Hilton Downgrades Instant Gold Members

Back in April I mentioned (here and here) a promotion code to instantly upgrade your Hilton Hhonors account to Gold status.

It’s a code meant for Citibank Chairman’s Card credit card holders, but Hilton apparently made no effort to restrict up front who could use it.

It isn’t even just a situation of a secret promo code that got out. I called Hilton one day and the promo code was mentioned in the voice tree without even reference to the Citibank Chairman’s Card.


Now, however, Hilton is haphazardly going through their records and demoting the status of people who signed up using the code. I say haphazardly because some people who were eligible for the promotion (they had the Citibank Chairmans Card) were downgraded, and others who were not eligible still retained their status. What’s more, people are finding themselves checking into hotels only to learn of their new status — Hilton hasn’t apparently made efforts to notify members of the change.

Especially bizarre is that it still seems relatively easy to take advantage of the glitch, Hilton’s efforts to downgrade accounts notwithstanding. You can apparently still enroll online with this promotion, I imagine your account would be started at the Gold level.

What should Hilton have done? (Besides not put a promo code they don’t want public on their main voice tree, I mean!)

  • They should have a list from Citibank of those that are eligible.

  • They should run their database of Gold ugprades/new accounts against that list.

  • Where there’s no match they should contact the member and let them know they’re having trouble verifying eligibility, and give the member 60 or 90 days to provide verification.

I don’t have a problem with downgrading status for people who signed up for a promo they weren’t eligible for (though it seems like members who learned about the promo from Hilton’s 800 number should be considered eligible).

But they really should handle this differently.

By the way, for those downgraded who don’t want to open a new account with the link above and merge it with an existing account, here’s a fast track to Gold offer which requires just 6 stays in 90 days.

And for anyone who thinks I’m giving away state secrets here … both the instant gold and fastrack offers come up in the top half of the first page when Googling “Hilton HHonors Gold VIP”.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You probably knew this, but Hilton has it so that if you don’t stay at one of their properties for a year they will delete ALL of your points? Boy was I surprised to learn this when I went to spend my 75,000 miles. I bitched and moaned and they eventually reinstated them, but it seems to me they ought to be clearer about this.

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