A friend of mine recently logged into her hotel loyalty program account and found a hotel reservation that was totally unknown to her. If this situation arises, what should you do?
1. Check for telltale signs that your account has been hacked
The first thing a hacker will try to do after accessing your account is to change the email address and / or phone number. Check if any changes have been made to your contact details. If they have -> your account has certainly been compromised.
Not only has your loyalty account been hacked, the hackers most likely have access to your email account as well – since many people use the same password for multiple websites, this is much easier than it needs to be. It seems – a clever hacker has logged into your mailbox. account and deleted any confirmation email before you could read it. Every criminal knows that the more unaware the victim is -> the more likely they are to get away with the crime.
You’ll also want to take a close look at recent transactions listed on your account. Was this room booked with your points? If you have less points than expected and / or this strange reservation was made with your points -> your account has probably been compromised. The criminal may not even be the person listed as the primary or secondary guest; it could just be an innocent third party who thought they were getting a good deal on a hotel stay on a seemingly legitimate website. Some hackers exchange points for anything they can get in cash – Amazon vouchers, etc. – but some run a travel business based on miles and stolen points…
Do you have a credit card registered on your account? Was it used to make a cash reservation? Look at the details of the room reservation. You are unlikely to recognize the listed “secondary guest”, but you should be able to see if your credit card is being used as collateral. If something looks fishy, delete your credit card details and assume your account has been compromised.
If something is wrong, change your password! And make it hard to hack!
If you are missing any points etc. then you will need to call the hotel chain loyalty program and explain what is going on …
2. Consider whether to be kind and greedy at the same time
If you’ve run extensive checks on your account and nothing looks fishy, you may just be facing a question of human error. In this case, you might want to do nothing. Here’s why…
Is the reservation in a hotel where you have stayed before? A hotel employee may have accidentally checked out the wrong guest file while making a reservation for a walk-in or direct-call guest. This is especially likely if the guest’s name is similar, but not necessarily the same as yours.
Have you recently called the hotel chain customer service / loyalty program? Some customer service agents forget to properly close your account file before answering their next call. That next caller could well be the random guest on your malicious reservation.
Or your account number may be very similar to the actual guest’s account number. A big finger mistake, combined with a lazy / embarrassed agent, can mean that your loyalty program account number is associated with someone else’s legitimate reservation.
Your first instinct could always be to “get rid of the unauthorized reservation”. But before you do …
- You’re probably canceling a perfectly legitimate hotel reservation, and someone is going to arrive at a hotel to find that their reservation has been canceled. Would you like it if this happened to you, through no fault of your own?
- You may actually receive Elite status points and credit for this reservation. If everything seems safe, why not? ??
3. Use the rewards wallet
No… we are not paid by Award Wallet. Yes… we are aware that some readers may have a problem with a website containing all of your password details, although their security protocols are much more secure than your password choices. But if you want to be made aware of weird things happening on your loyalty program accounts – but don’t have the time to frequently log into each individual website – then Award Wallet is a great tool. The more often you click the “update all” button on Award Wallet, the sooner you will be notified of missing points, changed passwords, and so on. Even in these COVID non-travel times, I still press this button almost daily …
New users AwardWallets who register with the insideflyer promo code will get a free 6-month upgrade to AwardWallet plus. You can either use this link to register (it must pre-fill the promo code), or you can add it in the box:
Have you ever received points for someone else’s hotel or flight reservation? Or discovered someone else’s hotel reservation in your account? Tell us your story in the comments section …