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Hilton Gift Card Issues

Over the last few weeks / months we have seen quite a few posts in the ToP Facebook Group about Hilton gift card issues. It came to a head the other day with another post by Ess C in the group. There were multiple data points shared, on that thread alone, that makes it obvious that Hilton gift cards have a pretty big problem. Like not even being able to be used at check out during your Hilton stay. This is notable after recent Hilton credit card changes, where you get quarterly credits to spend at Hilton Hotels. Some people have been purchasing gift cards on the Hilton website to trigger these credits. The problem is that with these Hilton gift card issues they are left with a glorified windshield ice scraper. Let's dig into what is going on.

Data Points Of Issues We Have Seen

Here are some problems that we are seeing with these Hilton gift cards, which are issued by American Express:

  • Loaded gift cards, which are showing a balance when checked, are not working at checkout to pay a portion of the folio.
    • The supervisor said I need to call Hilton and have them remove the high security code in order to use it.
  • Same issue for another person and after much back and forth with Hilton, and the Amex gift card desk, they were unable to get anywhere and gave up.
    • The supervisor said this has happened often
  • While on an international trip a person had two work and two fail.
    • It seems like some cards may be issued to work only domestically?
  • Unable to use Hilton GC at a Hilton Tapestry property a couple weeks ago.
    • Was a hard coded thing in their system.
  • After being told they did not accept them at check in, I had a very knowledgeable front desk manager the next day who knew how to make them work. As someone mentioned, the trick was she had to enter the amount of the card as the total to be charged so it took a little longer then usual-several swipes instead of one.
    • Someone responded to this that they tried to just do it for the amount on the card and it still failed at a different property.
What Is Causing This?

This is a pretty scary situation with gift cards. I can't think of another brand that has this kind of miss rate. Especially, when you consider these are all purchased direct from the source versus a third party vendor like a grocery store etc.

The fact that American Express issues these, and you have to deal with them instead of Hilton directly, adds another layer to all of this. That alone makes problems like this that much more of a pain in the butt to deal with.

Hilton Gift Card Issues

My Own Personal Experience

On our recent trip to Maui I purchased a Hilton gift card at the on property spa and split the payment over our three Hilton cards for the purchase. I was able to use it at checkout to offset our final bill without an issue. Well, without an issue from the gift card, but that is a story for another day. I wonder if it was better because I bought it on property versus from their website though. I wonder if American Express is messing up activating them properly somehow before sending them out.

Hilton Gift Card Issues: ToP Thoughts

These Hilton gift card issues are happening often enough that I am rethinking my plans for next quarter. I will try my best to use them for property credit or for the room cost etc. Even if that means I have to look like a fool split tendering my bill across four cards at checkout. The last thing I need in my life is to play phone tag with Hilton and American Express over $50 gift cards.

If you have had some Hilton gift card issues yourself, be sure to share them over in the ToP Facebook Group and I can add them to our data points above.

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