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Hilton Honors Points are Getting Stolen through Amazon Purchases

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**See our update to this story here. Hilton is denying that this is a widespread issue.**

 

Several travelers say they’ve had their Hilton Honors points drained via fraudulent Amazon purchases, a recurring problem that calls into question the relationship between the hotel brand and the web giant.

One Hilton Honors member told Flyertalk that he received an automated notification that his Hilton points had been used toward an Amazon purchase he didn’t make. After logging into his Hilton account, the user saw that roughly 267,000 points were stolen.

He’s not alone. On Wednesday, a member of the Facebook group Award Travel 101 relayed a similar experience – all but 1 of his Hilton Honors points were stolen and redeemed through the Amazon shop with points functionality. And the comments on his Facebook group post suggest this isn’t an isolated issue, with more issues cropping up in the last month or so.

What’s more, responses from both companies show neither is willing to accept any responsibility for the issues.

 

Hilton Honors Amazon

The email users are getting after their accounts are hacked.

 

At the root of the problem is the ability to use Hilton points for purchases at Amazon, one of several changes Hilton made to its Honors program back in 2017. By linking your Hilton and Amazon accounts, you can buy things on Amazon by using Hilton points at a rate of 0.02 cents each – so 500 points = $1 on Amazon.

So while it’s far worse to have your Hilton points stolen for something you didn’t buy, it’s not a good value to use your own Hilton points to buy items on Amazon. You can simply get far more value out of them by booking hotel stays.

 

Hilton Honors Amazon

 

One of the travelers whose account was hacked didn’t even have his Hilton Honors account linked to Amazon. Rather, the breach linked his Hilton account to an unknown Amazon account without his permission. That suggests the issue may start with Hilton. And it’s made worse by both organizations inability to identify links between the two accounts.

 

Our Analysis

It’s unclear how or why this is happening, as well as how frequent the problem may be.

Because hackers appear to be accessing Hilton accounts, we strongly recommend updating your Hilton Honors account password. It’s hard to know for sure, but these hackers may be gaining access to Hilton accounts from a past data breach, perhaps exposing different accounts where users have the same login credentials as with Hilton. Updating your password should help stop this problem in its tracks.

Unfortunately, through our research, you can have multiple Amazon accounts linked to the same Hilton account, so proactively linking to your Amazon account won’t be enough to stop the potential theft of your Hilton Honors points. 

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your emails. The Award Travel 101 member reported he received an email informing him his account was linked to Amazon before the purchase, but Hilton couldn’t confirm what account or even that it was linked at all when he called them.

Users are reporting different levels of success in getting their points back after their accounts have been hacked. But the bigger issue here seems to be the lack of accountability from both parties. Hilton is saying it’s an Amazon issue and Amazon is saying it’s a Hilton issue.

 

Bottom Line

The scope of this breach is a mystery, but it seems obvious there is a serious problem. This isn’t the first time this exact issue has cropped up, but many users have reported they’ve been hacked over the past month.

Until this gets sorted out, we strongly suggest updating your passwords and creating a link between your own Hilton and Amazon accounts.

 

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

38 Responses

  1. Sam says:

    It seems like it would be safer to have it linked to my amazon account? That prevents someone from linking to an unknown account. If linked to my amazon they would need my amazon credentials as well to access?

    • Nick Serati says:

      I do believe you are correct in saying that you can only have your Hilton account linked to one Amazon account.

    • AA says:

      That was my first thought as well.

      It seems like unlinking the accounts wouldn’t add any security. The article even says, “One of the travelers whose account was hacked didn’t even have his Hilton Honors account linked to Amazon. Rather, the breach linked his Hilton account to an unknown Amazon account without his permission.”

      If a Hilton account can only be linked to one Amazon account, keeping the accounts linked might actually help keep the Hilton points safe. I wonder if the others who had their points stolen had their accounts linked or not.

      • Nick Serati says:

        Absolutely. I updated the post to reflect this. At the time of publication, there were a lot of moving pieces. Linking your own Hilton and Amazon accounts seems to be the best path forward.

  2. virginia a Forsyth says:

    Hilton honors has handled this terribly. I had 150,000 points taken from my account and used to purchase items on Amazon and no one has even attempted to help me or tell me this is a widespread issue. I’ve called 6 times and I’m always told their fraud department will be in touch with me. It’s been a month now since the points were stolen. Very poor customer service.

    • rotokim says:

      This happened to me after staying at a Hilton Garden Inn in Owings Mills, MD. I couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve been in this program since 2001 and been a very loyal Hilton customer. But, they have treated me like I’m at the DMV repeatedly on this matter. The people on their customer service phone lines act like they’ve never heard of this happening before. Yet, it’s been posted to travel discussion forums as a huge issue since at least late 2018! I lost 150K points too. I’ve called them 3 times, and they can only tell me that they are investigating he situation. So aggravating!!!

