Priority Club offered 300 points for downloading their shopping toolbar. That’s the software that helps you automatically earn Priority Club purchases when you visit a merchant you can earn points with. (I don’t recommend earning through the Priority Club portal most of the time as it isn’t as rewarding as other alternatives.)
Friday evening I realized that they didn’t actually make you complete the download and install the toolbar to earn the points, and the only way they kept you from earning the points over and over was cookies or a similar technology.
Unsurprisingly, since I realized it, others did too. Folks were clicking through the download offer over and over using Google Chrome’s incognito mode, earning 300 points each time. Some just hit the back button and then re-submitted over and over, others wrote scripts to do it for them, and they very quickly accumulated at a minimum hundreds of thousands of points.
The reason I didn’t post it is because this ‘felt different’ than a mistake fare, or a discount meant to be targeted but that was opened to everyone.
I haven’t done a total analysis of why, but I wasn’t really comfortable with this one. Usually I share things and let others decide. I wasn’t sure how I felt, I was busy throughout the weekend (notice no posts at all after Saturday morning).
And I thought there were real risks, too. Priority Club has had similar glitches in the past with surveys where you could take them over and over and earn points each time. And they haven’t just reversed the points when the glitch was discovered, they’ve closed down accounts.
Sharing things broadly seemed to me to expose readers to the real risk of getting banned from the Priority Club program, and I didn’t want over-eager folks in that bad position.
Now I’m hearing that’s exactly what’s happening, some accounts being closed now that Priority Club is realizing what happened. It remains to be seen whether folks that earned points and already redeemed then will get to keep their redemptions or not. Too soon to tell.
Question: Should I have written about this, or kept it to myself?
[…] So far it seems to have been the summer of weekly computer glitches in the points and miles world. First we had the 4-mile Hong Kong tickets, then we had the Travelocity NFB2012 fiasco, and now most recently, the Priority Club toolbar glitch resulting in many people left with closed accounts (see Gary’s post). […]