Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card review: A budget-friendly travel card
This no-annual-fee hotel card is a great fit for budget-friendly Wyndham loyalists.
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Wyndham Rewards Earner Card Overview
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Card is an entry-level hotel card with a solid amount of perks fit for no-fuss budget travelers. It offers similar features found with top no-annual-fee hotel credit cards, including a sign-up bonus, automatic elite status and the chance to earn bonus rewards on more than just spending at a popular hotel chain. Cardholders may also qualify for anniversary bonus points worth up to one free night every year, which will help give the card good additional long-term value.
Wyndham guests looking for maximum Wyndham rewards may want to consider the hotel chain’s other consumer card, the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Card. While it charges a $75 annual fee, it offers more chances to quickly rack up bonus rewards and comes with a few additional perks you won’t find with the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card. But for more versatility, a general travel rewards card could offer a more rewarding experience for travelers who aren’t loyal to one hotel brand.
What are the pros and cons?
- Welcome bonus is valued lower than other cards in this category
- Award nights may be difficult to find depending on the destination
- Wyndham Rewards points don’t cover resort fees
A deeper look at the current card offer
- Rewards rate: Earn 5X points per dollar on eligible purchases made at Hotels by Wyndham as well as on qualifying gas purchases; 2X points per dollar on eligible dining and grocery purchases (excluding Target and Walmart); 1X point per dollar on all other purchases (excluding Wyndham Timeshare resort down payments)
- Welcome offer: Earn 30,000 bonus points, enough for up to four free nights after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
- Annual fee: $0
- Balance transfer intro APR: Enjoy a 0 percent introductory APR for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening
- Regular APR: 19.49 percent, 23.74 percent or 28.74 percent (variable) based on your credit worthiness
Current welcome offer
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Wyndham Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. Depending on the Wyndham hotel you stay at, a free room can go for as low as 7,500 points per night and as high as 30,000. So this welcome offer could be worth up to four free nights.
This is a decent offer valued around $270 based on Bankrate’s valuation of Wyndham Rewards points being worth an estimated 0.9 cent each on average. It’s in line with other entry-level hotel cards, though it doesn’t come close to matching the current sign-up bonus offered by the Hilton Honors American Express Card: 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 in purchases within your first three months of account opening. Based on Bankrate’s valuation of Hilton Honors points being worth 0.6 cents, this sign-up bonus is worth roughly $480.
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Card offers a nice rewards rate for hotel stays, a decent rewards rate for gas purchases and you’ll have a chance to earn bonus rewards in other popular everyday categories. This gives you more reasons to use your Earner card for more than just future hotel stays.
How you earn
Spending on the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card earns 5 points per $1 on hotels by Wyndham and qualifying gas purchases. The card also earns 2 points per $1 spent on dining and grocery purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) and 1 point per $1 everywhere else.
Since this card comes with elite status, you qualify for go get ’em® bonus points, which means you’ll earn 10 points per dollar or 1,000 points (whichever is greater) on participating stays. This essentially boosts your rewards rate to 15 points per $1 on Wyndham stays.
How to redeem
Wyndham Rewards points can be redeemed for go free® award stays at participating hotels, resort clubs or vacation rentals. Depending on which participating Wyndham location you want to stay at, a free night will cost 7,500 points per night, 15,000 points per night or 30,000 points per night. To redeem points, log in to your Wyndham Rewards account, search for the hotel you want and choose pay with points to search your available options.
At the 7,500-points level, participating locations include low-cost options like Days Inn, Howard Johnson, TraveLodge and Super 8 hotels. The 30,000-point category includes some of Wyndham’s best properties, including suites at Dolce Hotels and Resorts, Wyndham Grand resorts or the Trademark Collection by Wyndham.
One of the noted downsides of Wyndham Rewards is the lack of reward night availability across their properties. Fortunately, points can also be redeemed for go fast® awards, which gives you a chance to pay discounted rates on Wyndham stays. You can use anywhere from 1,500 to 6,000 rewards points to get a discounted rate at participating hotels and 3,000 to 6,000 rewards rates for stays at club resorts or vacation rentals.
How much are points worth?
On average, Wyndham Rewards points are worth an estimated 0.9 cents per point based on Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations. This is one of the best hotel point values you’ll find, second only to the rewards program offered by Hyatt hotels. Here’s how it compares to other top hotel brands:
|Rewards program||Bankrate value*||Estimated value of 50,000 points/miles|
|World of Hyatt||2.1 cents||$1,050|
|Wyndham Rewards||0.9 cents||$450|
|IHG One Rewards||0.7 cents||$350|
|Marriott Bonvoy||0.7 cents||$350|
|Best Western Rewards||0.6 cents||$300|
|Hilton Honors||0.6 cents||$300|
*Based on median point values across budget, mid-tier and luxury hotel bookings.
Your ultimate value is determined when you book your stay. To make sure you’re getting a good deal, calculate the value of your rewards as you are booking your stay. To do this, divide the per-night cost of your room by the number of award points needed.
