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<strong>Accommodation Taxes and Fees</strong>

Ah, <a href="http://www.smartertravel.com/blogs/today-in-travel/hotel-resort-fees-the-real-story.html?id=22016870" target="_blank">hidden hotel fees</a>. From ridiculous mini-bar prices and overpriced parking to absurd <a href="http://www.smartertravel.com/blogs/today-in-travel/the-ugly-hotel-wi-fi-scam-you-haven-heard-of-yet.html?id=19912715" target="_blank">Wi-Fi costs</a> and "concierge" fees on your final statement, hotel bills are getting out of control. (Some hotels even <a href="http://www.smartertravel.com/blogs/up-front-with-tim-winship/these-hotels-charge-extra-for-air-conditioning.html?id=25342397" target="_blank">charge for air conditioning</a>.) 

<em>What To Know</em>: Sites like <a href="http://www.resortfeechecker.com/" target="_blank">ResortChecker</a> and <a href="http://www.hotelwifitest.com/" target="_blank">hotelwifitest</a> will help you determine if your accommodation is a culprit of the undisclosed-fees squeeze. Check review sites, too, for honest and well-rounded opinions about location, views, hidden fees, and room conditions. 

<small>(Photo: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=228675523&src=id" target="_blank">Modern luxury hotel reception counter desk with bell</a> via Shutterstock)</small>

IHG Rewards today released its latest list of PointBreaks hotels that are available for booking for just 5,000 points per night.

Offer Details

Beginning on January 25, IHG Rewards members can book award nights for 5,000 points at 171 participating hotels, for stays through April 30, 2016.

The new list includes 113 hotels in the U.S., 19 in the rest of the Americas, 24 in Europe, 11 in Asia, and four in Oceania, Africa, and the Middle East. ... read more»

Flying to the <a href="http://www.bahamas.com/bahamas/index.aspx" target="_blank">Bahamas</a> from Miami takes only 35 minutes, but the islands are far enough away to feel like a real tropical escape. Sample March fares for travel to Nassau from Miami start as low as $90, plus taxes, on <a href="http://www.aa.com" target="_blank">American</a>.

(Photo: PhotoLink)

Enter the SmartSource.com "New Year, New You" sweepstakes by February 29, 2016, for a chance to win the grand prize: a seven-night trip for two to Freeport, the Bahamas, including air, hotel, and on-premise meals.

RELATED: Win a 6-Day 'Downton Abbey' Tour for 2 to Great Britain

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»

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»

Woman: Excited at Laptop (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

For years, Marriott has been referring to its periodic systemwide promotions as MegaBonuses. Early on, when the offer was a free night after two paid stays, the name was apt. But recently, the offers have been much less generous; they were more mini than mega. The offers also became more complicated over the years, resorting to a targeting scheme that generated customized bonuses according to members' stay histories and other factors known only to Marriott.

The latest version of the promotion carries over the targeting aspect, but also restores some of the generosity of years-ago MegaBonus offers. ... read more»

UberPool App (Photo: Uber Technologies Inc.)

Beginning today at 8:00 a.m., travelers arriving at Los Angeles International Airport will be able to book Uber rides to their homes or hotels.

Although both Uber and Lyft have been dropping off passengers at LAX for more than two years, it was only in December of 2015 that Lyft was granted permission for LAX pickups. Uber was somewhat slower in meeting the airport's requirements, which include completing an application, and committing to follow airport traffic rules and pay the airport a $4 fee for every trip. ... read more»

The Las Vegas Strip

I just returned from a holiday-weekend stay at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. Predictably, there was nickel-and-diming aplenty, beginning with the hotel's nasty, indefensible resort fee of $29 a night, for rooms that featured neither a mini-fridge (better to drive guests to eat at one of the hotel's 13 restaurants) nor a coffee maker (better to drive guests to caffeinate at one of the hotel's three Starbucks). ... read more»

Virgin America seating (Photo: Virgin America)

Likely in response to JetBlue's systemwide double-points promotion, in effect through February 29, Virgin America is also offering double points, but only on select routes.

Offer Details

Between January 19 and February 29, members of Virgin America's Elevate program can earn double points on the following routes: ... 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>

Most elite members of Delta 's SkyMiles program probably didn't pore over the airline's recent Investor Day presentation. And of those that did, only a handful got as far as Slide 37 in the 56-slide deck. For their perseverance, they were rewarded with an ugly truth: First-class upgrades, already in scarce supply, are set to become scarcer still.

As the name suggests, the Investor Day document targets institutional investors and Wall Street analysts. It's a compendium of performance data and rosy projections boasting of Delta's operational and financial achievements, many of which are considerable. If you were inclined to invest in an airline company, Delta looks like a solid bet. ... read more»

Hotel Safe (Photo: iStockPhoto.com/Jaap Hart)

The Choice Privileges program has distinguished itself in recent years on both the upside and the downside.

On the positive side of the ledger, the company has routinely rolled out high-value promotions, even when other major chains were phoning it in with predictable, perfunctory double-points offers. ... read more»

Hotel: Two Beds One Phone (Photo: Thinkstock/John Foxx)

With almost 1,400 hotels in operation or under development, the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group isn't the largest of the hotel chains. But with six brands in more than 100 countries, it's big enough to accommodate the needs of most travelers. That makes its Club Carlson loyalty program a contender.

Offer Details

Between January 18 and March 31, Club Carlson members can earn a one-time 5,000-point bonus for completing stays at any two of Carlson's six hotel brands, including Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Country Inns & Suites, and Quorvus Collection.

Registration is required. ... read more»