Madrid ar Night (Photo: iStockphoto/Ricardo De Mattos)

Enter the Red Diamond "International Dream Trip" sweepstakes by March 31, 2015, for a chance to win the grand prize: a seven-night trip for two to either Madrid or Barcelona, including air and hotel accommodations.

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

Cathay Pacific aircraft close up (Photo: Cathay Pacific)

Can an airline loyalty program become "too popular"?

That, according to a story in the South China Morning Post, is precisely the fate that has befallen Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo program.

How can it be a bad thing for a loyalty program to be too popular? Isn't that like a public company being too profitable, or a super model being too beautiful? In this case, "too popular" seems to be code for too generous. Because there are a limited number of award seats and upgrades and lounge seats, more generosity for the many means less generosity for the few. And those few—the airline's most profitable customers—are apparently feeling underappreciated.

Commenting on the story, an airline official was quoted as follows: "Airlines all over the world are recognizing the anomalies created by a mileage or sector-based reward and recognition system. We are carefully studying the impact of this and the possible implications for the Marco Polo Club in terms of how members earn their status and what benefits and recognition they should be receiving based on the value they bring to the airline."

If that sounds vaguely familiar, it's probably because similar thinking, whether explicitly communicated or not, was the business-case driver behind Delta and United's decision to convert their programs to revenue-based schemes in 2015. ... read more»

Following the December announcement regarding loosened travel restrictions to Cuba, new rules take effect today that will make it a lot easier to visit the Caribbean nation.

But, while Cuba travel is getting easier, it's still not as simple as booking a flight and getting a cab to the airport. Tourism remains restricted, and you'll need to follow the rules. Here's what you need to know before you start planning a vacation to Cuba. ... 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.

Up to 50K Hyatt Bonus-Point Offer, But Was the Wait Worth It?

Hyatt Gold Passport members can earn bonus points for stays at more than 570 Hyatt properties between January 15 and April 30.

Hack Attack! Check Your American, United Miles

If you have miles in the programs of American or United, this would be a good time to check your account balance and confirm that all your miles are intact.

And the Best Airport in North America Is ... ... read more»

Photo: iStockphoto

The slow-motion merging of the American and US Airways mileage programs registered a significant milestone earlier this month, when the programs began allowing travelers who have both AAdvantage and Dividend Miles accounts to "match" them.

Matching the accounts does not merge them. That won't happen until sometime during the second quarter of 2015. Rather, matching means ensuring that the profile details (name, date of birth, email, contact information) are identical in both programs. That way, the accounts can be automatically merged later this year. If there are discrepancies between the accounts—you're identified as Jim in one and James in the other, say—the auto-merge process will fail and you will have to intervene manually to consolidate the accounts. ... read more»

People: Diver (Photo: Thinkstock/Zoonar)

Restrictions on travel to Cuba may have been loosened recently, but there are still so many rules about what American tour groups can and can't do, it's no surprise most of the itineraries are pretty similar. These educational, people-to-people trips are quickly creating a beaten path in the small, still-sort-of-off-limits Caribbean country. On most tours, you'll go to a cigar factory, you'll have dinner at a local family restaurant, and you'll visit a colonial city. It's not that these and other iconic activities aren't interesting, it's just that some travelers want something a little different.

Here are seven companies offering just that, tours that provide a unique lens through which to see Cuba: ... read more»

People: Woman Exercising in Hotel Room (Photo: Getty Images/Masaaki Toyoura)

When it comes to exercise on the road, I get bogged down easily. Special gear, sneakers, appropriate clothing to sweat in: They can all seem like insurmountable hurdles when I'm packing. Most of the time, I'm traveling carry-on, and I simply don't have the room for exercise shoes and clothes. And even if I do manage to bring the right gear, I often don't have time when I'm on the road to get in a full workout.

But about six months ago, I downloaded Seven, a seven-minute workout app that works perfectly without special gear and is well suited to a typical hotel room. The idea of the seven-minute workout got a lot of buzz last year. But it wasn't until I started using it on trips that I really understood its value for well-intentioned travelers like me, who want to maintain good habits but aren't part of that exercise-above-all tribe of athletes you see running full-tilt on hotel treadmills at 6 in the morning. ... read more»

People: Runner, Up- Close Sneakers (Photo: Thinkstock/Maridav)

Sneakers, tennis shoes, running shoes—whatever you call them, there's no getting around the fact that they take up more than their fair share of suitcase real estate. But you don't have to abandon your resolve to stay fit and healthy in the pursuit of packing light. Here are three ways to save space and make sure you have shoes that will support you however you choose to work out when you're on the road.

... read more»

Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday this year—so whether you're single or attached, why not take the opportunity to travel somewhere? Take our quiz to reveal what your destination should be, and then share your results on Facebook and Twitter to drop a hint.

... read more»

Base of Eiffel Tower, Paris, France (Photo: Rick Steves)

Stretch your legs on lie-flat business-class seats, arranged in two by two rows. Turn on your seat's massage function and enjoy a glass of Champaign as you browse a preloaded Samsung Galaxy Pro tablet. This is the travel experience on La Compagnie, a new airline that operates five weekly flights between Newark Liberty and Charles de Gaulle.

The best part: Ticket prices are wonderfully affordable. For a limited time, you can grab last-minute winter tickets on the all-business-class carrier for $1,400 round-trip. ... read more»

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