A new analysis of six of the biggest hotel loyalty programs said that members of Wyndham Rewards get the most value per stay.
According to the Switchfly Hotel Reward Payback Survey, Wyndham users get around 14% of how much they spend back in the form of reward stays. IdeaWorksCompany, which conducted the analysis, surveyed hotel programs by performing more than 1,300 queries for global hotel bookings using points over the month of August to determine the value returned per dollar spent on hotel rates.
Put another way, they determined that Wyndham members would get back $13.60 for every $100 they spent on room rates.
The survey covered six big hotel loyalty programs: Choice Privileges, Hilton HHonors, IHG Rewards, Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Wyndham Rewards. (Although Marriott bought Starwood, they're maintaining both loyalty programs for the time being, although members have access to both.) After Wyndham, reward values ranged from roughly 9% for Marriott down to 6% for Starwood. Within those averages, though, there were some anomalies, with some hypothetical bookings delivering much more bang for a traveler's buck (or point, as the case may be).
It's worth noting that hotel loyalty programs do have other reward benefits, and that there are other ways to earn points besides stays: Starwood's SPG American Express card gets top marks for helping travelers rack up points, and SPG is known for the loyalty of its member base.
Bottom line: If you're already a Wyndham regular, you'd be passing up free money to not join the loyalty program. But if you're a member of another program and like all the perks you get — monetary and otherwise — with that program, look for ways to maximize your ability to earn points.