It’s safe to say that the hotel booking landscape is colossal. There are giants, there are unique approaches, and with every day there are new competitors. Meet: Wayfarer Points, the latest addition. Unlike many, the app has taken a starkly different approach to online travel booking, taking lower fees and cutting into the supply chain at a higher place in line to undercut major booking prices. The app is now live for public consumption, and at the very least, it’s worth a browse…

A Unique App

Almost a year ago now, I was introduced to the Wayfarer Team and unlike many app introductions, their main hope from our contact was feedback. Wayfarer Points wanted to become a scrappy upstart into hotel deals and a fantasy football type game for points nerds, and they wanted to get it right. As far as feedback went, I had a few things that most hotel booking platforms do, that I hated..

First: prices before taxes and fees.

I absolutely hate, with all the angst in the world being presented with a hotel price and then click through to find that actually – it’s the price before taxes and fees. Why?! I noted this to the Wayfarer team and much to my surprise, they actually listened.

The prices you see in the Wayfarer Points app are the prices you actually pay when it’s time to book. It’s an important thing to keep in mind when you’re browsing their prices versus Expedia, Hotels.com or any of the other players.

As someone who likes to call BS, I also struggled to understand how a scrappy upstart was actually offering lower hotel prices, when after checking myself, they legitimately were in many cases. The answer is fairly simple: they cut into the supply chain, eliminating middle players who take mark up when they sell rooms onto online travel agencies, and also just went a little less greedy with their markup than others do.

Like all things on this blog that I shout about, my only suggestion is that you take advantage of the 14 day free “premium” offer, and have a comparison of your next few hotel stays. Even the entirely free version of the app is lower than most OTA’s most of the time. We’ve got a promo code for you below either way.

You can take advantage of a free trial and discount here, or just play around with the free version.

These stays shouldn’t earn points or elite status nights, but that hasn’t been the case in every case. Basically, don’t book expecting to hit your nights with your favourite chain, but the savings may very well be worth it.

Fun For Points Nerds Too

Wayfarer Points clearly aims to become a social playground for the points and miles obsessed, in addition to travel deal hunters. The app now offers leaderboards, where you can upload your points balances and other key metrics, and compete in competitions amongst friends, or the world at large to win challenges or just have bragging rights for being points rich. You can even integrate with Award Wallet, which streamlines things rather nicely.

With the ability to create private groups and compete the way you want against friends, setting your own key metrics, this is a fun way to track your mileage goals, or hotel night goals and also have a social space to talk about it all via the group chat function. Whether this becomes a new Flyertalk lounge or not is yet to be seen.

This points functionality is nowhere near what I’m told it will be when it reaches full potential this year, so I’ll be curious to see how it moves along from these early stages onto what sounds like a cool way to earn prizes, points and other things as time progresses. Basically, I’m here for the deals, but I’ll play around in that sandbox too.

Getting The Wayfarer Points App

I’m happy to offer a $30 discount with a 14 day free trial in partnership with Wayfarer Points using the promo code GSTPnerd. At $69 a year, you could very easily find a great hotel deal which instantly covers the cost of the $69 annual premium membership in savings, but I’d suggest having a look around at the free version first.

If savings are lower than other OTA’s it’s still a win, and if you find that saving an extra $20-30 per night adds up, then upgrade to Premium. However you chop it up, this is an app to watch as we move into 2020, and with no pressure to pay any membership fees, there’s no reason not to check it out. Savings is savings and beating outfits like Hotels.com, Priceline, Expedia and more is no small feat.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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13 Comments

  1. Just tried out the app for hotels in 5 different cities with 5 different dates – in 3 cases the app was significantly more expensive (~10-20%) than using Hotels.com/Booking.com/Official Hotel Website, in 1 case the app was the same price as using Hotels.com/Booking.com/Official Hotel Website, and in one case the app was slightly cheaper (~5%) than using Hotels.com/Booking.com/Official Hotel Website. Seems like a mixed bag, but not sure if I would even give up my elite status benefits to save 5%. I was clicking all the way through and comparing apples to apples of final cost in all cases.

    Also tried out the app for several different activities in various cities and in all cases was more expensive than other online sources so seems like it is only useful for hotels if at all.

    Will continue to use the app as another datapoint when booking hotels for trips but not optimistic at the moment.

    1. I just looked at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago for this weekend, two nights. The rate, inclusive of taxes+fees was 33% less than Hilton.com and other major sites (Hotels.com, Booking.com, etc.)

    2. Hi Nathan (and GSTP), thank you for your feedback and advice. Jeff here from Wayfarer Points. Hotels are the sweet spot.

      It looks like the Everyday (free) platform was used for your price comparison; if so, we agree with your conclusions, and better results are often available.
      Please consider the premium membership 14-day free trial offered by GSTP.
      Savings in the premium membership will be approximately 15% greater than the free membership for hotel bookings. Plus you will get access to boutique hotel content too.

      We are focused on delivering meaningful value. We appreciate you keeping Wayfarer Points on your search list; thank you.

      We recommend the following to get the most value from Wayfarer Points travel deals:
      1. Get premium, use free trial (we will remind you before the free trial expires)
      2. Ensure local currency is selected in the travel portal
      3. Click through to check-out prices on competitive sites (as you did, thank you)
      4. Please keep in mind we quote TOTAL STAY pricing; often new customers mistake TOTAL STAY price with a per night stay and question the savings, which are in fact realized
      5. Please share examples with us so we can understand if the app is being used as designed (feedback@wayfarerpoints.com)
      6. We are not always cheaper, though often are; peak seasons, especially in “sold out” cities/dates can be challenging to realize appreciable savings.
      Thank you and GTSP again for your feedback and support.

