Could Pooling Hilton Honors Points Get Your Account Closed?

Back on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, Hilton became the only lodging company in the world through which you can combine — or “pool” — your Hilton Honors points with up to ten other people on future award stays. No transfer fees or transaction fees are charged, as this option is completely free for you to pool your points with up to a maximum of ten family members and friends to get to more vacations together — and faster.

Could Pooling Hilton Honors Points Get Your Account Closed?

Pooling Hilton Honors points can potentially be a great benefit — but reports from several members of FlyerTalk have had their membership accounts suddenly closed.

Accused of violating the terms and conditions of Hilton Honors, Zoe Tse was the first FlyerTalk member to report having her account closed back on Friday, September 15, 2017 as a result of pooling Hilton Honors points with her boyfriend.

Perhaps they arguably were not the best customers of Hilton and were “fired” as a result…

…but then FlyerTalk member bwiest reported having a Hilton Honors membership account closed as well back on Tuesday, October 24, 2017: “I have been a Diamond member the past year. I went to check a confirmation and I couldn’t enter my account. Upon chatting with Hilton I was informed that my account was closed due to improper pooling of points. I am not sure what that would be. I have read the terms and conditions and everything seems fine. I have pooled some points with my wife. They canceled three of my stays that is worth 120,000 points and I am afraid that the redemption will increase or be sold out by the time this is resolved. I have emailed the Fraud department and called numerous times without any help.”

On Monday, December 11, 2017, FlyerTalk member hodinata “…did a point pooling few weeks ago from my spouse account to my account. We are both gold from credit card and have some points from sign on bonuses.. Yesterday, my spouse received an email from Hilton Honors informing her that Hilton Honors suspecting her account was hacked from the point pooling transaction and reverse the transaction and gave her new HHonors account number. I found out my account was closed after calling HHonors customer service and was instructed to email their fraud department. Below is the email that I received from their fraud department today. Not sure why points pooling between spouse violate the T&Cs as clearly points pooling between family member is allowed in the T&Cs. Beware!!!”

Summary

The aforementioned experiences may be isolated cases which occurred by coincidence. Perhaps they are simply the result of a technology glitch…

…or they could be the tip of the iceberg of a larger number of members of Hilton Honors who have had their membership accounts suddenly closed due to pooling points with a spouse or partner.

I have not used the point pooling benefit of the Hilton Honors frequent guest loyalty program; so I cannot personally comment on it.

Regardless, FlyerTalk member MaldivesFreak offers some good advice which is similar to alerting a credit card company prior to travel so as not to have any transactions flagged as fraudulent activity: “Have every active account holder in the pool, i.e; everyone who is going to either send and/or receive points, email and call Hilton and state their intentions to pool points. When each member is on the phone to them they will have their voice recorded so the fraud department will have different voiceprints to examine if there is any investigation. Mention politely that this is a service which they have implemented and advertised and that all parties involved will be on the phone to their lawyers/small claims court/fair trade association or whatever is applicable for your location if things go wrong and points and accounts are arbitrarily deleted and closed. Furthermore, ask for a note to be put on each account saying that you (each member) has authorized the upcoming transfer of points and preferably set a date or timeframe in which you will complete the transfer(s) and adhere to that timeframe. Then, and only then, will you have something substantial to fall back on to back up your transfer and prove it is not fraudulent.”

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

9 thoughts on “Could Pooling Hilton Honors Points Get Your Account Closed?”

  1. Kiki says:

    Good post.

  2. Christian says:

    Informative post. I’m not sure that calling up to threaten legal action if things go badly would be the best opening gambit, but different strokes.

  3. Kate says:

    Wonder if the spouses had different last names?

  4. AlohaDaveKennedy says:

    Great post! My significant other and I share the same address and she has HH points from stays and HHGV point conversions and is also an authorized user on my Amex HH Card. While we have different last names, we had planned to pool points for an upcoming trip in accordance with the 2017 changes to the T&Cs and had not expected any trouble. Thanks for the warning.

  5. Wonderful Wanda says:

    Good to know about this. But we need more DP on exactly why Hilton is doing this. We need to hear from a Hilton spokesperson on this matter.

  6. Stephen says:

    Is this still a problem or has Hilton resolved the issue?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I have not heard anything lately pertaining to this issue, Stephen.

      I intend to keep looking for you.

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