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Woman: Excited with Ticket in Hand (Photo: Shutterstock/Yuri Arcurs)

When Delta removed the award-price charts from its website, disingenuously assuring SkyMiles members that they could simply look up award prices on Delta's online booking widget, travelers were rightly upset. Transparency and predictability had been summarily savaged, by a program that had already severely strained its members' trust and good will.

Naturally, the move to whatever-we-say-it-is award pricing fueled the suspicion that Delta would raise the average price of awards, unfettered by the accountability enforced by published award charts.

That may well turn out to be the case. But tying award prices to published airfares turns out to have positive ramifications as well. For some flights, the price of awards has declined, to levels below those published on the now non-existent award charts. ... read more»

Your chance of scoring a "free" frequent-flyer domestic seat in economy class on Southwest is 100 percent, 91 percent on Air Canada, and 87 percent on JetBlue. Those are really good numbers that should encourage you to keep working on your miles or points. Overall, average percentages for all 25 large lines worldwide are up for 2015. These data are from the recently released sixth annual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey, produced by IdeaWorks. Delta regained its traditional last-place finish, at 58 percent, when US Airways merged into American.

Related: Best Credit Cards for Travelers

This year's report covers seven North American lines—Alaska and larger—plus 18 big airlines in the rest of the world. During March, the researchers made 7,640 booking inquiries for two seats at the lowest-mileage-level "saver" award or equivalent, in economy class, for travel during a specified set of outbound and return travel dates during June through October, on several of each airline's "top routes." ... read more»

What is it: Bzees Flawless Slip-Ons

Price and Where to Buy: $59 on Bzees.com

Pros: These shoes are comfortable, lightweight, add a bit of height while also offering total stability, and—best of all for people who wear flats without socks—are machine washable. I traveled with them and tossed them in the washer when I got back. After they air dried, they looked (and smelled) as good as new again. And they lost none of their comfortable cushioning on the trip through the washing machine.

Cons: While they are lightweight, they've got structure, so they don't pack small. And the cut of the sides is a little high, which I noticed because I have low ankles. Anyone who has worn shoes for a lifetime without having been told they have "low ankles" is unlikely to notice it, and it caused no chafing or rubbing in my tests. ... read more»

Baseball fan (Photo: Adam Kazmierski, iStockPhoto.com)

Members of Southwest's Rapid Rewards program have a new option for earning points: ScoreBig, an online seller of tickets to live events such as professional sports games, music concerts, theater performances, and the like.

ScoreBig auctions off tickets that would probably go unsold otherwise, what the airlines and hotels refer to as "distressed inventory." Would-be buyers place bids for available tickets, much as they would on Priceline for air tickets or hotel nights. The site promises savings of "up to 60% off box office prices."

Rapid Rewards members earn between three and 22 points per $1 spent. "Per dollar points earn is based on ScoreBig ticket inventory and source." ... read more»

Technology: Tablet and Smartphone (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Just how good is airline Wi-Fi? Not very good, according to Gizmodo. In fact, the tech website warns, "All inflight Wi-Fi sort of sucks."

First of all, you can't know exactly what kind of Wi-Fi your plane will offer until you know your flight number. Then, even if you fly on an airline that promises Wi-Fi on all flights, each plane has different equipment installed. And even then, there's a chance that equipment could be broken.

In other words, it's a crap shoot. Still, your chances of getting a fast, reliable connection to the Internet on a given airline can be predicted, based on the type of equipment used by an airline, the percentage of it fleet with Wi-Fi capability, and other factors. It's less of a crapshoot on some airlines than on others. ... read more»

Whether you're a serious athlete or a weekend warrior, if you like to keep your heart pumping while sightseeing, you've got plenty of great options in Europe. From scenic jogs through Stockholm to paddling a boat in Hyde Park to biking through bustling Amsterdam, active travel can be better travel. ... read more»

I traveled to Miami for a travel editors conference, and then onto Cuba with a shortened version of smarTours' People-to-People program. From there, I headed across the Atlantic to join a Passage to Eastern Europe Danube cruise (from Bucharest, Romania, to Budapest, Hungary) with Viking River Cruises.

... read more»

What does a $20 million renovation in the heart of NYC look like? ... read more»

Las Vegas Welcome Sign at Sunset (Photo: iStockPhoto/Cecilia Lim)

Enter the Travel + Leisure "This Is How We Vegas" sweepstakes by June 1, 2015, for a chance to win the grand prize: a trip to Las Vegas for two, including roundtrip air, two nights in a suite at the ARIA hotel, two dinners, breakfast, spa or salon treatments, and tickets to Cirque du Soleil.

To enter, provide the requested contact information (name, email, etc.) on the sweepstakes landing page and press "Submit." Done! Time required to participate: less than 30 seconds. ... read more»

Crowded Airport Gate (Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

In recent years, the summer travel forecast has been mostly a bad-news story of overlong security lines, overcrowded departure areas, and overstuffed planes.

Summer 2015 will be no exception, according to Airlines for America, the trade group representing the interests of U.S. carriers.

Between June 1 and August 31, the group expects U.S. airlines to carry 222 million passengers, the most ever and an increase of 4.5 percent over the same period last year.

Other predictions for summer 2015: ... read more»

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