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For savvy travelers and credit card enthusiasts, signing up for a hotel-branded credit card is a great way to get premium perks while staying at hotels as well as save up points that can lead to award stays. However, for a lot of people, paying an annual fee to receive on-site hotel perks just doesn’t seem worth it.
If that’s the case for you, then you might want to look into the Wyndham Rewards Earner® Card, Wyndham’s $0 annual fee co-branded credit card. This card, issued by Barclays, offers 5X points on eligible purchases made at Wyndham-owned locations, 5X points on qualifying gas purchases, 2X points on eligible dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Walmart and Target), and 1X on all other purchases.
Additionally, Wyndham currently has more hotels under its ownership than any other hotel chain with more than 9,000 locations worldwide. That means that you’ll have plenty of locations where you can redeem your Wyndham Rewards points for stays. Plus, if you spend $15,000 on your card in a cardmember year, you’ll receive a bonus of 7,500 points, which is enough for a free night.
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Card members also automatically receive Gold elite status, meaning you’ll be entitled to certain perks at Wyndham locations, including free Wi-Fi, preferred room selection, late checkout and more.
Pretty much every major hotel chain offers a no-fee co-branded credit card, so the card you choose to sign up for depends heavily on which of these chains you stay with most often. However, if you find yourself staying at Wyndham locations frequently, then the Wyndham Earner Card could be a great addition to your wallet.
Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card and also look at some other cards that you might want to consider.
|No annual fee||No free anniversary night|
|Automatic Gold elite status||Limited flexibility for redemptions|
|Anniversary bonus after spending $15,000 per year|
|10% discount on the number of points redeemed for free nights|
|No foreign transaction fee|
|15-month 0% intro APR period|
|$0 fraud liability protection|
Wyndham Rewards Program Overview
Before you sign up for the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card, you should understand that this card earns Wyndham Rewards points as its rewards currency. That means that every point that you earn with this card will most likely be spent through the Wyndham Rewards program.
You do have the option to transfer Wyndham points to one of the partner travel loyalty programs. However, doing so usually yields low value per point, so you’re far better off redeeming your points through Wyndham Rewards.
As previously mentioned, Wyndham is the largest hotel chain in the world by number of hotels. They also own 22 brands across more than 80 countries. This means that you can both earn and redeem Wyndham Rewards points at any of the following brands:
- Days Inn
- Dolce Hotels and Resorts
- Hawthorn Suites
- Howard Johnson’s
- La Quinta Inn & Suites
- Super 8
- The Registry Collection
- Trademark Collection by Wyndham
- TRYP by Wyndham
- Vienna House
- Wingate by Wyndham
- Wyndham Alltra
- Wyndham Garden
- Wyndham Grand
- Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
Wyndham also has a large selection of vacation rental properties under ownership, many of which can be booked using Wyndham Rewards points.
There are also many ways to earn Wyndham Rewards points outside of spending on a co-branded Wyndham credit card. You can earn Wyndham points for shopping online, booking car rentals, booking tours and activities or just purchasing points with cash (which is almost always a bad deal).
Wyndham also currently has the one of the most valuable rewards currencies of any hotel loyalty program, which makes a strong case for getting a Wyndham card if you’re in the market for a co-branded hotel card. And because Wyndham has more locations than any other hotel chain, you’ll have even more flexibility when redeeming those points.
Wyndham Rewards Earner® Card Spending Bonuses
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Card offers pretty solid spending bonuses, mostly at Wyndham properties. However, you can also earn solid rewards when spending at gas stations as well as at restaurants and grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target).
Here are the spending bonuses offered by the Wyndham Earner card:
- 5X points on eligible purchases made at Wyndham properties
- 5X points on qualifying gas purchases
- 2X points on eligible dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart)
- 1X point on all other purchases (excluding Wyndham Vacation Club down payments)
One of the most impressive aspects of this card is the fact that it offers 5X at the gas pump. While many no-annual-fee hotel credit cards offer high rewards rates at their hotels, few of them offer equally high rewards rates in everyday categories (such as at gas stations).
For instance, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card (Marriott’s $0 fee credit card) offers 3X Bonvoy points on purchases at Marriott-owned hotels. However, the next-highest rewards rate is 2X points on other travel purchases.
