About one week ago, I received an email from a Guest Relations Specialist at Hyatt Hotel’s Global Contact Center in Omaha, Nebraska concerning gift cards that I had purchased last year.
Hyatt is committed to protecting the integrity of our gift cards and the experience of those who receive them. After learning of a fraudulent scheme affecting gift cards at several companies, including Hyatt, we quickly implemented a number of measures in an effort to protect our gift cards from this scheme.
Unfortunately, we believe that the monetary value on the gift cards you purchased on 10/07/2015 may have been affected before preventive measures were implemented. Please rest assured that the potential impact of this situation is limited to the monetary value on the card, and that your personal information has not been compromised. Nonetheless, we are committed to your satisfaction and would like to send a replacement card with additional security measures, including a secondary PIN number. Please let us know your preferred shipping address to receive a plastic gift card or advise if you would like to receive a digital gift card via email.
We apologize for any inconvenience this incident has caused you, and look forward to hearing back from you so we can remedy the situation as soon as possible.
I wrote a quick response, saying only that I was consumed with family health issues (my mom was in the hospital at the time), and that I would follow-up shortly. I honestly believed that Hyatt was acting on an overabundance of caution, as I had recently checked the balances on all of my Hyatt Gift Cards, and they were all intact at the time. It was well-known that there were theft issues with Hyatt Gift Cards in the past, as they were numbered sequentially and did not have pin numbers – but, as I said, I had checked the balances on my cards and thought they were fine. (I have written about some of the trials and tribulations of the Hyatt Gift Cards in the past. See, for example: Warning, Read This Before Buying Hyatt Gift Cards. Additionally, see Hyatt Hacked).
On Friday, I received another email from Hyatt. This tone of this email was far more serious and alarming than the first email. I was specifically informed that at least two of my cards were hacked and that the money on the cards was stolen.
In our investigation, we learn that your cards ending in xxx and yyy were the ones that was compromised. We will be replacing both cards for the full amount of $500 each. If you can please let me know your preferred shipping address to receive a plastic gift card or advise if you would like to receive a digital gift card via email.
Well, of course, when I read the email, I was already at a Hyatt Hotel for the weekend, and I had brought the one ending in xxx with me intending to use it for payment. I obviously paid by credit card rather than with the gift cards I had intended to use.
Today, I phoned Hyatt to follow-up on this matter. The little that I learned was that my cards were on the list for the Maui Hawaii matter. I was told only that a guest had tried to pay a hotel bill of thousands of dollars with stolen gift card numbers. I asked for more information but the agent said he was not at liberty to tell me more. He did indicate that Hyatt did follow through on the matter and that the person in question was arrested.
I am thankful for the fact that Hyatt followed up on this matter and minimized my loss.
Of course, I asked if there was any compensation for my inconvenience. The agent offered to put 20,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points in my account. I gasped and said yes!