Hilton shuts down Diamond account for bringing the attention to their Silent Devaluation

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Mar 25, 2018
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#1
Greetings,
Hope you can help.
My Hilton Diamond account (73 nights in 2017) was closed and almost 160K loyalty points were stolen by Hilton.
On March 12, I was shocked to see that Hilton devalued many hotels (doubled in points) without an announcement (the official devaluation happened just not so long ago in the end of 2017, this was a silent one in 2018). I had a planned stay, but my points devalued overnight. It is not a typical practice for hotels` loyalty programs, as they devalue with an announcement. It is a really big deal. But since those programs are not regulated (yet), Hilton did another devaluation.
I started a thread on FlyerTalk, and many people were also not happy to see that Hilton did that behind our backs. An official representative who is present on the platform refused to comment.
On March 16, my Hilton account was closed by Hilton Fraud Department stating that I had multiple Hilton accounts. Contacted Hilton by different ways: chat, calls, FB, emails.
On March 21, I had a phone conversation with a Guest Services Supervisor Tina from Texas office, who was trying to help me and was reading the notes on my account. She said that on March 14, a male (specifically stated) called and complained about negative changes in Points & Money program. I am not a male, and I did not call them on that day. She wasn`t sure how it was related to me, but I got the prove: Hilton shut me down because of my voice about their sneaky practice on such a large forum-clearly, they didn`t want this at least unethical devaluation was obvious (but it is illegal in my opinion-devalue without a notice-banks got with many things before, too, but thankfully, it was changed; loyalty programs must be control to prevent consumer abuse when points loose value overnight).
My personal info leaked out from either FlyerTalk, the largest travel board where I brought attention to the Silent Devaluation Hilton tried to hide, or it was a blogger I emailed on March 13, and who also had my email address and IP. I know for fact that FlyerTalk gives out private information, and don`t know who was that male - the blogger or one who got private info from FT. It is easy to locate a person and match email address and IP.
In the email from Fraud Department, they stated that I had multiple accounts, and that was the reason. Indeed, AmEx assigned me a new Hilton account when I opened a new co-branded card in January. I have five AmEx Hilton cards (three were transferred from citi as a recent buyout), and I contacted AmEx to let them know that I would be closing the cards since I didn`t have Hilton account anymore, they insisted (have record for that as well) that no worries, we will request you a new one, and that one can have multiple Hilton accounts. Also, Hilton manually added my email address to the second account- one cannot do it himself if he/she is in the system already. They didn`t shut it down at that time (beginning of February), as it was ok with them that I had two accounts (had to confirm my info from the original Hilton account). They didn`t even consolidate them, so having multiple accounts is not something they shut down accounts and steel points for. And since the timeframe shows that two days after somebody complained about me that I wasn`t happy with negative changes, it supports the fact that Hilton shut me down for voicing out what they tried to hide.
Hilton Fraud department is very firm on not doing anything about the closed account. When I emailed them again with a new info I got from the supervisor about the call from a male on March 14, they ignored that email.
My main account had almost 156K (the other one almost 4K plus unposted from AmEx), they sell points for 1 c each ($1600 for 160K points, and redemption value is higher (however, that is individual valuation). I absolutely do not want to give them what I earned for my paid stays and credit card spent.
I see that my thread on FT brought attention to many travel bloggers (some bloggers refer to my original thread to their posts), and they are also not quiet about this scam Hilton calls loyalty. I doubt Hilton will shut down their accounts for spreading out information because that would piss the whole blogging society, but in a same sneaky way they devalued again, they shut a non-blogger. Apparently, Hilton was hoping to get away with this (since they removed categories, and there was no one who brought this matter to a large audience before me). I didn`t know we were living in the communist country were pointing on wrongdoing is prohibited, but it sure feels like it.
Things you might want to know: never pooled accounts, all AmEx credit cards are in good standing, complained once in August 2017 about my two-night stay (total stays in 2017-73). Clearly, not abusing the system, and clearly, I was punished for speaking about Hilton`s wrongdoing.

