Wyndham Rewards Changed Promotion Rules on Its Members Without Notice — Again?
You might recall the terms of a recent promotion in which you could earn up to 15,000 bonus Wyndham Rewards points for up to three stays — in addition to the Wyndham Rewards points you would typically earn — when you book your reservations by Wednesday, January 31, 2018 using Visa Checkout; and you must complete your qualified stays by Wednesday, February 28, 2018 to earn:
- 3,000 bonus Wyndham Rewards points for your first stay; plus
- 5,000 Wyndham Rewards bonus points for your second stay; plus
- 7,000 Wyndham Rewards bonus points for your third stay
Wyndham Rewards Changed Promotion Rules on Its Members Without Notice — Again?
Well, the terms of that promotion have allegedly been changed, according to several members of FlyerTalk, as you are apparently out of luck if your booked your reservations after Thursday, January 18, 2018 — and members have reported not receiving any notification to any changes in the rules of the promotion.
FlyerTalk member eethan only found out about the amendment to the promotion from a supervisor of the frequent guest loyalty program. “I’m surprised how dishonest Wyndham is. Even though I still had issues to resolve, Christina asked me to hang up because ‘her ride was waiting to pick her up.’ That sounded like – I can’t help you anymore today, but if you’ll do me this favor, I’ll help you out tomorrow. We agreed she would call me back at noon because I told her I was busy earlier. The next day, she calls me an hour earlier then we agreed and leaves me a voicemail, saying that she was calling me at the time we agreed on. – With modern technology, how stupid do you think I am?”
When eethan called back “specifically asking for her — that’s what she instructed me to do in her voicemail. But then Christina refuses to answer my call. Instead she has some younger agent talk with me while she listens on the side and guides him. In the end, she refuses to help further even though I did her a favor to hang up so she could catch her carpool ride.”
“Really? They can just cancel a promotion early like that, without any notice? Unbelievable”, opined FlyerTalk member jrobinson5. “I stayed at a Days Inn on 1/26, which I chose solely because of the promotional bonus points. If I had known that the promotion had ended on 1/18, I would have cancelled and stayed at a nicer hotel. Seems like false advertising to me.”
FlyerTalk member synergistic posted, “Ouch, that explains why I didn’t get credit for my stays on 31 Jan and 1 Feb when I got the credit for an earlier night. Guess it’ll be more of a fight than I thought…”
Not the First Time Wyndham Rewards Changed Promotion Rules
Wyndham Rewards has had a history of blindsiding its members with seemingly arbitrary changes to its promotions with little or no notice.
Two examples are when the number of Wyndham Rewards frequent guest loyalty program points needed to convert to airline frequent flier loyalty program miles had doubled; and at least one hotel property was “upgraded” to a new redemption level known as Tier 9. Both perceived devaluations were implemented immediately within four days of each other — and with no notice, announcement or advance warning of any sort whatsoever.
Also with no advance notice or announcement, a redemption increase of almost 282 percent was reported in January of 2013 for the Wingate by Wyndham Manhattan Midtown located on West 35 Street in New York.
More recently, a bizarre promotion from Wyndham Rewards was cancelled before it even started, with which if you donate all of your Starpoints to charity, you will earn quadruple the amount of Wyndham Rewards points in return; and you would also receive a match to your current elite level status in the Starwood Preferred Guest program.
This current promotion from Wyndham Rewards gives you the opportunity to earn 15,000 bonus Wyndham Rewards points for two stays — in addition to the Wyndham Rewards points you would typically earn — when you register for this promotion prior to booking your reservations at greater than 8,000 participating hotel and resort properties worldwide by Saturday, June 30, 2018; and you must complete your qualified stays by Sunday, July 1, 2018.
After reading about the past history of some promotions, would you participate in it while remaining confident that the rules, terms and conditions of the promotion will be completely honored?
When I do business with a company, I trust that its employees will do what I need for them to do. It is one thing for the results of conducting business with a company to not be to my satisfaction due to extenuating circumstances or factors beyond the control of the employees of the company; it is significantly different if the reason was caused by deception, intentional fraud, or purposely being misled — which usually breeds mistrust. If I cannot trust a company or its employees, I do not patronize it. It is that simple.
There are no fewer than three rental car companies with whom I will no longer conduct business solely because I do not trust them. One of them refused to honor an advertised deal with no explanation despite my following and satisfying all of the terms and conditions of the contract, for example — and the result is the elimination of my trust in that company and its employees.
Trust is an implicit act on our part in everyday life. Many times in a single day, we automatically trust many things without even realizing it or stopping to think about it: that the bridge we drive over will not fall into the water below; that the cars we drive are not defective; that the commercial airplanes on which we fly as passengers are safe enough to transport us to our destination; and that the terminal of the airport will not collapse on us while we are waiting for our flights…
…and we trust that the frequent travel loyalty program miles and points which we earn will be valuable enough to redeem for an award which we will actually want. Otherwise, why would we even bother being members of them? Why would we go through the trouble of earning, tracking and redeeming frequent flier loyalty program miles and points; and what would be the point of earning elite level status if the benefits that were promised once that status was earned were suddenly eliminated without warning?
It is important to note that loyalty — a form of allegiance or support — does not automatically equate to trust; but speaking for myself, I certainly cannot be “loyal” to anyone or anything I do not trust. It is one thing to earn loyalty, in my opinion — but earning trust is completely different altogether. You can have trust without loyalty — but you cannot have loyalty without trust.
I would advise that those who administer frequent travel loyalty programs — the term perhaps a misnomer in and of itself — clearly know and understand the differences between loyalty and trust with regard to their members. If this poll is any indication, it could mean the difference between retaining and losing a customer…
…but you can bet on one thing for certain: no matter how good of a frequent guest loyalty program Wyndham Rewards might be to some people, I have not — and still do not — trust it enough to be interested in participating in it.
If what FlyerTalk members have been posting is indeed true, then shame on the members of the team at Wyndham Rewards for creating a potentially beneficial promotion for its members — only to change the rules without warning on unsuspecting and innocent people who simply followed the instructions of their promotion, even if the rules, terms and conditions of the promotion state that they can be changed at any time without warning. Wyndham Rewards may once again have a long way to go and a lot of work ahead to rectify this issue; save whatever “face” they can; and win back the trust of anyone who was betrayed and is willing to give them another chance.
Trust and authenticity is the key to loyalty for everyone; and as I personally believe that trust is a vital key component in conducting business in general, I intend to continue to write about trust and culture as related to the travel industry in future articles based on the topics presented at the seminars at the conference I attended — especially as I keep reading and hearing about frequent fliers whose trust in companies in the travel industry has either eroded or disappeared completely…
…and your experience with trust in the travel industry is always welcome. More importantly, your trust in what I write is critical to me — and I hope to have earned it in order for The Gate to be “the world’s most trusted ‘blog’.”
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.