Things to love and hate about Vacasa vacation rentals via Wyndham Rewards


Last week, I wrapped up a nice Vacasa vacation rental in Girdwood, Alaska (here’s the listing). We’ve written numerous times about the partnership between Wyndham and Vacasa (See: Wyndham Vacasa: value is real!). It is one of the most unique award partnerships in the space, providing the opportunity to use hotel points to book unique vacation rental homes. In many ways, I love this partnership, but there are some things I don’t enjoy about vacation rentals. I think it is worth being aware of both ends of the spectrum of this partnership as this is definitely a tool to have in your belt, but it makes sense to manage expectations.

a couch in a living room

Things I hate about Vacasa vacation rentals

30-day cancellation policy

This just stinks: Vacasa vacation rentals booked with Wyndham Rewards points need to be canceled 30 days in advance or they are totally nonrefundable. When I book hotels, they are typically cancellable until 1 or 2 days in advance and many airline programs offer free or cheap flight award cancellation. By contrast, I really hate the inflexibility of a Vacasa rental booked through Wyndham Rewards. With two young kids, I know that one or both could get sick and I’d be stuck forfeiting all the points if we needed to change plans within a month of arrival. This makes me hesitant to book Vacasa far in advance (though waiting until close-in means having fewer options from which to choose).

I wish that there was some way to cancel a bit closer to arrival either without penalty or with a small enough penalty to not be overly punitive.

Variance in quality

I’ve had very good experiences thus far with my Vacasa vacation rentals (including the place I stayed near Pigeon Forge and another property where I booked a cash stay), but I’ve read enough reviews to know that quality varies. That should be expected with regard to vacation rentals since they are typically individually owned (Vacasa just manages the rental homes), but nonetheless I find it to be a weakness.

For instance, when we found some leftover chicken wings on the grill at our Vacasa rental, we didn’t have the option to “call the front desk” and have housekeeping take care of it. If we didn’t want to risk waking up to a bear on the porch, we just had to clean it up ourselves.

My biggest issue with inconsistency is the inconsistency of cleanliness. Our most recent Vacasa rental was a large 4-bedroom home that looked very impressive at first glance. And overall, it was quite nice and well-kept. However, we looked more closely, we found the places where attention to detail fell short like extra dust under beds or a pillowcase that had a blood spot on it, etc.

Again, that’s not unique to Vacasa rentals, but it stands out against my usual award travel experiences because I mostly use points for hotels, where I can call for assistance if something doesn’t meet expectations. That’s not so easy to do with a vacation rental.

When you need help, it isn’t instantly-available

a man sitting at a table with a laptop

In cases where you end up needing help, it can be a challenge since you’re stuck waiting for someone to respond.

For instance, we arrived early at the property in Girdwood, Alaska and the cleaners were still cleaning. We asked if we could drop off our bags and they had no problem with that (We were obviously taking some risk since our rental hadn’t yet officially started and if something were missing when we returned we’d have likely had no recourse. It wasn’t my idea to drop bags).

When we returned after the assigned check-in time, we followed the check-in instructions we had received via email and text message, which said to go to a guest key lock box and enter a code to get the front door key. The problem is that the code didn’t work. I tried the key numerous times and it failed repeatedly. After 3 or 4 failures in a row, it seemed like it alarmed (it beeped a bunch and stopped allowing code input for a minute or two), but then it “cleared” and we were able to continue trying to do the same thing while expecting different results for long enough to “trip” it again.

a group of people looking at a device

I texted Vacasa. I got a reasonably quick response and they said that they would check with their local team and get back to me.

Meanwhile, all of our bags were locked inside the house since we had left them with the housekeeping team earlier.

Luckily, the check-in email also included a key code for the garage door. That code worked, so we were in the house shortly thereafter thanks to the garage door.

a ping pong table in a garage
We got into the garage, which had table tennis….and a door to the rest of the house.

