The conventional wisdom in the miles and points hobby says that you should only redeem Wyndham points on a Go Free rate (flat 15,000 points per night) when you’ll be staying in a fancy hotel. After all, you pay the same amount whether it’s a Wyndham Grand/Dolce property or an old motel.
Well, I’m here to tell you that I burned my Wyndham points on an old motel, and got fantastic value in the process. Before I go any further, let me point out that unfortunately, it’s no longer possible to replicate this particular redemption. I don’t keep sweet deals to myself, which is why I made sure to share my discovery with readers while it was available. A quick plug: if you don’t already, consider subscribing to this blog via email, and follow us on Facebook
Anyway, last year, I was fortunate to be able to find a two-bedroom beachfront unit for only 15,000 points per night. Sadly, it looks like Wyndham has “fixed” this loophole. Still, I think this hotel may be a good option for those who are doing a Florida road trip during spring months and who want to spend one or two nights right by the water.
Introducing Wyndham Garden Fort Myers Beach:
Let me be very clear. If you are accustomed to Hyatt resorts, you probably won’t enjoy this hotel. I’m not being snarky, I promise. It’s at least 35 years old (possibly more), and one of the last holdouts from the bygone era when Fort Myers Beach was dirt cheap even during spring break period.
That’s no longer the case because I talked to families who paid $300 per night to stay in a basic room here. One guy from Wisconsin told me that he wanted to book a condo next door, but they were charging $500 per night. So, even though him and his wife are not normally “motel type” folks, the thought of saving $200 per night encouraged them to make a compromise. Their six-year-old son couldn’t care less.
We booked two units. One was a two-bedroom apartment, for which we paid 15,000 points per night. The other was a beachfront room for my parents (with one king bed) where I used Go Fast rate at $100 all-in, plus 3,000 points per night. Sadly, the latter is no longer possible either, as Wyndham now determines its Go Fast rates based on revenue price.
This is the only type of room I could find available via points next March, but YMMV I honestly can’t imagine paying $207+3,000 points+tax, but redeeming 15,000 points could be worth it if you are only in the area for one night and prefer a beachfront location.
As I’ve said, you will be hard pressed to find anything under $300 in March in Fort Myers Beach, especially when booking last minute. One big plus: I was told that you can add a rollaway for only $10 extra per night, and that includes rooms that have two double beds.
Avoid poolside rooms because the music is way too loud, though they stop playing it at 9 PM. The heated pool itself was basic (it’s a motel, duh!), but my kids enjoyed it immensely. There is also a decent restaurant on-property where children eat free with an adult entree order of $14 or more. A pretty good deal for beachfront dining, and the food is delicious.
Review of our two-bedroom unit
This hotel is old. They have recently remodeled all the rooms, but you can only do so much. Our unit was… clean-ish. There was some dirt and hair in the corners, but nothing too nasty. It’s an old motel, y’all! Once again, it will depend on your standards. I found the cleanliness level to be acceptable. I really liked the fact that the unit had tile floors.
Living room with the view of the beach. Furniture has seen better days.
Kitchen came in handy, since breakfast was not included in the rate.
Main bathroom (toilet seat had big scratches on it).
Kids’ bedroom with half-bathroom and a double bed. We brought our own sleeping cot for my son.
Master bedroom. Look at that view!
Giant balcony (where you can see your next-door neighbors to the left)
All in all, I felt like I got a spectacular deal for only 15,000 Wyndham points. BTW, revenue rate for our dates was $450 per night, plus tax. Was the place fancy? Nope. But it was perfectly acceptable. And how can you beat that view? If I ever again spot a two-bedroom unit here for 15,000 points per night (doubtful), I’m draining my Wyndham account.
A blast from the past
Due to family tragedy, we had to cut our stay from four to two nights. As a result, a lot of things I planned on doing didn’t end up materializing. But we did get to do a dolphin cruise via Good Time Charters The cost is $20 for adults and $15 for kids, a pretty good value.
This company holds a special place in my heart. You see, almost eight years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, we spent a family vacation in Fort Myers Beach.
We took my then two-year-old daughter (and my boy, I guess) on this very same cruise. So, I wanted to do the tour again. And it didn’t disappoint! A pod of dolphins was following the boat for at least ten minutes and they were performing all kinds of stunts in the water. My parents were quite impressed.
For other things you can do with your family in Fort Myers Beach area, check out this Trip Advisor page. I highly recommend a day trip to Sanibel and Captiva islands, my favorite part of Florida. You might also consider visiting Naples Zoo, located only 35 minutes from Wyndham Garden hotel.
I thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Wyndham Garden Fort Myers Beach Since we only had two nights in the area, I wanted to stay as close to the gulf as possible, and this hotel delivered. See TripAdvisor reviews for this property. But it all comes down to your expectations. If an old motel isn’t your thing, then you might want to look elsewhere.
I feel like I got tremendous value out of my Wyndham points and have zero regrets. I just wish we stayed a few extra nights. If you are interested in accumulating Wyndham points, I recommend my recent post on this very topic
Readers, how do you feel about vacationing in motels?
P.S. Don’t forget that new IHG PointBreaks list will go live today.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.