Hotel bed with rose petals (Photo: Index Open)

In spite of signs that demand for travel is firming up, finally, the hotels continue to pour on the promotions for summer travel.

The latest, from Omni, is among the most attractive I've seen.

Offer Details

Beginning this week, members of Omni Hotels' Select Guest program began receiving emails including two buy-one-get-one-free promotion codes.

One code is for use by the member; the other is to be given to a friend or family more»

Travelers packing up convertible

Buy one, get one free?

Well, almost.

First, rent a car. Then pay for one hotel night and get the second night more»

Delta aircraft on the ground and taking off (Photo: Delta)

Through June 30, SkyMiles credit card holders will receive a 100 percent bonus on miles purchased and charged to their cards. Good deal, or not? more»

Credit card on keyboard (Photo: Index Open)

Watching wave after wave of Delta jets landing and taking off at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, you might not suspect that the airline's financial health is bound up with the performance of something only remotely related to flying.

Credit cards.

Specifically, it's the suite of credit cards issued by American Express and linked to Delta's SkyMiles more»

Woman waiting for plane to depart (Photo: Index Open)

The airlines' mileage schemes are routinely referred to as rewards programs. But how rewarding are they? And how do they compare, rewards-wise?

We know a lot about the airlines and the details of their business. How much revenue they generate, and how much they spend in the process. How many bags they mishandle. How many passengers they fly, and how many miles they fly them. The average cents per mile made on every ticket. The percentage of their seats sold and unsold.

What we don't know is how they deliver on the promise implicit in their mileage programs. What are the odds that an airline's frequent flyer program member will be successful in redeeming miles for an award flight? more»

Man with bags walking down empty road (Photo: iStockphoto/Johnny Habell)

In the world of travel rewards programs, partners come and partners go.

As a top-of-the-news example, Continental was buddy-buddy with Delta until late last year, offering reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and co-participating in the SkyTeam global airline alliance.

Today, Continental is a member of a competing alliance, the Star Alliance, and is in the process of merging with United.

While that represents a shift of monumental proportions, it's not a surprising development, given the history and business trajectories of the airlines more»

This morning, Continental and United issued a joint press release, confirming what had been assumed for several days: Subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, the two airlines will merge to become the world's largest airline.

Among the groups that will be most directly affected by the tie-up are, by definition, the two airlines' frequent flyers, in particular members of the Continental OnePass and United Mileage Plus loyalty programs. What changes does the merger portend for them?

Because of steps the two carriers have already taken to align their mileage programs, a program combining OnePass and Mileage Plus would probably look very much like the existing programs, which already look very much like each more»