Again, the timeline for this incident:
January 23: American Express assigned a new HH number
Beginning of February: I contacted Hilton with a request to add my email to the new HH account, as their system does not allow to do it if one has another Hilton account. A representative was glad to add the email after confirming details about both of my Hilton accounts. No consolidation or closure for having two accounts.
March 12: started a thread on FlyerTalk about Hilton`s Silent Devaluation – it wasn`t brought to the travel world`s attention before me, but after my “discovery”
March 13: emailed a blogger about this issue
March 14: notes on my account stated that a “male called” and complained that I complained about “negative changes of Points & Money program” - got that info about the note on March 21from supervisor Tina from TX Guest Services office.
March 16: account was shut down with a bogus reason “multiple accounts”
Gave Hilton Fraud Department a chance to reply to my email where I stated that I knew the real reason for shut down after the supervisor read me the notes from March 14, after which, two days later Hilton shut me down.
Also a blogger contacted a Hilton`s spokeperson, who refused to give any details about this situation on March 23 (despite same blogger got responses many times from Hilton about individual situations)

I am seeking either compensation for the points or reopening my account.

If you need any more information, please let me know, I am very open about it.
Thank you.
Best regards,
Katrina
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
We have company contacts on top of our page. Carefully read the instructions on the Company Contacts page about how to write and let us know how it goes.

Unfortunately, Hilton (and every other loyalty program) reserves the right to make changes to the program with or without notice. From their terms and conditions:

Hilton Honors reserves the right to add, modify, delete or otherwise change any of the rules, procedures, conditions, benefits, or Rewards pertaining to the Program at its sole discretion, with or without notice, even though changes may affect the value of Points or Reward Certificates or Confirmations already accumulated. This means that Hilton Honors may make changes that affect, but are not limited to, hotels within the Hilton Portfolio, travel partner affiliations, rules for earning Hilton Honors Points redeeming Hilton Honors Points, rules and procedures for the use of Rewards, continued availability of Rewards, Reward types, and the features of special offers.

This is why it is not always a great idea to speak out on public forums - there is always someone out there willing to take what you write and use it against you.
 
Likes: VoR61
Mar 25, 2018
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#3
This is why it is not always a great idea to speak out on public forums - there is always someone out there willing to take what you write and use it against you.
They don`t admit they did it for speaking out about the issue. There is freedom of speech in the US, and those brave ones who spoke out were the beginning for the great changes in Financial and other industries. Banks used to do many things without a notice, too, but we, consumers, have a much better protection nowadays. I believe the Loyalty programs should be looked at closely by our government.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#4
Hoo boy, Katrina, what a mess. Your letter is so long I got confused. I have been an HH Diamond for years and have always found them to be incredibly supportive. All experienced travellers know that the loyalty programs can change anything they want, any time they want. It's our responsibility to stay on top of our accounts. Complaining about changes on social media might be enjoyable ... but it doesn't do you any good, only harm.

I think that I would write a polite, concise (maybe a bullet-list of what happened, in chronological order) email to HHonors. No emotion, no accusation, no mention of any derogatory remarks on social media. Just a list of what happened to your account (nothing about WHY you think it happened), under the assumption that this is a huge misunderstanding/communication problem. I had multiple cards for a period after I got the Aspire in January, so I don't think that's the issue. There have been so many recent changes with the program itself and the affinity credit cards that you may have been caught in some weirdness. This is the time to grit your teeth and throw yourself on their mercy. I trust Hilton to take care of us Diamond peeps.
 
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Likes: ADM and VoR61
Mar 25, 2018
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#5
Hoo boy, Katrina, what a mess. Your letter is so long I got confused. I have been an HH Diamond for years and have always found them to be incredibly supportive. All experienced travellers know that the loyalty programs can change anything they want, any time they want. It's our responsibility to stay on top of our accounts.
Thanks for reading, I know it`s a bit too long. I never thought Hilton would do such thing to a Diamond member. Maybe it was some unexperienced fraud analytic who went too far with the decision. And I disagree with you that loyalty programs should be able to do anything and everything at any time. Look, how would you like if your bank cut off your APR by half or raised your APR on credit cards without a notice - same as devaluation of points, and banks were able to do what they wanted just a short period of time ago. Those points have value to both consumers and the companies, so no, it is not right to allow them to take advantage of loyal guests. And if you recall, Hilton is the champion in devaluation, but before they announced it (just the last official one happened in 2017), so we were aware of the changes and were making decisions for future bookings, if any.

P.S. I am very impressed by the work moderates do to keep the forum professional without troll support. Appreciate all your help - current and future :)
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,779
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www.promalvacations.com
#6
If you believe that loyalty programs should be regulated you need to write to your representatives in Washington and tell them.

