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Hotel room door slightly open (Photo: iStockphoto/MBCheatham)

The headline of the latest press release from InterContinental touts "Enhancements to Its Award Winning Loyalty Program - IHG Rewards Club." Indeed, there are some changes that qualify as enhancements.

For many IHG Rewards members, however, the bigger story is anything but an enhancement: "To enable IHG to reward our guests who stay with us most often, starting from May 2016, IHG will expire all points for IHG Rewards Club Members if they have not earned or redeemed any points at all in the previous 12 months." ... read more»

While most travelers to Greece head for the islands, I head for the hills—the mountains and valleys of the Peloponnese. Attached to the rest of Greece by a thin isthmus, this rugged land has always seemed isolated from the rest of the country. And while it holds some of Greece's greatest ancient monuments—such as Olympia or Mycenae—there's a lot more to this region.

I particularly love the Mani Peninsula—the southern tip of the Peloponnese—empty and wild like a landscape in a Hollywood western. Once struggling with pirates and brigands, today the Mani is a peaceful land of rustic villages and untrammeled beaches. Many Mani towns feature sumptuous, old, fresco-slathered churches—pockets of brightness in this otherwise parched land. ... read more»

What Is it: A silk sleep sack from Grand Trunk.

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Photo: Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau

Enter the Grand Wailea "Grand Refresh" sweepstakes by June 23, 2015, for a chance to win the grand prize: a four night trip for four to Maui, including airfare, hotel, tours, activities, and dinners nightly.

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»

Plane Flying Under Rainbow (Photo: Thinkstock/Hemera)

The 2015 Airline Quality Rating report, a joint undertaking by professors at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical and Wichita State universities, was published this week with its annual review and rankings of U.S. airlines' performance during the previous year.

The study incorporates 15 elements in four areas of airline performance: mishandled bags, on-time arrivals, denied boardings, and customer complaints. The report synthesizes data compiled by the DOT for its monthly Air Travel Consumer Report, and assigns U.S. airlines a higher or lower AQR (Airline Quality Rating) accordingly. ... read more»

Miles & Points (Photo: Shutterstock)

Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.

If it was a good deal—or a notably bad deal—from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly.

Are You Leaving Frequent-Flyer Miles on the Table?

You do earn miles by shopping at the airlines' mileage malls, right? If not, you're missing an opportunity to bolster your account balance without spending an extra penny.

US Airways Operates Final Flights

US Airways is gone. Well, it's gone as far as the U.S. government is concerned. That's because today, American received a single operating certificate from the FAA. ... read more»

United New Plane (Photo: United Airlines)

In a story broken just this week by the Wall Street Journal, it was revealed that United is under scrutiny from the FAA for "systemic" hazards.

The FAA in a February letter to the airline expressed concern that mandatory pilot-qualification and scheduling procedures were not being adhered to. ... read more»

What is it: Sherpani Nuage Carry-On

Price and Where to Buy:  $200 on Sherpani.com; $170 on Amazon

Pros: In a category flooded with "ultralight" imposters that can weigh up to eight pounds empty, the Sherpani Nuage actually delivers on its promise to be a lightweight carry-on. Weighing in at 3.9 pounds, the 22-inch carry-on doesn't skimp on great detailing like interior mesh pockets, compression straps, and exterior pockets with lighter fabric lining (to make it easier to find things quickly). The fabric's subtle pattern gives this bag feminine personality, and it's got a bit of stretch so that you can fit more into the main compartment. The telescoping handle has a small cross-bar that perfectly stabilizes its companion bag, the Sherpani Soleil ($99). The Soleil is an adaptable backpack-tote-crossbody bag with travel-friendly features like exterior water bottle/umbrella pockets and a padded interior space for electronics.

Cons: This bag was intended to be a carry-on only. If you check it, you void the warranty. The tapering shape of the bag, which presumably makes it more stable (and also looks nice) means it has slightly less main pocket room along the top of the suitcase. ... read more»

Airport: Couple Greeting Each Other (Photo: Thinkstock/Eyecandy Images)

As reported here, American has merged the accounts of US Airways Dividend Miles members into the AAdvantage program, consolidating American and US Airways accounts into a single account wherever it could be determined that the same person owned both accounts.

According to reports from program members, most duplicate accounts were successfully identified and combined. But some were not. For the auto-merge process to work, key data fields in the two accounts must have matched. And if there were discrepancies, the two accounts could not be merged.

Beginning this week, in the final phase of the program integration, members of both airlines' programs whose accounts were not automatically merged can manually combine their accounts. ... read more»

Shopping: Online Shopper, Excited (Photo: Shutterstock/Elena Elisseeva)

You do earn miles by shopping at the airlines' mileage malls, right?

There's no reason not to. The prices are the same. And by making your purchases through the airline's portal, you'll be earning miles—typically between one and 10 miles per $1 spent—that you don't get when dealing direct through the merchant.

Making a good deal even better are the periodic bonus promotions that amp up the mileage-earning. Those promotions generally proliferate around Christmas and other heavy-buying periods. But sometimes, they seem to appear randomly. As with this featured offer... ... read more»

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