Wyndham Vacasa: Incredible value possible, good value likely, frustration guaranteed

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Wyndham Rewards points recently became far more valuable.  Maybe.  New developments initially made me extremely bullish on acquiring Wyndham points, but my investigation led to frustration.  Here’s the story…

Vacation rentals like the one bedroom home shown in Sea Ranch California can offer absolutely incredible value for your Wyndham points… Maybe.  Probably not.

In 2019, Vacasa (a vacation rental management company) bought Wyndham Vacation Rentals.  And in February 2021, Wyndham Rewards made it possible to redeem points for any of Vacasa’s more than 15,000 vacation rental properties.  Here are snippets from their press release:

Available to book today, the new offerings give Wyndham Rewards members access to Vacasa’s entire vacation rental portfolio, more than doubling the number of Vacasa properties previously available via the rewards program. Vacasa’s vacation rental portfolio spans North America, Belize and Costa Rica and complements Wyndham’s existing redemption portfolio, which now offers more than 50,000 hotels, vacation club resorts and vacation rentals globally.

and:

Wyndham Rewards prices vacation rental free night redemptions at 15,000 points per bedroom per night. Members can browse available properties—including thousands of studio and one-bedroom options—by visiting www.wyndhamrewards.com/redeem and following the booking instructions for their preferred vacation rental partner.

15,000 points per bedroom per night

The press release shown above states that Wyndham prices vacation rental free night redemptions at 15,000 points per bedroom per night.  That could be incredible if true.

Following the press release’s instructions to visit www.wyndhamrewards.com/redeem, I found this:

And, upon clicking “Learn More,” I found this:

Notice that there is no information at all on Wyndham’s website about redemption costs.  Clicking “Explore Properties” goes here: www.vacasa.com/go/partners/wyndham-rewards.

From the above screen you can browse Vacasa’s vacation rentals, but you’ll see only cash prices not point prices.

Incredible value theoretically possible

After clicking around a bit on Vacasa’s website, I found that this link, www.vacasa.com/search?place=/usa/, showed me all properties in the United States.  From there, it was easy to filter to properties with no more than 1 bedroom, but with very high nightly rates:

The point of this exercise was to find incredible rentals that could theoretically be booked for only 15,000 points per night.  Just because a house only has 1 bedroom doesn’t mean it isn’t huge and luxurious.  If it’s really possible to book a $600+ per night house for only 15,000 points per night, that would be incredible.

In order to test things out, I picked an attractive rental in Sea Ranch, California.  It wasn’t the most expensive I could find, but it looks amazing and is a place I’d actually consider if this works out.  The property required a 4-night minimum stay and averaged $650 per night before fees.  After fees and taxes, it lists for $3,592.67 total, or $898 per night, for the dates I chose.

My next step was to call Wyndham to see if this place would really cost only 15,000 points per night…

My fun phone calls

Wyndham’s website urges Wyndham Rewards members to call 866-996-7937 to book Vacasa Properties.  I didn’t have enough points to book the Sea Ranch house shown above, but I called to try to find out the following:

  • Is it really possible to book a property like that for only 15K points per night?
  • Are any fees passed along?  The cash booking showed $457.60 in fees.  Would we have to pay that if we booked with points?
  • What is the cancellation policy for award bookings?
  • If we don’t have enough points, can we put a booking on hold until we earn enough points?

Rather than describe my frustrating phone calls in excruciating detail, let me cut to the chase: After hours on the phone, I failed to learn the answer to any of the questions above.  When I finally got a person on the phone, she wasn’t prepared to answer any questions.  A few times she put me on hold to ask others, but came back with completely unhelpful non-answers.  The best she could do was fill out a booking form that would be sent along to some mysterious place, and that would maybe lead to booking the place I wanted.  Or not.  I don’t know.  I wish I had gone along with the lark of filling out the form – maybe that would have led to some answers.  Alas, I did not.