Travel Suppliers have lots of lobbyists putting money into politicans campaigns. I
Fortunately we need to start forcing our government officials to represent us, not big business.

I agree with JSN to use our company contacts and go up the executive chain and see if you can get one them to help.
 
Likes: jsn55
Mar 25, 2018
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#7
If you believe that loyalty programs should be regulated you need to write to your representatives in Washington and tell them.

Travel Suppliers have lots of lobbyists putting money into politicans campaigns. I
Fortunately we need to start forcing our government officials to represent us, not big business.
Cannot agree more with you on this one! Yes, writing to those we elected to represent us in Washington is a step (my former Congressman was highly helpful, and he was doing his job wonderfully to serve people - of course, with the help from his staff- for 20 or so years - not elected last time). I hope other people who believe abusing loyalty program is not right will contribute to a better future for consumers and contact their representatives.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#8
I am a little confused— and am not a Hilton member— the OP has multiple HH accounts since January— isn’t this not permitted?

Isn’t that likely the reason that the account(s) got closed?

A forum post complaining that it takes more points to stay in a hotel is not really that controversial or earthshattering expose.
 

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Sep 19, 2015
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#9
This is not to say that I like the changes but changes have happened so often over the past few years this is not like exposing a company for using slave labor or something shocking like that. As there are more credit cards and bonuses given more freely the points have less value.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
They don`t admit they did it for speaking out about the issue. There is freedom of speech in the US, and those brave ones who spoke out were the beginning for the great changes in Financial and other industries. Banks used to do many things without a notice, too, but we, consumers, have a much better protection nowadays. I believe the Loyalty programs should be looked at closely by our government.
The entire thread about freedom of speech is not relevant here. The First Amendment refers to government restrictions — as in Congress.

Businesses are allowed to fire customers as long as the reason is not discrimination against certain classes.

This and most forums have a code of conduct, and have a right to say no swearing, no insults and that is not a First Amendment violation.

The companies have their disclaimers about changing their terms of loyalty programs so they legally protect themselves.

I am not of the philosophy of minimal regulationon — but that seems to be the prevailing philosophy now.

Good luck with writing to the contacts.
 
Mar 25, 2018
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#11
I am a little confused— and am not a Hilton member— the OP has multiple HH accounts since January— isn’t this not permitted?

Isn’t that likely the reason that the account(s) got closed?

A forum post complaining that it takes more points to stay in a hotel is not really that controversial or earthshattering expose.
Hilton doe not shut accounts just for having multiple accounts. They consolidate them or close one. If you carefully read my initial post, you will see that AmEx gives out new accounts freely (its staff absolutely sure that it`s ok (reps are enthusiasctically claim that-I have a record for that) - Hilton does not force one account only, despite it`s in its T&G).
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,779
13,220
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
Hilton doe not shut accounts just for having multiple accounts. They consolidate them or close one. If you carefully read my initial post, you will see that AmEx gives out new accounts freely (its staff absolutely sure that it`s ok (reps are enthusiasctically claim that-I have a record for that) - Hilton does not force one account only, despite it`s in its T&G).
But it makes it much easier for them to close an account if they want to. AmEx will tell you anything to sell you another credit card.
 
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#13
They don`t admit they did it for speaking out about the issue. There is freedom of speech in the US, and those brave ones who spoke out were the beginning for the great changes in Financial and other industries. Banks used to do many things without a notice, too, but we, consumers, have a much better protection nowadays. I believe the Loyalty programs should be looked at closely by our government.
There is freedom of speech, but not freedom from consequences of that speech, especially with a corporation as opposed to the government.
 
Mar 25, 2018
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#15
I am surprised to see posts with "Hilton can do whatever" and such. How are you guys related to the law, again? I would prefer if only those who are knowledgable to respond to my thread.

To the record:
On March 26, got a phone call from Chawonza, who said her boss, Quincy told her to call me. She just read some general information to me (didn`t even let me talk until she finished reading the general T&C for about two minutes - so rude!). Finally, when she stopped, I asked some questions, and she said she was not familiar with my account. She again repeated that my account will be closed. She was from Fraud Department. Not sure whose request to respond it was (I sent a few requests), but calling and just informing that the account will be closed and reading T&C when I was talking is a strange thing - they informed me about the closure already.

Not been familiar with the account details, yet making the call just to read T&C a few (!) times - I did not ask her to read, but she kept reading. Wasted 30 min of my time.
 
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