Monthly Archives: March 2018

31Mar 2018

Pokémon GO's Field And Special Research Has Some Interesting … – Forbes


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Credit: Niantic

Pokemon GO

Today, after nearly two years of waiting,&nbsp;Pokémon GO finally got something it’s needed since the day it launched: quests. There’s nothing too flashy or anything too different from what you’ll see in most every other free to play games out there now, but it’s still a huge deal for one of the biggest mobile games on the planet. In Pokémon GO, it’s called Research — Field Research and Special Research. Quests wouldn’t be quests without rewards, of course, and Niantic seems to be rewarding players with some of the game’s most valuable items.

Field Research is relatively straightforward: these are goals you pick up from&nbsp;Pokéstops and that reward you a single, random reward, plus a better reward for completing seven on seven different days.&nbsp;For my first day, I hatched an egg and was rewarded with a Pokémon encounter — other quests would have rewarded Great Balls&nbsp;or Stardust had I completed them. The encounter varies with the rewards, but for the hatching an egg I got Exeggcute, which is far from a trash&nbsp;Pokémon but not highly-sought after, either.

Special Research is a little more interesting. For my first day — everyone’s first day — I caught 10&nbsp;Pokémon, spun five&nbsp;Pokéstops and transferred five&nbsp;Pokémon. And for my efforts I got some Great Balls, Stardust and something that I’ve never been given in this game save on very rare occasions: an incubator. That’s actually a fairly big deal for the game because incubators have been strictly paid items in the past except&nbsp;for special occasions — one unlimited use awarded to start with and some limited use awarded for leveling up,&nbsp;which is a rare occasion after level 20 or so. So another avenue towards getting incubators is actually an important deal for free-to-play trainers, even if I doubt it will cut into Niantic’s bottom line very much — other quests ask you to hatch eggs, which will surely spur some more people to make purchases.

Tomorrow’s challenges will reward me with Incense, another item that was near-exclusively paid before, and that raises the possibility of things like Lucky Eggs, Star Pieces or Raid Passes in the future. It’s a smart move on Niantic’s part: most free-to-play games let you earn paid rewards slowly, hoping to get you hooked enough to buy some on your own in the future. Later on, we’ll likely see Raid-specific rewards like Rare Candy or Golden Razzberries as well, though I’m lousy with the latter.

Eventually, Special Research will reward you with Mew, of course, but these rewards along the way are a nice surprise.&nbsp;Pokémon GO is growing up, even if it’s doing it just in time for the release of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.&nbsp;

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Credit: Niantic

Pokemon GO

Today, after nearly two years of waiting, Pokémon GO finally got something it’s needed since the day it launched: quests. There’s nothing too flashy or anything too different from what you’ll see in most every other free to play games out there now, but it’s still a huge deal for one of the biggest mobile games on the planet. In Pokémon GO, it’s called Research — Field Research and Special Research. Quests wouldn’t be quests without rewards, of course, and Niantic seems to be rewarding players with some of the game’s most valuable items.

Field Research is relatively straightforward: these are goals you pick up from Pokéstops and that reward you a single, random reward, plus a better reward for completing seven on seven different days. For my first day, I hatched an egg and was rewarded with a Pokémon encounter — other quests would have rewarded Great Balls or Stardust had I completed them. The encounter varies with the rewards, but for the hatching an egg I got Exeggcute, which is far from a trash Pokémon but not highly-sought after, either.

Special Research is a little more interesting. For my first day — everyone’s first day — I caught 10 Pokémon, spun five Pokéstops and transferred five Pokémon. And for my efforts I got some Great Balls, Stardust and something that I’ve never been given in this game save on very rare occasions: an incubator. That’s actually a fairly big deal for the game because incubators have been strictly paid items in the past except for special occasions — one unlimited use awarded to start with and some limited use awarded for leveling up, which is a rare occasion after level 20 or so. So another avenue towards getting incubators is actually an important deal for free-to-play trainers, even if I doubt it will cut into Niantic’s bottom line very much — other quests ask you to hatch eggs, which will surely spur some more people to make purchases.

