This is a cautionary tale about what happened when my family lost 200k Hilton points due to multiple credit cards and loyalty numbers. Don’t worry, we got them back! But, I would do things differently next time.
A few months ago, my husband applied for two Hilton credit cards. We were excited about the possibilities at our fingertips using those points for a future vacation (see this post).
When he applied, we put his current Hilton Honors number in the application. We met the minimum spending requirements and paid off the balances. I checked to make sure the bonuses were posting on his Amex accounts, and they did. We would have about 200,000 Hilton points to spend.
A few weeks ago, I signed into his Hilton Honors account to use the points. But, he only had ~6000 points, which is what he started with before applying for the cards. WHAT?!?!?!
I signed back into the Amex accounts and saw that the points were still there. Whew! The problem is, Amex created two new Hilton Honors numbers, one for each card. So now my husband had three Hilton numbers. Definitely not ideal.
I contemplated just transferring the Hilton points to the original account on Hilton’s website. However, I would have had to set up passwords and account info for them, and I didn’t feel like going through the hassle. Plus, I wasn’t sure if that would work, since all accounts were in the same name. So, I decided to see if an online chat session with Amex could solve the problem.
After a quick chat with Amex, I was convinced that all of the points were successfully combined into my husband’s original Hilton Honors account. A few days later, we signed into his Hilton Honors account, and the points were not there. We signed into his Amex accounts, and the points were not there either! Mayday, mayday! Where did those 200k Hilton points go?
Fixing the Problem
We contacted Amex again and reminded them of the online chat from about two weeks prior. And when I say “we”, I really mean me, since my husband doesn’t like dealing with the minutia of miles and points.
Amex did change his Hilton number on the Amex cards, but now the rep said it could take 8 weeks for Hilton to transfer the points. 8 weeks?!?! I was not warned about this in the initial chat. Amex suggested we contact Hilton to see if the transfer could be expedited.
I tried contacting Hilton, but I gave up after being on hold for too long. I tried a second time the next day, determined to wait it out.
Hilton could see that my husband now had three accounts, but when Amex created the other two accounts, his email and phone number were not attached. Therefore, the rep said she could not help us. She transferred me to another rep.
That rep said the only way she could combine those accounts and give us the points was for us to tell her exactly how many points were in each account. Had I screen printed that before the points disappeared on the Amex site? Of course not. Also, not all of the points had shown up on the statements yet.
So, we had to contact Amex to get the exact numbers from each account. Then, we had to contact Hilton again. Finally, we had the points back and we could now use them to book award stays.
Avoiding the Problem in the Future
I realize that missing these points for ~2 weeks is not the end of the world. We didn’t miss out on an award stay we wanted during that time frame. But, missing that amount of points certainly did cause a little bit of panic, albeit temporary. And, fixing the issue was a hassle.
In the future, before I start spending on a new credit card that has a loyalty number attached, I will make sure that the loyalty number I input on the application matches the one on the new credit card. I just assumed that number would carry over from the applications, but it did not. If I could have changed the number right away, the bonus points and spending points from the credit card would all be in the right account.
Also, next time I will be sure to take screen shots of award balances before requesting a transfer. Such a simple step would have saved me time and an extra phone call.
While this miles and points hobby is not rocket science, I do think it’s necessary to babysit your accounts. Not full-blown babysitting, but do check up on them every now and then to make sure they don’t expire and they are in the right places. I keep a spreadsheet to log each new credit card we open, the application/approval date, spending required and bonus points.
Readers, have you ever had this same issue?
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.