Hoteliers usually coddle their loyalty program members.Choice
Hotels is suing one of its members, who allegedly took advantage of a glitch in
the online reservations system and managed to rack up nearly $50,000 in rewards
program gift cards.
The large global hotelier recently filed a lawsuit claiming Robert Chat, 38,
fraudulently took advantage of a glitch which offered reward points even when a
booking was cancelled.
The company claims that when Chat discovered the flaw, he systematically made
hundreds of bookings and cancelations from October to January racking up
$48,500 in loyalty points.
The lawsuit stated points are "offered as a reward in exchange for
actually staying at Choice Hotels, not simply for making a reservation.
Frequent-stay programs are common throughout the industry and neither Choice
nor its competitors offer rewards for frequent reservations," the lawsuit
Chat, who Choice admits is a frequent customer at its hotels, claims no
wrongdoing. "I'll be hiring a lawyer tomorrow to fight the suit as there
was nothing done illegal nor was anything done in malice," Chat told the
Tampa Bay Times. "I stayed at over 1,100 Choice hotels in the last 5 years.
I worked with their bonus structure to obtain points.
"I'm not even computer literate. If I obtained more rewards than
allowed, it's on their end, not mine. As I've stayed in their hotels
exclusively for over 6 years, points do accumulate."