Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Credit Card Review

Thanks for joining me for episode 56 – Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Credit Card Review.

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Rough Transcript:

You’re listening to the Hurdy Gurdy Travel Podcast. I’m your host, Justin Vacula, here to help you travel the world at next to no cost through credit card points, miles, benefits, and rewards. Make money, save money, and take advantage of great deals!

Thanks for joining me for episode 56 – Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Credit Card Review.

Welcome back to another Wyndham episode featuring the new Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card issued by Barclays Bank. Unlike the Wyndham Rewards Earner Business card, this card is a personal card, which is one primary reason, on my assessment, that the Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card is superior. However, the personal card is still good, although I’d first suggest the business card. If you don’t have a business, consider applying for the personal card. For a fuller take on the business card, listen to episode 54.

The Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus card has a high signup bonus of 45,000 Wyndham points after spending only $1000 in 90 days. Forty-five thousand points can give a maximum of six free nights at select Wyndham properties – those with a rate of 7500 points anyway. Better yet, as I will talk about later in this episode, you can transfer Wyndham points to Caesars Rewards for more value and flexibility. First, I’ll discuss different options for hotel stays, repeating some information from a previous episode.

A quick search of the Philadelphia area for a Friday night a month from now shows Wyndham properties’ cash rates ranging from around $75 to $125. For some math, because America loves math, 7500 points for $75 would be one cent per point assuming you’d otherwise pay $75 a night to stay.

A quick search for New York shows a more expensive Wyndham property with a price of $226 a night for 30,000 points. For this New York location at 30,000 points a night, that’s less about eight-tenths of a cent per point. Another location, Ramada by Wyndham Bronx, is $147 a night, but still 30,000 points, so the value per point is far lower. Howard Johnson by Wyndham Long Island City is a 15,000 point property with a cash rate of $100, so that’s about seven-tenths of a cent per point.

Now I’ll mention, after my other calculations, that you get a 10% discount on points redemptions for Wyndham hotel stays with this credit card, so really embrace the math here! It’s easier to first deal with amounts like 7,000, 15,000, and 30,000, so I won’t complicate this more than it needs to be complicated.

Hotel points rates may vary depending on the property, day of the week, location, and other factors, so your mileage may vary. Sadly, you may be on the hook for taxes on hotel stays. Wyndham’s website, anyway, says taxes may apply even if you use points to pay. Let’s say, then, on average, when staying at Wyndham properties, if you use points well, you get about eight-tenths of a cent per point. The goal should be using the fewest amount of points possible for the highest cash rate property if you’re looking to get the most value by taking a so-called budget stay. You can also use points plus cash for a stay, but I won’t delve much into this option because the value of points is even lower – avoid this when you can.

Rather than using Wyndham points for stays at Wyndham properties, I see much more value in transferring Wyndham points to Caesars Rewards for Reward Credits; that’s what I would do with this card. I have Diamond status with Caesars, find incredible rates for Caesars hotels, frequent Atlantic City and Las Vegas, and stretch Reward Credits a long way. Wyndham points transfer 1:1 to Caesars Rewards, so here we’re getting 45,000 Reward Credits or $450 in casino comps for transferring 45,000 Wyndham points. 

Especially interesting with Caesars Rewards, for those with Caesars Diamond status, is access to Caesars’ Laurel Lounges, typically offering all-you-can-eat and all the alcohol you can drink. I say typically because the current pandemic puts a damper on availability, but at least in Atlantic City, I had a three-course meal and all you can drink for the low price of 1000 Reward Credits or $10 in comps. If you’d pay $10 to enter a Laurel Lounge, we’re getting one cent per point of value with transferred Wyndham points. If you’d pay $15 to enter a lounge, you get 1.5 cents per point since you’re using 1000 points or $10 in comps for $15 in value.

Better yet, having Caesars Diamond status will very likely reduce hotel rates for you. I’ll be staying at Bally’s and Flamingo in Las Vegas later this year for only $10 a night or 1000 transferred Wyndham points – there’s terrific value. Caesars Diamond members, too, pay no resort fees, get free parking, free valet when restrictions lessen, and many other benefits. 

You can use Reward Credits for purchases at restaurants, gift shops, outlets, and so much more. The value of points then fluctuates, especially if you buy overpriced food or items. Sadly, you can only transfer 30,000 Wyndham points to Caesars Rewards per year, but that’s not a low cap. In the second year, you’ll be able to transfer remaining points from the signup bonus, and maybe you’ll mix redemptions between stays at Wyndham hotels and transfers to Caesars.

Caesars Reward Credits can be hard to come by, especially for those who don’t gamble, so it’s nice to earn through credit card spending and a big signup bonus. In almost all cases, I’d prefer cash over Reward Credits if both points and cash are earned at the same rate, but those lacking Diamond Plus status and above will need Reward Credits for lounge access.

The Caesars Rewards Visa is another way to generate Reward Credits, but it’s a subpar card because it has a meager 10,000 point signup bonus, 2x earning categories which aren’t special, and 5x return on Caesars spend, which almost certainly won’t amount to much.

Now that we have a grasp of what Wyndham points can be worth, we can see that a 45,000 point signup bonus can easily be worth $450, especially when used in conjunction with Caesars.

If you don’t already have Diamond status with Caesars, you sadly can’t get it from the Earner Plus personal card because the card only gives Platinum status. In contrast, the business card offers Wyndham Diamond status.

