At its annual conference in Las Vegas last year, Wyndham announced a reinvention of its Rewards loyalty program, simplifying the process for earning and redeeming free nights. For every qualified stay, members earn 10 points for every dollar spent or a minimum of 1,000 points per stay, whichever is more. When members accrue 15,000 points, they can get a free night in any Wyndham hotel room anywhere, with no blackout dates. (This means that $1,500 spent at any Wyndham hotel automatically earns a free night anywhere in the system.) Those who travel less frequently can still get discounts on rooms with as few as 3,000 points.
One year later, Wyndham has announced another upgrade to the program, introducing Member Levels. All members begin at the blue level, Noah Brodsky, Wyndham's SVP of worldwide loyalty and engagement explained, and then move up to gold, platinum, and diamond for five, 15 and 40 nights, respectively. At each level, guests redeeming points for nights in one of the program’s top 25 destinations get discounts on local attractions—starting at $5 off for the blue level and free experiences valued at up to $150 per award night at the diamond level. These can include indoor skydiving in Orlando or a cooking class in Shanghai. Other perks include free Wi-Fi, early check-in, late check-out, room upgrades and annual point bonuses.
The new perks, Brodsky said, were born from consumer insights. “When we told people how they can redeem their points, they said they like to earn points on business trips and redeem them on leisure,” he said. The discounted or free experiences will let the points-earner be a “hero” for the family, and offer incentives to visit major destinations.
To keep guests coming back, the nights accrued for each level will roll over from year to year, making it easier for members to move up the ranks. This, Brodsky said, will attract both infrequent and frequent travelers alike. “If you travel one night per week or you take a trip once a year, we want you,” he said. “We’ll keep adding them up.” A business traveler might have a project that keeps her on the road for 150 nights in a year, Brodsky said, but when the project ends, she may not travel again for months. “If you stayed 150 nights in a year, we’ll roll over your nights so you can keep your status, because it’s likely you’ll get a project again, and when you do, we want you to stay with us.”
This strategy is admittedly unusual in rewards programs, Brodsky said, and the Wyndham team faced some challenges balancing the benefits with the budget. “There’s a finite pie,” he said. “But we wanted to put our energy into redemption, because that’s the most important part of the loyalty experience. What we needed to figure out was how to make the redemption experience good enough to want to earn more points.”
Member Levels benefits go live on May 18; however, current Wyndham Rewards members can check their status today, simply by logging into their account via the Wyndham Rewards mobile app or website. For more information on Wyndham Rewards, including full program details, a list of the top 25 destinations and all promotional terms and conditions, visit www.wyndhamrewards.com.