Obviously, the ability to earn 5X points on gas (one of the most common and largest expense categories for most people) with the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card means that you’ll be able to rack up lots of Wyndham points while going about your daily life.
The fact that you also can earn 2X points on eligible grocery store and dining purchases can also help you earn Wyndham points on a day-to-day basis. All other purchases will earn a baseline rate of 1X points.
When you stay at Wyndham locations and you’re a Wyndham Rewards Earner cardholder, you’ll essentially earn 16X points. That’s because all Wyndham Rewards members earn a baseline of 10X points; Gold elite status members earn a 10% boost to their baseline earnings (and automatic Gold elite status is a perk with the Earner card); and the Earner Card members earn an additional 5X points on top of all those other earnings.
This is a better earnings rate than that offered by most other no-fee hotel cards. Additionally, Wyndham Rewards points are usually considered to have a higher value per point than both Marriott Bonvoy points and Hilton Honors points.
Wyndham Rewards Earner® Card Benefits
On top of the solid spending bonuses that come with the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card, it also offers some other notable benefits. Many of these benefits are meant to help you earn free nights faster or improve the quality of your stay at Wyndham locations. However, this card also offers some more general benefits such as a long 0% intro APR period for balance transfers and $0 fraud liability protection.
No Annual Fee
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Card won’t charge a membership fee for as long as you have the card. That means that you don’t have to worry about earning enough rewards to offset an annual fee, and you’ll be saving money as soon as you earn your first Wyndham point. Plus, you won’t have to worry about having enough cash to pay off an annual fee when your cardmember anniversary comes around.
Additionally, closing credit card accounts can often have a negative effect on your credit score. So, if you ever want to shift your spending away from your Wyndham Earner Card in the future, you can keep your account open without paying an annual fee and simply shift your spending to a new card. You will have to make a few transactions on your Wyndham Earner Card every year to keep it open, but essentially there’s little to no risk when signing up for this card.
Automatic Gold Elite Status
When you sign up for the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card, you’ll automatically receive Gold elite status in the Wyndham Rewards program. Ordinarily, without this card, you’d need to complete five qualifying nights (including nights with an average daily rate of at least $25 per night, Go Free® nights or Go Fast® nights) at Wyndham hotels per calendar year to achieve Gold elite status. With the Wyndham Earner Card, you’ll retain your status as long as your card remains in good standing.
Gold elite status in the Wyndham Rewards program comes with the following benefits:
- 10% points earning bonus
- Late checkout (when available)
- Preferred room choice (when available)
Obviously, the most important feature of Gold elite status is the ability to earn 10% more points when staying at Wyndham properties. It’s worth noting that this bonus applies only to points earned on qualified stays and doesn’t apply to points earned with credit cards or through other means, such as renting cars or shopping online.
On top of that, the ability to check out late and select your preferred type of room when available can make your stay at Wyndham properties a bit more comfortable.
10% Points Discount on Go Free Awards
In addition to earning more points on stays with Gold elite status, the Wyndham Earner Card also offers a 10% points discount when booking Go Free awards. These are free night awards that can be booked with Wyndham points that usually start at 7,500 points per night. However, with this 10% discount, you can book a free night award for as few as 6,750 points per night.
You can book Go Free awards online or by calling the applicable Member Services phone number. Blackout dates, minimum length of stay requirements and other restrictions apply.
Cardmember Booking Discount
As a Wyndham Earner cardholder, not only will you receive a discount when booking Go Free awards with points, you may also be able to save money when booking stays at Wyndham locations with cash. Wyndham cardmembers are often entitled to a special discounted rate when booking stays at Wyndham hotels, depending on the property in question.
To be clear, all Wyndham Rewards members are sometimes entitled to special rates, even if they aren’t cardholders. However, Wyndham Rewards members who are also cardmembers often receive an even greater discount.
For instance, members who aren’t cardholders might receive a 2% discount on the “Compared Rate” whereas cardmembers would receive a 4% discount on the same rate.
