When That Small “Hack” Blows Up In Your Face!

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lyft charlotte
Courtesy of Alfredo Mendez.

Lyft Charlotte & My Terrible “Brilliant” Idea

Following a fantastic day at Family Travel for Real Life, a great dinner and a group podcasting session (more on that later), it was time to head to my hotel, one of the two Hyatt Place hotels near Charlotte’s airport.

Since I had a couple of Lyft credits expiring (their 30 day expiration on referral credits is terrible), I agreed to give Dan from Points with a Crew a ride to his hotel. He was staying at the Hyatt House near the airport, about 3 miles from my hotel.

We departed Uptown Charlotte at a very busy time shorly after the Fleetwood Mac concert had let out. Naturally Lyft was charging 50% more than the normal rates which made sense given how many people were out on the streets, but I didn’t want to pay out of pocket. After all, rides should be free!

It turns out that I had an extra Lyft credit that I won’t be able to use, so I came up with a “brilliant” plan. I would take Dan to his hotel, get out and let the Lyft ride end before calling another car to bring me to my hotel. This way I wouldn’t go over my $20 credit and have to pay out of pocket. Smart am I.

Eventually we arrive at Dan’s hotel and he checks in and ditches me in the lobby. In the meantime I am sitting there with the Lyft app trying to call a car. Over and over it tells me that there are no drivers and to try again later.

Finally after a couple of minutes a driver is assigned. The app estimates it will take him 15 minutes, but I am just happy that I will soon be on my way. Dan is long gone and the front desk clerk is now staring at me. I thought about saying, “but I am a Diamond guest“, but I doubt he would have cared.

Two minutes after my driver is assigned the ride is canceled and I am crushed. Why didn’t I just book my room at the Hyatt House? Why do I get myself into these situations? Why the hell did I book an 8am flight on a night when I have to set the clock ahead an hour and most importantly, why the heck did I give Dan a ride? 🙂

On the podcast we talked about breaking down while traveling and how I have probably done it more often than my son. For a moment I felt just sorry enough for myself to consider it, but then I turned to my old buddy Uber.

Thankfully Uber turned out to be much more reliable than Lyft and a driver arrived within four minutes. I was at my hotel a few minutes later. Sure it cost me $5, but it was so worth it. So very much worth it!

I guess the moral of this story is that being cheap and trying to hack the system can sometimes backfire. Thankfully Uber saved the day, but I still lost about 30 minutes of precious sleep. Oh, and that Dan is trouble!

Have you ever had a brilliant idea to save money while traveling that blew up in your face? Let me know in the comments!


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Little stuff can kill you on the road. I never use Pointshound but recently on a trip to NYC I booked through them to get some bonus miles with AA. I also usually don’t arrive late at my hotel but the one night I arrived exhausted at 10pm in 4 degree weather the hotel never got the reservation from Pointshound. Go figure. It worked out as I was able to get another room nearby but it cost me at least an hour and a walk with luggage on icy sidewalks in the middle of the night in NYC. Live and learn my friend.

  2. Unfortunatly Uber decided to slash rates but offer pathetic hourly guarantees. Lyft matched the rate vut but offers no hourly guarantee. With the IRS mileage rate at 57.5 cents and Lyft rates at 75 cents before commission pretty much any ride more than 5 minutes away is a losing proposition. I haven’t driven since the rate cut and neither have most of th. Other.Lyft drivers. We either drive for Uber or have found other jobs.

    • I had assumed I would get another car right away and to be honest it was late and I wasn’t thinking clear. We all make stupid mistakes. This was one, but you are right.

  3. Not that this is much of a hack… but I did have the need to book airfare on Southwest recently. Since this was going to be paid, I priced out the flights I wanted and ordered a southwest gift card from Staples.com with my Ink card (and through the AA portal). As I waited for 22 hours for my email delivery gift card, I watched the flight prices increase $20, then $50, then $100, and finally $140 per ticket. At those prices I didn’t want to buy the tickets anymore, so I cancelled my gift card purchase from Staples.

    That whole ordeal was a waste of time…

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