Monthly Archives: October 2017

31Oct 2017

BLOG: Reward programs for bad habits – Glens Falls Post-Star (blog)


It seems you receive rewards wherever you shop, eat, stay or fill up your gas tank.

It is always a good thing to see companies appreciate your business and it acts as an incentive to come back.

So I was surprised to see what the latest rewards program was to pop into my email. Cumberland Farms announced a new program offering tobacco rewards on Monday.

It is no shock, what the effect of tobacco has on the human body, no matter how it is used.

The annual cost of health care continues to rise as do premiums and cancer rates are not going down by any means.

Just last week, New York announced a statewide cancer study at Glens Falls Hospital. 

State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker disclosed that Warren County has the highest rate of cancer in the state. 

I was curious if I was alone thinking this is an awful idea, to reward people voluntarily damaging their bodies. 

Social media did not disappoint with many vowing not to shop at the chain or declaring it a public health disaster.

In the email announcement Cumberland Farms states reward recipients must be 21 or older. Customers will receive $1 off a future purchase, when they buy 2 or more packs of Marlboro cancer sticks, but must pay with the SmartPay mobile app.

According to Fair Reporters, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes in New York is $12.85. Which breaks down to, for every $25 spent, you save $1 under this rewards program. 

Just think of the money you would save by kicking the habit all together?

Adam Colver is the online editor at The Post-Star. He manages The Post-Star’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and poststar.com. He can be reached at acolver@poststar.com.

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31Oct 2017

Bahrain restricts travel from Qatar as Gulf dispute lingers – Fox News


Bahrain now requires Qatari nationals and residents to obtain a visa prior to arrival, the latest move in the ongoing diplomatic rift between Qatar and its neighbors.

Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said Tuesday the decision to introduce visa requirements for people traveling from Qatar was made in order “to preserve the security and safety of the country.” It cited Qatar’s “decision to strengthen its ties with Iran,” and said Qatar was offering “shelter” to alleged fugitives who threaten Bahrain’s security.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in early June, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism. Qatar denies the allegations.

The quartet also stopped direct flights to Qatar and expelled Qatari residents, with exceptions for mixed-nationality families.

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31Oct 2017

Hilton to pay $700000 over credit card data breaches – AOL


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc agreed to pay $700,000 and bolster security to resolve probes into two data breaches that exposed more than 363,000 credit card numbers, the attorneys general of New York and Vermont announced on Tuesday.

The settlement resolves claims that the hotel chain lacked reasonable data security and was too slow to tell consumers about the intrusions, waiting 9-1/2 months after learning of the first and more than three months after learning of the second.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said a breach occurred in late 2014 when a Hilton system in the United Kingdom began communicating with a suspicious outside computer, while another occurred in the spring and summer of 2015.

The McLean, Virginia-based company did not tell consumers about the breaches until Nov. 24, 2015, according to Schneiderman and his Vermont counterpart, T.J. Donovan.

RELATED: The most infamous data breaches in the U.S.:

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Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 19: A detail of the Ashley Madison website on August 19, 2015 in London, England. Hackers who stole customer information from the cheating site AshleyMadison.com dumped 9.7 gigabytes of data to the dark web on Tuesday fulfilling a threat to release sensitive information including account details, log-ins and credit card details, if Avid Life Media, the owner of the website didn’t take Ashley Madison.com offline permanently. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Katherine Archuleta, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), speaks during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the OPM data breach in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. U.S. senators said yesterday they doubt the government’s personnel office understands the breadth of a computer hack that exposed the records of more than 4 million federal workers, or that the agency can stop another breach. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 05: The entrance to the Theodore Roosevelt Federal Building that houses the Office of Personnel Management headquarters is shown June 5, 2015 in Washington, DC. U.S. investigators have said that at least four million current and former federal employees might have had their personal information stolen by Chinese hackers. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

SCHAUMBURG, IL – AUGUST 04: A statue of a horse stands at the entrance to a P.F. Chang’s restaurant on August 4, 2014 in Schaumburg, Illinois. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Ltd. said today that the company experienced a data breach involving customers’ credit and debit card information which affected 33 restaurants in 16 states, including the Schaumburg, Illinois location. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, ME – AUGUST 15: Shaws on Congress Street on Friday, July 15, 2014. Shaws parent company is investigating a possible data breach. (Photo by Logan Werlinger/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