Anniversary Points Bonus
If you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases on your Wyndham Earner card in a cardmember year, you’ll be rewarded on your cardmember anniversary with a bonus of 7,500 points. Considering that Wyndham Go Free awards start at 7,500 points (not including the 10% points discount that Earner cardholders are entitled to), that’s enough for a free night stay.
While it’s unfortunate that you have to meet a fairly high spending threshold to earn a free night stay, this is still a pretty solid perk for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. There are some co-branded hotel cards out there that offer automatic free night stays. However, these cards all charge an annual fee.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
If you’re interested in signing up for a hotel card, then chances are you tend to travel often. And if you frequently travel internationally, you’ll be pleased to know that the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. That means that you can make purchases and ATM advances abroad without incurring any additional charges.
While this may not sound like a big deal, some credit cards charge foreign transaction fees as high as 3%. If you’re using your card overseas often, that can add up to a considerable amount of money.
15-Month 0% Intro APR Period
The Wyndham Earner Card also offers 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months after account opening. This is a great benefit for people who want to transfer a balance from another credit card and then pay that balance down while avoiding interest charges. However, it’s worth noting that this 0% intro APR period doesn’t apply to purchases. All purchases will be subject to an ongoing APR of either 20.49%, 24.74% or 29.74%, depending on your creditworthiness.
Many other credit cards offer 0% intro APR periods. However, not many cards offer an intro APR period as long as 15 months. This means that you’ll have more time to pay down your balance and get back to a place where you’re debt-free before the normal interest rate kicks.
$0 Fraud Liability Protection
While most credit cards now come with this feature, it’s still worth noting that the Wyndham Earner Card includes $0 fraud liability protection. So, in the event that your card is lost or stolen, you won’t be responsible for paying for any charges that you didn’t authorize.
In addition to all of the other valuable benefits being offered by this card, the Wyndham Earner Card is now offering a sign-up bonus for new cardmembers that you can earn by meeting a certain spending threshold.
If you meet the spending requirement, you’ll receive a valuable bonus in the form of Wyndham points, which you can then use to book stays at Wyndham properties.
Wyndham Rewards Earner® Card Drawbacks
While the Wyndham Earner Rewards Card is definitely one of the best no-fee hotel credit cards available, you should be aware of a few drawbacks before you decide to sign up.
No Free Anniversary Night
Unfortunately, the Wyndham Earner Card doesn’t come with an automatic free night award certificate on your cardmember anniversary as some other hotel credit cards. However, the cards that offer this kind of perk all have an annual fee.
For instance, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card (which has an annual fee of $95) offers a free night certificate worth up to 35,000 Bonvoy points every cardmember anniversary.
On the other hand, many $0 fee hotel cards don’t offer any anniversary free night certificates or points bonuses (including the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card). So, the fact that the Wyndham Earner card offers a 7,500-point bonus for spending $15,000 per cardmember year actually puts it slightly ahead of its competition in this area.
Limited Redemption Flexibility
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Wyndham Earner Card (and most other co-branded hotel cards) is that your redemption options are pretty much limited to the Wyndham Rewards program. Wyndham Rewards points can be redeemed through the Wyndham Rewards program for stays at Wyndham-owned hotels, tours and activities, a membership to AARP, gift cards, merchandise and charitable donations.
You can also transfer your Wyndham points to one of Wyndham’s partner travel loyalty programs. However, the conversion rate is usually highly unfavorable and will seriously corrode the value of your Wyndham points. Thus, it’s much better to spend your Wyndham points through the Wyndham Rewards program.
By contrast, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards portal as well as transferred to many other travel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio, meaning your points won’t lose value when you transfer them. This makes Chase Ultimate Rewards points (and other similar currencies such as American Express Membership Rewards points, Capital One Miles and Citi ThankYou Points) far more flexible than Wyndham points.
For example, with the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, you’ll earn 1.25X Capital One Miles on all purchases and 5X miles on hotels and car rentals through the Capital One Travel portal. Then, you can transfer those miles to more than 15 travel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio, thus not decreasing the value of your miles and also giving you access to a ton of other redemption options.
Other Cards to Consider
If you’re interested in signing up for the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card, it’s still worth considering other similar credit cards before you make your decision. In particular, you should look into other co-branded hotel credit cards as well as general credit cards with travel-focused rewards.
