Let this be the take-home message of this post: You can't run a blog with over 120,000 visitors per month and expect life to flow perfectly with an indefinite stream of free hotel rooms coming in. Instead of keeping this promotion a secret, and have it be a self-serving method of me saving money while the rest of you would be paying top-dollar, I've (from the get-go) shared my wealth of knowledge, tips, and the BRG opportunities themselves that we find with you, my faithful readers, so that there would be a bit of equality in all of this mess.
Well, the day has come that we've all been dreading. Now, don't panic - it's bad, but it could have been much worse. The staff here at the blog have had a gut feeling for a while now that things were about to change, which is why we probably went on room-booking sprees a couple of weeks ago, hoping to lock in as many as we could, as that gut feeling was getting stronger each day. And it truly was the harbinger of things to come, and I'm glad I finalized some travel plans while I could.
Without further ado, I'll cease rambling like a madman and tell you what has happened: Wyndham Rewards has changed their terms and conditions.
The changes are as follows (at least from what I can see):
"Due to rounding and other issues, rates within $.25 of our Best Available Rate will be considered a match and will not qualify for Best Rate Guarantee claims."
-This means that your beloved $69.99 rate won't work against a $70.00 WR rate any longer. I'm not too worked up about this particular one.
"Only one valid claim can be submitted per person, per e-mail address, per calendar month."
- This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. They now are refusing to truly honor whether they have the "Best Available Rate" more than 12 times per year, per person. Luckily, I have friends that I travel with, so this won't sting as much as it potentially could. A big SHAME ON YOU to Wyndham Rewards for basically saying that your guarantee is only valid once per month - why even have a guarantee? For a long while, you've been on top of the game in the business, having a solid guarantee. Now, well, it's almost useless, and its really not a guarantee at all. To all the Todd Tucker's and Jonathan Gould's up in Wyndham's head office on the Great Plains of South Dakota, I ask, what the hell are you thinking?
I urge everyone to write letters of objection to Wyndham and their staff. You can start by emailing this address and ask them why they will only honor their "guarantee" once per month - what about the countless other times that their rates are not lower. Oh, I forgot, its not the "Guaranteed Best Available Rate" it's the "We Have No Staff and Have to Shut You Up Somehow so Here's a Dozen Free Rooms Per Year Promotion". Someone really screwed up on what the essence of this guarantee is all about - honoring the fact that you don't have the lowest rate available. If they don't have the staff, then hire more - but don't call this new thing a "guarantee" of any sort.
"All reservations must be for personal use only and booked by the guest who will actually be staying at the hotel. Reservations booked by brokers or agents will not qualify. Best Rate Claims and any free nights issued under this program are not transferable."
-I've only transferred one hotel room from another person to me, and that is when they were severely ill and couldn't make the trip. I don't disagree with this new addition at all. If you are booking a claim for another person, then there is a simple solution - get them to book their own room and stop doing the work for them ;)
Days Inns reserve the right to reject a Best Rate Claim and/or to cancel any free night previously issued by it in the event of fraud or abuse of this Program or non-compliance with these Terms and Conditions.
-Wow, I hope what we do here on the blog isn't "fraud" (sarcasm). I might be egotistical, but I think that this is directed towards me and my staff. My response: If getting free nights based on the fact that we find cheaper rates on other websites is "fraud" or "abuse" then so be it. I probably book 1 out of every 40 hotels listed on this blog, and the same is true for the other writers. Two words: Idle threats.
Okay, okay, so I'm using fighting words. But, I'm serious - this is no longer a guarantee, it's a charade. As for us here at the blog, we will continue searching out free rooms for you every day until this thing sinks for good. We'll be continuing to support you in your search for free and frugal travel, no matter if the BRG exists or it does not. For now, choose wisely, tread carefully, and as always, help keep us on the internet, doing what we do best, by continuing to visit our main sponsor, Kayak Inc., for all of your comparison searches.
We're going down with the ship, folks!
Please consider "taking it to the streets" with this and protesting the changes in claims. Even "one claim per person per day" or "per week" would be better than "per month". Is this a joke?