However, I never did hear back from Vacasa that first night. The next morning, I messaged Vacasa again, explaining that we could just use the garage door to enter and exit but that I wanted to follow up to see if they had heard anything from the local team. They responded about an hour later to tell me that they would follow up and within an hour thereafter someone showed up at the door to try to figure out the lock box. She tried the same code that I did (sorry for not providing a spoiler alert earlier, but now you already know that didn’t work). Eventually she was able to free the key and provide it to us to use, but she couldn’t get the lock box working, either.

That was a minor annoyance since we had the garage door code, but it illustrated the fact that it was all on Vacasa to facilitate a connection with the local crew and they obviously dropped the ball on that the first night.

Paperwork could use some clarity

One thing I think Vacasa could improve upon is explaining what required paperwork you’ll need to submit as you’re making the reservation. In a couple of rental instances, it has been required that I e-sign a separate rental agreement after booking and send it back via email before the stay, but I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t read the emails closely. When I make a hotel reservation, I often don’t even look at the email confirmation, but you have to remember to do that with Vacasa.

No daily housekeeping

This is true of almost any vacation rental, but you have no daily housekeeping when you book a Vacasa vacation rental. I enjoy returning to my hotel room after a long day to a clean / straightened room. I miss having someone else to clean the place up each day when I stay in a vacation rental. This isn’t a knock of Vacasa but rather a mark of how spoiled I’ve become by good hotels.

Things I love about Vacasa vacation rentals through Wyndham Rewards points

Excellent value for points

Since you can book properties costing up to $500 per bedroom per night (when accounting for average nightly rate for your stay with all taxes & fees included), you can get excellent to outstanding value for points. It will cost you just 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points per bedroom per night for a Vacasa Vacation rental — and 10% less than that if you have one of the Wyndham Earner credit cards. That’s a terrific deal.

With this most recent rental, we were able to snag a large 4-bedroom house that could have easily slept 10 or more people for 54,000 points per night (15K points – 10% cardholder discount x 4), which was a decent deal compared to the cash rate of about $846 per night all-in. At over 1.56c per point it wasn’t the most impressive Vacasa value I’ve seen, but it was certainly better than our Reasonable Redemption Value.

a house with a car parked in front of it

A couple of years ago, I stayed in a “1 bedroom” cabin in the Pigeon Forge / Great Smoky Mountains area that had a loft with a pull-out sofa that could sleep 2 and a loft above the loft with a futon mattress to sleep two more.

a living room with a table and chairs

a room with a pool table and a staircase
The two photos above are from a different vacation rental near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that was only 1 “bedroom”.

Since there was only 1 actual “bedroom” in that property, it cost 15,000 points per night (or 13,500 points per night as a Wyndham Rewards Earner credit card holder) for the entire place.

No taxes, cleaning fees, or other expenses

I love that Vacasa rentals booked through Wyndham Rewards incur no taxes or fees of any kind. You don’t pay a cleaning fee or even supply a credit card number up front. The booking process just involves using your points and it takes minutes on the phone.

You can combine points from two guests

Greg has previously written in our guide to booking Vacasa rentals that you can combine points from two people (I don’t know whether it is possible to add points from more than two members). Each person must use points in whole night increments. In other words, we were able to book one night from my account and two from my wife’s, but we couldn’t have done 2.5 nights from her account and 0.5 nights from mine.

What impressed me the most was that the process for that was pretty seamless. The phone agent knew what to do and the resulting reservation came under one single confirmation number for all three nights, so there was no concern about having to check out from the first reservation and into the second, etc.

For full details on the booking process, see: Wyndham Vacasa: Great value is real.

You can transfer points from Capital One or Citi

Both Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer 1:1 to Wyndham Rewards. Transfers from both are instant. Unfortunately, the recent 20% transfer bonus from Citi expired last night.

Unique properties possible (lots of space, interesting locations, etc)

For fewer or roughly as many points as many chains charge for regular hotel rooms, you can get truly unique entire homes or far more space than you will with a hotel.