Here are some other cards to consider before you sign up for the Wyndham Earner Card:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If you’re in the market for a travel card, we recommend looking into the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Unlike the no-annual-fee Wyndham Earner card, the Sapphire Preferred Card has an annual fee of $95.
However, this card includes a series of statement credits that can quickly offset that annual fee, including $50 annually toward hotels booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, $15 quarterly credit toward Instacart (through July 2024) and $10 monthly credit toward Gopuff (through Dec. 31, 2023). Together, these statement credits alone can offset the Sapphire Preferred card’s annual fee.
Additionally, the Sapphire Preferred Card offers some great spending bonuses that provide even more value:
- 5X Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- 2X points on other travel purchases
- 3X points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out
- 3X points on online grocery purchases
- 3X points on select streaming services
- 1X point on on all other purchases
When you redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll receive a 25% boost in value. However, you also have the option to transfer your points to one of Chase’s travel partners at a 1:1 ratio.
So, while the Chase Sapphire Card does charge an annual fee, you can quickly offset that fee by taking advantage of the statement credits that come with it. Plus, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are far more flexible than Wyndham Rewards points. So, finding a redemption that’s attractive to you will be far easier through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program than the Wyndham Rewards program.
Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
If you absolutely need a card with no annual fees, you may want to look into the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card. This $0 fee card offers great rewards in everyday categories. Here are the spending bonuses offered with the Autograph card:
- 3X points at restaurants, travel and transit, gas stations and EV charging station, popular streaming services and select phone plans
- 1X points on all other purchases
While the Wells Fargo Autograph Card is considered a travel card because it earns 3X points on travel purchases, this card also makes it possible to reap big rewards in your day-to-day life. The ability to earn 3X points at restaurants and gas stations and on phone plans and streaming subscriptions will surely help you rack up a large balance of Wells Fargo points quickly.
Unfortunately, Wells Fargo points can’t be transferred to other travel loyalty programs. So, if you want to redeem your points for travel, you’ll have to do so through Wells Fargo’s travel portal, in which case your points will have a fixed value of 1 cent apiece. By contrast, with a transferable rewards currency, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer your points to other travel programs to find redemptions with value far exceeding 1 cent per point.
Compared to the Wyndham Earner Card, the Wells Fargo Autograph Card doesn’t offer the same in-hotel perks or elevated rewards for Wyndham hotel spending. However, the Wells Fargo Autograph Card is a great way to rack up points on a daily basis, which can then be used to book stays or other travel awards. Plus, this card comes with up to $600 in cell phone protection, which can be extremely useful for people who break or lose their cell phone often.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to $0 fee hotel cards, it’s hard to find a better option than the Wyndham Earner Card. Of course, your main consideration when looking for a hotel credit card is which hotel chain you stay at most often. For instance, if you stay at Marriott locations far more often than you stay at Wyndham locations, you’re much better off signing up for a co-branded Marriott credit card.
However, if Wyndham is your hotel chain of choice, the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card offers a ton of value with no annual fee. You’ll essentially earn 16X Wyndham Rewards points at Wyndham locations (with normal member earnings and the points earning bonus that comes with Gold elite status). Plus, you’ll earn 5X points at gas stations, 2X points on dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Walmart and Target), and 1X point on everything else. These are remarkable everyday rewards for a hotel credit card.
This card continues to impress with its benefits, which include a 7,500-point anniversary bonus after you spend $15,000 in a cardmember year, automatic Gold elite status, a discount on points and cash booking rates at Wyndham-owned hotels and a valuable welcome bonus. Additionally, if you want to make a balance transfer onto the Wyndham Earner Card, this card also offers a 15-month 0% intro APR period for balance transfers.
The major issue with the Earner Card (and all other hotel credit cards) is that the redemption options are pretty narrow. If you want to get good value out of your points, you’ll need to redeem them for hotel stays at Wyndham locations. If you want a travel card with more flexible redemption options, you should look into a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card.
However, if you stay at Wyndham hotels frequently, then this card can be a huge asset. It can help you rack up Wyndham points quickly, get discounts when redeeming those points and receive special treatment when you actually arrive at the hotel.
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