Blackout dates, blackout rates, and 30K per bedroom likely

While I couldn’t find any information on Wyndham’s website about using points for Vacasa Properties, I did find a Wyndham Rewards FAQ item that probably has the right answer:

Even though Vacasa Properties isn’t specifically mentioned above, I believe that this FAQ item applies.  Here are the key details:

  • Award nights cost 15K or 30K points per bedroom
  • Blackout dates/rates apply
  • Cancellation properties vary by property
  • All accommodations have minimum stay requirements

I previously wrote about a similar Wyndham deal with using Wyndham points to book Cottages.com properties for 15K points per night (at the time — now 15K or 30K): Seeking value, finding adventure for 15K Wyndham points per night.  In the comments of that post, a reader named Angela said that the awards were bookable only if the bedrooms were under $350 per night.  This is almost certainly what the FAQ means by blackout rates (“Blackout dates/rates apply”).  I don’t know that the $350 cap applies here, but it’s likely.

Educated guesses

Which properties does Wyndham charge 30K points per bedroom instead of 15K?  I can only guess.  Maybe they look at the nightly rate and charge accordingly:

  • Up to $175 per night per bedroom: Charge 15K per night
  • $175 to $350: Charge 30K per night
  • Over $350: Do not allow free nights

To be clear, the above is just a guess as to how this might work.  If they do have cash ranges like this, the specifics are almost certainly different from what I wrote.

More educated guesses:

  • Are any fees passed along?  No.  When I used Wyndham points to book a Cottages.com property a number of years ago, I wasn’t charged any fees.
  • What is the cancellation policy for award bookings?  My guess is that it follows Vacasa’s standard cancellation policies (found here), but with points rather than cash. Specifically:
    • Cancel 30 or more days before your stay for a full refund of points
    • Cancel 7 to 29 days before your stay so that your points will apply to a future booking.
    • Note that there are different rules for properties in Delaware, North Carolina, and southwest Michigan.
  • If we don’t have enough points, can we put a booking on hold until we earn enough points? No

Very good value still possible

Let’s pretend for a moment that my educated guesses are exactly right and that Wyndham charges as follows for Vacasa Properties (and doesn’t charge fees on award stays):

  • Up to $175 per night per bedroom: Charge 15K per night
  • $175 to $350: Charge 30K per night
  • Over $350: Do not allow free nights

There are many fantastic looking one-bedroom properties available through the Vacasa website.  Take the Westport California property shown above, for example.  Daily rates vary by date, but are almost always less than $350 per night.  For the two nights I picked, the rental price was $596 ($298 per night).  After taxes and fees, the total price came to $938.62, or $469.31 per night.

If we could book the above property for 30K Wyndham points per night and with no fees, then we would get $469.31 / 30K = 1.56 cents per point value.  Compared to our current Reasonable Redemption Rate of 0.70 cents per point for Wyndham points, 1.56 cents per point is great.  I expect that many one bedroom Vacasa Properties will offer similar value.

Conclusion

Upon first glance, it looks like booking one-bedroom Vacasa Properties with Wyndham points could offer incredible value.  After digging deeper, though, I believe that good value is likely, but incredible value is probably out of reach due to blackout dates/rates and some properties charging 30K points per night per bedroom.

Despite the fact that my initial excitement was squashed, I’m still enthusiastic about the idea of booking Vacasa Properties with Wyndham Rewards points.  Similar options with other hotel chains often offer poor point value (Marriott’s Homes & Villas, for example).  Wyndham’s approach makes it possible to get very good value, and Vacasa truly has a huge selection of properties available in North America (and some in Central America).

The biggest problem right now, is that booking Vacasa Properties with Wyndham points is extremely difficult.  I’m hoping that Wyndham will improve this and/or that someone will dig up a phone number of a group within Wyndham or Vacasa that knows how to book these things.  If/when either happens, I’ll update this post with that information.

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17 Comments
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[…] Miler wrote 2 great articles about using Wyndham Rewards Points to book Vacasa vacation rentals (article 1 and article 2).  I wanted to provide my experience booking 2 Vacasa vacation rentals, so I […]

Jerry

I am assuming that you get some type of credit for referral fee if I get the CC, How about a link so I can get you the fee?