  3. Joel says:

    All my HH points were stolen. My HH credit card was linked to my Amazon account. Amazon assured me that there have been no HH points transactions in my Amazon account. Hilton starts by saying they hope to resolve the issue in 24-48 hours. A couple of days later, when I called the rep said that was a mistake—and that I should wait 7 days. I emailed their fraud section. After seven days, they told me that my case was still open and it would take 15 days. I tried talking to the rep’s supervisor. But the best I could do was to express my frustration and to explain that it’s supposed to be a loyalty rewards program. It was obvious that she had many such calls before mine.

  4. Nicole says:

    This just happened to me today, 94,000 were taken from my account. Is there any to cancel these amazon orders, or find out who is doing the purchasing? I was told to wait 7-10 days before my points will be returned, we will see. When I called Amazon they didn’t know what Hilton Honors points were and wouldn’t connect me to the fraud department, I called three different times but was unsuccessful getting a hold of anyone who understood my problem. Before today I was unaware I could even use HH points for purchases. So is it better to link my two accounts?

    • Nick Serati says:

      You may not be able to link your accounts now if there has already been another account linked with your Hilton account. I would highly suggest updating your Hilton honors account password and trying to link to your Amazon account if you are able.

    • Keith says:

      Nicole,
      Did you ever get your points back?

  5. Fred says:

    This has just happened to me! They stole 177,300 points from my Hilton account. Hilton has been handling this issues very poorly now my account has been suspended until they figure out what is going on. I just hope at the end of this they reinstate all our points otherwise I will get a lawyer.

  6. Randy says:

    This happened to me yesterday. I received an email notification my accounts were linked. I checked my balance and 680K points gone within an hour of the email. There is no two step confirmation from Hilton to confirm the link request. This is pure laziness on the part of Hilton. I’m sure eventually they will get around to it after millions of points are compromised.

  7. Jim Ramsey says:

    I received the same email from Hilton saying my account was linked to Amazon, then another thanking me for my Amazon purchase. I checked my Honors account and 411,000 of my points were stolen. Called Hilton and they set up a case w their fraud dept. Not sure how long it will take to get my points restored
    I am a diamond member and called the diamond line. Hope I haven’t permanently lost those points!

  8. I linked my Hilton card to my Amazon account as soon as the program started. Should I un-link and take my Hilton card off as a payment method? Is that the best way for me to proceed now?

    • Nick Serati says:

      Hey Bill. I would keep them linked. My understanding is that there can only be one link to an Amazon account and a Hilton Honors account. If yours are already linked, you should be ok.

  9. Brian V says:

    Same happened to me. About 50,000 points. HH always seems surprised about it when I call, but I never get a call back. Amazon says to call Hilton, so I tried the online Amazon chat, they said to call the number. Round and Round we go. Time for a class action against both companies.

  10. Sheila B says:

    I guess I should feel better that I am not the only one that this has happened to. First of all, my e-mail account was hacked. That same day in scrolling through 500 e-mails from around the world, one particular e-mail stood out from Hilton indicating my Hilton account had been linked to a Amazon account. I immediately called Hilton only to find out that my 780,000 points were gone (they left one point in my account). I will say Hilton has been great to work with but I have not yet heard from the fraud department. I have had multiple conversations with consumer service and they assure me my points will be reimbursed. I have also called Amazon to complain that they need better security with this process. Hilton is the big loser with this association with Amazon.

  11. I’ve had my card linked and two weeks ago I changed my default payment on Amazon to Hilton points. Charged 3 purchases, kept the email confirmations from Hilton and kept monitoring my Visa account (former default payment). Sure enough last week they charged my Visa for the $100 gift card I bought. Called Amazon just now and tried to tell me to take it up with Visa, told them I read this article and I was’t playing that game and this payment is was on THEIR end, not Visa. Told him to give me the Supervisor finally was nice enough to offer a credit but I didn’t want to chance it so I took the Amazon immediate credit. Thank you for all of your help!!!!

  12. Claudia says:

    I, too, have been the victim of fraud to the tune of having over 900,000 HH points drained and used on Amazon. It’s been roughly ten days since I noticed and notified Hilton Honors. I was told that the fraud department would keep in touch with me. To be fair, it hasn’t been that long, but in reading the other horror stories, I’m not confident. I was never alerted to activity happening on Amazon. I have checked every email I have ever received from Amazon. According to Amazon, they have no record of HH points being used for purchases, but HH acknowledged that that happened. Further, I never linked my HH account to Amazon. Therefore, Amazon cannot start an investigation. It must be started by Hilton. According to Amazon, Hilton has not yet contacted them, even though I’ve been assured by HH that a fraud investigation has begun. So, it’s extremely distressing and mysterious. I was planning on using points for a vacation that I have never had! Devastated. I will also get an attorney if this situation is not resolved.