COLMA, CA – APRIL 18: Customers enter a Michaels art and crafts store on April 18, 2014 in Colma, California. Michaels, the largest arts and crafts chain in the U.S., announced that an estimated 2.6 million cards used at its stores across the country may have been affected by a security breach. Aaron Brothers, a subsidiary of Michaels, was also affected by the breach. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

CORAL GABLES, FL – FEBRUARY 28: A checkout keypad is seen at a Sears store on February 28, 2014 in Coral Gables, Florida. According to reports the U.S. Secret Service is investigating a possible digital attack at Sears Holdings Corp. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A couple of shoppers leave a Target store on a rainy afternoon in Alhambra, California on December19, 2013, as the US retail giant said some 40 million customers may have had bank card data compromised by hackers who broke into its database as holiday shopping got underway. Target said there had been ‘unauthorized access’ to its payment system in US stores affecting credit and debit cards with approximately 40 million credit and debit cards possibly affected by the breach between November 27 and December 15, the company said in a statement. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. Brown (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Tuesday’s settlement requires Hilton to disclose breaches faster, improve monitoring for potential threats, and adhere to data security standards used in the card industry.

New York will receive $400,000 from the settlement, and Vermont will receive $300,000. The offices of their attorneys general were not immediately available for further comment.

Hilton’s brands also include Conrad, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and the Waldorf Astoria, among others.

“Two years ago, Hilton took action to eradicate unauthorized malware that targeted guest payment card information,” Hilton said in a statement. “Hilton is strongly committed to protecting our customers’ payment card information and maintaining the integrity of our systems.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Diane Craft)

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31Oct 2017

What Are the Best Travel Credit Card Rewards Programs? – HuffPost


While any travel credit card will make a purchase, they all don’t earn the same rewards. With so many similar travel rewards credit cards, the best credit card rewards programs will offer multiple redemption options. This article will help you choose the most valuable travel rewards points for your credit card spending and next travel credit card application.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Maximum Value Per Point: 1.5 centsTransfer to Travel Partners: Yes

At the moment, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are always worth at least one cent each (10,000 points=$100) and you have several different redemption options. If you want to redeem your points for travel with one of the Chase Sapphire cards, you can even receive a 25% or 50% redemption bonus making those same 10,000 rewards points worth $125 or $150 instead!

Many a travel junkie also enjoy the Ultimate Rewards program because you can transfer your rewards points on 1:1 basis to the following airline and hotel loyalty programs:

  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue Air France-KLM
  • Korean Air Skypass
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • The Ritz-Carlton Club
  • World of Hyatt

Chances are you have an account at least one of these programs. Whether you only need to transfer 1,000 points or 40,000 to book your next award flight, each point can be worth more than the 1.25 cents each if you were to book the same travel directly through Chase.

It’s important to note not every Chase credit card earns Ultimate Rewards points. Any of their co-branded travel cards like those from United, Southwest Airlines, or Marriott earn points specific to that rewards program. Instead, you will need to apply for the following cards:

  • Sapphire Preferred (Travel rewards)
  • Sapphire Reserve (Travel rewards)
  • Freedom (Tiered cash back rewards)
  • Freedom Unlimited (Flat-rate 1.5% cash back)
  • Ink Business Preferred (Tiered business purchase rewards)

Bonus Rewards Trick: By owning one of the Sapphire cards and either the Ink Business Preferred, Freedom, or Freedom Unlimited, you will earn the highest number of Ultimate Rewards points possible on every single purchase. This is because each card earns bonus points on different spending categories. Regardless of which card you use to earn your Ultimate Rewards points, you can “pool” them and capture the travel redemption bonus with your Sapphire.

If you plan on redeeming your points for travel, Chase Ultimate Rewards is easily the best program. They have the highest redemption value when you book your travel with the Chase Travel Portal, and, it’s also possible to transfer your points to just about any travel loyalty program where they can have even more value.

American Express Membership Rewards

Maximum Value Per Point: 1 centTransfer to Travel Partners: Yes

Another top contender for the best credit card rewards program is the American Express Membership Rewards. While your points can be redeemed for a variety of rewards, their maximum value is one cent each for award flights and gift cards. You can also transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to many travel partners, some are the same as Chase like FlyingBlue Air France and British Airways, but, they also a few others like ANA, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, and Aeroplan Air Canada.

The “crown jewel” of the Membership Rewards lineup is the Platinum Card that earns 5 miles on airline and hotel purchases, offers free airport lounge access, a $200 annual air travel credit, and $200 in Uber credits. But, there are several others to choose from as well.

Here are some of the best Amex cards to choose from that earn Membership Rewards points:

  • Platinum Card from American Express (Premium travel rewards)
  • Premier Rewards Gold from American Express (Travel Rewards)
  • Amex EveryDay Credit Card (Tiered Cash Back)
  • Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card (Cash Back)

Citi ThankYou

Maximum Value Per Point: 1.25 centsTransfer to Travel Partners: Yes

Citi ThankYou also lets you redeem points for travel through the Citi Travel Concierge or transferred to a travel partner. Due to several recent card benefit devaluations, Citi is only a runner-up for being the best credit card rewards program.

Some of the unique 1:1 air travel partners include:

  • JetBlue (2 Citi:1 TrueBlue point)
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Asia Miles
  • Etihad
  • EVA
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • JetPrivilege
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Thai Airways

Only three Citi cards earn ThankYou points and award bonus points for travel purchases:

  • Citi Prestige
  • ThankYou Preferred
  • ThankYou Premier

While you get get the 25% travel redemption bonus on every card, the Citi Prestige is the best offering. If you travel for at least 4 nights at a time, your 4th hotel night is free (regardless of the nightly rate) and you only have to pay the appropriate fees and taxes. There are Prestige cardholders that literally stay at $1,000+ per night hotels and Citi pays for the 4th night. Keep in mind the annual fee is $450 and the reward is unlimited. If you traveled every single week of the year, Citi would pay for your fourth night when you book a 4+ night reservation.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Maximum Value Per Point: 1.05 centsTransfer to Travel Partners: No

If you crave simplicity and prefer travel statement credits, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus can be your perfect match. Only Chase, Amex, and Citi let you transfer rewards points to frequent traveler programs. When you can’t transfer your points, travel statement credits are the next best option and the Arrival Plus gives you a 5% redemption bonus that makes your points worth 1.05 cents each (10,000 points=$105) instead of the industry-standard of one cent each.

With each purchase, you will earn 2 miles per $1 spent. Points can be redeemed on any travel purchase to receive a 5% redemption bonus so a portion of your points can be redeemed a second time. You can also redeem your points for non-travel credits, but, they will only be worth one cent each. If you want the extra cash rewards, wait to redeem your points for the next time you book a trip.

The annual fee for the Arrival Plus is $89, which is also a few dollars lower than the next best flat-rate travel rewards card, the Capital One Venture which has an annual fee of $95 but doesn’t offer the 5% redemption bonus on travel statement credits.

Summary on the Best Travel Credit Card Rewards Programs

Chase Ultimate Rewards wins the gold medal for travel credit card rewards, but it’s a close competition. Ultimate Rewards points have the highest redemption value and 1:1 transfer options. Depending on what credit card benefits you prefer or which airline travel partners you prefer, Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou points are also an excellent follow-up option because of the additional travel partners you cannot get through Chase.

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31Oct 2017

Travel in 2018 gets personal, as camping is customised and private jets take off – South China Morning Post


Are you still not sure where you want to go on holiday next year? Fear not!

Lucy Jackson, co-founder and director of bespoke tour operator Lightfoot Travel, looks at 2018’s travel trends.

Travelshoot staycations

There’s nothing worse than heading on holiday and spending all your time thinking about fuelling your social media feed rather than actually just enjoying yourself.

So 2018 welcomes the trend of the Travelshoot Staycation – trips that involve a personalised photo shoot with a photographer who’ll advise on exactly where to place your cocktail and how to tilt your sun hat.

Why ‘transformative travel’ is the next luxury trend

The shoot can be prearranged and slotted into your schedule, giving you time to balance posing with properly relaxing.

