expiring Wyndham points? Would another partner besides Amtrak make more sense?