Before we got addicted to cruising, we did quite a few roadtrips through the United States and, as frequent travellers know, joining at least one hotel loyalty program is a good idea. One of the first loyalty programs we ever joined was IHG Rewards Club (the former Priority Club).
So as usual last night, while checking out some pre-cruise hotels for one of our upcoming cruises, we logged on to the IHG Rewards website. A few seconds later we were in shock.
We noticed someone had made two bookings for two stays in New York City, a 3 night stay at the Crowne Plaza on Times Square and another 3 night stay at the Staybridge Suites Times Square.
With an average rate somewhere between $250 and $300, booking the hotels with loyalty points costs 50.000 and 40.000 points respectively per night.
Realizing we possibly just lost 270.000 loyalty points we shouted a big WTF followed by 5 seconds of stress and frustration.
As soon as our initial shock subsided we changed our log-on codes and tried contacting IHG but, since it was the middle of the night, the European division of IHG could not be reached. Luckily we were able to contact the US office through the online helpdesk.
We explained that someone had probably hacked into our account and used our points. The helpdesk was able to immediately cancel the booking for Staybridge Suites and restore 120.000 points to our account. Unfortunately since the stay at the Crowne Plaza had already started they could not do anything about it. The case needed to be transferred to IHG’s fraud department who will try to find out what happened and solve the issue.
Because the person who was staying at the hotel with our stolen points was normally in his third night of the booking, we also contacted the hotel to inform them of the situation.
Considering this type of fraud probably happens more often than we realize, we are pretty confident the company’s fraud department will be able to find out what happened, after all you normally have to provide some form of ID and a credit card when checking in, and restore all of our loyalty points. In any case the next few days will be pretty stressful.