The likes of the Indian Ocean island resort of Amilla Fushi in the Maldives and Nihiwatu on Sumba Island, Indonesia, both provide this service, or it can be arranged at various destinations through your travel operator.

Best hotel in the world is Nihi Sumba – built by fashion mogul Chris Burch on a remote Indonesian island

Chartered jet expeditions

This trend was sparked back in August when Crystal AirCruises launched the world’s largest private jet in the form of a Boeing 777, boasting space for 86 passengers, plush amenities, elegant leather upholstery, a butler service and on-board executive chef.

See the world’s greatest places in one month on a flying cruise

Levels of luxe are set to hit new heights as travellers make private jets their transport of choice.

Throughout 2018 the jet will be available for private charter, flying passengers to exotic locations across the globe, and blazing a trail for taking boutique travel skywards.

Gather your friends, choose your destination, and fasten your seat belt for take-off.

First luxury private jet tour from Hong Kong heads to Kenya and Tahiti

Personalised pop-ups

Whether you want to stay on an exclusive, already erected pop-up site, or have your accommodation pitched at a destination of your choice, camping is about to get customised, offering travellers exclusive locations and boutique experiences like never before.

Glamping: a new trend merging camping and luxury travel

From South America to Mongolia, some companies are setting up “super-tents” for a few months only throughout 2018; others are offering guests the chance to choose their exact spot, length of stay and interior, for example, if you’d like a separate kitchen, lounge, and hot tub on site, for a tailored trip that’s truly your own.

Best way to safari? Luxury glamping with an expert guide

Unique double destinations

The accessibility of direct flights is making unique double-destination holidays hotter than ever. In 2018 expect some achingly cool pairings where culture and complete relaxation collide.

Mix ancient magic with indulgent me-time in Iran and Oman, where the former’s magnificent architecture, towering mountains, mosques and heritage sites are the perfect precursor to the latter’s bazaars, mud-brick alleyways and dramatic scenery.

Alternatively, explore the sweeping landscapes, museums and monasteries of Ethiopia followed by a stop in the Seychelles for absolute escape, rest and rejuvenation.

Why travel to Iran should be next on your bucket list

Private members club and hotel hybrids

One travel trend that everyone will want to get their name down on the list for is the hotel and private members’ club combo.

Already gaining popularity due to the likes of The Ned and The Curtain Hotel and Private Member Club in London, increasing numbers of cool-property-pairings will be cropping up worldwide.

From grand architectural buildings to sprawling rustic farmhouses, venues vary, as does the access that guests get to the members’ areas, but all make for glamorous and exclusive stays with serious bragging rights.

London finance workers to get desk champagne buttons

Cabineering and camperneering

Turn the lights down, the heating up, pour a hearty red wine and snuggle away in the latest must-stay – a log cabin.

Traditionally the resting place for adventurous outdoorsy types with a penchant for chopping wood, cabineering has never looked so cool thanks to its merging of home comforts, luxurious amenities, and the promise of escape and simplicity (2018’s travel buzzword).

Also adding to the quest for more unusual and remote accommodation experiences is “camperneering” – luxurious camper vans cruising along the roads of the US or Bolivia.

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31Oct 2017

A lender targeting the 'New Middle Class' is working to hand out higher credit limits to struggling Americans – Business Insider


Elevate
  • Elevate, a fintech lender serving nonprime borrowers, is looking to partner with a bank to produce a credit card with “significantly higher lines” of credit than what exists on the market today.
  • The company, which announced earnings Monday, outlined a number of expectations for 2018 including new products and partnerships.
  • Nationally, credit card defaults have spiked as banks have loosened credit standards.
  • Elevate’s CEO told Business Insider the product would utilize machine learning technology to ensure the company is not lending customers more than they can afford.

Elevate, a Texas-based tech lender, is looking to expand into the credit card business.

The company, which serves subprime borrowers, announced third quarter earnings Monday of $172.9 million, up 12.3% over the same period last year. The stock dropped 5.49% to $7.75 after the bell. The stock is still up from where it priced its IPO, at $6.50, but down sharply from the original IPO price range of $12 to $14 per share.

