Credit card review: Barclays Wyndham Rewards Visa card

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Credit card review: Barclays Wyndham Rewards Visa card
Image Credit: Barclays
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It’s easy to dismiss Wyndham as a chain of budget hotels and not exactly the kind of places you dream of staying at with your credit card rewards. And it’s true that Wyndham owns several “value” brands like Super 8, Days Inn, Knights Inn and that old favorite, Howard Johnson. But what makes the Wyndham Reward Visa credit card worth considering is both a compelling rewards program and the chance to earn award nights at a huge array vacation rentals, commonly known as timeshares.

How the Wyndham Reward Visa card works

Barclays, formerly known as Barclaycard, offers its Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature card, which lets you earn points in Wyndham’s rewards program. This card offers you 15,000 bonus points after your first purchase and another 15,000 after using your card to spend $1,000 within 90 days of account opening.

You earn five points per dollar spent on Wyndham hotel stays worldwide and on Vacation Rentals in North America properties, double points on all eligible gas, utility and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart), and one point per dollar spent elsewhere.

You also receive instant Platinum status, which offers you benefits like room upgrades, early check-ins, and late checkouts. There’s a $75 annual fee for this card, and you get a 6,000 point bonus each year on your account anniversary. There are no foreign transaction fees for this card.

What can you use Wyndham Reward Visa points for?

Wyndham used to run a typical hotel rewards program where you had to redeem a lot of points to stay in a luxury property. But a few years ago, they did a complete makeover while introducing a unique and simple system. All free night awards are now just 15,000 points per night. From a roadside motel to a luxury property in New York, your redemption level is the same.

Later, they did something equally remarkable. They allowed you to redeem their points for a free night in one of their vast selection of vacation rentals around the world. When using your points for a vacation rental, you just need to spend 15,000 points per bedroom, per night. The options include condos at beach resorts and ski areas in the United States, as well as homes and even cottages in Europe.

My experiences with the Wyndham Reward Visa

I’ve had this card for several years, and I’ve received some amazing value from it. Last year, I took my family to a ski-in/ski-out condo in Beaver Creek, Colorado, that was perfect for us and our three children. We enjoyed a large, slopeside condo with a kitchen, a separate bedroom and two bathrooms for just 15,000 points a night. By having our own kitchen, we saved hundreds of dollars that we would spent by having to eat out at pricey restaurants near this upscale resort.

This year, we spent a weekend at a similar slopeside condo in Breckenridge Colorado, and I recently used my points to stay at a condo on Edisto Island, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Finally, we’ll be using our Wyndham Rewards points to stay at a condo in Kona on the big island of Hawaii this summer.

And since there are no blackout dates or capacity controls, you can redeem your points for any unsold room, even if it’s selling for over $500 a night during the peak season. However, I recently discovered that there’s a two night minimum stay at many of these vacation homes. But, unlike using airline miles, you can almost always redeem your Wyndham Rewards and other hotel points without having to pay any taxes or fees. It actually costs you $0.00 to redeem your points, which makes this one of the few truly free ways to travel with your credit card rewards.

Is the Wyndham Reward Visa worth it?

As with any rewards credit card, the Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature card from Barclays will have higher interest rates than similar cards that don’t offer rewards. If you are in the habit of avoiding interest charges by always paying your statement balance in full, then this card can be a great way to earn valuable free night stays. If you tend to carry a balance on your credit card, then you should be looking to pay off your debt as soon as possible, not earn rewards. Credit cards are not right for everyone, especially if you’re unable to pay your bills on-time or use your cards for long-term debt.

Bottom line

If you’re going to carry a hotel rewards credit card, then you should use the one that offers you rewards that are most valuable to you. Take a look at all of the Wyndham hotels and vacation rentals available in this program, then you can decide if this card is what you need for your next vacation.

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Jason Steele About the author:
Jason Steele is a journalist who specializes in covering credit cards, award travel, and other areas of personal finance. You can check out his website at JasonSteele.com.
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