Europe: Magnifying Glass on Globe (Photo: Shutterstock/Kinetic Imagery)

Advance bookings for fall and winter flights to Europe must be soft, because American and British Airways are offering bonus miles to spur sales.

Through January 31, 2016, members of American's AAdvantage program and British Airways' Executive Club can earn up to 125,000 bonus miles for flights on American, British Airways, Finnair, or Iberia between the U.S. and Europe.

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Photo: Icelandair

With apologies to American, Alaska Airlines really is something special in the air: a regional airline with a global footprint.

In particular, through its partnerships with a host of larger carriers, Alaska has built its Mileage Plan loyalty program into a scheme whose breadth and depth come close to equaling those of American, Delta, and United.

And it just keeps getting better.

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

You do earn miles by shopping at the airlines' mileage malls, right?

There's no reason not to. The prices are the same. And by making your purchases through the airline's portal, you'll be earning miles—typically between one and 10 miles per $1 spent—that you don't get when dealing direct through the merchant.

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Restaurant Table - Up close of silverware (Photo: iStockphoto/mbbirdy)

Does your income depend on the whims and fancies of your customers? Mine doesn't. Sure, in the long run, my employment depends on my ability to gain and retain the attention of my readers. But as long as I manage to do that, I know what to expect by way of compensation for my labor. I can budget my expenditures accordingly. With predictability comes security and peace of mind.

No doubt that's true for you as well. Unless, that is, you wait tables for a living. Or drive a traditional taxi. Or clean rooms at a Marriott.

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Traveler walking in the rain (Photo: IndexOpen)

The idea of a passenger bill of rights has been around for more than a decade, gaining and losing prominence in lockstep with the airlines' perceived levels of mis- and malfeasance.

The latest chapter in the saga comes from Representative Janice Hahn, a California Democrat. According to The Hill, Hahn plans to introduce a bill establishing a passenger bill of rights "in the coming days."

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Photo: PhotoDisc

Need a cheap car rental for a weekend jaunt, or just to take care of errands around town? Enterprise Rent-a-Car has you covered.

Through May 23, 2016, weekend rates at participating off-airport Enterprise locations are just $9.99 per day for economy and compact cars. That's for Friday through Monday rentals, and includes a maximum of 100 free miles per day. Up to two days may be added to weekend rentals at a discounted rate.

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

Once considered also-rans, if that, among travel-rewards credit cards, the Citi cards linked to the ThankYou Rewards program have been slowly, quietly burnishing their image among mileage-collectors.

In particular, the Rewards program has been expanding its roster of airline and hotel partners, allowing program members to transfer their points, usually 1:1, for miles and points in other programs. But establishing such relationships isn't easy, especially with U.S.-based airlines, which tend to have more or less exclusive arrangements with other cards. So while ThankYou points could be exchanged for miles in 10 airline programs, they were all non-U.S. programs. Until now, that is.

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New Year's Eve in <a href=""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=""target="_blank">City of Sydney website</a>. 

(Photo: Tim Starkey/

Enter the Treasury Wine Estates "19 Crimes Banishment" sweepstakes by October 31, 2015, for a chance to win the grand prize: a week-long trip for two to Australia, including air, accommodations, rental car, meal allowance, and excursions.

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.

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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.

Can United's New CEO Fix What Its Former CEO Broke?

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

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.

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