The company views itself as an alternative to pay-day loan providers, and says it targets 170 million nonprime consumers in the US and UK, a group it called the “New Middle Class.” The firm has now originated near $5 billion in loans for 1.8 million customers.

In an earnings deck released Monday, the company outlined its ambitions for 2018, which include new products and partnerships with banks. Ken Reese, the CEO of Elevate, told Business Insider one of those possible products includes a new credit card.

“We are looking at a variety of partnerships of different flavors,” Reese said. “We are looking at a credit card product for next year with a third party bank.”

The potential card, which would serve subprime borrowers, indicates a broader trend in the credit markets. Subprime borrowers are gaining access to credit cards at an accelerating rate, according to Fed research. And Americans have suddenly stopped paying off their credit cards, as Business Insider’s Alex Morrell reported.

What’s striking about the spike in defaults is that it is paralleled by a declining unemployment rate, indicating that banks have lowered their standards and are approving people for cards who aren’t as creditworthy.

Historically speaking, so-called charge-offs are pretty low. Still, a partnership between a subprime lender and bank could illustrate increased interests on behalf of banks to tap into this market.

So far, credit cards to subprime borrowers have had limited lines of credit. For example, the median credit limit was $1,000 in 2015; in contrast, the median new card credit limit for those with a 780+ credit score was $8,000.

Reese told Business Insider the credit card would offer “significantly higher lines” of credit than other subprime cards, but it would use machine-learning capabilities to ensure they don’t give borrowers more than what they can afford to pay back.

He told Business Insider:

“We believe that the credit card product will be an important addition to our product line and serve millennials and others who are struggling to attain sufficient credit to meet their needs. In particular, we expect our card product to have significantly higher lines than other “subprime” cards that may only provide a few hundred dollars to customers and isn’t sufficient credit to deal with real-world financial challenges.”

According to research carried out by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class, a bill becomes a crisis for nonprime Americans at $1,400. For prime borrowers, it’s $2,900.

“It’s hard for many to believe that unexpected car repairs can cause a major upset in a household’s finances,” Jonathan Walker, executive director of Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class, said earlier this year.

“Unfortunately, it happens all too often, simply because nonprime Americans don’t have the available resources to help absorb some of these financial shocks. This can cause a downward spiral on their daily finances as well as their credit history.”

Learn more:

  • Credit Card Industry and Market
  • Mobile Payment Technologies
  • Mobile Payments Industry
  • Mobile Payment Market, Trends and Adoption
  • Credit Card Processing Industry
  • List of Credit Card Processing Companies
  • List of Credit Card Processing Networks
  • List of Payment Gateway Providers
  • M-Commerce: Mobile Shopping Trends
  • E-Commerce Payment Technologies and Trends

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30Oct 2017

Jet Airways Flight Diverted After Frequent Flyer Planted 'Bomb Letter' In Toilet – NDTV


Ahmedabad: 
A frequent flyer traveling on the Jet Airways Mumbai-Delhi flight early on Monday has confessed to planting a threatening note in a toilet, which set off a hijack alarm, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said today.

The passenger, a jeweler from Gujarat’s Amreli now based in Mumbai, was believed to be obsessed with an air-hostess and wanted her attention. Sources say the last time he flew, he carried a cockroach and pretended to find it in his meal. He had also nursed a grudge against the airline for some time, but it is not yet clear why.

The aviation minister identified the offender as Salla Birju. The businessman has been detained after investigators established that he was the only one to visit the toilet before the note was found by an air hostess.

“A man Salla Birju has confessed that he had kept the threatening note to destabilise operations in the Jet Airways flight,” said the minister, adding that he had advised Jet Airways to “put him on the no-fly list immediately apart from other criminal action”. If the airline does so, he could be the first passenger to make it to the no-fly list after new rules were enforced in September to allow airlines to ban unruly passengers for periods ranging from three months to over two years.

This morning, the Jet Airways flight 9W339 took off a little before 3 am from Mumbai and was soon diverted to Ahmedabad, where it landed 45 minutes later. The airline, in a statement, said the plane was diverted after the “declaration of an emergency as per established security procedures, due to the detection of an onboard security threat”.

