Eiffel Tower, Paris (Photo: Index Open)

Enter the Atout France "France on the Fly" sweepstakes by June 30, 2015, for a chance to win the grand prize: roundtrip Premium Economy tickets for two to Paris, and a culinary experience with a top French baker. (Hotel accommodations are NOT included. That's what frequent-flyer points are for, right?)

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 15 seconds. ... read more»

Man looking at laptop in Meadow (Photo: iStockPhoto/Kemter)

All the flying you want, for $1,750 a month.

Sound too good to be true? It is true, however, but with some important qualifications.

First, the unlimited flying is only within California. That's because Surf Air is currently not authorized to operate interstate flights. But longer term, the company hopes to expand its route network to include Las Vegas, Arizona, Texas, and other points further afield.

For now, Surf Air serves nine smaller California airports: Sacramento, Santa Rosa, San Carlos, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Burbank, Hawthorne, Palm Springs, and Carlsbad. Service to Truckee (near Lake Tahoe) starts on March 23, and Oakland flights launch on October 19. ... read more»

Money: Handing Over a Chip-and-Pin Credit Card (Photo: Shutterstock/dean bertoncelj)

If you're heading outside of the United States this summer, get your plastic ready. And if you haven't been out of the country recently, you'll find some changes—some to your benefit, some not so good.

Basic rule. The longstanding basic "rule" remains valid: Put your big charges on a credit card and use an ATM (debit) card for the local cash you need. Even with the fees, you lose less on foreign exchange using plastic than by exchanging currency. But some details have changed. ... read more»

Southwest plans to install wider seats in its 737-800s and 737- MAX planes starting next year. The seat cushions will, in fact, be an inch or so wider than Southwest's current models, and wider than seat cushions on most other airlines' 737s as well. But that doesn't mean you'll get more space than before.

The explanation for this seeming contradiction is simple: The total side-to-side space won't change. Instead, the new seats will have less space in the gap between adjacent cushions and probably thinner armrests. So you'll have a bit more room for your butt, but no more room for your shoulders. ... 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.

The Best-Ranked U.S. Airlines

The 2015 Airline Quality Rating report was published this week with its annual review and rankings of U.S. airlines' performance. The airline rated best overall is ...

Southwest Announces Wider Seats for Coach Class

Other features of the new seats: adjustable headrests; leather-like seat covers; and thinner armrests. ... read more»

Man clinging to airplane seat (Photo: Index Open)

When considering (oxymoron alert!) coach-class comfort, the focus tends to be on legroom and seat width. Indeed, those two variables go a long way toward determining how comfortable you'll be, especially on longer flights.

But there is a third variable to consider as well: seat position. Whether it's an aisle, window, or middle seat plays a major role in exacerbating or alleviating the coach crunch. Both aisle and widow seats allow travelers a smidgen of extra room to expand, toward the plane's interior wall or into the aisle. Middle-seat occupants have no such luxury. ... read more»

Woman: Scared, Splayed Fingers on Face (Photo: Shutterstock/Ipatov)

Also: Where these bedbugs were found will shock you—could it happen to you? ... read more»

Skopelos, Greece (Photo: Thinkstock/Hemera)

Airfare has been killing us recently. Fuel prices may be plummeting, but that simply means more cash for airlines, rather than more savings for passengers. So unless consumer demand drops (which we don't expect anytime soon), flying just about anywhere in the world will remain a costly affair. But that doesn't mean you should put off your travel plans. Instead, we suggest grinning and bearing it and ponying up for the flight—but choosing a destination that's cheap once you're there.

We found six spots around the globe—from Europe to Asia, from the Caribbean to Central America—that may be expensive to reach, but upon arrival, everything from food to activities to accommodations is incredibly affordable. You can even budget in an hour-long massage (at just $15!) every day—seriously.

And we also suggest not booking a return flight, because you just may get so accustomed to this affordable lifestyle, you won't want to leave. ... read more»

United New Plane (Photo: United Airlines)

Beginning on June 1, coach-class travelers on United's international flights will enjoy an amenity that disappeared on most United flights more than a decade ago: free beer and wine. ... read more»

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. already encompasses nine separate brands, accounting for more than 1,200 individual hotels, in 100 countries.

That's big. But in an industry where bigger is better, it's just mid-pack size-wise. Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental, and Best Western all have around 4,000 properties in their networks. Wyndham and Choice have even more.

So it's no surprise that Starwood today launched its tenth brand, Tribute Portfolio. ... read more»

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