Hilton finally claws back my points. Are they watching me?

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avoid Amex Clawbacks

For the past year, I’ve had almost 600,000 Hilton points that I didn’t deserve.  It all started more than a year ago when my Hilton account was hacked and points were stolen. Twice.  The situation was later over-remedied.  I ended up with far more points than I deserved.  But now, more than a year after that over-remedy, Hilton has fixed the situation and has clawed back those unearned points.

This story would be little more than a footnote except for the interesting timing.  In a recent post about Virgin Atlantic’s financial ruin (April 27th 2020), I stupidly poked the bear:

…I’m also sitting on 890,000 Hilton points.  Do you remember when my Hilton account was hacked?  I had less than 400,000 points before getting hacked.  When my points were finally restored, I magically had over 900,000.  Yes Hilton, if you’re reading this, feel free to take back the extra points.  Unless that happens, though, I have more Hilton points than I know what to do with.  So, transferring from Virgin Atlantic make no sense at all for me.

Did Hilton read that post?

I’m inclined to believe that the timing is a coincidence, but I’ll leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions.

Six days after my Virgin Atlantic post, I received the following email from the department that was handling my case:

Thank you for your email. Our systems have completely upgraded online.

584,649 were removed due to a merge error which resulted in an overage of points added to your account.

For the record, when they wrote “thank you for your email,” they were referring to an email I sent them more than a year ago where I wrote: “FYI: the new account has more points than I was expecting. If you’re OK with that then I am too (obviously!), but I thought you should know.

Here is the history of each relevant event:

Date What happened?
Mar 2019 My account was hacked twice. I published an article about it here: My Hilton account was hacked… Twice.
Apr 2019 Late in the month my points were restored… and then some. Since I’m (sometimes) an honorable guy, I wrote to the department that was handling my case to let them know: “Thank you! I finally have a new account with points restored! FYI: the new account has more points than I was expecting. If you’re OK with that then I am too (obviously!), but I thought you should know.”
May 1 2019 I published details about my account being restored and that I had far more points than expected: My hacked Hilton account has finally been restored
Jun 2019 Nothing happened
July 2019 Nothing happened
Aug 2019 Nothing happened
Sep 2019 Nothing happened
Oct 2019 Nothing happened
Nov 2019 Nothing happened
Dec 2019 Nothing happened
Jan 2020 Nothing happened
Feb 2020 Nothing happened
Mar 2020 Nothing happened
Apr 27 2020 I posted the Virgin Atlantic article where I wrote “Hilton, if you’re reading this, feel free to take back the extra points.”
May 3 2020 Only six days after my Virgin Atlantic post, Hilton emailed me to say that they finally corrected the merge error

 

What do you think?  Coincidence?

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JohnnieD

My niece works at a major bank. They do alot of checking/savings account bonuses. She told me her desk was next to their bonus abuse team. (PreCovid19) Two people who check into acct bonuses. She talks to them once and awhile and noticed what was on one of their monitors. She asked me if I had ever heard of a website named Doctor of Credit.
Um, yes, they do read these websites.

CaveDweller

JohnnieD
Ur 100% correct they watch everything my X was the head of personal for a major Bank. The second there’s any trouble that person gets switched to a different job or CANNED like a Tuna. Greg’s photo would be on a Crossbow Board right in front of my desk while having a $10 latte I would fire one-off . What we are doing is NUTTHING compared to what they are doing and free PR for them .
#stayincave..LOL

Randy

This happened to me also, though not quite the same way. I had double points from the breech also. It was about 6 months after the double points that they took the extra ones back and left me with what I had before they got stolen. I had originally thought that they gave them to me as a good will gesture for the breech, but I guess not.

[…] Miler mentioned in a post that he’s received some points in error over a year ago and within days, Hilton emailed him saying the mistake in his account had been corrected. It’s either a huge coincidence or someone at Hilton saw his post. The closest we’ve […]

Andy Shuman

LOL Greg, not only did they read your post — they probably did a company-wide conference call and had a good zoomlaugh about it. Ahh, easy come — easy go, at least we’ve gotten a few chuckles out of it at your expense. 🙂

Aloha808

We know that BoA and JetBlue have read this blog, so is it that much of a stretch to imagine that somebody told Hilton about the extra (~600k HH=around $3k?) points? I don’t think so.

Parts Unknown

Sounds like the Amex RAT is working with their cobrand partner. Or maybe they’ve gone freelance d/t the ‘rona?

Jimm

Coulda said ‘Thank you for fixing my account and for the generous bonus for my trouble’? 🙂

toomanybooks

I think bloggers get a whole lot more attention, good and bad, than they think they do. Does anyone really think the top guys don’t get (unannounced) freebies and upgrades all the time?

