A moral dilemma: how to rate your horrible Uber/Lyft driver

We hopped in the Chevy HHR to a greeting from the driver, a man in his 60s or 70s.

“Would you like some music?” he asked as he pulled away from our place.

“Sure, we like everything,” I offered.

He pulled over to the side, turned on some music, then headed down the road again.

Pulling over to use his phone, very responsible, I thought to myself.

Next he hit the button to start GPSing the route, which turned off the music. Oh well.

He was a heavy talker, which I’m not bothered by. I’ve been a driver, I know how it goes.

As he chatted away, he casually missed our highway exit toward the airport.

“Oops, that was our exit,” I said, too late. Continue reading

I finally pounced on an error fare…but why is it still available?

Last night I booked a flight that’ll be two firsts for me:

  1. An error fare
  2. A business class flight

The flight appears to be about half the price of a normal coach fare for the route.

I got the deal from Secret Flying, who I love for their fare alerts, even though they often steal info from other sites without crediting the source.


So I book the flight, right?

But here we are, next day, and the fare is still available.

Continue reading

Best use of Fairmont dining certificates? How bout the original Fairmont

There was a gold rush of people signing up for Chase’s Fairmont credit card early this year for a few reasons:

  1. This was one of the few Chase cards that was still available to people who had five or more new credit cards in the past 24 months.
  2. Chase confirmed that they would be ending the card soon and would stop accepting applications for the card.
  3. Many people are hoping that Chase will eventually convert all Fairmont card accounts to a Chase-branded card that many aren’t eligible for, due to the aforementioned 5/24 rule.

Well, I was one of the gold rushers.

One of the nice things about this credit card is it comes with $50 in dining certificates each year that can be used at any Fairmont.

I’m lucky to have one very close to where I live, so I decided to try using my dining certificate before it expires and renews on Feb. 28.

The Fairmont San Francisco

I knew the Fairmont San Francisco was swanky and historic, and that Barack Obama stayed here recently, but I didn’t know it was this swanky and historic:

img_3631 Continue reading

Great news! Alaska Airlines discount codes now work on Virgin America flights

There are a bunch of things that make Alaska Airlines a uniquely awesome airline.

One of those is the discount codes that you can earn with the Alaska Airlines credit cards from Bank of America.

Each of their credit cards that you have will provide you a single-use companion pass every year, which allows you to bring an additional person with you on a flight for only $99, no matter how much your ticket costs.

If your roundtrip flight is $400, you can bring your travel partner for about $100 more, meaning you’d have two roundtrip tickets for around $500.

Bank of America also sent me an offer a few months ago for a $50 discount code after I spent $250 using my card at specific categories of stores.

In case you missed it, Alaska Airlines acquired another of my favorite airlines last year, Virgin America.

Even though you could book Virgin America flights on Alaska Air’s website, you couldn’t initially use your Alaska Air discount codes on those flights.

Well I was browsing some flights today, and I realized…

Now you can.

Continue reading

How we’re getting 3 people to Hawaii and back for free

Before I jump in, please don’t think I’m trying to brag.

There are travel hackers out there who I’m sure could get way better value out of their points by using them to somehow get 1st-class tickets, along with a free stopover in Sydney, for the same price.

We’re flying coach, and we’re psyched.

Get on with it, so how?

Continue reading

Spooked by overpriced hotels for SXSW? Here are some points options you can use to stay for free

The South By Southwest conference and festival floods the city of Austin with visitors for 10 days every spring, causing hotel prices to skyrocket.

For those not on the company tab, that could mean paying hundreds of dollars per night if you want to stay anywhere near the action downtown.

But, if you have a stockpile of hotel points, you could stay for free.

Keep in mind, under normal circumstances most hotel points are valued at only about a half a cent, though Hyatt and SPG points are more valuable.

During SXSW you could get amazing value out of your points.

Here are some options:

Night 1: Hyatt Regency Austin

A Hyatt point is worth: ~6.6 cents. Woah!

Pay cash:

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-47-39-pm Continue reading

So it turns out that free car rental thing from Lyft is currently a fail in SF

I was super excited a to post about Lyft’s Express Drive program a few months ago, which is supposed to allow drivers who complete a certain number of rides to get a free car rental.

They even had brand new electric cars available at some point.

But I recently attempted to try the program, and learned that it’s sort of scamming some drivers by making them wait multiple unpaid hours for a Hertz rental deal that may also result in lost earnings.

Lyft has two options for drivers to get a free rental in SF: Continue reading