Tomorrow’s challenges will reward me with Incense, another item that was near-exclusively paid before, and that raises the possibility of things like Lucky Eggs, Star Pieces or Raid Passes in the future. It’s a smart move on Niantic’s part: most free-to-play games let you earn paid rewards slowly, hoping to get you hooked enough to buy some on your own in the future. Later on, we’ll likely see Raid-specific rewards like Rare Candy or Golden Razzberries as well, though I’m lousy with the latter.

Eventually, Special Research will reward you with Mew, of course, but these rewards along the way are a nice surprise. Pokémon GO is growing up, even if it’s doing it just in time for the release of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. 

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31Mar 2018

40% in US never change primary credit card. Is that good or bad? – USA TODAY


Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool
Published 2:00 p.m. ET March 31, 2018

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If you’re sharing you’re credit card, your likely to wind up with a losing hand.
USA TODAY

How long has your oldest credit card been sitting in your wallet?

Remember that first credit card you got straight out of college? You probably have memories of whipping it out to pay for the instant noodles you were forced to subsist on when your job was entry-level and your salary followed suit. But is that the same card you rely on steadily today?

If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. An estimated 49 million Americans have never switched from their favorite credit card to another, or have held the same primary card for over a decade, according to new data from CreditCards.com. But whether that’s a positive thing is a different story.

When it pays to keep your old credit card

Why do 40% of Americans hang onto the same credit card for the long haul? Often, it boils down to familiarity and convenience. If you know your card’s rewards system inside and out, are used to its payment schedule, and have relatively good credit card terms, then you may not be motivated to seek out alternative cards.

Furthermore, using the same credit card over time can help you boost your credit score. Of the various factors that go into a credit score, the length of your credit history is an important one; if you’ve had the same credit card for, say, 15 years, that’s a nod in your favor. Holding the same card for just two years, by contrast, is far less impressive.

Hanging onto a long-term credit card can also help with another key factor that goes into your credit score: Your credit utilization ratio represents the amount of available credit you’re using at once, and ideally, it should be kept to 30% or below to help your score. Therefore, if your long-term credit card comes with a spending limit that’s increased over the years, it could boost your score, provided you use it responsibly.

More:It is possible to have a ‘perfect’ credit score if you prioritize these 4 things

More:Lending a hand by co-signing on a loan can backfire on you and your credit score

More:Credit card companies: You can soon skip signing receipts for most card purchases

Are you missing out on a better offer?

Clearly, there are advantages to hanging onto the same credit card for years, but here’s one negative to consider: By sticking with that card, you could be missing out on other offers with better rewards and more favorable terms.

Imagine your long-term credit card offers 1% cash back on all purchases: If there’s another card out there offering 2% back, you could be losing out big time. Similarly, there could be a card out there with a far better interest rate than yours has. Now ideally, you should aim to pay off your credit card balance every month to avoid racking up interest. But if you run into a glitch and need to carry a balance, you’re better off getting charged, say, 14% interest as opposed to 20%. In fact, CreditCards.com reports that rewards and interest rates are the biggest factors in getting consumers to sign up for new cards.

Should you keep that old credit card?

If you’re happy with your long-term credit card and it doesn’t charge an annual fee, then it pays to keep that account open and use it sparingly if you find a new card with better terms. Your credit score stands to benefit, for the reasons reviewed above.

That said, if there’s a much better credit card out there and you’re paying an annual fee for your current one, you might consider dumping that long-term card, especially if your new one comes with a generous spending limit. There are various things you can do to boost your credit score, the most important of which is being on time with your payments. So if you have an old card that’s costing you money and doesn’t have the best terms or rewards, there’s no sense in having it take up valuable real estate in your wallet.

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Carrying cash is apparently not what it used to be….Buzz60’s Nick Cardona has that story.
Buzz60

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The Motley Fool is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary designed to help people take control of their financial lives. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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31Mar 2018

The Future of Travel: New tech coming in 2018 – Yahoo Finance


<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The introduction of new technology is changing the speed and efficiency of traveling. Here are four new advances that will transform the way you travel in 2018” data-reactid=”15″>The introduction of new technology is changing the speed and efficiency of traveling. Here are four new advances that will transform the way you travel in 2018

<h3 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Delta biometrics at lounges” data-reactid=”16″>Delta biometrics at lounges

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Airlines are always looking for ways to make the user experience more seamless. That’s why Delta Air Lines (DAL) hasenabled biometric technology for travelers to gain access to airport lounges. Starting on March 26, Delta Sky Club members who have signed up forCLEAR, can use their fingerprints to enter all 50 U.S. Sky Club locations.” data-reactid=”17″>Airlines are always looking for ways to make the user experience more seamless. That’s why Delta Air Lines (DAL) hasenabled biometric technology for travelers to gain access to airport lounges. Starting on March 26, Delta Sky Club members who have signed up forCLEAR, can use their fingerprints to enter all 50 U.S. Sky Club locations.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="If you don’t have CLEAR, a service that expedites the screening process by verifying your identity using biometrics, you can simply visit one of the enrollment kiosks and sign-up for free. The only caveat is that you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.” data-reactid=”18″>If you don’t have CLEAR, a service that expedites the screening process by verifying your identity using biometrics, you can simply visit one of the enrollment kiosks and sign-up for free. The only caveat is that you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Delta says that they tested the fingerprint scanner for under a year, making improvements along the way. Some of the improved features include a new design, ergonomic finger supports to promote successful scans, and sound/light features to make processing easier to understand.” data-reactid=”19″>Delta says that they tested the fingerprint scanner for under a year, making improvements along the way. Some of the improved features include a new design, ergonomic finger supports to promote successful scans, and sound/light features to make processing easier to understand.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This isn’t the first time the airline has used biometric technology to improve the customer experience. Delta is currently testing biometric boarding experiences, where SkyMiles members enrolled in CLEAR would be able to forego a paper boarding pass in favor of scanning their fingerprint.” data-reactid=”20″>This isn’t the first time the airline has used biometric technology to improve the customer experience. Delta is currently testing biometric boarding experiences, where SkyMiles members enrolled in CLEAR would be able to forego a paper boarding pass in favor of scanning their fingerprint.

<h3 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Facial recognition” data-reactid=”21″>Facial recognition

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Biometric technology has also been introduced at LAX Airport in Los Angeles, at least temporality. On Feb. 2, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)launched a three-week trial to experiment with how facial recognition could speed up the security process.” data-reactid=”22″>Biometric technology has also been introduced at LAX Airport in Los Angeles, at least temporality. On Feb. 2, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)launched a three-week trial to experiment with how facial recognition could speed up the security process.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The test includes two gates in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, where passengers scan their passports and boarding passes. The gate instantly verifies that the information on both documents match, and then snaps a photo of the traveler. Newer passports contain a microchip version of your photo, so the gate also compares your new photo with the one stored in your passport. If everything matches, passengers are given a green light. While a TSA agent will still verify passenger identities to make sure no mistakes occurred, the hope is that one day fewer personnel will be needed.” data-reactid=”23″>The test includes two gates in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, where passengers scan their passports and boarding passes. The gate instantly verifies that the information on both documents match, and then snaps a photo of the traveler. Newer passports contain a microchip version of your photo, so the gate also compares your new photo with the one stored in your passport. If everything matches, passengers are given a green light. While a TSA agent will still verify passenger identities to make sure no mistakes occurred, the hope is that one day fewer personnel will be needed.

Checkpoints using facial recognition at the International Terminal at LAX. (Los Angeles World Airports)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="
“TSA expects that facial recognition may help reduce dependencies on TSA personnel and expedite security processes, resulting in shorter lines and reduced wait times,” the TSA said in a memo.</span>” data-reactid=”35″>
“TSA expects that facial recognition may help reduce dependencies on TSA personnel and expedite security processes, resulting in shorter lines and reduced wait times,” the TSA said in a memo.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For now, the biometric gates will only be used for a few hours each day, but trials like this are becoming more and more popular. Miami International Airport started a facial recognition pilot program last November, and Orlando International Airport (MCO) now allows biometric boarding with facial recognition for British Airways flights to London’s Gatwick Airport. </span>JetBlue also experimented with facial recognition during boarding last June at Boston’s Logan International Airport.” data-reactid=”36″>For now, the biometric gates will only be used for a few hours each day, but trials like this are becoming more and more popular. Miami International Airport started a facial recognition pilot program last November, and Orlando International Airport (MCO) now allows biometric boarding with facial recognition for British Airways flights to London’s Gatwick Airport. JetBlue also experimented with facial recognition during boarding last June at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