What had set off the scare was a printed letter in the bathroom in Urdu and English, which suggested that there was a bomb in the cargo hold of the plane. It said that the flight “is covered by hijackers and aircraft should not be land and flown straight to POK.”

On reading the letter, the pilot of the Boeing 737-900 plane reportedly pressed the hijack button, alerting the Ahmedabad airport to a threat. After the plane, with 122 passengers including seven crew members, landed in Ahmedabad, everyone was screened and their bags checked. The passengers were photographed and questioned for hours on details like their last overseas visit, according to news agency PTI. The flight took off for Delhi six hours later, with Air marshals on board.

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30Oct 2017

Springer rewards Hinch's faith as Astros near Series title – FOXSports.com


HOUSTON (AP) When Astros center fielder George Springer went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts in Game 1 of the World Series, some called for manager A.J. Hinch to move the All-Star leadoff man down in the order.

Hinch scoffed at the suggestion, a winning move for a team now one victory away from a championship.

Springer homered for the third time in four games to help Houston beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 13-12 in 10 innings Sunday night for a 3-2 edge in the Series.

After a lousy AL Championship Series and an even worse World Series debut, Springer said support from Hinch and the team helped him shake out of his funk.

”That was not a good start to any series, whether it’s now or May,” he said. ”But the guys here said shake it off and it’s over. Baseball is a crazy game. There’s ups and downs, but you just have to go out, try to slow the moment down and be yourself.”

Springer also walked three times, scored three times and added a single in the eighth inning for his second multihit game of this series.

His last walk came with two outs in the 10th inning to bring up Alex Bregman, whose RBI single ended it.

Said Bregman: ”He starts off the series by going 0 for 4, four strikeouts. And then gets back up and kills it.”

Springer’s homer on Sunday night came on the first pitch of the seventh inning against Brandon Morrow to tie it at 8.

That hit came after he dived and missed a ball in the seventh. Springer thought he should have caught Cody Bellinger’s RBI triple, which put the Dodgers on top.

”It’s a very lonely feeling to know that I made a bad decision … but I got told by (coaches) Alex Cora, A.J. Hinch and Gary Pettis: `It’s over. Just go have a good quality at-bat and see what happens,”’ Springer said. ”To go from that low to that high was very emotional. I don’t really know how to describe it.”

Hinch raved about how Springer was able to move on so quickly from his miscue.

”I’ve been in the game a long time, I don’t think I’ve seen someone remedy a mistake faster than what Springer did tonight,” Hinch said. ”He (dived), he tried to make an athletic play … and then feels like the worst feeling in the world. He feels like he made the mistake of a lifetime. And one pitch later he hits a homer.”

Jose Altuve hit an RBI double to put Houston on top later in the inning before Carlos Correa padded the lead with a two-run shot.

The homer was Springer’s first hit of the night, but he’d already scored twice when he trotted home in the seventh. He got things going for the Astros in their four-run fourth inning when he drew a leadoff walk. He also walked with two outs in the fifth to keep the inning going before Altuve homered with two on to tie it at 7-7.

Sunday’s performance gives Springer seven hits and four RBIs in the World Series after he managed just three hits and didn’t drive in a run during the seven-game AL Championship Series.

His big game on Sunday comes after he broke out of his slump in a huge way in Game 2 with three hits, capped by a two-run homer in the 11th inning of Houston’s 7-6 win.

Springer had a double in Game 3 before clubbing another deep ball on Saturday in Houston’s 6-2 loss in Game 4.

His recent power surge is no surprise considering he hit a career-high 34 homers with 85 RBIs – also a career-best – in a season where he earned his first All-Star nod.

Springer is basking in the spotlight of Houston’s deep postseason run for many reasons, but one of them is that it’s bringing greater awareness to Camp SAY (Stuttering Association for the Young), a camp for children who stutter for which he is the spokesman. It’s a cause close to his heart after he struggled with a stutter so severe as a child that he rarely talked to people outside of close friends and family.

”It’s huge. I hope there’s somebody somewhere out there that is impacted and can learn to just go be who you are and not let any stage or any place stop you,” he said.

