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Quick Points: How and why you should regularly audit your loyalty accounts

March 10, 2022
6 min read
Loft King Room at the London Edition
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As the son of an accountant, I was taught from a young age to double-check credits and debits — and that translates to my loyalty accounts, too.

After all, there are plenty of opportunities to maximize your travel within the points and miles space. But the game assumes that you're earning and redeeming at the rates that you expect, as outlined by the travel provider.

In some cases, entire flights or hotel stays aren't posted to our accounts, so it's vitally important that you routinely audit your loyalty accounts. When errors occur, more often than not they're not in our favor as customers. Here's how and why you should audit your loyalty accounts.

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How to audit your accounts

Auditing your loyalty accounts ensures you don't miss out on points and miles you rightfully earned. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Auditing your loyalty accounts isn't difficult, depending on the level of accuracy you're looking for. On a flight, for example, double-checking that the Premier qualifying points, Loyalty Points or Medallion Qualification Dollars roughly match the price of your ticket is a much easier audit than manually checking that each lifetime flight mile has been correctly posted.

Maybe it's a bit much, but I check my major loyalty accounts almost daily since I spend a lot of time on the road. It's important to me that I am awarded properly for my travel. On flights, you should keep a special eye on your frequent flyer accounts when you are using partner airlines. TPG staffer Nick Ewen had a difficult time getting Delta to properly award miles for a SkyTeam partner flight.

In the hotel space, over the years, I've found that some hotel brands are more reliable in posting stays correctly. To date, Hilton has never made an error on my Hilton Honors account. World of Hyatt generally has posted my stays, but sometimes the qualifying revenue is off (meaning that I should have earned more points). Marriott Bonvoy is the least reliable of the three — entire stays aren't posted or the qualifying revenue can be hundreds of dollars off. Several TPG staffers have also had errors with IHG. In one case, TPG Points and Miles editor Andrew Kunesh had an IHG stay in Iceland post as 316 Icelandic krona (about $2.39) when it should have been $316. He reached out to IHG via online messaging, and the error was quickly fixed.

Since you generally earn points based on your total spending, errors in qualifying revenue can massively affect the total number of points that you accrue.

As a result, I've learned to keep a special eye on the less reliable programs.

Related: Here’s why you should always double-check your hotel bill

Why you should audit your accounts

One of the most compelling examples of why you should always audit your accounts is from my recent stay at Hotel Paseo, Autograph Collection in Palm Desert, California.

Although I stayed in early February, the stay was never posted to my Marriott Bonvoy account. There were no reasons why Marriott shouldn't have posted this stay to my account, considering that the rate was eligible to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and my Ambassador Elite membership was linked to the reservation.

(Screenshot from Marriott Bonvoy)

I waited a month for the stay to be posted to my account, and it never happened. This prompted me to contact Marriott Bonvoy using this form, which you can do if your stay hasn't been posted within 10 business days of your checkout date.

Fortunately, Marriott was swift to resolve this mistake, and the stay was posted later the same day that I submitted the form.

(Screenshot from Marriott Bonvoy)

Almost 20,000 points and three elite qualifying nights were completely missing from my account — the points alone are worth $158.74 by our valuations. Without an audit, this would have gone unnoticed. Although it was likely a system error at fault, like with numerous previous where stays haven't been posted to my account, I wasn't amused by this mistake, which conveniently was definitely not in my favor.

Related: Why I always charge my meals, gifts and spa treatments to my hotel room

A friend of mine has traveled to India multiple times using his MileagePlus account on Air India-issued tickets. In several cases on different trips, the miles haven't been awarded to his MileagePlus account. When this happens, you will need to submit a request for missing miles with United. But don't expect to be done there.

Although the Air India ticket numbers were provided on the ticket receipt to United, United was unable to locate the flights using their Star Alliance partner ticket search. As preposterous as it seems in hindsight, United made it clear in an email that it would be unable to credit these flights without a physical boarding pass for each sector. Luckily, he had copies of the boarding passes, which were submitted, and the miles were posted.

Because of situations like this, I've learned to always keep my boarding passes for partner flights until the miles post.

Consider holding on to your boarding pass until you receive the miles from your flight in your frequent flyer account. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Regardless of the reason, the end result suggests that not all travel providers play the points and miles game fairly — whether on purpose or not. Without doing an audit, you stand to lose what you should have earned. This process is frustrating, and you can understandably feel cheated.

Similar to how you should be checking that Venmo and PayPal transactions are properly credited to and debited from your bank account, you should be checking to make sure that your travel is being posted in the way that it should. If you're not sure what you should be earning, you can start with our beginners guide and go to each respective travel provider that you do business with.

Double-check your work, dot your i's and cross your t's. The first time that you catch an error, you'll instantly know that it pays off.

Featured image by (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases