Major developments are currently underway not just in the hotel industry itself due to the challenges of COVID-19, but also in the marketplace of co-branded rewards credit cards. As hotel chains, not to mention airlines, have sold billions of their loyalty points to credit card issuers, consumers have been seeing higher sign-up bonuses, enhanced product benefits, and even new cards altogether appear – intensifying what was already a competitive atmosphere. Hilton and American Express recently launched some of the highest-ever welcome offers on their slate of co-branded cards while Marriott and Chase have done the same with theirs. Now, Wyndham and Barclays have revealed both new and refreshed Wyndham Rewards credit cards aimed at luring wary travelers back to hotels. Here are the details.
New Cards, New Perks
Wyndham Rewards is the loyalty program of brands including Ramada, Days Inn and La Quinta, and counts over 9,000 participating properties around the globe. Wyndham and Barclays have redesigned their entire stable of cards. Whereas before there was one without an annual fee and one with better perks that charged $75, there are now three distinct products for Wyndham Rewards members to choose from.
Wyndham Rewards Earner
The new no-fee card still racks up points at a good clip, and confers automatic elite status.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus points (enough for up to four award nights at Wyndham properties, which cost 7,500-30,000 points per night) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
Earning: Cardmembers earn five points per dollar spent at Wyndham hotels and on gas purchases, two points per dollar on restaurants and groceries (excluding Target and Walmart) as well as purchases at Wyndham Timeshare properties, and one point per dollar on everything else.
Other benefits: Folks who carry this card get automatic Wyndham Rewards Gold membership, which bestows benefits like free Wi-Fi, the ability to select preferred rooms, and availability-based late checkout. They also earn 7,500 bonus points each account year they spend $15,000 or more on purchases.
Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card
Replacing the Wyndham Rewards Visa, this card carries the same annual fee of $75, but new perks.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 45,000 bonus points (enough for up to six award nights at Wyndham properties) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
Earning: Cardholders accrue up six points per dollar at Wyndhams and on gas, and four points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) as well as at Wyndham Timeshare properties. It earns one point per dollar on everything else.
Other benefits: This card ups the ante by giving members Wyndham Rewards Platinum elite status, which includes things like car rental upgrades with Avis and Budget, earning bonus points on stays, early check-in and a status match to the Caesar Rewards program. No spending requirement is necessary to receive 7,500 bonus points each account anniversary year.
Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card
This version switches up earning categories to target small business owners, and charges a $95 annual fee.
Sign-up bonus: New applicants can earn 45,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days.
Earning: This card earns eight points per dollar on Wyndham purchases, five points per dollar on marketing, advertising and utilities, and one point per dollar on other purchases.
Other benefits: Cardholders can expect top-tier Diamond elite status with Wyndham Rewards, including suite upgrades, welcome amenities at check in and the ability to gift Gold status to another member. This card also extends cell phone protection for the next calendar year when you pay your wireless bill with your card, and award members with 15,000 bonus points each account anniversary.
Folks with any of these cards get a 10% discount on the number of points they need to redeem for free nights, savings when booking special cardmember rates on reservations, and enjoy waived foreign transaction fees.
Updates for the Times
The main changes to the two personal cards are that gas earning category – a signal that traveler habits have quickly shifted to more close-range travel plans. It’s also interesting to see Barclays and Wyndham introduce an all-new business credit card, presumably to capitalize on road warriors eager to get back out there and start earning on stays at Wyndham properties.
Barclays’ managing director of travel and affinity partnerships, Nichelle Evans, said, “As the travel landscape continues to evolve, Wyndham Rewards remains consistent in providing convenience, flexibility and affordability that road trippers and road warriors need. The refreshed Wyndham Rewards Earner and Earner Plus Cards, as well as the new Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card, reward travelers for their important purchases on the road – filling up their tank and getting a good night’s sleep.”
Clearly Wyndham is betting on domestic travel trends and a focus on road trips rather than flights to remain their members’ top priorities for some time to come, and have predicated the earning structures of all these cards to bear. Those interested in the business card should enjoy its earning bumps for work-from-home expenses such as utilities and advertising.
While these cards might not have the flash of more premium products from Hilton or Marriott, for folks who spend a lot of time and money at Wyndham properties, their earning rates and elite perks alone, not to mention their decent-size sign-up bonuses could make applying for any of them well worth it. Information on all three cards is now available to the public, and applications are open. At the very least, it’s worth taking a look at the new cards’ designs since they feature a combination skyline of recognizable landmarks from cities all over the world.