  13. Jim says:

    Hackers were able to access my Hilton honors and get my email. They then auto-subscribed my gmail to many hundreds of subscriptions to fill my email inbox. In the middle of skimming the many hundreds of emails, I see an email from Hilton Honors saying my account has been linked to Amazon and an email saying my points were redeemed with Amazon and if it wasn’t me then to contact Amazon if not me. I check my Amazon account and there were no new orders. I call Amazon and they connect me to fraud but don’t see anything in my account. I call Hilton and they say will suspend my account for at least 5 business days to investigate. When I start pushing and providing info on the subscription emails and target of Hilton only, the call center person shares that I’m not the only one. So, I search google for Hilton breaches and I find this article. I lost 650k points which at about 30k points per night and an avg of $150 per night is the equivalent of $3250. Points are essentially currency and can be spent with many partners for all sorts of goods and services. My hilton account was linked to someone else’s Amazon account without actually logging into my hilton account and my hilton account points was drained through that link in two withdrawals of 380k and 260k. My Hilton account credentials were not changed. Why doesn’t Hilton just shut down the ability to link to Amazon? I’ve wasted 20-30 hours trying to unsubscribe from the many 100s of sites. How do I get compensated by Hilton for my lost time? More than 5 business days have passed and my points have still not been returned. I was just on hold with Hilton and the line dropped after I was waiting 15 min to talk to a supervisor.

    • S Brady says:

      Exactly what happened to me. My comcast e-mail was hacked twice, about 4 weeks apart. What you are describing with the hundreds of subscription e-mails happened to me twice. The first time, it was my Delta account that they tired to hack. I caught that one immediately and Delta froze my account. The account hacking resulted in the demise of 780,000 Hilton Honor points about 8 days ago. Although I had talked with numerous people with Hilton and have been reassured the points would be re-deposited into my account, nothing has happened. This has class-action lawsuit written all over it.

  14. J says:

    Anyone else thinking “class action” if they don’t get this sorted out?
    (Someone just linked and hijacked 210k HH from my wife’s account)

    • Claudia says:

      Yes, me! So far it looks as though I’ve had the most points pilfered to the tune of 925 K. I’m devastated. No one has reached out. I’ve started a social media campaign with several posts. HH responds to my twitter complaints, but still nothing. Let me know if anyone has a lawyer. Look at my original comment above under Claudia. Thanks.

  15. Debora says:

    Happened to me today as well, got two emails and called right away. I was given a case number and told to call back in a week, feeling hopeful until I read this post. I too called Amazon twice today and told them they should not be allowing Hilton points to be used for purchases as this is encouraging yet another fraudulent scheme. UGH!!!

  16. John O says:

    Same situation for me…had over 1,000,000 points disappear from my account. Called them today and they said they had been used for Amazon purchases. Said I would be contacted by their fraud department, but so far haven’t heard anything after 24 hours. I didn’t receive any email notifications of any kind. Hope they get to the bottom of this soon!

    • CLAUDIA CARR says:

      John and Debora. Debora, at least you were given a case number. I’ve been given nothing. I was also told I would receive an email from HH fraud department. NADA. So far, no resolution and it’s been a while. I am going to write Hilton’s CEO. When I find his info I’ll pass it along. We NEED TO ALL WRITE! Plus, go on social media. When I complain on Twitter, they respond, but still nothing is done. When I complained on FB, nada. That’s all I know for now. Lawyer up folks. It’s coming. Thank you, Claudia. (Read my original post somewhere above.) Oh, I’ll say one thing – John O. you win the prize. They only pilfered 925,000 of my points.

  17. Claudia says:

    UPDATE: I finally reached an HH person at the Dallas call center. After waiting for nearly 20 minutes, as she investigated what was happening with my fraud case – she came back with a fraud case number, which no one had given me before. She also guaranteed, yeah right, that my case was now being expedited and I would hear from the fraud department within 24 – 48 hours. We’ll see. Apparently, whomever pilfered over 900,000 points by purchasing through Amazon, did so in small purchases – less likely to cause attention. That’s what I have now. It’s been a month since I discovered the theft of my HH points.

  18. Sheryl says:

    This just happened to me on Friday. I got the email saying I linked my Hilton to Amazon, then another saying I used my points, then a final one saying the accounts are no longer linked. I lost over 600,000 points. I opened a case with both Hilton and Amazon. They left me with 3,700 points. I’m so upset.

