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Credit card on keyboard (Photo: Index Open)

Got an AAdvantage credit card issued by Citibank or Barclays? Then you may be entitled to book American award flights for fewer miles.

Holders of the various AAdvantage-affiliated credit cards can book awards to selected U.S. and Canadian destinations at discounted prices. The discount varies, according to the card type. ... read more»

Delta CEO Richard Anderson talks with agent (Photo: Delta)

Yesterday's big travel story was Delta's announcement that the airline's CEO, Richard Anderson, will retire on May 2, and be succeeded by Ed Bastian, currently Delta's president.

Anderson's lasting legacy as Delta's leader is likely to be a positive one. He successfully oversaw the merging of Delta and Northwest. He pushed the airline to become one of the world's most efficient operations. He kept the airline among the industry's most reliable and prolific profit-generators.

For shareholders and much of the traveling public, Anderson's Delta was an airline that made good on its key deliverables. But that's not the whole story. ... read more»

Iceland: Blue Lagoon Pool - DD (Photo: Thinkstock/Hemera)

Icelandair has traditionally hung its hat on two key sales propositions: cheap fares between North America and Europe, and free stopovers in Iceland.

Those free stopovers were born of necessity, of course. Routing Europe flights via its Reykjavik hub allowed the airline to efficiently redirect U.S.- and Canada-originating passengers to multiple destinations throughout Europe.

While some travelers may have considered a no-cost stop in Reykjavik to be a welcome benefit, many others viewed it as a negative, the price to be paid for Icelandair's cut-rate airfares. ... read more»

Capitol Building at dusk, Washington, D.C.

Consolidation is the enemy of competition. That's an axiom of economic theory. And it's a truth known to any kid who was forced to cut the price of his lemonade when the neighbor opened another lemonade stand across the street.

In the post-deregulation chapter of the airline industry's history, consolidation has been a dominant theme. Most recently, American merged with US Airways. Southwest absorbed AirTran. Delta merged with Northwest, United with Continental. TWA, Pan Am, PSA, Piedmont... the list of merged-into-oblivion airlines goes on. Today, the Big Four—American, Delta, Southwest, United—control around 85 percent of the U.S. domestic market.

Has airline consolidation gone too far? That's the question a group of travel organizations wants Congress to address. ... read more»

<h2>Sydney</h2>
New Year's Eve in <a href="http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/NYE/Default.asp"target="_blank">Sydney</a> is no small affair: More than one million spectators, a holiday boat parade, and two gargantuan fireworks displays will help ring in 2008. If you've got kids (or are just an early bird), take in the Family Fireworks at 9 p.m., immediately followed by the Harbour of Light Parade. The midnight pull-out-all-the-stops fireworks show features explosives unleashed from six barges as well as the Harbour Bridge, with more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects scheduled to light up the sky. To plan your festivities, visit the <a href="http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/NYE/Default.asp"target="_blank">City of Sydney website</a>. 

(Photo: Tim Starkey/iStockphoto.com)

Headed Down Under? Delta has announced a new bonus-mile promotion for Australia flights. But it's not the only option.

Offer Details

Between February 1 and May 31, SkyMiles members can earn 5 bonus miles per $1 spent when flying Delta or Virgin Australia between Los Angeles and either Sydney or Brisbane, as follows: ... read more»

You've gone through your <a href="http://www.smartertravel.com/blogs/today-in-travel/essential-pre-trip-checklist.html?id=12205370" target="_blank">pre-trip checklist</a>, your suitcase is packed, and now all that's left is to pack your personal item. Long flight? We've got 15 items you don't want to leave behind. 

<strong>Like this story?</strong> Join the 1 million other travelers who read our <a href="http://www.smartertravel.com/sub/join.html" target="_blank">free newsletter</a>. It's full of our best tips, trip ideas, and travel deals. <a href="http://www.smartertravel.com/sub/join.html" target="_blank">Subscribe here today</a>!

<small>(Photo: Thinkstock/Stockbyte)</small>

For the average flyer, squeezed into a cramped coach-class seat and nickel-and-dimed to distraction, air travel has never been worse. But flush with outsized profits, and under fire for keeping airfares high even as fuel costs have plummeted, the full-service carriers are taking steps to stem the rising tide of anger and frustration.

No, the airlines aren't adding legroom to their coach seating. Neither are they reversing the fee-for-all trend. Nor are they restoring the lost luster of their increasingly tepid loyalty programs.

What the Big 3 airlines are doing is upgrading what was once considered a given aspect (as in free) of the travel experience: inflight snacks. Not meals, mind you; just snacks. ... read more»

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Enter the Williams-Sonoma "Trip to Thailand" sweepstakes by February 18, 2016, for a chance to win the grand prize: a six-night trip for two to Thailand, including air, hotel, a Bangkok tour, cooking classes, and Thai massages.

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»

Hotel: Twin Beds (Photo: Shutterstock/gnohz)

As changes to hotel-program award prices go, the latest for InterContinental's IHG Rewards are decidedly modest: Prices for award nights at 400 hotels will change by either 5,000 or 10,000 points, half moving up, half moving down. If it were just that 50-50 split, Rewards members might dismiss it as a wash and count their blessings. After all, "It could have been worse."

However, this year's price changes include another wrinkle that tips the overall pricing package into net-negative territory. ... 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. ... read more»

American Airlines today announced its financial-performance numbers for the fourth quarter and the full year.

For the quarter, the airline posted net income of $3.3 billion, including a one-time tax credit. Even without that extraordinary gain, American's $1.3 billion net profit for the quarter was a record for the company.

For the full 12 months, American racked up $7.6 billion in net profit, and $6.3 billion excluding extraordinary gains.

That's not just a record for American. Or for a U.S. carrier. Or for the 2015 fiscal year. It is the record: the highest profit ever generated, by any airline, ever. ... read more»