Well early last month I decided to transfer some Citi ThankYou points to my wife’s Hilton account. I know some of you more experienced points guru’s may be thinking that’s a terrible points maneuver. However Citi is running a transfer bonus of double Hilton points per ThankYou point. So 1 ThankYou point equals 2 Hilton points. I know it still is not the absolute best value but i didn’t care and always need more hotel points than airline miles.
I decided to transfer my ThankYou points to my wife’s ThankYou account to pool our points. I then wanted to transfer around 106,000 ThankYou points from my wife’s account to her Hilton account. My wife had more Hilton points in her account than me and with this points transfer we would have enough for a top tier hotel using the 5th night free promo Hilton offers.
So…. I transferred the 106,000 ThankYou points to MY Hilton account instead of my wife’s Hilton account!! Uh Oh!!! My account was well short of the required points needed. I didn’t even realize it until I was on the phone trying to book our hotel stay out of my wife’s account and the Hilton rep I was speaking to said that she doesn’t have enough points. I said that I just transferred them and that’s impossible! She said, “did you transfer them to your account maybe?” I instantly had that sinking feeling in my stomach! Sure enough the 212,000 Hilton points went to my account. Just a boneheaded mistake by me as I looked at the wrong Hilton account number when doing the ThankYou points transfer!!
I asked the Hilton rep is there anything she can do to help me as I just made a simple and honest mistake. She transferred me to a different customer care line. That rep thought that I wanted to transfer my wife’s points to my account and wanted to charge me $25 per 10,000 Hilton points!!! That’s what they charge to move points to a different account. I explained I didn’t want to pay and that I made a mistake when transferring my Citi ThankYou points. She placed me on hold to speak with a supervisor for about 5 minutes and came back and advised me that they could not move the points without charging me a fee. Well $25 per 10,000 points for 200,000 points would be a lot of money and I wasn’t going to pay it.
My next move was to call Citi so I found a number on ThankYou.com and spoke to a rep there and explained I moved my ThankYou points to the wrong Hilton account. I explained that I entered the correct name (my wife’s name) on the Hilton account but the wrong number. She advised if the names did not match the names on the account number the transfer would be voided but it could take 10-15 business days! I chuckled to myself as I didn’t believe her. The points were already in another person’s Hilton account but some how they were going to auto reverse the transaction. I said OK and hung up.
Not satisfied with either Citi or Hilton at that point I decided to tweet about it!
Shortly after my tweet I got a reply from Citi and Hilton. I had to DM (direct message) them my details and they promised to follow up. Citi called me the next day and promised a Citi customer care rep would be assigned to my case and asked when the best time to call was. Hilton was silent after I DM’d them my details.
The following day Angela from Citi called me and we went over what happened. I explained I accidentally typed in the wrong account number and what I was trying to accomplish. I explained that this was my error but it would be nice if Hilton would be able to just move the points for me after explaining it was an accident. She agreed but wanted to see what she could do on her end. Almost everyday Angela called me to give me a status update to see what could be done and her progress to assist me. She eventually got a contact that was “high-up” within Hilton’s organization and would explain to that person that the points went to the wrong account. This process took a few weeks believe it or not but Angela was always super professional and nice.
Eventually I got a DM from Hilton about TWO WEEKS LATER! They basically washed there hands of the situation. Too bad, so sad. In the mean time I continued to work with Angela from Citi. This whole time I am thinking to myself that it really should not be on Citi to rectify this but she really took the bull by the horns and wanted to work to a satisfactory resolution.
In the mean time I made my reservation out of my account for a few nights and the other reservation for the other nights out of my wife’s account but that was costing us an extra 95,000 Hilton points as we weren’t able to use the 5th night free promo.
Angela called me back one morning with good news saying that her contact at Hilton said they should be able to move the points to my wife’s account. At this point I told her that I made the reservation and the points are currently tied to a reservation. I told her that I could cancel my reservation and have the points back in my account if she is able to confirm the points will make it back to my wife’s Hilton account as intended. She was instant messaging her Hilton contact and confirmed it should be done within 24 hours. YAY, everything looked promising and I was on the home stretch or so I thought!
After a few days of the points not being moved, Angela apologized and gave me 5,000 ThankYou points for the delay.
I was starting to get a bit irritated because she had told me to go ahead and cancel my reservation so they could move the points. What if the property was no longer available for my dates in the meantime!? The next day or so she called and gave me the final verdict!!!!!
HILTON DECIDED NOT TO TRANSFER THE POINTS FOR FREE. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO HELP ME NOW.
At that some point I decided I would just apply for a Citi Hilton card for 60,000 points and book the reservation out of my account. I did apply and was approved. But that would take a few weeks to get the points and again what if the property was no longer available for my dates.
I was kind of shocked Hilton backtracked on helping me. She asked me how she could “make me whole” and resolve this? I advised her I am about 25,000 ThankYou points shy of making the reservation out of my account and if she could give me some more ThankYou points I could make the reservation out of my account. I felt kind of bad that they were the ones compensating me for my own stupidity. She agreed to give me another 15,000 ThankYou points thus totaling 20,000 ThankYou points considering the 5,000 ThankYou points she gave me earlier. With the promo going on the 20,000 ThankYou points were 40,000 Hilton points.
At that point I was just a bit shy of making the reservation out of my account. I was willing to buy or transfer in 10,000 point to make the booking. I actually moved like 7,000 or so Membership Rewards points (that I forgot I had) to Hilton. Bam I was all set right?!!?! NOPE!
The 20,000 ThankYou points that Angela gave me were NOT transferrable!! She gave me the taxable ThankYou points that one earns from checking account promo’s and such. Those do not transfer to ThankYou travel partners and are only good for gift cards and statement credits. I called Angela up and advised of my dilemma and told her there are two different kinds of ThankYou points! She recalled I was correct. Placed me on hold and was able to take back the 20,000 points she gave me and then give them back to me but this time coded as transferrable points. Whew!
Finally now that it was all resolved I go to check my Hilton account and my account went down A LOT of points!!!!! WTF! I just transferred in a bunch of points so I could make my redemption and my balance went down??? I called Hilton because I could not tell from my account transactions what was going on. IT TURNS OUT THAT LATER THAT DAY HILTON DECIDED TO TRANSFER MY HILTON POINTS TO MY WIFE’S ACCOUNT AFTERALL!!! Without telling Angela from Citi (or me) that they had changed their minds apparently!! So I could’ve actually transferred the 20,000 ThankYou points Angela gave me to Singapore Airlines or just kept them in my ThankYou account for a later redemption.
So after a month of tweets and conversations with Citi I FINALLY got my Hilton points moved from my account to my wife’s Hilton account (for free). I also got 20,000 ThankYou points from Citi which I transferred to 40,000 Hilton points (thinking I still needed them). And in the end we were able to make our reservation for 5 nights using the 5th night free promo and saving 95,000 Hilton points. Whew!!!!
In the end I was really impressed by Citi’s response and Angela’s ownership of the issue. Especially because this was totally my fault and I felt Hilton should make this right instead of Citi “taking a hit”. I sent out a nice tweet letting people know that Citi did a great job and I may now start using my Citi cards a bit more.
Moral of the story? Make sure you double and triple check you’re transferring points to the correct account!!! Especially if you manage accounts for your entire household. Also use social media if all else fails!