American plane taxiing down the runway (Photo:  Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)

American's Deal 30—30 deals in as many days, to mark the 30th anniversary of the AAdvantage program—was a mixed bag, with more misses than hits.

Still, American wins points for the sheer audacity of the promotion. And the final deal, announced last Friday, rates as a bang rather than a whimper....read more»

Airplane Past Empty Seats (Photo: iStockphoto/Shane Kato)

I am asked often which is the best airline mileage program.

My response is likely to strike some as an evasion: There is no best program, only a program that works best for you, given your travel and consumption behavior.

While there may be no categorically best program, there is a program that is the most generous—in other words, a program that makes awards easiest to obtain. The problem, however, is that we don't know which program that is....read more»

Virgin America plane parked at the gate (Photo: Clark County Department of Aviation)

Earlier this week, in reviewing United's newly announced double-mile offer for flights between Chicago and Los Angeles or San Francisco, I suggested that "perhaps United's promotion will force Virgin America's hand."

Two days later, it did just that.

Offer Details

Between May 25 and August 31, Virgin American Elevate members can earn triple points (15 points per $1) for flights between Chicago and Los Angeles or San Francisco....read more»

<strong>Take a Walking Tour</strong>

One of the more affordable modes of transportation is using your own two feet, and walking is one of the best ways to learn about a destination. Plus, many cities offer a wide range of tours&mdash;both independent and guided&mdash;on a slew of different subjects, including history, ghost tales, food and drink, shopping, and sightseeing. And you don't need to know a soul to have a good time.

Start planning by visiting the city's convention and visitor bureau's website, which typically offers free maps, guides, itineraries, and suggestions for walking tours. The visitor's center is also a great place to stop by in person to get tips on where to go to find the type of tour that interests you. Many historical societies provide free guided tours to acquaint visitors with the city's past, so check their offerings as well.

The number of walking tours in a destination like New York City is overwhelming, and you would run your feet raw if you tried to go on even a quarter of them. However, this fierce competition means lower prices and a greater range of subjects to choose from. For instance, you can take a 90-minute <a href="http://www.unionsquarenyc.org/walk.html" target="_blank">Union Square: Crossroads of New York</a> free walking tour and a three-and-a-half-hour <a href="http://www.walkingnyctours.com/descriptions.php" target="_blank">Manhattan Melting Pot Eating Tour</a> for $40, all in the same day.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Vitaly Sokolovskiy)

Between June 1 and August 31, Marriott Rewards members can earn quadruple miles in any of 12 airline programs for their second and subsequent stays at more than 3,400 hotels....read more»

United New Plane (Photo: United Airlines)

Between May 19 and August 31, Mileage Plus members can earn double redeemable miles and double elite-qualifying miles for flights between Chicago and Los Angeles or San Francisco....read more»

Photo: Best Western

Here's a summer hotel promotion that fell through the cracks.

It's for Best Western stays through August 31, but you must take action before May 31.

Offer Details

Between June 1 and August 31, Best Western Rewards members can earn a one-time bonus of 3,000 points for paying for their stays with a $100 Best Western Travel Card purchased by May 31....read more»

Hotel room (Photo: Index Open)

The headline on the landing page for Choice Hotels' new promotion fairly shouts the offer's purported proposition: "Stay Two Separate Times, Earn One Night Free."

But as is sometimes the case with travel-industry marketing, the reality is a bit more complicated....read more»

Dollar bills on a line (Photo: Index Open)

The latest Priority Club promotion took me by surprise, not because of its terms but because it almost exactly overlaps another Priority Club offer, the double miles and points bonus for two or more stays between May 16 and August 15.

Dueling promotions would nice—choice is always preferable to the alternative.

But what we have here is better than a choice of offers; it's the possibility of combining separate bonuses for the same stay....read more»

Credit Card: People Passing Card (Photo: iStockphoto/Marcus Clackson)

The recent proliferation of outsized bonuses for new credit card accounts has been a boon to miles- and points-collectors. And, more good news, there's no end to the offers anywhere in sight.

The latest noteworthy sign-up incentive is from Chase—which has displaced American Express as the most prolific issuer of travel-rewards cards—for its Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

The Sapphire Preferred card—not to be confused with the cheaper, less robust Sapphire non-Preferred card—is a proprietary rewards card, linked to Chase's own rewards program, Ultimate Rewards, but not to an airline program, at least not directly....read more»

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

Priority Club Rewards has released its list of PointBreaks hotels available for booking for just 5,000 points per night through July 30.

The extension of PointBreaks availability through mid-summer puts to rest, at least for now, the speculation that Priority Club's new Last Minute Reward Nights would supplant PointBreaks as the program's sole channel for selectively discounting award nights at low-demand properties.

But the issue isn't dead. I recently queried Priority Club management on PointBreaks' future and received no response. It remains to be seen what that silence portends....read more»

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