Springer said he hears stories every day from children that stutter and is moved to have helped them even if it’s a small way.

”It’s heartbreaking, but it’s also very, very humbling,” he said.

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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30Oct 2017

Wall Street Journal Launches Online Travel Site Powered by Upside – Skift


The race has been heating up among business travel services looking to serve unmanaged or lightly managed travelers from small- to medium-size businesses.

Upside has been perhaps the most visible as a result of a concerted marketing campaign in print, radio, and TV appearances by founder Jay Walker. Now, a partnership with one of the biggest media companies in the world will further extend Upside’s exposure to business travelers.

The Wall Street Journal Business Travel Service, which is co-branded with Upside, allows users to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and Uber rides through its online booking site. The transactions, and subsequent service, are all provided by Upside. Users can connect by phone to customer service representatives 24/7 and the site has a chat service, as well.

The Wall Street Journal booking site, which was live over the weekend and has much of the look and feel of Upside’s own website, doesn’t tout gift card rewards or free headphones like Upside’s own website, but customers will receive them for applicable bookings.

Subscribers to The Wall Street Journal will also receive additional perks and deals through its WSJ+ loyalty program, but the service isn’t limited to subscribers only, and it isn’t behind a paywall like The Wall Street Journal news site.

“Basically, The Wall Street Journal is being an online travel agency, we’re just enabling it,” said Walker. “If you buy with them, we have a common infrastructure. We’ll know exactly who you are. What’s nice here is once you’re a Journal user, you might change jobs or do something new; you don’t have to start over, [because] we know who you are, we know what you like, and we actually care about you.”

Users will be able to access their itineraries and receive service across the Upside site, app, and Wall Street Journal booking site. Upside released a mobile app for the first time last week, enabling chat-based service inside the app similar to that provided by its competitor Lola.

Walker took out several full-page print ads in the newspaper this year, and the move seems to have paid off. Upside is looking to explore more partnerships.

It seems like teaming up with high-profile brands could be a more efficient way of reaching high-yielding business travelers than traditional advertising for the little-known Upside brand. The disadvantages are Upside has to share revenue with partners and doesn’t get the brand punch that would come with winning customers on its own.

What’s in It for The Wall Street Journal?

The Wall Street Journal views the tie-up as a value-add for its WSJ+ program, and the goal is that the partnership will generate revenue for the company.

The Wall Street Journal plans on putting some marketing muscle behind the new booking site across the Dow Jones network of sites.

“We’ve begun to expand into thinking more about memberships and what additional tools and services we can build out,” said Suzi Watford, chief marketing officer of Dow Jones- Wall Street Journal. “We also make sure we understand our customers. We have a very large professional audience and we want to make sure were building things that are relevant to our customers… we’re moving from a transactional relationship to a membership relationship. The opportunity to join forces [with Upside] and solve the customer problem makes sense.”

The BCD Travel Connection

A big piece of the deal is based on Upside’s relationship with BCD Travel, which provides the customer service solutions for the new site. BCD Travel is also a major investor in Upside.

The history of online travel is fraught with cautionary tales of media companies trying to push into online travel booking and struggling with it.

The New York Times partnered with Trip.com in the early 2000s to enable online bookings through its travel section online, and nothing much came of it. USA Today has experimented for years with various travel brands catering to both consumers and travel agents.

There are countless other media examples with varying success, but none have been wildly successful. These efforts, however, have been mainly geared toward leisure travelers, who are less likely to become repeat customers.

“Unmanaged business travel is the last great sector that nobody really addresses or provides serious value or service,” said Walker.

“The Soviet era in business travel,” he said, meaning the top-down dynamic in much of managed travel, “is going to end as customers as the age of the fully empowered digital traveler comes. Mobile, big data, chat, and artificial intelligence are going to completely revolutionize [business travel].”

For now, Upside is hoping the allure of free headphones and always-on customer service keep customers coming back.

Photo Credit: The Wall Street Journal teamed with Upside to offer a booking site for business travelers. Pictured are travelers at an airport. Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg

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30Oct 2017

The Biggest Mistakes I Made With a Credit Card – Yahoo Finance


Ah, credit cards. On the one hand, they make shopping easy and offer enticing rewards. On the other hand, they open the door to a world of mistakes that could zap your credit if you’re not extremely cautious.