Restaurant critics (for example) go to ridiculous lengths to hide their identity for precisely this reason. Do travel/points/miles bloggers use pseudonyms? Come on.

Douglas J Godesky

Good chance your account wasn’t the only one involved, likely with your post they reviewed many accounts and took back a much larger over-compensation.

YoniPDX

FWIW, I transferred VS to HH 4.28.2020 it was taking 7-8 per earlier DP. Took 17 days to post.

I orginally transferred MR to VS for a trip this summer to Shanghai on onward, DW PTO for 2020 is semi-inflexible close so it’s to late reschedule for 2020. 2021 other plans already, and VS doesn’t fit.

Apparently they manually call HH, as I got an email survey I.e. “How did we do today, did we solve your issue…”. same day the points posted.

Chraina

I received replacements for some hacked hotel gift cards twice but I never considered offering the extras back because they were so bad about making good on them for most people. And Hilton, I’m not talking to you.

wise2u

Moral of the story: Don’t poke the bear…..and don’t write posts with literary circles and arrows to tell the bear what to do….it’s like you were wearing a bowtie or something….lol

CaveDweller

Shoot the Bear and be done with it ..He charges $1/2 a mill a year ..
#HelpthePoorcavedwellers

Lynn

No coincidence, but there should be a time factor for this! After you wrote it, you should have just booked hotels with all your points. You could have always cancelled.

Lukas

There is no such thing as a coincidence. ESPECIALLY, given how much time has passed since the error and then within a week of publishing the article this gets fixed? What makes more sense? Coincidence is not it. Tough break.

Tony Reynolds

When you have your hand in the cookie jar don’t whistle.

debit

Sorry. It was my fault. I called them and asked them to compensate me 100k points for a silly thing. They wouldn’t. And i escalated it all the way up. They still wouldn’t budge.

I finally told them “how can you give a famous blogger free points and act all straight with me.” One thing lead to another and you may have lost points. They did give me 50k points to bring this to their attention.

Sorry

CaveDweller

That’s pocket change as usual for ur deal ..I got the big money IRS 15% go back 20 years ..Then I’ll work on the property (10%) and make sure everything is Kosher as they say !!!
Lots of trips after #stayincave

Grammar matters

*led
lead, led, have led
Unless you’re talking about the heavy metal….

CaveDweller

Feel free to check mine my Spellling isn’t always the best BUT I get the point across.I missed my Rome BK this morning.
#Tolongincave

Grammar matters

*Feel free to check mine; my spelling isn’t always the best, BUT I get the point across. I missed my Rome BK this morning.
*#Toolongincave

😉

CaveDweller

I got right in @ Singapore AL like 5 mins like 7am cst..

Bunks

There are no coincidences. Of course they got word of it through your blog.

Grant

Airlines, hotels, and credit card companies definitely read travel blogs, especially when their company is mentioned. For example, when I write about Chase, I sometimes see some traffic coming from “secureweb . jpmchase . net”. Always assume everything you write about will get back to the company (for better or worse).

Andy

I respect you and your blog more every day. Thank you for staying above the fray.

Tricia

Ditto.

sam

There really should be a time limit on claw backs. What would they have done had you spent those points. Put you negative I guess.

CaveDweller

Maybe make u pay full price for points or Full price on room . No one with a brain would spend them . They had a CEO on TV they don’t care what we do it’s LEGAL so good luck .

Jim F.

No good deed goes unpunished!

Bernard

Honestly, I don’t think Corporate cared that they gave you an overage of points. But the clawback took place solely due to the new system they migrated into. It’s a system sweep, probably did a one time audit with all your old records, then it had to be accounted by a person with physical eye balls, just unfortunate overall. Ever since they changed the system, my points in my account activity has been haywire, so I’m not surprised about his actually happening. It’s just unfortunate overall.

A K

This. It was probably just a coincidence.

Jags

I don’t understand how you couldn’t use those points. 900k Hilton points is what, 2 nights in a Waldorf?

dfasdf

rich folks like you should stay at the astoria or the waldorf! – coming to america

Jeff

You would think they have a policy on a timeline where they can not do this. I wonder what the terms and conditions say. For sure all of the major airline and hotel chains are reading travel blog post, which is a good and bad thing.

CaveDweller

Use to be on a mortgage 2 years !!!

Travel Summary

Personally, I think they absolutely read your post.

Billy Bob

Your email should have said: “Thank you for fixing my account and restoring my points. However, this may have been handled two separate times, as approximately twice the number of points expected have appeared in my account. Please confirm.”
That ‘ If you’re OK with that then I am too” is just silly game-playing. Here, and in life, you need to be more responsible than that!