A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us an email about Hilton Honors status match scam in China that appears to be an issue elsewhere too.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I am your long term reader, and I always want to send you an email to talk about this issue.
Since Hilton had launched status match three years ago, there are hundreds of thousands of people were trying to get their diamond status for free.
It is ok for those of people who have the elite status with other hotel brands. But in China, almost 90% of people who did not have any elite status with other hotels, still
get free Hilton diamond status for three months. The reason is because they get it form someone who can use photoshop or HTML editor to fake the memberships and match the status for them.
From what I have seen, there are over hundreds of people who doing the same business in China. Just like eBay, they opened a shop in some of the largest B2B platform in China.
And they sold it to people with very low price (around 5 USD to 10 USD), people would love to buy it again and again because it will bring free breakfast and room upgrade for their upcoming trip. The buyers usually buy it again when the three months period ended, and those sellers will register a brand new account and match the status by using fake documents again for them.
However, many Hilton hotels in China found this fraud, and they refuse to provide the services to their diamond status customers, sometimes even a real one with over 60 nights a year.
I wonder why Hilton could not verify these fake documents at the beginning? I have tried couple times myself to use a fake name with fake documents to match the diamond trail, and they all had been approved with no problem at all. It is really hurting all of real diamond status members around world, especially in China.
Moreover, those sellers are also trying to sell it worldwide now. The eBay seller on the screenshot is one of them, and he has sold over 1,400 units to people with around $15 USD each (based on the history) .
If this status match without verification continued last for anther couple years, I expected that the Hilton Honors will be the worst loyalty problem in the world.
BTW, I have emailed Hilton this issue several times these years, but never get any replies.
Hopefully you can help me locate a people who would really listen to our voice and protect our rights.
Here are items that this specific seller (that the reader refers to) has available:
Here is partial listing on eBay for Hilton Diamond status:
This is not just a problem in China but appears on international platforms too, although nobody knows where this specific and other sellers are located. They probably fake the credentials that are forwarded on buyers’ behalf to Hilton or other loyalty programs which are being matched.
The problem is that there is no way for Hilton Honors or any other program to verify that the provided screenshot(s) are real as surely these companies don’t have access to each others records.
Buyers, as the reader points out above, can just repurchase the status every three months (for how long?) for few bucks to enjoy the Hilton Diamond status benefits. They can even merge the fake accounts in the future to pool the earned points (if the buyers even care about the points over benefits).
It is understandable if some hotels may get “tired” of fake Diamond members. It takes few keystrokes for the front desk personnel to see the guest’s stay history with the property and the chain to weed them out.
I would assume that these fakes are probably one of the reasons why straight status matches have become rarer in recent years without a stay or fast track component.
We reached out to Hilton for a comment but didn’t receive one by the publication time.