Earlier I wrote about loyalty program fraud discussions that take place at the major programs and how they often prioritize the wrong things and start out with a ‘blame the customer mindset’ even when it is against the interests of their own program.
But I don’t want to leave the impression that all members behave reasonably towards these programs and that it’s only hackers that loyalty executives ought to worry about.
There are some benefits offered by programs that are in limited supply, where one member abusing the system takes away from other members benefiting.
A commenter raised IHG Rewards Club the program of Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and related brands. Did you ever wonder why it can be so tough to get PointBreaks availability at the best properties, that they disappear from the PointBreaks list quickly?
…and that much of IHG’s enforcement focus has been focused in China?
There are several folks there who would script IHG such that as soon as PointBreaks would become available they would make several bookings for every day in the eligible period, tying up inventory immediately. And then they would broker the rooms.
IHG took steps to limit the number of bookings per participating hotel that each account can make, which makes it somewhat more cumbersome to game although hardly ends things.
They also shut down many accounts. Some of those may have been illegitimate (I really think allowing people to sign up for promotions and then shutting down their accounts because they signed up is a tad unfair) but many who complained about account shutdowns were truly behaving badly.
You see, just because a program is paranoid doesn’t mean there aren’t members out to get them.
That’s never to excuse the sort of behavior towards members I’ve described, and in past posts where it did seem like one rogue fraud agent at Air France and also at American was closing down accounts unreasonably. But it helps to understand the bunker mentality some of them feel, where they see scams everywhere and begin to see customers as the enemy.
To me that’s when it is time to cycle them out of their role. It’s just understandable how they get there. But once they do, these foks can be detrimental to their programs.