Not all hotel points are created equally, but as a point of comparison, a standard hotel room at a Four Points by Sheraton was going for 44,000 Marriott Bonvoy points during our dates. We paid 54,000 Wyndham Rewards points for a 4-bedroom house. While it wasn’t actually our highest-value redemption ever, it was nonetheless better than paying for 3 rooms for 3 nights at a hotel. With 7 total people, we would have needed a bare minimum of 2 rooms at another hotel. This was a much better deal by comparison.

Here is a full tour of the property:


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A post shared by Nick Reyes (@nickatfm)

And here are some pictures of this most recent Vacasa rental:

a living room with a large couch and a fireplace
The living / dining / kitchen area was spacious. Cut out of the ride side of the frame is a TV on the wall. Another couch is facing the opposite direction toward it.
a two kids playing in a living room
This house had a bin of Duplo Legos that my kids found and used to build any time we were waiting around the house for a bit.
a kitchen with a large island and a large table
We stopped at a grocery store and made breakfast in the kitchen. One of the cabinets had items that guests could use freely, which included a lot of spices and condiments, pancake mix, coffee supplies, and more.
a view from inside of a house
In addition to the four bedrooms, someone could have slept on the futon on the loft here. The master bedroom is the door to the right.
a room with a sauna and shelves
I loved that this place had a sauna in then master bedroom. I used it a couple of times!
a table and chairs on a deck overlooking a mountain range
The house had a wraparound porch with a grill and gorgeous mountain views. Unfortunately, the gas for this mini fireplace was empty. Separately, the building in the distance is Girdwood Brewing Company, which some of our group enjoyed very much.

Bottom line

Vacation rentals are very popular, particularly for family travelers, since they often offer far more space than a hotel room. The main drawback for those who enjoy award travel is the fact that there often aren’t reasonable ways to book vacation rentals with points. However, we have written extensively about the Vacasa partnership with Wyndham Rewards, and I recently took advantage of the chance to book a four-bedroom property with Wyndham Rewards points. While we encountered some of the usual cleanliness shortcomings here and there and had a problem with the keybox, we very much enjoyed our stay overall. Vacation rentals will probably never be my preferred method of travel because I enjoy more predictability when it comes to lodging, but I imagine that when we need a vacation rental we will continue to seek out chances to use our Wyndham Rewards points to great value with Vacasa vacation rentals.

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If you end up canceling the reservation – do you just lose your Wyndham points or do you end up having to pay the daily room rate? Thanks


I grant that it’s not nearly as amazing as Vacasa – which I love – but I also like booking Wyndham timeshare units from their app. Obv much less selection, but it’s a lot easier (online!) and one side benefit is 72 hour cancellation vs 30 days.

Another is that some units now book at 7.5K rather than 15k. I just booked a unit in AZ that was 6750 pts/nt because of the earner card. Just ran the numbers and even with their current 20% off “deal” I’ll get over 2.3 cpp. That’s not the 3.5 cpp one sees with Wyndham, but it’s still pretty darned good.

FM Fan

I’ve never been able to find availability at any Wyndham timeshare property. Is there a trick to finding it?


Great post as always Nick! Quick question: if combining points (say for 2 nights in a 1 bedroom) and P1 has a Wyndham Earner card but P2 doesn’t, does only 1 night get the discount (13.5k for 1 night, 15k for another night)?

Stephen Pepper

That’s correct unfortunately

J. R.

Thanks for the quick reply Stephen!


one bad data point: we had a condo for 2 weeks in Princeville Kauai that was cancelled out from under us 28 days out-apparently the owner pulled their condo from Vacasa. Then we were told Vacasa had no North Shore lodging availability. No recourse, vacation cancelled.
Seemed ridiculous in this situation for Vacasa to refuse to open up a higher-priced (more bedrooms) condo in the area, of which there were a few.


