Advertisement
(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»

Shopping: Online Shopper, Excited (Photo: Shutterstock/Elena Elisseeva)

You may remember the 100,000-mile bonus for new British Airways credit card sign-ups in 2010.

This is not that.

The original offer—one of the most generous ever—featured 100,000 bonus miles after new cardholders charged $2,000 within three months. Quick, easy, and lucrative. ... read more»

Hotel: Key Handed to Guest (Photo: Shutterstock/.shock)

For U.S. News & World Report, the road from weekly news magazine to publisher of company rankings has been a long and winding one. The key, though, to its shift toward data-driven ratings of companies and institutions was its 1983 publication of "America's Best Colleges."

The enormous success of that publication, combined with the withering of its general news-reporting business, led the company to expand its best-of rankings to include hospitals, cars, jobs, mutual funds, and travel suppliers. Today, reflecting that focus on rating consumer goods and services, U.S. News's tagline is "Life's decisions made here." ... read more»

Woman Waiting, Holding Head in Hands at Airport (Photo: Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock)

UPDATE - Spirit apparently had second thoughts about the new size restrictions, and has elected to forego the changes reported in our article. According to a Spirit representative: "We had been preparing for a potential change in personal item sizes, however we decided a few weeks ago not to implement the change. While we always like to encourage passengers to carry less, we will continue to offer the largest personal size item of any ultra-low cost carrier."

Spirit, widely derided by customers for its incessant nickel-and-diming, is at it again.

The latest ploy to separate flyers from their dollars is a niggling change to the maximum allowable dimensions for fee-free carry-on bags. But first, a quick primer on Spirit's bag fees. Because Spirit does things differently.

As has become standard practice in the industry, Spirit charges extra for checked bags. Where Spirit differs from most other airlines is in also charging fees to carry one's own bag onboard. That's right: You're charged for checking your bag, and you're charged for carrying it on. You can't win. ... read more»

Couple looking at a map on their car (Photo: iStockPhoto/Lise Gagne)

What's next in hotels? We are.

That's the pitch Hilton Worldwide is making to prospective owners of the company's thirteenth and newest brand, Tru. ... read more»

For all their copious complaints about tight seating and sketchy service, consumers have proven themselves to be remarkably price-sensitive, willing to forego all manner of niceties to save a buck or two. Proof positive is the reliably robust financial performance of the likes of Southwest and Spirit.

That focus on penny-pinching has to raise questions about one key assumption in that apparent disconnect between their wants and their needs: Do travelers truly care about comfort? And by "truly," I mean care enough to pay more to attain it.

According to a new study by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), airline passengers do indeed place a premium on inflight comfort. ... read more»

JetBlue Airplane in Sunset (Photo: JetBlue Airlines)

JetBlue's principal claim to fame has long been its relatively roomy coach seats. Sure, the airline has been ahead of the curve in onboard WiFi, and inflight entertainment generally. And there's that undeniable cool factor to flying Blue that American and Delta just can't match. But JetBlue's substantive edge came from its willingness to put passenger comfort ahead of company profit, fitting its Airbus A320s with fewer seats and thereby giving every flyer a bit of extra space.

As it has been boasting for years: "JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach based on average fleet-wide seat pitch for U.S. airlines." In the extensive catalog of vacuous airline marketing hyperbole, that stands out as a meaningful promise. And even more so for being true, as it has been with JetBlue. ... read more»