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Miles and Money Now Needed to Reach "Elite" Status on United Airlines

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/21/2013, 12:45 PM

Delta did it first, back in January, when it sent a note to its loyalty program members stating that now it would not just award "Silver" status based on the amount of miles flown, travelers would also have to reach a minimum spending level (of $2,500 during the calendar year) to achieve that status. Take a read of Delta's announcement. Well, guess what? As is wont to happen in this copy-c...

The RIGHT Way to Do Denali National Park (Get OFF The Darn Bus!)

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/21/2013, 12:30 PM

In 1917, when Denali National Park in Alaska was created, just 7 hardy souls managed to make the grueling, long, roadless trek to see the wonders of the new park. Today, thanks to a highway and popular railroad, Denali is deluged with some 400,000 visitors each year, the majority in the months of June, July and August. But I would be surprised if more than 3 visitors, or even 3 park ra...

Confused About Navigating the Airport? One of Them Will Take $80 to Guide You Through It

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/21/2013, 8:30 AM

More and more, airlines stand to make a lot more money when airports do their jobs inefficiently. Last month, I told you about how one airline at JFK was raking in fees for instant security-line upgrades when the TSA failed to process passengers quickly. Now, airport management itself is finding a way to cash in. Manchester, England just completed a pilot program charging customers £50, or...

While We're Discussing Fee-Free Cards, Here's One That Charges No ATM Fees

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/21/2013, 8:30 AM

Arthur Frommer recently let you know about the United Plus Explorer card, which waives the foreign transaction fee the way the famous Capital One suite of cards does. That card (in which, I stress, Frommer's has no financial interest) is described in his blog post. But that's for a credit card. What about cards linked to savings accounts, which let you draw money you actually have rather t...

While We're Discussing Fee-Free Cards, Here's One That Charges No ATM Fees

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/21/2013, 8:30 AM

Arthur Frommer recently let you know about the United Plus Explorer card, which waives the foreign transaction fee the way the famous Capital One suite of cards does. That card (in which, I stress, Frommer's has no financial interest) is described in his blog post. But that's for a credit card. What about cards linked to savings accounts, which let you draw money you actually have rather t...

The Elimination of Room Service, Top Sheets, and More: Worrisome Changes Coming to a Hotel Near You

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/20/2013, 12:30 PM

Those over the age of 45 will remember when flying was a glamorous, or at least an amenity-laden activity. Attractive flight attendants would flit up and down the aisles, delivering meals, snacks, pillows and blankets, with nary a thought of charging the passenger extra for these, well, extras. Those days are long gone, of course, and thanks to recent developments in the hotel industry it ...

Wanna Save That $25 Baggage Charge? Avoid the 3% Foreign Transaction Fee? Get Admission to a Comfy Lounge? Enjoy Priority Boarding? We Know How!

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 06/20/2013, 1:15 AM

     At the risk of being accused of touting a particular credit card (in which I have no interest whatever), it's important to alert all cost-conscious travelers about the new (and rather innovative) Chase Card for United Airlines passengers.  It costs $0 the first year, $95 the second year (thus $47.50 a year for the first two years), and primariy lets you and your travel companion each chec...

Getting Crafty in North Carolina: Meet the John C. Campbell Folk School

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/18/2013, 11:00 PM

The day began with Whisky for Breakfast. Which made sense, since we were in North Carolina. But this wasn’t a meeting of the “Moonshine Society.” Instead, a fiddler and a banjo player were jumpstarting the morning with a before-breakfast concert-- which included that classic Appalachian jig—at the famed John C. Campbell Folkschool (www.folkschool.org), of Brasstown. Later in the day, I stu...

Drop That Knock-Off Purse! People Who Buy Counterfeit Goods in New York City May Now Face Stiff Fines

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/17/2013, 2:00 AM

Just yesterday I was walking through New York's Chinatown, on my way to review a dim sum joint for my new guidebook, when a short woman slung with several purses sidles up to me. "Want to buy?" she asked in a low voice. "This real thing. Louis Vuitton. Chanel. Prada. We got it all." I said 'no thanks', and kept on walking. But I noticed that she did manage to nab a tourist near me, and soo...

On a Return Flight to the U.S. from an Overseas Trip, It Has Now Become Important to Leave Yourself At Least Four Hours for Making An Onward Connection

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 06/17/2013, 1:45 AM

     The big news in travel this past week has been the virtual collapse of the customs and immigration function at several of the nation's international airports, including those in Newark, New York, Miami, Seattle and Los Angeles, in particular.  The under-staffing of those facilities has become so evident that waits of two and three hours are sometimes needed to pass through immigration and...

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