I am going to pay the $75 annual fee on my Barclays Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature card and keep it for another year. But it’s a close call, and I wouldn’t fault anyone for canceling or product changing to the no-annual-fee version of the card. Also, I will make a retention call before I pay my statement with the annual fee, to see if I can get a retention offer.
I just received the statement with my $75 annual fee for my Barclays Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature card. I picked up the card one year ago, to get the sign-up bonus for use on a very targeted redemption at the Wyndham Grand hotel in Chicago. I spent a little over $1,000 on the card right away to receive the sign-up bonus on the card, and I haven’t put a penny on it since.
Features of the card are:
- Points Earning – 5x Wyndham Rewards points on spend at Wyndham properties; 2x on gas, utilities and grocery store purchases; and 1x on everything else (our baseline value of Wyndham Rewards points is 0.9 cents per point)
- Platinum elite status with Wyndham Rewards (see chart of Wyndham Rewards elite benefits here)
- 6,000 Wyndham Rewards points annually, which post after the annual fee is paid
- No foreign transaction fees
Importantly, Wyndham Rewards Platinum status includes a 3,000 point annual bonus, which is paid shortly after the first of each year.
Although our baseline value of Wyndham Rewards points is only 0.9 cents per point, it is certainly possible to get more value than that, especially since Wyndham charges a flat rate of 15,000 points for a free hotel night (a “Go Free” award). For example, our redemption last year at the Wyndham Grand in Chicago was for rooms costing approximately $240/night, giving us a redemption rate of 1.6 cents per point. Other possibilities to achieve outsized value for Wyndham Rewards points include using “Go Fast” awards, which require 3,000 points per night plus a cash co-pay, and booking Wyndham Rewards redemptions through cottages.com, where Wyndham Rewards points may be used to book vacation homes in Great Britain, France, Ireland and Italy at a rate of 15,000 points per bedroom per night.
I don’t have any immediate plans for Wyndham stays, and I have cards that earn more for every other type of purchase. Thus, my keep-or-cancel decision is basically $75 for 9,000 points (the 6,000-point annual card bonus plus the annual Platinum 3,000 point bonus in January). The points are worth $81 (9,000 x 0.9 cpp) under our baseline valuation, but there’s a decent chance I’ll ultimately redeem them for more. For comparison purposes, I would strongly consider being a buyer of Wyndham Rewards points if they were offered for sale at 1 cent per point.
A few other factors play into my decision:
- Platinum status may be useful if we do stay at a Wyndham property in the next year, and we certainly won’t achieve Platinum status any other way
- I always think it’s nice to have enough points in various programs to take advantage of opportunities that may arise – and right now my stash of Wyndham Rewards points is limited as I have only 19,000 points
- An alternative, if I want to have the card, would be to cancel this card and churn it – that is, apply for this same card again within a few months after canceling. I don’t find that option appealing right now. I’ve been trying to apply for fewer cards in order to enhance my chances of getting approved for high-value cards and sign-up bonuses. Plus, I want to stay on good terms with Barclays (especially since I have another Barclays card I will probably cancel in a few months), and paying this annual fee won’t hurt.
- Another alternative would be to product change this card to the no-annual-fee version. However, by paying the fee, I can effectively buy Wyndham Rewards points at a favorable 0.83 cpp rate, plus I can have Platinum benefits and 5x points earning on any Wyndham stays I might make. For me, this tilts the field toward keeping the card with the $75 annual fee rather than product changing – although you could certainly reach the opposite conclusion.
This one is a close call, but I’m planning to pay the annual fee and keep the card. However, I will certainly call Barclays before I pay the annual fee to see if there are any retention offers. I’ll post on my retention call after I make it.
Update: How did I do on my retention call? See my follow-up post, Did I Get a Retention Offer on My Barclays Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature Card?