  2. How does this compare to izendirect? I’ve been using that for a couple of years to book hotels at wholesale prices, and the biggest win there (for family leisure travel anyway) is the ‘resort’ section where you can book RCI timeshare properties for a fraction of the nightly room price. However at £30 (I pay £20 as an early adopter) per month, it’s pretty steep, and the hotel savings aren’t what they used to be – sometimes OTAs are cheaper. So I’d be open to changing. It would take me more than 2 weeks to decide how effective it is tho!

  3. Already zero functionality for me… with kids aged 12 & 14, they’re only letting me book for 4 adults as their child age is max 12!! Which will bring up almost no hotels or higher prices.
    Back to izendirect then.

    1. Hi Claire, thank you for your feedback and emailing us directly to address your concerns more deeply. Hotel pricing policies for children are inconsistent and tricky across the industry; some hotel groups and booking sites treat 2 adults and 2 children as 4 people, others differentiate as you desire.
      On our site, age can be a factor for prices, not availability; your 12 year old will price as a child.
      Taking advantage of the premium member free trial will show prices approximately 15% less expensive than the free member pricing used for your comparisons, which can be up to 70% less than published prices.
      Thank you again for your feedback, we look forward to continuing our discussion offline.

  4. I signed up for the free trial, I found the mobile website really hard to use, they should focus on improving that instead of adding leaderboards etc.

    I searched for a few hotels in India, London & China. The prices were the same as hotels.com inc taxes fees etc but without the free night benefit.

    I wanted to cancel my account before the free trial ended as It wasn’t working for me. I’ve called twice and been hung up on after 30s of recorded messages, so I messaged their WhatsApp number and haven’t had a response.

    1. Hi JP, thank you for your feedback. We regret any inconvenience caused. We have received and favorably replied to your email and cancelled your subscription as requested.
      The time gap seems to have caught us out (we are in North America and Asia currently). We intend to reply to all inquiries ASAP, and within 24 hours, which we have done here.
      We have also learned from your and one other new customer, and are actively fixing app related support vs travel related support to better inform how to reach us for app related support.
      Savings will vary depending upon the search each of us are making.
      We think of Wayfarer Points as an excellent resource to find exceptional savings, and, again, results will vary depending upon search parameters.
      Thank you for trying us. We hope you will keep Wayfarer Points on you list of options when searching for hotels in the future. We are certain you will realize appreciable savings sooner than you initial experience reflects.

  5. Just got off the phone with Jeff, we spent 1hr talking about business, travel, my use cases & travel needs. I am now convinced this is A) Legit B) A company that genuinely wants to make travel better for consumers, and is willing to hear feedback. For full details, read on…

    When I saw this article I immediately signed up without hesitation, who doesn’t want to save some $ while traveling? Unfortunately when I searched for a hotel for an upcoming vacation, I didn’t see rates that were competitive. At this point I had already input my CC information, and was beginning to feel like this was not going to be of value (possibly a “scam”), so I went to the site to try to cancel my free trial before I got charged. There was no option to do this, so I called the North America contact number but didn’t have any luck there. Immediately in a panic, I sent a rather firm note to the feedback@wayfarerpoints.com to cancel my membership immediately. Jeff replied quickly, assured me they were a legitimate company, and confirmed my cancellation. He also asked if I had some time to chat and provide feedback. In this day and age of internet warriors and endless complaining, I figured I didn’t want to add any more bitterness to the world, especially if I was being asked by the founder of a company to provide feedback. Wayfarerpoints is an honest business, that offers competitive rates, admittedly, not all the time, but after doing some more A/B comparisons, I was able to find rates as much as $200 less than on other sites. I’m sure better deals are out there, but I didn’t spend too much time. When not booking a room with points, I have a rotation of ~3 or 4 sites that I check regularly to secure the best deal. I will happily add Wayfarerpoints into the mix.

    1. Hi Graham, it was nice to meet you over the phone. Thank you for sharing your experience above, and, thank you again for our candid discussion. And we are glad to see your A/B testing results. We are receiving similar big savings stories from other GSTP readers!
      As a team, we have worked with and for some of the biggest consumer brands around the world (including large hotel and OTAs, and technology companies) creating and selling products and services. We understand the challenges in trying something new, and the delight when it works as expected (or better), and thank you for reaching out to connect in person.
      We recognize we are not perfect, and are grateful for feedback and advice being received; your input allows us to better understand your needs and wants, and to improve what and how we deliver the Wayfarer Points experience to you.
      Thank you again for the opportunity to enable you to save your money when you travel!

  6. I just subscribed to the trail period.
    First impression is mixed: I have found a few hotels that are substantially cheaper than other OTAs, some are level, others also more expensive. I also went to check out rental cars. Here you find bargain deals, but as we know the detail here are usually the T&Cs particularly around insurance coverage. Unfortunately the T&Cs in the app in general (so hotel, cars, etc.) are very rudimentary. So I only got the T&Cs once i confirmed my rental car booking and received a voucher. I had to contact them though so the voucher came through and a reservation number was mentioned…

    I also agree with some of the design feedback. it is a bit of a pain to use the app and I also can’t see the comparison section anywhere, so can’t really say if premium is worth it.

    That being said, i will continue to play with it and decide on future use once the trial period comes to an end.

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