My Choice Hotel Points Were Stolen

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In trying to tie up some loose ends on our 2017 travel plans, I logged into my Choice Privileges account today, and to my surprise I only had 2,000 points left. I’ll admit Choice points are not the points I keep track of the closest, but that small amount did not seem right.
Choice Points Stolen From Account.jpg At first I thought I had messed up with their expiration rules that used to expire points at the end of the calendar year based on when they were earned, but I knew those rules had changed and that should’t explain the missing points since I had activity last year when we used some Choice points in Scotland. I then dug a bit deeper in the account activity and saw that at the end of 2016 my points had been redeemed in three transactions for three $100 digital Amazon gift cards at 32,000 points each.

Stolen Choice Points.jpg

Yeah, that was absolutely not me.

I immediately called Choice Privileges at 1-888-770-6800 and they asked some account verification question and told me that my email address given didn’t match up to what they had on file.

Well, of course it didn’t because whoever stole the points also changed my email address so I didn’t get notification of the transactions or the Amazon codes. I can assure you my email address is not homeplatetongue@gmail.com. Lovely.

Choice Fraud Account.jpg

The call with Choice took about 40 minutes, but in the end I was told that unfortunately this isn’t uncommon. They were very courteous and immediately put the stolen Choice Hotel points back into my account.

Choice Points Returned.jpg

I am thankful that Choice made the reinstatement process pretty painless, but I feel bad for them and everyone else that stolen Choice Hotel points are apparently not uncommon. As always, a good reminder to keep track of your accounts and do as much as you can to keep your passwords as secure as you can.

Have you ever had some of your miles or points stolen and what did you have to do to get them back?

Comments

  1. am i the only one offended that they didn’t redeem for a good value? 🙂

    seriously, summer – so sorry to hear this happened to you. i’m glad you got it worked out, although i’m sure it was a huge pain. but i must admit that the points addict in me still felt a touch of disappointment about the redemption choice. yes, i suppose when you’re stealing points you need something rapidly convertible and can’t risk a hotel stay. but still …

  2. The exactly same thing happened to my IHG account. I never check it but had a reservation for the Intercontinental in DC and when I opened the app to get my reservation I noticed my balance was not right. Over 200,000 IHG points had disappeared. I did the same as you did and called them. First the agent tried to blame me and said someone had my password. Oh really? IHG uses a stupid 4 digit PIN as password and it is my fault that even my 6 year old kid can figure that out? Well, then he said it was redeemed for Amazon gift cards and I said it was not me. Long story short they had to open a internal investigation and deposited the points back to my account. Ah, and asked me to set up a new 4 digit PIN. WTH!!!!!

      • I had my Club Carlson points and Choice points stolen from my accounts (Feb 14th) literally one week after I opened an AwardWallet account. Incidentally, I also asked AwardWallet to help me set up my Choice account (which for some reasons was not registering properly).
        I do not accuse anyone but I can connect dots. I completely removed all loyalty info from AwardWallet and cancelled my account. Not trusting them.

  3. Sorry to hear. But glad they fixed it quickly.

    I’ve had now 3 Hyatt e-gift cards stolen/drained each as a replacement for the previous one. Hyatt is now sending me a regular gift card by mail so hopefully the gift card number generating algorithm is less guessable for plastic gift cards.

  4. I had 2 Hyatt $500 gift cards, purchased via eBay, for Christmas gifts ( for post Christmas travel), active at the time purchased, liquidated. eBay now states they do not guarantee purchased gift cards, the seller had already been shut down and vanished. EBay told me to contact PayPal since I utilized my PayPal. PayPal said they too do not guarantee gift cards.Since my PayPal was connected to savings account, I could not even work with a credit card company. Finally, Hyatt refused to do anything. I am out $700. Many many lessons learned.

  5. Weird. Maybe as a security measure they could check all accounts where the email is changes and then a redemption is done right away. Or…Just check all people who redeem for gift cards, of course 🙂

  6. I had the same thing happen to my IHG account. Chinese hacked it and used the points to book themselves 4 nights into the Intercontinental Osaka, Japan. I happen to catch it in the middle of their stay and called the hotel who kicked them out. Not sure if anything bad happened to them. It took a few weeks but I did get my points reinstated, into a new account number with a new 4 digit pin!

  7. Don’t understand the ability to change your email address without you being notified. Normally when an email address is changed both the old and the new email addresses are notified. Not a very good system on their part. Glad you got your points back.

  8. The same thing happened to me with my Marriott account last year, but luckily the fraud department sent an email to my “old” (real) email address because something looked “funny” and asked if I had really changed my email and requested a gift card. I replied “no”, gave them my cell # & received a call from a fraud investigator. We had a long discussion about why they don’t automatically send an email to the “old” email address when a request is made to change the email address (which was done before the scammer tried to get the gift card). As it turned out I pointed her to my suspicion to an internal employee breech problem and she agreed.

    • This is what I don’t understand, this just happened with my Choice account. When I logged in, it had a different email address. Why don’t they send something to the old email to confirm the change? It doesn’t make sense to me.

  9. Interesting to read all the stories above. It amazes me that in 2017 companies like IHG and others still cannot get up to speed in technology and security for their systems. The fact that IHG still uses a 4 digit numeric PIN amazes me. I understand many banks still use a 4 digit PIN for ATM but you have to have a physical card to access it and most of them have cameras, etc… To access a hotel account all a hacker needs is an email address which is easy to get from many websites we access on the web.

  10. Okay, this just happened to me. Logged in today and found I was down to 5,000 points when I had around 50,000. I’ve been waiting to book for July in Oslo, waiting for that booking window to open other, otherwise I would have already used the points. Very frustrating!

    How did you get to the point to see the activity of points redeemed for gift cards? I can’t seem to find any activity except hotel activity. Anyway, I’ve emailed Choice and also reached out via social media. They also changed my email address, I changed it back and changed my password. They should really email the email address on file when the email address is changed!

    • I just wanted to update on the situation. After that happened in March my points were put back and I changed my password. However, my account seems to be on a frequent hacking list now. Twice in June I’ve been locked out of my account. I’m currently locked out now. The first time, the hackers got into my account and changed my email address and password. I had to call Choice to get back into my account. I made a fairly complex password, but it’s happened again. I’m currently locked out of my account and have to wait hours for Choice customer service to open. I really don’t know what to do as Choice is one of my main programs, but this is really a stressor.

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