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Serial Complaining! Hilton Shuts Down Account & Takes 400K Points – Could It Happen to You?

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Hilton Shutdown Complaining
Hilton Phuket

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 Complaining

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.

Hilton Shutdown Complaining

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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Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. basically censorship by punishment, either fight back or become a sheep and get used to it , freedom of speech is being punished one way or another in this country and like the frog in boiling water, most people won’t realize it until freedom is cooked, you will even have people saying ,”I understand” why freedom of speech should be limited or altogether terminated

  2. A LOT of assumptions here. I have over 130 hilton brand nights this year already, and more than half of them were unfavorable. Elevators out, fire alarms going off multiple times night and day, lousy service, etc. The service industry sucks right now and Hilton isnt very well at it. Those are not assumptions.

  3. Shut down by Hilton was totally justified. I’ve complained 1X in about 20 years, a Marriott mid-grade property with ants in bathroom, non-working shower, and mold; the desk immediately fully removed the 1 night room charge, which I was both grateful for and shocked, but my impression was I was not the first to complain.

    • if i had 50% bad nights i wouldnt be spending my nights there…. you can buy diamond with a credit card. I spent 10 plus years as an earned diamond, hard to believe that HALF(65 stays are bad)…if that was me i would change. I am globalist and diamond at all times…. i assume alot and yes looking at revenue is fair…. All service industries are poor today, and this wont improve until the next downturn(soon)

  4. I think there’s a fine line.

    Legitimate complaints are one thing… and true, what defines “legitimate” is of course hugely subjective … so on one hand i see nothing wrong with a customer voicing their their legitimate dissatisfaction with a product/service provided..

    that said, there’s also another side that says there are also some folks who complain for largely no other reason that to be compensated— maybe that’s to perhaps lower their net cost or other motives… perhaps what was expected was not in line with what was offered and/organized… and that’s irrespective of any real, justified service failure.

    but I think Hilton’s answer is also true.. There are going to be some (not many, but some) business-v-customer relationships that just aren’t going to be tenable, justifiable, profitable and perhaps “peaceful” for one or even BOTH sides to maintain … and where that occurs, one or both should seek alternatives … it just doesn’t make sense to keep going back to something that’s just not going to have a positive outcome.

    So.. While there’s not a lot of clarity as to exactly what and how often this person “complained” I think it’s reasonable to infer it was abnormally high relative to others and that after reflection – and probably a cost-v-revenue comparison, Hilton has decided that it just doesn’t want to work with the guest further and most likely isn’t in their best interest to continue doing so.

  5. Wow so now we have to cower n fear that the generous corporations will steal their deflating devaluing points? No thank you I’ll just take my 2% cash back in CASH! Airlines have learned this trick years ago. I met someone who lost 1 million sky miles. In the end he was actually better of
    Once the bankssters and hedge funds squeezing every last penny outta these corporations realize we will not play their games then what will they do? Spread this story widely but stop acting like hostage victims and walk away from the abuse!

  6. Am I a legitimate complainer or am I overdoing this like the above person? During the pandemic and afterwards if i had what I thought was legitimate complaint I voiced it with Southwest Airlines. Everytime they compensated me with a flight credit. Recently I was on a Southwest flight going from DCA to DAL and before takeoff we had to return to the gate and sat on the plane for 2 hours and 45 minutes for some type of repair to the plane. During that time they allowed some passengers to leave where they could board another flight because they would have missed their connection at DAL. After the repair we did take off and arrive at DAL approximately 3 hours later. We had sat on the plane a total of 5 hours and 45 minutes. My preference would have been to teturn to the gate and disembark and reboard for the return flight.

    Anyway I did file an online complaint about having to stay on the plane for roughly 5 hours and 45 minutes for an approximately 3 hour flight. As usual they assigned me a case number. This was about 10 days ago and I have not recieved any response. I admit my motivation of complaining is based on their past response of awarding me some amount of flight credit. In mentioning this to a friend who told me “they have your number” like what I percieve Hilton doing with the above customer.

    Of the 16 flights I have flown Southwest this year this is my 2nd complaint. I usually recieve a response with a flight credit for future use but this time I have heard nothing except for the email giving me a case number.

    • It’s just my viewpoint, but your complaint about a delayed flight resulting in arrival 3 hours late while magically traveling 2/3 the way across the US safely, likely for low cost or points, yes, your complaint is out of line; it doesn’t matter if you’ve never complained, the facts of the “case” are that you were slightly inconvenienced while the airline worked hard to get you to your destination safely.

  7. This person sounds like a serial complainer. Ok, but Hilton and other hotel chains are serial abusers of customers as well and there is almost no accountability. They hold nearly all the cards. And especially in the U.S., they charge whatever amount they want. Last summer I was at a Hilton and the head of maintenance confided that at least half the rooms had broken air conditioning systems and the management was just milking demand without making most necessary repairs. This kind of behavior forces people to lower expectations and give up on complaining, what’s the point, right? Over the last 20 years hotels have become mega greedy gravy trains for corporate sharks who will squeeze every “disposable” dollar out there. Elsewhere in the world where there is more competition and regulation, it’s often a totally different story.

    • Other viewpoint: When I look at most every hotel today, I see nothing but a management headache, high costs to run in every respect, difficult to motivate staff, and so much more, add to that common enough disgusting human behavior in rooms and to staff. They can and should charge what they want and need to charge, and for sure they know there is competition and price accordingly, “milking” might happen during an event, but otherwise they struggle every day to survive.

  8. I know years ago you had to really complain a lot to get an account shut down.
    One of the HH senior reps many years ago told me about a woman that got refunds on almost all of her 60 nights as a Diamond.Diamond no more account closed at the time.
    I’ve noticed a trend amongst some corporate companies to start aggressively monitoring accounts
    Even Amazon thought to be the most generous with returns is considering return fees to cut back on the enormous amount of returns.Cost cutting? Companies want profitable customers not the bottom feeders
    After thousands of nights I’ve seen it all No heat, no hot water in winter,urine in a bed on the bathroom floor and a number 2 on the floor by someones pet.
    Pet hair in my bed at a Sheraton.Apparently the last guest had entered their animals in local competition for best looking show dog/cat and housekeeping didn’t change the duvet or linens.At first I thought the blanket was shedding.I won’t be trying new hotels that don’t have stellar reviews as I don’t want to have issues with any account going forward and I’ll stick with hotels I know that can deliver. Hilton to their credit typically has historically been a company you can trust to have a good experience and they have almost always done right by me when the apple falls far from the tree.Hopefully nothings changed.

    • Good points. Yeah I think once you hit a threshold for complaining or in Amazon’s case returns they really start looking at the relationship and at the least start treating you differently.

  9. I’m aware of their practices. As a result I don’t ask for compensation from them. I will complain if it is warranted but I refuse compensation in terms of points or discounts. I will only accept upgrades as compensation.
    It’s too risky with Diamond status and 100’s of thousands of points at risk.

    • I think this is really smart advice. You don’t have to accept a problematic room but just don’t accept any compensation for switching rooms. And if you book for someone else and are not present, make sure they follow this advice also.


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