For example, if you book a hotel that costs $75 per night or 7,500 points, your points are worth 1 cent ($75 / 7500 = $0.01 or 1 cent). Since this is above our 0.9-cent-per-point valuation, this is a solid deal. If you book a different room that costs $94 or 7,500 points, the value of your points grows to 1.25 cents ($94 / 7500 = $0.0125 or 1.25 cents). This gives you a much better value for your points because you’re using fewer points to book an award night of greater value.
Other cardholder perks
Travel credit cards are valuable for their benefits, and the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card is no different. Cardholders immediately get upgraded to Gold elite status by holding the card and get a discount when they use their points for award nights.
Automatic Wyndham Rewards Gold level benefits
Wyndham Rewards Earner cardholders get Gold status for free just by opening the card. Without a Wyndham rewards card, you’d have to stay for three nights before qualifying for this Wyndham elite status level.
With Gold elite status, you’ll earn 10 percent more points on participating stays. Other top perks at this status level include preferred room choice at check-in (subject to availability) and late checkout where available during qualified stays.
Annual cardmember bonus
Cardholders can earn an additional 7,500 bonus points on their anniversary every year when they spend $15,000 on eligible purchases. That’s enough for one free night at a low-tier hotel or it can go toward one night at a high-tier hotel with a cash-and-points award.
Cardmember booking discounts
At select hotels, cardmembers can take advantage of a better price than their published “Best Available Rate.” The discount varies between properties.
10 percent discount on Go Free Award Nights
When booking award travel, cardholders get a 10 percent Wyndham Rewards points discount when redeeming Wyndham Rewards Points for Go Free awards. This means low-tier hotels cost 6,750 points per night, mid-tier hotels cost 13,500 points per night and high-tier hotels cost 27,000 points per night.
Rates and fees
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Card doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. If you can pay off the balance each month, your spending will turn into pure gains toward a future hotel stay and you can avoid having to worry about the card’s variable APR of 19.49 percent, 23.74 percent or 28.74 percent. Other common credit card fees that come with the card include a late payment fee and returned check fee.
Unlike many hotel cards, the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card comes with an introductory APR offer for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers made within 45 days of opening the account (19.49 percent, 23.74 percent or 28.74 percent variable APR thereafter). Each transfer fee is the greater of $5 or 5 percent of the transfer amount.
If you are interested in purchasing a Wyndham Timeshare, you can get a 0 percent intro promotional APR for six billing cycles.
How the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card compares to other hotel credit cards
While the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card may be among the best deals for hotel credit cards, there are other options with no annual fee to consider. Other cards in the category may offer a higher sign-up bonus or more points per dollar in bonus categories.
Wyndham Rewards Earner Card vs. Hilton Honors American Express Card
Both the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card and the Hilton Honors American Express card are entry-level cards that have no annual fee, but that is where the similarities end.
With the Hilton Honors, your rewards stretch further. For one, it’s much easier to redeem free nights and you have more choices. Your options are also enhanced by the automatic Silver Elite status you receive by being a cardholder. With these perks, every vacation gets an automatic upgrade.
One advantage that the Wyndham Rewards Earner has over the Hilton Honors Amex is the balance transfer APR offer for 15 months (then an ongoing variable APR for 19.49 percent, 23.74 percent or 28.74 percent within 45 days of account opening). If you’re looking to move over a balance and get a break from interest, this card is still a good choice.
Wyndham Rewards Earner Card vs. Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card
The Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card is a good option if you want a travel rewards card geared towards budget-friendly hotels. The rewards rate is incredibly high – a rarity for cards with no annual fee – at 15X points on eligible Choice Hotel locations. It also comes with an intro APR offer on balance transfers for 15 months (then ongoing variable APR for 19.49 percent, 23.74 percent or 28.74 percent) on transfers made within 45 days of account opening.
Best cards to pair with this card
The best card to pair with the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card depends on your spending habits and goals. For flexibility, travelers may want to add a general travel card to their wallet. For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers 2X miles on all purchases, which you can use for any spending that would only earn 1 point with the Wyndham card. And since Wyndham is a transfer partner, you can transfer your miles to Wyndham Rewards for Wyndham Rewards points. The Capital One Venture Rewards card comes with a $95 annual fee, but this could be offset quickly with a free stay at a Wyndham hotel or resort.
Those who want to avoid paying annual fees entirely can also consider the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. Although you will only earn 1.25X miles on all purchases, the lack of an annual fee means cardholders won’t need to offset the cost of the card with their spending.
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Card can also easily pair with any airline rewards or cash back credit card to cover all of your potential travel costs. The Discover it® Cash Back, for example, earns 5 percent cash back (after activation) on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent), allowing you to build rewards in even more areas toward your next trip.
Bankrate’s Take — Is the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card worth it?
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Card is a good option for travelers looking to stay consistently at Wyndham properties while avoiding an annual fee. It offers generous rewards not only for Wyndham stays but also on gas purchases, eligible dining and grocery purchases. Wyndham’s Gold elite status also unlocks multiple ways to save money on future stays, making this a prime contender among travel cards with no annual fee.
The information about the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card and Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express card, please click here.