    • Claudia says:

      It’s very upsetting. It made me cry at first because I was going to use points to take a vacation, which I have never had. Still waiting. I have a case number. When you call, it’s important to try and get a U.S. help desk. They seem to have more knowledge of the problem. Good luck. Keep us updated. To date, I have not been made whole and no one has contacted me.

  19. Andrew G says:

    I just got 248k points stolen. It was to an amazon account. I am not linked to amazon. About a week ago, I activated a Hilton Amex card, was the Hilton Amex involves in other cases?

  20. Stu says:

    I lost 571,117 points that were fraduantly redeemed on Amazon. I don’t even have an Amazon account. They linked to an outside account then discontinued once they stole all my points but 2. Very pissed. Have a fraud investigation case number. Better get my points back ! Amazon was no help. They couldn’t find the transaction. Second call to Hilton number was more informative. At least she sounded like she knew what she was talking about.

  21. Claudia says:

    UPDATE: Check your points, folks, all my points are now restored – almost 1 million of them! Thanks to HH investigators for taking care of this problem. If I were Hilton I would sever my relationship with Amazon. Very sloppy system. Anyway, grateful

  22. Randall says:

    My points were reinstated only after I emailed the CEO of operations in McLean VA directly. They called me the next and points reinstated within 24 hours. They were very apologetic, but I explained this is a systemic problem. The first thing I did after getting my points reinstated, changed all my passwords related to Amazon and Hilton and linked my accounts. Only one account can be linked so that should prevent it from happening again. Cheers

    • Nick Serati says:

      Changing your passwords should be enough to fix the problem. Unfortunately through my testing, while only 1 account can be linked, nothing stops somebody from linking a new account and canceling out the account that is already linked. Lots of problems with the way the Hilton and amazon link currently functions

  23. Adam says:

    Happened to me too on July 1st. Took about 300,000 of my points, and left me with about 50,000. I called Hilton same day, and a case was made. I called today (july 8th) to get a status on it, and they said that it has not yet been resolved, but gave me my case # for my records. They recommended that I email [email protected] directly with my case # in the subject line to get a more detailed status. So far I’ve received an automated email back that says “Thank you for emailing [email protected]. Your email was successfully received by the Hilton Honors Fraud Protection team. At this time we are experiencing some delay in responding to requests and apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause. Once we have resolved your request, we will follow up with you directly via e-mail.”
    We’ll see what happens. My understanding from customer service is that they can “loan” us the points if we need to redeem them for something now while we are waiting to have the cases resolved.

  24. Charles B. Chauvin says:

    This just happened to me as well and I lost 705,575 points on 7-16-19 at 9:00 pm . Of course it was Amazon Prime Day. They only left me with 3897 points. I did not even know that you could spend Hilton points on Amazon, let alone have the accounts linked. What is really weird is that I watched it happening live online because I was on the computer doing some work. The first thing I noticed weird was in my e-mail at 8:55 pm I received an e-mail which stated “You have successfully UNLINKED your account from Amazon Shop With Points.” Then it said “if you did not authorize this request, contact [email protected]” It then went on to say “If you have any other questions, please call 1-800-4HONORS anytime of the day.” I immediately called the number and asked about what does this mean as I did not ever LINK these accounts nor did I even know that you could.” While talking with them on the phone at 9:11 pm, I received a 2nd e-mail stating “This message is being sent to you to confirm the points redemption activity on your Hilton Honors account that is linked to Shop with points, for a purchase at Amazon.com.” And then at 9:12 pm, I received a 3rd e-mail stating the same thing as the 2nd one. The Hilton representative then came back to me on the phone and said that apparently someone just made two purchases with my points totalling 703,575 points. This actually happened while I was on the phone with them!! She then gave me a “case number” for my case and assured me not to worry as the points would be restored within 10 days. I asked if I could please talk with the HH Fraud Protection department, and she explained that she cannot even talk with them and that they do not have a phone?? They only work through e-mail she stated. Of course, I was outraged because I felt since we caught this happening live that we could prevent the Amazon order to even be shipped to anyone. She again explained that they only work at their own pace and that I would have to e-mail them with my case number. So, of course I did this immediately only to get back the ridiculous automated message that they “have received my request and are eager to assist me” and then that their “goal is to respond within 24-48 hours.” Well it is now approaching 48 hours and no response. After finding this Post on here I am feel a lot less likely to ever even hear from them let alone have my points reinstated. I only noticed one person above that did actually have their points reinstated, could anyone else please notify the rest of us if we should just be patient, or should we hire a lawyer?

  25. Adam says:

    The good news is that I did get my points back. It took about 15 days in my case, but it was resolved.

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