Priority Club Comes Down On Online Quiz Double (and One Million) Dipping Members Like a Ton of Bricks

TM Travel World reports on a Priority Club glitch. They offered a ‘quiz’ you could take for 100 points. But you could take the quiz over and over, and earn the points each time. With the assistance of a computer script, there were some members who ‘earned’ millions of points.

Apparently Priority Club has frozen the accounts of folks who ‘took advantage’ of the quiz, earning 2 or more bonuses.  They cancelled award reservations that had been booked by those accounts.  And they haven’t been much for notifying affected individuals.

I can sympathize with Priority Club.  They view it as a form of fraud, even if their own IT systems are partly to blame.  Personally I would have just deducted the points they didn’t intend to award.  Perhaps they could have scalated things with the folks who wrote automated scripts to haul in millions of points.  But folks who took the quiz 2 or 3 times, earning an extra 200 or 300 poitns?  Definitely overkill, those folks likely had no idea they were doing anything ‘wrong’ in Priority Club’s eyes.

Of course we’ll see if Priority Club views this as an overreaction, ultimately.  They have every reason not to award extra bonus points.  They should have done a better job with their IT systems from the get go.  And they might deal with the major ‘offenders’ but to deal across the board, as TM Travel World suggests they’re doing, makes no sense at all. 

Someone who legitimately took this a second time, just to take the quiz independent of points earning, shouldn’t be penalized because Priority Club awarded them points a second time when they shouldn’t have.  And folks who just wanted to see if the site was still awarding points, out of a desire to understand the program they’re loyal to, shouldn’t be penalized. 

And at least if Priority Club intends to act in this way — and mind you this is a program with a history of allowing folks to double, triple, and quadruple dip on bonuses for the same hotel stays — they should clearly announce their new policy up front.  They’ve led customers to believe multiple bonuses are ok, they should at least communicate that’s no longer the case if it’s no longer the case, rather than shutting down accounts without warning.

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, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. What about their last 10k pt promo where they’re being totally negligent w/ awarding all 10k pts that were rightfully earned. When will they do the right thing & award those pts instead of worrying about a few 100pts. They should take blame & freeze their own faulty system until they can get it right.

  2. One million points and free tickets would be costly to the program and everyone else who was an honest member. Most rewards programs can and will cancel members who do something that was this arrogant. Points are not unlimited, they come with a cost, and this then affects the rest of the members. It was illegal if not ethically wrong.

  3. @Ken, I rather agree with you, my issue is with them freezing accounts of folks who earned 200 or 300 points (as TM Travel World reports).

  4. I’d hope those who were “clever” enought to write a script first created a new account to protect their real account.

    But yes, I agree with the gist of your post, Gary. Punishing those with < 10 bonuses seems overly harsh.

  5. Part of the problem stems from the lack of clear communication from PCR/IHG as to what is going on. From what people are posting on the FT thread, it seems as if the reps don’t really know what the issue is. IHG certainly hasn’t made public their overall response. They also may be struggling through their IT system to properly identify the issue and make sure that the true scammers (those who used scripts, earned mega-points, and then redeemed those points already for flights or something else real-time would be the worst case). I personally don’t think that IHG will ultimately inflict major punishment on those who just though they were taking quizzes in multiple languages (when really the issue seems to be that the quiz was buggy and rewarded points for every submission). They are probably, though, mostly concerned right now with making sure they stop the illicit redemption of mega-points (one person on FT reported running a script earning 500K points!) and make sure they don’t miss any of those cases. Once they’ve addressed that, then they can figure out what to do about the less malicious cases.

  6. based on FT reports, the lowest one got lock down is 500 and one of my friend who got lock down by accident, he did not even know the Quiz promotion

  7. @Troy, it seems they are just locking down lots of accounts while they can get a handle on the real problem accounts. The PCR databases don’t seem to be the most robust; it’s certainly possible that multiple scripts with thousands upon thousands of postings in individual accounts could cause database integrity issues. I’m sure they weren’t designed to have that many postings in a short period for a single account.

  8. when I take the quiz I get the following error “QUIZ_ERROR_XML”

    Never could get it to work properly no matter which computer I used or browser I visited the site with.

  9. PCR encouraged the behaviors – Participants willingly engaged in the behaviors – PCR IT made a mistake – Participants drove into the hole left by IT – Some made the hole bigger Most tried to get out – Starting to wonder if PCR “leaked” a beta version of an unfinished promo by mistake ?

  10. lock these folks up and throw away the key make sure they will never do business with PC ever again
    Imagine trying to game the system for 200 points shocking behavior :)Make sure these folks are forced to speak with PC customer service in another country as part of the punishment.
    They will never try this again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *