How not to accrue loyalty points


Don’t set up multiple accounts in fictitious names and use them to make bookings for hotels across the country, bookings that you never intend to use, in a scheme to garner hundreds of thousands of Yen (thousands of dollars) every week.  Really, just don’t do it.  Because just like these two yahoos, you will most likely get caught and that isn’t much fun for anyone.

Apparently hotel reservations in Japan generally don’t require a credit card for the booking online.  And there’s a website (Rakuten.co.jp) that offers a reward scheme for bookings made on their site.  They missed one tiny bit of business logic in the system, however.  They award the points whether the customer actually completes the stay (and pays for it, thereby generating income for the booking engine site) or not.  Simply the act of completing the booking was enough.  Free points, just as long as you are willing to log on and reserve a hotel room.

The two accused are believed to have booked over 28,000 rooms at 1,600 different hotels in the past 9 months.

Ohara admitted, “We earned hundreds of thousands of yen worth of points every week with the fake reservations,” the Yomiuri reported. The two men were able to redeem the points back for items such as video games, CDs, books, and even hotel rooms.

The suspects are both reported to be currently unemployed and without permanent address. They carried out their scheme on their cell phones and at internet cafes.

Nice way to pass the time, I suppose.  Right up until the point that you get caught.  Whoopsie.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .
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