How did you speak with them when this happened? Vacasa in Kauai was very responsive to me when we had a problem with a unit, including moving us into a much higher-priced, many more bedrooms (4 bedrooms rather than 1) SFH unit.


Great post on Vacasa. I was quite impressed by how quickly their phone agents can get things booked and will answer when you call in, better service than I have gotten with some hotel phone lines.

Being dependent on the local property management, who may not be quick to respond, is the one drawback that can be a big concern when you need it. We had what smelled like a gas leak at a property and it took a little while to get all the information that their had been a gas leak recently and it was fixed, but there was a residual smell. They offered to move us to another property if we wanted so it was handled well, just had a couple hours of uncertainty as to if we’d actually be staying at this property.

For traveling with friends or family Vacasa can offer a unique cost effective option when booking multiple hotel rooms is unreasonable.


I am a property manager (that vacasa has tried to buy out a few times).
Agree on some points, not so much on others. While I agree that 30 days is onerous compared to hotels, as you noted in another comment, the owner of a vacation rental is likely going to be out the money if you cancel within 30 days, they can’t overbook in case you cancel or just shift bookings when you cancel like a hotel can.
In regard to the cleaning, if you find leftover chicken wings or blood on a pillow in a vacation rental, you should definitely call to have it dealt with (maybe dust under a bed, not so much).
In regard to the lockbox, definitely a major problem with Vacasa versus other vacation rentals. They make it “easier” by having a central line for concerns, but it adds another couple of layers between you and the people that can help you. You call Vacasa, they call the local manager, the local manager calls their operations people and at some point, somebody drops the ball. Our operation (and I think many other vacation rental managers) gives guests a direct 24/7 line to operations so the person you talk to is the person you will see at your door to fix the problem. No chance to drop the ball in between.


After taking a deep dive into the travel hacking world early last year, I was able to take my family of 8 to Maui in January 2023, for 10 days!!! I saved up those points and booked a Vacasa condo that would hold all of us! We could never afford this trip without the Wyndham partnership. Other than the 30 day cancelation, I am so fond of the program! Just last month, I got our crew’s next trip booked to Kauai, utilizing Vacasa as well! Thanks guys for all the great info!


Same here.


Many nice properties for 8 in Kauai & TBI, less so on Maui. Which one did you stay in?


Great post as always, Nick. And what a summer of travel you’ve had. Man!

I wanted to let you know something about Wyndham-Vacasa bookings that I just discovered today. Namely, at least under some circumstances, is it possible to add a night to a reservation, even last minute.

My family was planning on staying in a 1-bedroom Vacasa unit in Vail, Colorado tonight (Friday) and tomorrow night (Saturday). 7 hours before check-in, we decided that, ideally, we’d like to stay Sunday night as well. The property showed Sunday night as available, but with a 2-night minimum booking. I called the usual booking number and asked about extending our stay by just one night. The Wyndham agent said she’d have to check with her back office. She put me on and off hold for half an hour while they checked. I’m guessing they had to figure out if the 1-night total (or, possibly, new 3-night total) stayed under the $500/night rate and, if so, connect with Vacasa to modify the booking. In any case, it worked! The confirmation number stayed the same, and the booking now shows 3-nights rather than 2 on I did have to re-sign the rental agreement and, of course, pay 13,500 additional points. We’re getting over 3 cents/point on this booking, so another outstanding Vacasa score, your valid critiques not withstanding.

(I wonder if one could add a night mid-stay…?)


Great review of the pros and cons of Vacasa. I have / had a stay this weekend in Savannah, Georgia, but due to the hurricane in Florida / Georgia, decided to cancel my trip. I was able to cancel everything except the Vacasa. Calling WR and explaining the issue, then being transferred to Vacasa to explain the issue, then being transferred back and forth. Still working on trying to cancel the Vacasa and get my points back, but it’s a tough bill to climb.


Yeah, please update us!


