Hilton Shutdown Complaining
One of the more interesting aspects of this hobby is complaining. If you’ve been around long enough you’ll quickly learn that a small subset of people make an art out of extracting perks and free points for even the smallest of issues. On the flip side, many people simply let a lot of stuff go and don’t receive compensation when they probably should. It’s a delicate balancing act, but some go too far and it can end in a bad result.
Hilton Shuts Down Account & Takes 400K Points
Loyalty Lobby shared a reader’s story where they were shut down by Hilton for being “less than agreeable” in complaining about their stays. This reader lost the 400,000 points in their account with the shutdown and were basically told to pound sand. Here is a quote from the Hilton letter:
Based on the amount of compensation that has been extended to you against the total revenue spent at our hotels within the last 24 months, our consistent inability to live up to your expectations is very concerning to us. We do not believe that the Hilton Portfolio of Brands is designed to meet your travel needs. For this reason, we recommend that you seek accommodations at a different hotel chain for future travels to avoid this type of inconvenience.
They go on to say:
Given these circumstances, the decision has been made to close your Hilton Honors account and there will be no further compensation offered to you in the form of refunds, points, and/or stay certificates. Such discontinued membership may result in the loss of all accumulated Points and the cancellation of Hilton Honors Certificates, benefits and privileges, including the loss of any associated Elite Tier status.
Hilton Shutdown – Why Did This Really Happen
I think Hilton is being pretty clear in this letter to let the customer know they aren’t in the business of charity. Apparently this person hadn’t redeemed points in 6 years and I would venture to guess they weren’t a super frequent guest. Given the balance of 400K points and the assumption that a lot of those points were gained from compensation, I would guess Hilton simply was losing money on the customer. I also think it would be interesting to see this person’s side of the correspondence, because I suspect it wasn’t the most pleasant.
Is Hilton In The Wrong?
Many of us gain so much from the world of miles & points, but one of the downsides is that we are subject to terms and conditions including tons of legalese that protects companies like Hilton and their loyalty programs. That means when they feel you aren’t a good customer they can do things like shut down your account and take your points. We have seen this with banks as well (shutdowns, clawbacks, etc.) and it is just a reality of the loyalty points game. Of course these programs are designed to drive loyalty and profit for the companies, so its in their interest to treat you well, but once a company determines you are “no good” it can be tough as a customer.
But I also think Hilton makes a good point in the letter. If seemingly every stay ends up in a complaint, then perhaps they aren’t the brand for this customer. They offer a product that doesn’t seem satisfactory to him/her and it is costing them money to have this person as a customer so why not cut them off? Of course the forfeiture of points is painful and I don’t wish that on anyone, but I do understand the company’s perspective given the limited info we have.
How to Avoid A Shutdown for Complaining Too Much
I think the easiest way to avoid such a shutdown is to be a reasonable person. Right now I am finishing a six week trip where I have stayed at a number of Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott properties. I have had small issues at just about every hotel (no one is perfect), but none of them were serious enough for me to even complain let alone ask for compensation. In general across my 100+ nights in hotels a year I might receive compensation once or twice.
Some of you may be reading this and saying “you are leaving a lot on the table!” And that might be true. I know people who will take any small issue and try to leverage it for points. Many of these people stay often in chains like Hyatt and Hilton and thus might not be shutdown given their frequent stays. But in truth complaining is a process that weighs on me and I simply try not to sweat the small stuff. And when something truly big happens I push for the compensation I am deserved. In reality the big bad stuff doesn’t happen all that often and I’m happy it’s that way because who wants to travel if everything is “wrong” all of the time.
Hilton Shutdown Complaining – Bottom Line
This is an extreme case with what seems like an extreme complainer. I am not defending Hilton and I do wish companies were forced to compensate some value for taking points when shutting down accounts, but the law seemingly doesn’t require that. All of that said, the best way to avoid a shutdown like this is to use common sense. Don’t sweat the small stuff, push for compensation when things are really bad (which shouldn’t be too often) and enjoy your travels. I guarantee you’ll enjoy things a lot more if you aren’t at the front desk of every hotel demanding they give you something. Oh and if you have to complain, try to be a little nicer!
What do you think?
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