A LoyaltyLobby reader and I had an interesting chat of Facebook regarding purchased SPG Gold status off of eBay. The reader had an impression that someone at the SPG was upgrading accounts and collecting some serious $$$ in the process.
READ MORE: SPG Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions
Here’s what happened:
A reader saw SPG Gold status sale on eBay and the seller was correctly informing that this would map to Marriott Gold as well.
Reader was required to furnish his SPG account number, password, security questions and a copy of his passport for the upgrade to be “processed” in addition to the payment.
The seller indicated that someone in the “headquarter” was processing this upgrade.
There was a stay posted to his account with $32 revenue in Chengdu China and the account upgraded to Gold status.
Here’s what I believe happened:
1. The seller signed up the reader for the SPG Gold for one stay in the Asia-Pacific promotion
2. They booked the stay for a hotel in China (this could have been done at the hotel as well)
3. The stay posted and the account was then automatically upgraded to Gold
4. The passport copy was required to check in the reader to the hotel
Could be that they have a “friendly” manager or check-in agent working at this specific property that allows this third party to check-in random people to their hotel.
They basically get $32 plus taxes and likely nobody is staying. Free money to the property!
The seller makes more than $200 per SPG Gold account in profit after you deduct the hotel charge and other fees. Good money for someone living in China.
Seems that the same seller is selling various loyalty program statuses.
The SPG Gold status after one stays in Asia-Pacific (read more here) is an excellent offer for those that qualify for it (requires certain MasterCard issued in the region and needs to go through authentication process make sure that the credit card number supplied is valid).
This is bit dangerous to anyone who has any stay history with his/her account or Starpoints. There is no guarantee that this would work in the future.
Any brand holder, in this case Marriott, can contact eBay and get a list of buyers to whom the seller sold this status. Very easy to go after them and cancel their accounts for unintended use (I am not aware that Marriott would be doing anything like this).
Considering the sellers profit, the fair price would be closer to $100 than $300.