Hyatt Gift Cards Hacked
Over the past couple of years I have written about different deals for saving on Hyatt gift cards. For me, the best deals came about a year ago when I was able to combine deals on eBay to save nearly 30% off of face value. Since I stay in a lot of Hyatt properties that savings definitely adds up and thus I stocked up on a ton of cards.
Hyatt cards on eBay are/were sold by SVM Gift Cards. SVM is the first party company that Hyatt hires to distribute their gift cards so I was the first and only owner. Generally when this is the case, you are mostly safe from fraud since no one else has the card numbers. Unfortunately, you are never truly safe, especially if the system has been compromised.
Discovering My Hacked Cards
Over the Summer I used one of my $200 gift cards for a stay at a Hyatt Place in Charlotte. The cost was about $50, meaning I should have had plenty of value left on the card. Just two weeks or so later, I tried to use that same card and was informed it had been wiped out. Zero balance. How embarrassing. Luckily I had another Hyatt gift card with me that had not been compromised.
Then fast forward about another month. I was in Philadelphia getting ready to checkout of the Hyatt at the Bellevue. To checkout I went to the front desk, gave them a completely different and unused $200 card and was informed it had been wiped out as well. That time I didn’t have another card with me so I ended up just using a credit card to pay my balance. Essentially I ended up paying 30% more than I would have otherwise.
Getting My Money Back
Once things settled down with my travel schedule, I called the Hyatt gift card customer service line to explain what had happened. They took the card numbers and started an investigation. A few days later I was told that I needed to provide proof of my purchase. I was never told what exactly happened with the cards or who had used them.
Since I had made several different purchases of Hyatt gift cards on eBay, I did not really know which order corresponded with which cards, so I just sent over my latest purchase to start. I figured if they wanted more I could send over everything. Thankfully that wasn’t necessary. It took a couple of weeks, but eventually two new gift cards showed up in the mail.
Buying Hyatt Gift Cards Going Forward
If you search Google for “Hyatt gift cards hacked” you will see that my problem isn’t unique. This is happening a lot and it is troubling. In my case these cards were never owned by someone else and while I suppose an employee at the hotel in Charlotte could have wiped out my first card, there is no explanation for why the second, never used card was compromised.
Hyatt has a serious issue and one that has me adjusting how I buy Hyatt gift cards. For future stays I will not purchase cards ahead of time and hold them. If I want to get a discount, I will buy cards a relatively short amount of time before I plan to redeem them. This should eliminate most cases of fraud and it will also make it easier for me to track any issues so I can get my money back. If I purchase from a third party reseller, I’ll make sure I can use the cards within their guarantee period.
I commend Hyatt for honoring their product and replacing my compromised gift cards, but at some point I think they need to change their entire system if it is so easy to hack. Between finding out my iTunes cards were hacked recently and this fiasco, I surely am aware of the headaches of dealing with gift cards. Now I know why people just like to pay with cash! 🙂