With 7,800 properties in more than 70 countries, the Wyndham Hotel Group is the world’s largest hotel network. That’s right: bigger than Marriott, even after it absorbs Starwood. Bigger than InterContinental. Bigger than Hilton.
In a business where bigger is assumed to be better—economies of scale, more opportunities to earn and redeem loyalty points, and so on—Wyndham should be a shining star, uppermost in travelers’ minds when they’re planning hotel stays. But for some reason, it’s not.
Perhaps it’s a problem with Wyndham’s 15 brands: Dolce, Wyndham Grand, Wyndham, Wyndham Garden, TRYP, Wingate, Hawthorn Suites, Microtel Inn & Suites, Ramada, Baymont Inn & Suites, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, and Knights Inn. None are particularly sexy.
Until recently, Wyndham’s loyalty-marketing efforts were at best half-hearted as well. That began changing last year, with the first stage in the redesign of Wyndham Rewards, which included one notably bold move: free-night awards available throughout the Wyndham network for 15,000 points.
In the year since that change, the program has signed up 5 million new members and award redemptions have nearly doubled, according to Noah Brodsky, SVP of Worldwide Loyalty & Engagement, on a briefing call earlier this week. But Brodsky hadn’t called to bask in the glow of past achievements; he wanted to discuss the new round of Wyndham Rewards enhancements.
The latest changes mostly affect the program’s redesigned elite tiers.
New Elite Tiers and Perks
In place of the previous single elite tier, Rewards will now feature three elite tiers:
- Blue – Entry level (free WiFi)
- Gold – Five nights to qualify (late check-out, preferred room upgrades, dedicated phone line)
- Platinum – 15 nights to qualify (early check-in, 3,000 bonus points annually, rental-car upgrades)
- Diamond – 40 nights to qualify (6,000 bonus points annually, suite upgrades, welcome gift, Gold status for a friend)
Five nights is a very low bar, albeit for entry-level status. And making elite status even more accessible is Wyndham’s new Rollover Nights policy: Qualifying nights will now roll over indefinitely, from one year to the next, until status is earned.
When booking award stays in any of Wyndham’s top 25 cities, Rewards members will receive a little something extra: a discount coupon or passes for a local attraction, depending on their status.
- Blue – $5 value
- Gold, Platinum – $10 value
- Diamond – $150 value
The add-ons will be available for award stays after July 11.
Wyndham has always had the size, and now it’s well on the way to crafting a loyalty program that’s a cut above the competition.
Now Mr. Brodsky, about those brands…
Reader Reality Check
When did you last stay at a Wyndham hotel?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.