Nil

Just booked a log-house that goes for $2200 for 7 days with 94.5K Wyndham points. My experience was relatively smooth.
1. You gotta have either Earner or Business earner Card. Otherwise you pay 105K points for the above reservation.
2. First found a reasonable attractive property with 1 bedroom but high occupancy. This can be challenging. The property I booked had 1 bedroom but 8 person occupancy. I can comfortably fit 5 person there which is what I was targeting.
3. Called up 866-996-7937, as I am diamond I was advised to call 866 443 6181.
4. After initial account verification, the agent seemed she knows what she can do which is not much by herself but email some other entity. She got the details from me and told me that someone would call me in 24 hours.
5. I got an email next morning telling me that the property is unavailable for the last night but I saw the previous agent messed up my dates so I sent her the right ones I am looking for and I know those dates are available.
6. She confirmed back the available and also that point booking won’t have any fees and taxes- only points.
7. I asked her to go do the booking and booking confirmed in next 15 mins.
5-7 above happened over email in a span of 1 hour. I think you guys can skip all 1-4 and email
triprewards.fulfillment@wyndham.com directly with the request, I think the Vacasa bookings are getting done through this channel.

Nil

The cancellation policy is all points back before 30 days, all points forfeiture within 30 days.

Chris

Good work with the sleuthing…you did a lot of homework that will hopefully pay off for you (and us) with a great stay some time. Esp. if the “fees” are waived…sometimes they are more than the property itself!

escot

Oh my, another Wyndham nightmare…. Ok, thanks very much for alerting us to the possibilities herein….. and have a sufficient Wyndham stash at the moment to try this…..

ps, yet warning for all, never, ever have “faith” that Wyndham will treat you right…. If you see a great promo (like the now history 15k rates per night for all properties, go for it, asap and hard)….. If it seems grand, Wyndham will figure out a way to throttle it and/or scam you back…. (like the madness with pushing the aggressive, won’t let-you-go Wyndham mafia-style time share promo b.s. on you…. Stephen Pepper’s write up on that remains spot on….)

One last thing, Wyndham remains the absolute worst hotel “loyalty” program when it comes to your points expiring (either through lack of activity and/or 4 yrs after you earned the points….) Wife’s 28k on her account just went “poof” …. at end of Feb. (Other hotel chains had suspended their points expiration policies during the pandemic…. and/or started the clocks anew sometime this year…. not the Wyndham mafia bosses)

[…] many of you, I was really excited when I got an email from Wyndham announcing new partnership with Vacasa.com At least in theory, we now have access to 15,000 more properties, for a relatively reasonable […]

Larry K

You guys are going to need two hours on the podcast this week just for all the contenders for post roast. (Though the truth is I generally love the posts that get roasted and this one is my very favorite kind — the “I thought of something that might be a great value and I did a bunch of work and it turns out I have no idea if it’s good or not and there’s a decent chance there’s no real way to find out but maybe my process will be helpful and in any event, I had to spend time on the phone with clueless customer service reps so at least I should post about it” post.

Angela

Greg, I am the Angela who wrote that. I was never able to book any cottage or any of their condos in the US. Once I stayed on the phone for hours trying to find 1 condo available in Park City – all were showing as available for cash bookings. The girl could not find one single condo available and it was a date in the fall! I tried cottages in Ireland and Scotland, maybe even a few in France. There was always an excuse. If the price was under 350 per bedroom it either required a week’s stay or it was simply not available. I felt their customer service people were almost as frustrated as I was with the booking process (or lack thereof). I gave up.

Grogu

I called the number Wyndham posted, and the rep said that they would forward it to Vacasa/Wyndham agent and someone would call me back. I gave them my dates and location (Maui). When Wyndham called me back, they said that all the locations that I wanted to stay at were not available. They gave me locations that were poor in value (points), and to me, it was better to just pay in cash.
This is the number I called back to see if other locations were available (no luck, no availability) – (506)646-2943. But it got me to speak directly with a Wyndham agent that handles Vacasa properties, bypassing the call center.

Grogu

Update: I called the number above, and the properties in Maui that were unavailable when I called a day after Wyndham announced their partnership with Vacasa, are now available. It was probably still in its transition phase, and why availablity was limited. I booked an oceanview condo, and got about 2.2 cpp value.

Pager

Vacasa rentals on airbnb often get poor reviews, upon arrival, renters can’t get into property and no one answers phone to help etc…I steer clear of Vacasa.

Geoff

Just stay away from anything Wyndham. I’ve had terrible experiences with them after my Shell Vacations timeshare went under their umbrella. I couldn’t even book my own unit, much less any internal exchanges. Stay far away, don’t get suckered.

Brooks

This is a really helpful rundown – thanks for the effort and for laying it out!