At the recording time of this episode, Wyndham Diamond matches to Caesars Diamond status. You can then conga line your way to MGM Gold status and possibly other statuses with Hyatt and American Airlines. Also, at the time I’m recording, Wyndham Diamond status is harder to get since Hilton Gold and above no longer guarantees Wyndham Diamond status.

What are some other features of the Earner Plus personal card? You get 4x points on spending in the dining and grocery categories. Uncapped four times points on two popular high-use categories is generous! Cards like the American Express Gold Card and Blue Cash Preferred, for example, cap returns on grocery spending. 

Low spenders with other cards bonusing grocery spend won’t like this 4x so much since they’re already getting multipliers. High spenders will benefit a fair deal here, getting about two percent more than various 2% return cards and even 1% more than cards like Hilton Surpass. Dining at four times points is also nice, but many other cards offer dining multipliers including American Express Gold and Business Gold and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Thanks for making it to near the halfway point of this episode. Please like, share, comment, and subscribe if you’re listening through YouTube. If you’re listening to this as a podcast episode, subscribe to my feed in your favorite podcast platform, leave a review, and share the episode found at hurdygurdytravel.com. Back to the show!

The Earner Plus card also offers six times points on spending at Wyndham properties and gas stations. Not bad, but this is less than the Wyndham business card offering 8x in both categories. 6x at gas is generous, though, especially for gift card purchases at gas stations like Speedway. A return close to $30 on $500 in spend is quite nice. Again, high spenders can really enjoy returns here. Low spenders simply don’t have much to gain from category returns, but they can still prioritize this card mainly because it comes with a great signup bonus.

Like the Wyndham business card, the Earner Plus personal card offers 1x points on all other spending. This card, then, likely won’t be used much for spending outside a bonus category, but that’s okay. Of course, having multiple credit cards is excellent, so this 1x isn’t a dealbreaker considering the other great perks and earnings from this card.

This Earner Plus card has a $75 annual fee not waived in the first year, but that’s no problem because we have fantastic value in year one. In years two and beyond, you get an anniversary bonus of 7500 points, which is generous, especially compared to other so-called hotel credit cards that offer nothing or limiting free night certificates. Here, with the anniversary bonus, you can stay one night at many Wyndham hotels and still enjoy a 10% point rebate or just transfer to Caesars for 7500 Reward Credits likely worth more than $75.

7500 points back each year in exchange for a $75 annual fee isn’t amazing, but it’s better than many cards with annual fees which don’t make sense paying in year two. A better scenario could be no annual fee and no anniversary points or a $75 annual fee and more than 7500 points, but points offsetting the annual fee is much better than nothing. I really like to see a built-in retention offer like this. The business card has an annual fee of $95 and 15,000 anniversary points – a much better offer.

You also have other benefits with the Wyndham Earner Plus card: waived foreign transaction fees, reduced cash rates at Wyndham hotels, and options to transfer Wyndham points for gift cards, online shopping purchases, and tours and activities. Redeeming points outside stays with Wyndham and transfers to Caesars Rewards will probably give low value, but maybe future promotions will offer good value. Options are useful even if you don’t prioritize them.

The Earner Plus card also has a 15-month 0% intro APR feature, but only on balance transfers. You also have to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% with a minimum of $5, so most probably won’t use this feature unless they’re in particular situations like wanting to leverage funds. Suppose one racks up $5000 in spending on an existing card and wants to move it to another card with a 0% offer to make money on a bank account bonus or investment – it could be worth $150. I’m not a fan of paying balance transfer fees, but I imagine some could benefit as long as they aren’t reckless. Of course this episode is for entertainment and informational purposes only.

The Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card is a big win, especially for gamblers and people who will stay at both Wyndham and Caesars properties. Again, the business card will almost certainly be a better option for most, but not all will qualify for a business card. Those without businesses and outside Chase’s 5/24 rule, though, may highly consider this card. Five or more opened credit cards on one’s personal credit report will almost always disqualify one from getting Chase credit cards, so it’s often advisable to prioritize personal cards with Chase.

Barclays can be strict with approvals, sometimes enforcing a 6/24 rule similar to Chase’s 5/24 rule and sometimes frowning on multiple credit card inquiries in the last six months, so time your applications accordingly. Here in Pennsylvania, Barclays pulled the Transunion credit bureau. I’d say it can be worth waiting if you have many inquiries in recent months on the bureau Barclays pulls. I combined a US Bank inquiry (a bank also inquiry sensitive) with my Barclays inquiry and was successful!

Hopefully, like me, you’ll find good value in the new Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card. Personally, I plan to apply for the Wyndham business card first. I must sadly wait until 2021 for the business card because I was approved for Barclays’ Aviator card at the end of August 2020, but I could see myself getting the Earner Plus Card in late 2021 if the current offer remains or improves.

It’s also worth noting that Barclays also has another personal card with Wyndham, the Earner Card, but why would anyone get it? Its 30k point signup bonus is far less than the Earner Plus. The Earner only offers 5x on Wyndham hotels and gas; 2x dining and grocery; and 1x everywhere, whereas the Earner Plus offers 6x on Wyndham hotels and gas; 4x dining and grocery; and 1x everywhere. 

The regular Earner card has no annual fee and no anniversary points, but the Earner Plus is overwhelmingly a better deal with anniversary points offsetting the annual fee, better category returns, and even automatic Wyndham Diamond status. Embrace spending on annual fees because they can be great investments. I’d also wager that one could get the Earner Plus card, and after one year simply product change to, I’ll say it, Earner Minus, if they won’t find future stays and play with Wyndham and Caesars.

What are your thoughts? Have any questions? Feel free to leave them below in the comment sections or on my website!

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for more content!

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