<h3 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Travel advice from Alexa” data-reactid=”37″>Travel advice from Alexa

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="One of the best things about a travel agent is that they offer personalized travel recommendations. Now your voice assistant can do the same thing. Starting this week, the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa can</span>ask Lonely Planet to help you plan a trip.” data-reactid=”38″>One of the best things about a travel agent is that they offer personalized travel recommendations. Now your voice assistant can do the same thing. Starting this week, the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa canask Lonely Planet to help you plan a trip.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="All you have to do is ask the devices, “Let me talk to Lonely Planet,” and your device can share more information about a specific destination and insider tips for what to do. On the Alexa app you can also enable the Lonely Planet skill.</span>” data-reactid=”39″>All you have to do is ask the devices, “Let me talk to Lonely Planet,” and your device can share more information about a specific destination and insider tips for what to do. On the Alexa app you can also enable the Lonely Planet skill.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Lonely Planet is the largest travel-guide book publisher in the world and provides travel information on destinations all around the world. If you’re planning a summer trip, now you can put together the perfect itinerary without lifting a finger.</span>” data-reactid=”40″>Lonely Planet is the largest travel-guide book publisher in the world and provides travel information on destinations all around the world. If you’re planning a summer trip, now you can put together the perfect itinerary without lifting a finger.

<h3 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Driverless buses at Gatwick” data-reactid=”41″>Driverless buses at Gatwick

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Much has been written about the future of driverless vehicles,</span>and the dangers of putting these cars on the road. Still, London’s Gatwick Airport has decided todeploy driverless buses during a six-week trial this summer.” data-reactid=”42″>Much has been written about the future of driverless vehicles,and the dangers of putting these cars on the road. Still, London’s Gatwick Airport has decided todeploy driverless buses during a six-week trial this summer.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The trial is the first of its kind at any airport, and will consist of workers being shuttled back and forth between the North and South terminals on airside roads. Passengers and aircrafts will not be involved in the trial.</span>” data-reactid=”47″>The trial is the first of its kind at any airport, and will consist of workers being shuttled back and forth between the North and South terminals on airside roads. Passengers and aircrafts will not be involved in the trial.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Gatwick partnered with Oxbotica, a company that develops software that enables vehicles to run autonomously. The data collected will help to determine if autonomous vehicles can successfully operate on a busy airfield. If the trials have positive results the International Air Transport Association (IATA) sees more than 40 different uses for this technology, including push back tugs, passenger load bridges, and baggage vehicles.</span>” data-reactid=”48″>Gatwick partnered with Oxbotica, a company that develops software that enables vehicles to run autonomously. The data collected will help to determine if autonomous vehicles can successfully operate on a busy airfield. If the trials have positive results the International Air Transport Association (IATA) sees more than 40 different uses for this technology, including push back tugs, passenger load bridges, and baggage vehicles.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="While passengers won’t be riding in these vehicles, it’s interesting to know that the bus you see on the tarmac might not be driven by a human in the future.</span>” data-reactid=”49″>While passengers won’t be riding in these vehicles, it’s interesting to know that the bus you see on the tarmac might not be driven by a human in the future.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Brittany is reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @bjonescooper</a>.&nbsp;</b>” data-reactid=”50″>Brittany is reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @bjonescooper. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Credit card debt has now reached pre-recession levels</a>” data-reactid=”51″>Credit card debt has now reached pre-recession levels

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Points Guy: Fliers should question their airline loyalty</a>” data-reactid=”52″>The Points Guy: Fliers should question their airline loyalty

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="4 ways to avoid paying baggage fees” data-reactid=”53″>4 ways to avoid paying baggage fees

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="5 ways to protect your money from credit card skimmers” data-reactid=”54″>5 ways to protect your money from credit card skimmers

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31Mar 2018

AirAsia Planning Cryptocurrency-Based Rewards Program – Coindesk


Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia is launching a cryptocurrency-based rewards program.

AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes told Nikkei Asian Review that its frequent-flyer rewards program is being converted into a cryptocurrency platform called BigCoin. The move is part of a broader effort to improve the airline’s digital services and move the company toward a cashless system.

In the Nikkei article published Thursday, Fernandes described a system in which customers could buy seats, in-flight meals, seat upgrades and other services using BigCoin, in addition to existing fiat currency options.

Most notably, he told Nikkei Asian Review that he sees AirAsia launching an initial coin offering (ICO) at some point. While Fernandes did not provide a firm timeline, the article says the token could be offered within the next three to six months.

No details have been released yet on whether AirAsia is developing its own blockchain or utilizing an existing platform.

Other airlines have looking at blockchain as a possible rewards program model in recent months.

Singapore Airlines announced last month that it was planning to launch a private blockchain for its own frequent-flyer program, thought it did not specifically state it would be developing its own cryptocurrency.

However, Singapore Airlines did note it had successfully concluded a proof-of-concept trial with KPMG and Microsoft, and a fuller implementation of the system could see the airline working with merchants to enable customers to spend their miles at various stores or restaurants.

AirAsia aircraft image via Kentaro IEMOTO / Flickr

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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30Mar 2018

How to Pick the Best Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Card For You – Travel+Leisure


Chase Bank issues several credit cards, all of which earn cardholders its branded Ultimate Rewards points — one of the most valuable credit card perks available.

With new transfer partners Aer Lingus and Iberia airlines, Chase Ultimate Rewards cardholders can now transfer points to nine airlines and four hotel programs, including Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton. Ultimate Rewards can also be used to redeem cash back (at a flat rate of one cent per point on your statement) or to book travel, including plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, and experiences.

Chase currently offers six Ultimate Rewards cards, though only four are available to consumers (the remaining two are exclusively for businesses). Which one is right for you? Travel + Leisure breaks it down.

Chase Credit Cards Without Fees

No-fee cards generally have fewer perks than their fee-charging alternatives but, well, they’re free. (As long as you pay off your balance, of course.)

Best For: Cardholders Who Don’t Really Want to Figure Out How It All Works

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a no-sweat, no-fee card perfect for cardholders who don’t want to decode a complicated rewards system. Cardholders earn a flat rate of 1.5 points per dollar while enjoying plenty of useful perks, like rental car insurance. Because there are foreign transaction fees, this card isn’t great for frequent international travelers.

Benefits:

  • Earn 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases
  • Damage and theft protection on new purchases
  • Guaranteed 90-day returns on new purchases
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Rental car insurance
  • Zero Liability Protection, which means you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges made with your credit card

Sample Sign-Up Bonus: Get $150 (15,000 points) back after you spend $500 in the first three months.

Annual fee: $0

Best For: Cardholders Who Really Strategize

The Chase Freedom card is another no-fee card, but this one rewards strategy-minded cardholders. With a flat rate of one point per dollar, its default earning rate is lower than the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card — but it also offers a significantly higher earning rate of five points per dollar on select spending categories that rotate quarterly. Because it charges foreign transaction fees, this card is also not ideal for frequent international travelers.

Benefits:

  • Earn five points per dollar on rotating spending categories
  • Unlimited one point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Damage and theft protection on new purchases
  • Guaranteed 90-day returns on new purchases
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Rental car insurance
  • Zero Liability Protection

Sample Sign-Up Bonus: $150 (15,000 points) back after you spend $500 in the first three months

Annual Fee: $0

Chase Credit Cards With Fees

You get what you pay for. Credit cards that charge annual fees almost always offer up commensurately more reward options. The real question is whether or not you’ll use them. For frequent travelers, the rewards from these cards can more than make up for their annual fees. But if those rewards go unused, these cards are not so cost effective.

