There is a relatively recent addition to the Wyndham Rewards portfolio of properties that presents a very interesting option if you have any plans to visit Scotland. It would be particularly useful if you intend to travel with a group. The deal involves capitalizing on two separate hotel loyalty program opportunities: buying points at a discount and redeeming points for an upgraded room.
A Quick Look at Wyndham Rewards
The Wyndham Rewards program encompasses a huge number of properties under a wide variety of brands along with affiliations with vacation rental companies. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the program is that, unlike most others, it has yet to make the transition to dynamic reward pricing. Its redemption structure instead comprises just three categories.
“Go Free” rewards are set at 7500, 15,000 or 30,000 points per night.
“Go Fast” rewards are the points + cash option where members pay 1500, 3000 or 6000 points (corresponding to the three categories) plus a variable cash amount.
To get the full lowdown, read the terms and conditions. Wyndham is an outlier in hotel loyalty programs in that all your points expire four years from the date they’re earned. They also expire after 18 months with no activity which is roughly similar to other programs.
Heading to Scotland?
In autumn of 2021, the Wyndham Duchally Country Estate joined the program. It’s located near the town of Auchterarder in central Scotland – a great location for sightseeing in many directions. It’s very close to Gleneagles and its famed resort and golf course. As expected, it falls into the uppermost redemption category of 30,000 points per night.
However, there is an interesting angle.
In addition to the main hotel, there are also a number of two and three bedroom units. And, at least at the moment, you can redeem points for a three bedroom, three bathroom lodge that can sleep up to eight guests.
The combination of self-catering accommodation with the amenities and front desk assistance of a full-service resort is quite appealing.
Need Wyndham Points?
Although there are points-earning promotions from time to time, if your travel plans don’t involve any accumulation opportunities, you can just buy the points instead. Obviously this is only a good idea when you have a specific redemption in mind where you know you’ll save money.
Until July 2, 2022 when you purchase at least 2000 Wyndham points you’ll receive a 25% discount. Members are limited to buying 60,000 points per year.
Be aware that prices are in USD and you will need to pay HST as a Canadian resident. So, buying 60,000 points would come to around 857 CAD.
Alternatively, if you can wait, there might be a better deal if you purchase points via the US Travel Association’s Daily Getaways promotion set to begin July 18. I don’t believe those point sales are processed by Points.com so you can avoid the HST. And buying points this way could be a way to get around the 60,000 per year limit.
If you do have any upcoming paid stays at Wyndham brands, remember to sign up for bonus point promotions. There are two currently underway at the time of writing – one to earn 7500 after two stays (up to a max of two bonuses per member) and a flash sale offer for 8000 points for booking a two night stay through the app.
Except for a few dates in July, availability for a 3 bedroom lodge is excellent.
Cash rates range from 292 to 427 GBP for the cheapest (non-refundable) rate. If you’re booking the more expensive dates or opting for flexible reservations, buying/redeeming points could mean considerable savings.
So then, for a six night stay, if three individuals each purchased 60,000 Wyndham points, you could make three separate two night reservations and then contact the hotel to link the bookings. However, there appears to be a 3 night minimum in July and August, so if travelling during that period you would need to ask the hotel to override that policy to make the booking. Hopefully that wouldn’t be an obstacle. In September it appears to change to a 2 night minimum.
For three individuals or couples travelling together, it comes to around $142 per bedroom. For context, I have a room booked at a well regarded B&B in the same region of Scotland in August for 80 GPB per night or around $130. It includes a hot breakfast but it’s a room at a modest guest house as opposed to one with access to a full kitchen and living area plus leisure facilities, restaurant and bar.
Better Cancellation Policy
In addition to saving money, buying and redeeming points for the stay comes with with a much more flexible cancellation policy during popular travel times (i.e. July and August) when the hotel imposes more restrictive conditions on booking. Using points, you can cancel up to 24 hours before 4 pm on check-in day.
It’s always great when you can redeem the standard number of points for an upgraded room. In this case, it’s especially appealing in light of just how many people can stay. Add to that the ability to cancel the reservation and get all your points back up till 24 hours before arrival which is not the norm when booking self-catering accommodation.
WestJet offers non-stop service from Halifax to Glasgow between May and October 2022. If you’ve got a group and are planning a trip to Scotland, you could do a lot worse than booking a three bedroom lodge in Perthshire. From the photos and reviews, it looks like it would be a very pleasant place to stay and using points could give you a nice discount.