Matt and Nick, no luck from Vacasa on cancelling and refunding the reservation for Savannah, Georgia 🙁

Vacasa said “all reservations are good to go except for some in Carolina on a case-by-case basis. It appears that the hurricane has passed, and if the place is affected, you will be notified.”

John Doe

Wyndham offered to refund us our 90k points for a Vacasa booking in West Maui even though it seems the property will be open. Both Wyndham and Vacasa kept giving us conflicting info about whether we will be able to go or not, and Wyndham finally said it doesn’t look like it will be open, so they offered a refund, but talking to someone higher up at Vacasa, it seems it is open, so we won’t be taking the refund.


Agree with all of this. Another thing I don’t like about vacation rentals is no free breakfast! My usual Hyatt Place and Hyatt Houses have spoiled me. I like to wake up in the morning worry free. To me, that means having breakfast ready so I can get a good start on my day without any effort on my part.


RE: no addt’l fees – that is not entirely true. I had to pay a pet fee twice and others have reported of paying a resort fee. Sometimes it is obvious there will be addt’l fees and sometimes not. I suppose you could ask when booking to just to make sure but I feel like the agent you actually book with is not always informed to know.


Paid $15/night resort fee at a Vacasa condo rental in HI. I don’t think it was mentioned on the listing or anywhere before I checked in on arrival. Still can’t beat that for only $15/night.


yeah, $15 is NBD – but, I have heard of $50 a day – so that might give me pause – but, if you don’t know until you arrive than I suppose you’d likely just have to pay it!


Paid $40 resort/checkin fee for condo in Florida.


– we always check before booking if Pets are allowed. You can select the option right under the number of Adult, and children… I have also noticed that Vacasa does a poor job of actually clarifying if their is a weight restriction too. So, we try to look at other booking sites (AirBnb or VRBO) as a lot of these rentals are cross-posted. A lot of Vacasa’s pet friendly listings will say, “up to 4 dogs” – which is crazy! But, might be legit? We have a 150 lb Great Dane that can’t tolerate be boarded right now… so we love this Wyndham/ Vacasa avenue for sure! Just wish their footprint was a bit more widespread.


Parking has been an additional fee for me at condos on the FL/AL gulf coast. $35-$40 per vehicle.


One of our units on Kauai had a $10/nt parking fee. On the bright side, they advertised that bikes could be rented for $10/hr, instead they were free. So it was a wash – and tbh I much preferred it this way, I could ride w daughter and son without wondering if we would be “late” to return it.


Yeah to all this. The 30 day cancellation is the worst, IMHO.


Especially seeing as there is no way to mitigate the full-points forfeiture on cancellation, as Nick indicated. You’re basically all-in at the 30-day mark—some sort of compromise with a partial cancellation fee would be a huge improvement here.


Thanks for shining a light on this deal Nick! I checking into another vacasa tomorrow for Labor Day weekend. I’ve been averaging 2.5 cpp on my Wyndham points through vacasa!

On last weeks podcast you briefly mentioned Can you do a post on this? Does the 10% cardholder discount apply to those too? Is there a way to search cottages on a map?


Reviews I have read have been less than stellar for especially with hold times for service being measured in hours. I am trying my first Vacasa and so far Vacasa has been excellent. My first host dropped from the program and Vacasa contacted me with superior options for the same points. I went from a four night stay in a one bedroom valued at $1,900 (really pushing the $500 per night limit) to a three bedroom valued at $2,380 all for 54,000 points (no charge for the additional bedrooms under these circumstances). I wound up inviting my daughter, her boyfriend and my granddaughter since I had two extra bedrooms.


Can you post a link to the Pigeon Forge rental?


I was about to ask the same lol

Dan @ Points With a Crew

Yes – my biggest problem with Vacasa is the one you mentioned – help not being instantly available. I’ve had the same experience where the Vacasa central call center seems to WANT to help quickly – but you’re totally dependent on who they work with “on the ground”, and it’s hit or miss there.