Do you know who I am? How I checked into a hotel without ID.

This has never happened to me before. It feels like kind of a big deal (in a security issue kind of way), but maybe it happens all the time to other people and I just don’t know about it?

Here’s the story: I’m in Charlotte for the weekend. Since I am doing the Hyatt Diamond hustle (trying to rack up enough nights to requalify for Diamond status again next year), I stayed in the Hyatt in Center City on Friday night, then switched to another hotel for Saturday night. Hotel hopping is always kind of a pain, and it starts to get complicated when you layer  in additional factors such as timing and transportation; since I was in the middle of a day-long conference without a car, both of these factors made the “hop” a little hard.

I decided to zip out during the conference lunch break. I got lucky and connected with a Lyft; there isn’t a huge network of Lyft drivers in Charlotte yet, so finding one can be a challenge. My Lyft driver was awesome as usual. During the ride, he and I had a superfan conversation about Led Zeppelin – he lost the hearing in one ear from a Led Zep concert in the seventies, while I walked down the aisle to a Led Zep song at my wedding. The ride was over in a snap.

Since we were having such a great conversation, my driver offered to wait as I checked in and tossed my bag in my new hotel room: that way, he could just drive me right back to the first hotel. I was thrilled to agree, and promised to be quick. I raced into the lobby and ran up to the counter. “Hi! I’ve got a driver waiting outside!” I told her. “I’m just going to check in and quickly run my bag up to my room.”

“Of course!” she said. “Last name?”

I told her, and she tapped a few keys before she had to call over a manager. “Can I put her in this room?” she asked him.

He looked at me. “You called earlier!” he said. Indeed I had, to ask if I could check in earlier that morning. “Welcome!” he said. Everyone is so friendly in Charlotte. “Put her in this room,” he told the clerk.

The clerk nodded, then slid a couple of room keys across the counter. I grabbed them with effusive thanks, then ran towards the elevator. Within three minutes, I was back down in the lobby. “Thanks again,” I told the clerk. “See you later.”

I was in the Lyft car before I realized what had just happened: I hadn’t had to show my ID or a valid credit card. I had simply breezed in on the basis of my name alone.

Rock star move? Security concern? Oops?

Has this ever happened to you?


  1. Sounds like the type of thing I see all the time – not much of a security concern IMO. What are the odds that someone has a confirmed reservation, there’s a call asking for an early check-in, and someone shows up early to check in, and the latter turns out NOT to be you? I recently was the last passenger on a plane without actually showing an ID or boarding pass at the gate – again, what are the odds that a screened passenger standing near the gate waiting for the last seat would guess the fairly unusual last name at the the top of the standby list? They just shoved me on and shut the door…

    • Points Pixie says:

      JEM – Hmm. I would still prefer that a hotel check ID. I know too many people who have been assigned the same room even WITH an ID check. One of friends walked in the room and found a woman asleep on the bed! I guess I just like an extra layer of security – even if maybe it’s a false one.

      • Don’t think an ID check would prevent the front desk clerk assigning the wrong room. It happens frequently WITH an ID check…

  2. In your “The chocolate tip – direct from the First Class Queen.” post… you mentioned, “People at the gate rudely pushed in front of us, but the FCQ quickly put them in their place with a few well-chosen words. He kept it classy.” Do you mind sharing his exact words?

    • Points Pixie says:

      Frank – I wish I could remember his exact words! I was in awe of how he handled the situation.

  3. One more relevant detail please. How was the room? Did the manager put you in a nicer room – or no way to know, since you are already Diamond?

  4. Guwonder says:

    I’ve been checked into hotels internationally without showing ID or even a bank card but this happens more frequently for me on award night stays than other kinds of rates/stays.

  5. On a recent trip, I had the same thing happen. It was in Savannah, Ga–another friendly and trusting city.

  6. It’s called “standard operating procedure in Charlotte.” Welcome to the South! 🙂

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