Back in January I wrote about how to use the Luhn Algorithm to instantly get free Hilton Gold status. In my experience attention to this promotion waxes and wanes every few months. Well, it seems that Milequest, Hack My Trip and Million Mile Secrets have caught onto the latest wave. But rather than putting the effort in to work out the Luhn Algorithm, they suggest that you use an online generator to do it for you. I think you should at least put some effort into earning your points and status!
Given the amount of people who have minted themselves as a new Gold member, I would try to draw attention away from yourself. Reader JP helped me find the terms and condition, and I would suggest changing your address to one of these countries mentioned instead of using Australia.
“This offer is open to selected Visa Infinite cardholders residing within Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa and who are enrolled in Hilton HHonors and register for the promotion.
*Asia Pacific denotes Australia, Hong Kong, China, Korea Singapore, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Philippines”
Now, a quick brainstorm on why I think it's acceptable. Firstly trying to fake a credit card number blindly and attempting to use it to buy stuff is illegal. I think we all knew that. However what is my stance in this case where no payment is being represented?
Well for a start the Luhn algorithm is wide open in the public space and so it cannot be illegal to generate a valid 16 digit card number by itself. (The patent for it, granted in 1960, has now expired.)
So then what is being (mis-)represented if you try to use the Hilton Gold signup link? Given it can't be illegal to create a 16 digit card number, it can only be that you hold a valid Visa Infinite card. I see it as a little cheeky, but not to the extent of fraud. I see this as a civil and not criminal case. In which case the argument becomes “how much does each party lose from it?”
Without Hilton Gold I wouldn't ever bother staying at Hilton. Instead I'd stay at Intercontinental Hotel Group where it's incredibly easy stack promotions and get free nights. So here Hilton have earned my business. Heck if they're willing to throw Gold status in the USA at anyone who applies for a $95/year credit card (this one … and no I don't get a commission!) only for them to stick it in their drawer and not spend a penny on it, then I don't feel so bad. Don't forget that loyalty programme status is worthless if you're not using the benefits.
Sure there's $95 annual cost to the consumer, but Hilton only see a small fraction of that. (I have no idea how much though!) so there's a small, but essentially negligible income on the annual fee alone. I won't guess accurately how much commission they would have received on purchases, but it'd be in the order of far less than 1 percent.
There's also a UK equivalent (no commission once again), which has no annual fee and even gives a free night certificate. The Gold status kicks in for the remainder of the calendar year plus the following year when you spend ?10,000 per year. You can just buy gift cards for your local supermarket and that's you done. As it happens I have Hilton Gold through this route too.
Ultimately if Hilton decide they want to pull the plug on this promotion, then they can, and it's within their terms and conditions to remove all your points if they really want and without notice. If you're not comfortable taking advantage of this loophole, then don't. However it's been going on for over a year now and they have had every chance to do so, but haven't so clearly it's not really harming them much if at all.
Money speaks volumes, they might get your business for a couple of extra nights (potentially a lot more), so that's enough for me to say just sign up for the Gold status!
Do you agree or disagree with me? Do you have any constructive comments that haven't been made before? Please leave a message below!