Best For: Cardholders Who Travel Often

A great option for cardholders who want the extra perks, but not a hefty fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card waives its $95 annual fee in the first year. With no foreign transaction fees, this is an easy pick for cardholders who frequently find themselves abroad. The card also includes delayed baggage insurance, trip cancellation insurance, and rental car insurance, making it an even more attractive option for travelers. Cardholders earn double on travel and dining purchases and see their Ultimate Rewards points go 25 percent farther when spent in the Ultimate Rewards online travel portal.

Benefits:

  • Earn two points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases
  • Earn one point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Sapphire Preferred points are worth 25 percent more when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online travel portal
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Delayed baggage insurance
  • Trip interruption or cancellation insurance
  • Rental car insurance
  • Access to exclusive events and experiences like Sundance cast parties and lounges at music festivals

Sample Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, plus another 5,000 points if you add an authorized user who also makes a purchase of any value in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Best For: Cardholders Who Travel All the Time 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card has the biggest annual fee of all the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards — $450 — but for frequent travelers, the perks add up very quickly. First, there let’s talk about the points. Not only do cardholders earn three points per dollar on all travel and dining purchases, but those points go 50 percent farther when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards online travel portal. Then, there’s the annual $300 travel credit, which is automatically applied to any travel purchases. And if you don’t already  have it, Chase will foot the bill for your Global Entry application. But perhaps the best perk is its Priority Pass Select lounge access, which gets the cardholder and a guest access to more than 1,000 lounges in airports around the world.

Benefits:

  • Earn three points per dollar on travel and dining purchases made worldwide
  • Earn one point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Sapphire Reserve points are worth 50 percent more when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online travel portal
  • Receive an annual $300 travel credit
  • Rental car insurance
  • Trip interruption and cancellation insurance
  • Receive a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Priority Pass Select lounge access
  • Access to exclusive events and experiences

Sample Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $450

Interested in applying for a Chase credit card? Be sure to confirm the latest sign-up bonuses with Chase directly, as they can change often.

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30Mar 2018

What Tyra Banks Can't Travel Without – New York Times


Television personality, producer, entrepreneur and former model Tyra Banks has a lengthy resume, but is probably best known these days for instructing aspiring models to “smize” (smile with their eyes) on “America’s Next Top Model,” a fashion reality TV series she created and hosts. It’s currently in its 24th season. Her book “Perfect Is Boring: 10 Things My Crazy, Fierce Mama Taught Me About Beauty, Booty, and Being a Boss” will be published in April.

While Ms. Banks mostly travels for work, she describes herself as “a master at tacking on pleasure,” commonly adding on vacation days to weeks of intensive shooting abroad. “America’s Next Top Model” has taken contestants around the world, but her favorite was Morocco. “What I love about Marrakesh is the people, and the earth, and the architecture are like the same color. It’s just that beautiful terracotta color and it just all blends, it’s just beautiful. The whole town is like a makeup base foundation,” she said.

She describes herself as obsessed with hotels, even going so far as to model her own bedroom after a room in the Four Seasons New York. “I used to stay there when I was a Victoria’s Secret model, actually, and I studied that room. I don’t think I took pictures back then, but I talked to the interior designer, and I made it as close to that Four Seasons as possible, including the bathtub that fills up in like 60 seconds.”

Here’s what she can’t travel without.

Her Son’s Toy

“It’s like a little blanket connected to a giraffe head, and I cuddle with that and I get funky with it and I sleep with it, and I put it in my armpit and all that. I have two of them so they’re in rotation, so I travel and get it funky and then I come back and I give it to him, and I’m like ‘That was mommy!’ and he grabs it and smells it. I know that sounds gross, but there’s always one with me and always one with him, and you know, children really connect to their parents’ scent, so I make sure that it’s on me when I’m on the plane and stuff like that. And then when I come home, I just take the one he had and give him that one, so he immediately has mommy’s smell again.”

Fendi Tote

“It’s a blue leather Fendi tote, and I think it’s called the ‘Monster Bag.’ My agent, Nancy, got it for me because it has eyes on it, and when you unzip the zipper on front, the inside is red, so it looks like a mouth. But she calls it a ‘smizing bag,’ because it looks like the eyes are smizing.”