There are many dangers with credit cards. First, because you’re swiping a piece of plastic as opposed to handing over physical money, you can easily rack up a sizable balance in no time. Then, if you fail to pay that bill when it comes due, you’ll accrue interest on your account until you’re able to pay it off in full.

But it’s not just spending extra money on interest that can turn your credit card experience into a negative one. There are several lesser-known mistakes associated with credit cards, and I’ve pretty much made all of them at one point or another. Here are three of my greatest credit card blunders.

Woman holding her head, looking sheepish
Woman holding her head, looking sheepish

THIS LADY SURE FEELS SILLY. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="1. Letting rewards expire” data-reactid=”26″>1. Letting rewards expire

Years ago, I opened a store credit card because it not only offered an opportunity to snag a discount on my purchase that day, but because it came with an enticing rewards system. Basically, for every dollar spent, you got a certain percentage back in rewards that were redeemable once you reached a certain threshold.

Since the store was one I frequented, I figured the card was a no-brainer. I’d use it on essential purchases, get points for those purchases, and redeem my rewards regularly. There was just one problem: Those rewards had a pretty quick expiration date, and one that I failed to pay attention to.

The first time around, I received a $20 rewards code that I had to use within 60 days. I figured I’d make it over to the store eventually to make good use of it, but somehow, the weeks flew by before I got a chance to do so. As a result, I wound up forfeiting free money.

You’d think I would’ve learned from that mistake, but alas — several months down the line, I did it again. That time, it was because I failed to note the expiration date on my calendar, and so it wasn’t on my radar.

Credit card rewards are reason enough to charge your purchases rather than pay for them with cash. Just don’t make the mistake of letting those rewards go to waste.

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="2. Not paying attention to seasonal rewards” data-reactid=”32″>2. Not paying attention to seasonal rewards

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For years, I used a credit card whose rewards program was generally pretty simple: You got 1% cash back</a> on all purchases and 5% cash back on purchases that fell into quarterly bonus categories. For example, from October through December, the offer was typically 5% cash back on department-store purchases.” data-reactid=”33″>For years, I used a credit card whose rewards program was generally pretty simple: You got 1% cash back on all purchases and 5% cash back on purchases that fell into quarterly bonus categories. For example, from October through December, the offer was typically 5% cash back on department-store purchases.

Most of those bonus rewards stemmed from purchases I was known to make on a regular basis. But because I didn’t always use that particular card, and failed to commit those bonus categories to memory, I lost out on most of them.

To illustrate what a waste this was, a few years back, I spent roughly $1,000 at a department store during the holidays. The problem? I forgot about the bonus and used a different card — and missed out on $50 in the process.

If you have a credit card offering seasonal bonus rewards, pay attention to those categories. Otherwise, you could end up losing out on free money.

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="3. Closing an old credit card I was no longer using” data-reactid=”37″>3. Closing an old credit card I was no longer using

Several years ago, I was cleaning out my wallet and came across an old card I hardly ever used. It was one of the first credit cards I’d successfully applied for, but since its rewards program wasn’t great, I stopped using it once my credit improved and I was eligible for a better offer. Realizing that card was just taking up valuable space, I decided to close it.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Big mistake. What I failed to realize was that retaining old accounts is an essential part of maintaining good credit. That's because the length of your credit history is one of five components that make up your credit score.</a>&nbsp;By closing that account, I put my score at risk.” data-reactid=”43″>Big mistake. What I failed to realize was that retaining old accounts is an essential part of maintaining good credit. That’s because the length of your credit history is one of five components that make up your credit score. By closing that account, I put my score at risk.

If you have an old credit card in good standing lying around, think twice before you close it. Rather, use it occasionally to maintain a payment history on it, because that could end up boosting your credit in the long run.

We all make mistakes with credit cards, and I’m certainly no exception. But now that I’ve aired my dirty laundry, the rest of you can learn from my blunders and take steps to avoid them in the future.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=" More From The Motley Fool ” data-reactid=”46″> More From The Motley Fool

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy</a>.</em>” data-reactid=”54″>The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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