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30Mar 2018

Airline ticket secrets: How to get the best value – WLWT Cincinnati


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Airline ticket secrets: How to get the best value
WLWT Cincinnati
As Ma told CNN Travel: "Knowing the fare code means knowing whether or not the ticket you just purchased will earn frequent flyer miles, which help you to see more of the world for less." Ma cites a flight he booked to Jordan as an example. "Most of

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29Mar 2018

Fortnite's Sniper Shootout mode isn't handing out rewards, XP or progress – VG247


By Matt Martin,
Thursday, 29 March 2018 16:19 GMT

Fortnite’s latest limited time mode isn’t giving out rewards to Battle Royale players.

Sniper Shootout V2 went live today with the 3.4 update, alongside the new guided missile, the Easter egg launcher and a bunch of other fixes.

But players hoping to gain some extra XP and progress through Season 3 tiers won’t be getting any rewards until the problem is fixed.

Sniper Shootout V2 is a little different from its previous form – the magnum has been removed and in its place are the hunting rifle and the crossbow.

There’s also a progress problem for Save the World players where rewards are not showing up.

As well as the new mode and weapons, Week 6 challenges kicked off today, gifting players XP for climbing ten mountain peaks and finding a hidden battle star hidden between a Metal Bridge, Three Billboards and a Crashed Bus.

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29Mar 2018

No Need To Sign On Dotted Line: Credit Cards Are Phasing Out Signatures – NPR


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Major credit card companies say they are phasing out signature requirements starting in April.

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Attention credit card users: Starting in April, you probably won’t have to scrawl your name on a scrap of paper or an electronic monitor when you make a purchase.

Mastercard, Discover, American Express and Visa have all announced that they are limiting or totally slashing policies requiring you to make your mark. They say it’s because of advances in technology that make fraud less likely.

The company policies differ slightly. Here is what each is introducing next month:

Mastercard: Back in October, this was the first company to announce changes in signature requirements. It said it “will no longer require signatures at checkout for any credit or debit purchases in Canada and the U.S.”

Discover: The credit card company said it will “no longer require signatures at the point of sale for credit and debit transactions on the Discover Global Network in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.”

American Express: This is the only credit card company that eliminated the requirement worldwide, for all merchants that accept American Express, starting in April. Both Discover and American Express announced the changes in December.

Visa: The company said in January that it is making the requirement optional for merchants that use EMV chip technology in North America, starting in April.

The change is designed to speed up the checkout process, and it also means that merchants won’t have to store signatures after the fact.

“The payments landscape has evolved to the point where we can now eliminate this pain point for our merchants,” Jaromir Divilek, executive vice president for Global Network Business at American Express, said in a statement. “Our fraud capabilities have advanced so that signatures are no longer necessary to fight fraud.”

EMV cards — the technical name for credit and debit cards that have a chip — were introduced recently and designed to prevent fraud. In October 2015, liability for fraud shifted from credit card companies to merchants if the payment used a magnetic stripe.

The transition to the new kind of cards has been a little rocky — for example, Fortune reported that “nearly a year after the liability shift, merchant adoption was at about 33 percent.”

Still, there are clear signs that the chip technology has reduced fraud. According to Visa, “Less than two years since EMV chip launched in the U.S., fraud declined 66 percent at EMV chip-enabled merchants.”

Some credit card companies had already started phasing out signature requirements — when it announced the change, Mastercard said 80 percent of store transactions in North America didn’t require a signature. American Express had eliminated signatures at checkout for transactions under $50 in the U.S. and had made similar moves in the U.K. and Canada.

And some industry experts doubt that signing your name provided any additional security benefit. That’s because the merchants rarely actually compare the signature with the one on the back of the credit card, reports creditcards.com.

“If merchants were doing what they are supposed to do, then maybe it has added a level of security,” Philip Andreae, a digital payments consultant, told the site. “Otherwise, as it is today, there is no value.”

For a brief history of why credit cards have a chip now, check out this video from Planet Money:

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