Monthly Archives: April 2018

30Apr 2018

Don't travel internationally without this credit card – Yahoo Finance


<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Planning a memorable summer vacation involves picking the right destination and the right credit card.” data-reactid=”15″>Planning a memorable summer vacation involves picking the right destination and the right credit card.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="If you plan on traveling abroad, you may want to consider applying for the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, which has been named the best for international travel by Wallethub.” data-reactid=”16″>If you plan on traveling abroad, you may want to consider applying for the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, which has been named the best for international travel by Wallethub.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="According to the credit card comparison site, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card ranks above the others because of its convenience services. This includes features like international merchant acceptance, expedited international delivery for lost cards, and financial assistance in case of a travel emergency. One helpful convenience BofA provides is the ability to request a PIN when traveling overseas. Most countries in Europe use chip and PIN technology, while US cards are only enabled with the chip and signature option. Having access to a PIN makes purchasing items internationally a more seamless experience.” data-reactid=”17″>According to the credit card comparison site, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card ranks above the others because of its convenience services. This includes features like international merchant acceptance, expedited international delivery for lost cards, and financial assistance in case of a travel emergency. One helpful convenience BofA provides is the ability to request a PIN when traveling overseas. Most countries in Europe use chip and PIN technology, while US cards are only enabled with the chip and signature option. Having access to a PIN makes purchasing items internationally a more seamless experience.

View photos

Selecting the right credit card can transform your travel experience

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Additionally, the card comes with a $100 airport security statement toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry, and up to $100 annually for qualifying travel purchases like seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services and airline lounge fees.</span>” data-reactid=”38″>Additionally, the card comes with a $100 airport security statement toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry, and up to $100 annually for qualifying travel purchases like seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services and airline lounge fees.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Other top cards include the Bank of America Travel Rewards, Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard, and the USAA Visa Signature Card. </span>Annual fees on these credit cards vary: The BofA Travel Rewards card doesn’t have an annual fee, but the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard carries a $150 fee.” data-reactid=”39″>Other top cards include the Bank of America Travel Rewards, Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard, and the USAA Visa Signature Card. Annual fees on these credit cards vary: The BofA Travel Rewards card doesn’t have an annual fee, but the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard carries a $150 fee.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="One card noticeably absent from the top five is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has been widely touted as one of the best travel credit card for consumers. The Reserve, and its counterpart the Chase Sapphire Preferred, tied for seventh place on Wallethub’s list. Their low ranking is due to both cards performing poorly in the convenience services category. &nbsp;” data-reactid=”40″>One card noticeably absent from the top five is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has been widely touted as one of the best travel credit card for consumers. The Reserve, and its counterpart the Chase Sapphire Preferred, tied for seventh place on Wallethub’s list. Their low ranking is due to both cards performing poorly in the convenience services category.  

View photos

The best credit card for international travel

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Overall, Wallethub looked at 49 of the most popular credit cards and compared everything from fees to insurance. The top 18 cards all offered</span>no foreign transaction fee, which is a 2%-3% fee added to any purchase made through an international merchant. Of those, Capital One, Discover, USAA and Barclays are the only issuers that exclusively offer no foreign transaction fee cards.” data-reactid=”61″>Overall, Wallethub looked at 49 of the most popular credit cards and compared everything from fees to insurance. The top 18 cards all offeredno foreign transaction fee, which is a 2%-3% fee added to any purchase made through an international merchant. Of those, Capital One, Discover, USAA and Barclays are the only issuers that exclusively offer no foreign transaction fee cards.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="If notifying your bank before you travel is a hassle, then consider getting an American Express or Capital One card. They’re the only issuers that automatically detect when you travel, removing the need for you to call your bank ahead of time. </span>” data-reactid=”62″>If notifying your bank before you travel is a hassle, then consider getting an American Express or Capital One card. They’re the only issuers that automatically detect when you travel, removing the need for you to call your bank ahead of time.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The survey also found that 96% of credit cards offer rental car insurance, 86% offer travel accident insurance, and 37% provide some form of </span>baggage coverage. The key is to make sure you research all options before applying, to make sure you’re getting the most benefits for your buck. ” data-reactid=”63″>The survey also found that 96% of credit cards offer rental car insurance, 86% offer travel accident insurance, and 37% provide some form of baggage coverage. The key is to make sure you research all options before applying, to make sure you’re getting the most benefits for your buck.

<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=”64″>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=”65″>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=”66″>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=”67″>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=”68″>5 ways to protect your money from credit card skimmers

 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading
30Apr 2018

World's best frequent flyer programs for 2018 named at 'Freddie' awards – Traveller


And the envelope for the top frequent-flyer program goes to … Virgin Australia.

The airline’s Velocity program took home the coveted title at the 2018 “Freddie” awards, an Oscars-like award ceremony recognising the top travel loyalty programs.

Virgin Australia dominated the airline categories for the “Middles East and Asia/Oceania” region, winning “Program of the Year”, “Best Elite Program”, “Best Customer Service” and “Best Redemption Ability”.

In the hotels category the IHG Rewards Club from InterContinental Hotels Group won “Program of the Year” with awards also going to Starwood Preferred Guest and Le Club from Accor Hotels.

The annual “Freddie” awards recognise the world’s top airline and hotel loyalty programs. The awards are determined by votes from frequent flyers and hotel patrons, recognising five “best of” categories for both airlines and hotels in each of three global regions. The Freddies also honour the best loyalty credit cards in each of the regions. And there’s a special “210 Award” for programs being recognised programs “trending higher” among travellers.

The awards employ a scoring system weighted to balance high-scoring votes against a simple quantity of votes. In doing so, Freddie organisers say the loyalty program of a smaller airline or hotel chain is able to be judged more fairly against bigger programs that can mobilise a large number of voters. A record 4.4 million frequent travellers voted in the latest Freddie Awards.

The Freddie Awards, first given in 1988, are named for the late Sir Freddie Laker, who achieved knighthood in the United Kingdom for pioneering low-cost air travel across the Atlantic in the 1970s.

“We are delighted to once again allow frequent flyers throughout the world the opportunity to select the travel loyalty programs that they believe have achieved excellence,” Freddie Awards founder Randy Petersen said about the 2018 Freddies. “This is not an elitist view of these programs nor a popular vote, but rather the ‘best’ are determined by the votes of those who spend a great deal of their life on the road and in turn are appreciative of the value they bring to their members.”

Virgin Australia’s Velocity launched in 2006 and now has more than seven million members. Although Virgin Australia is not a member of one of the major global alliances (Star Alliance, OneWorld and SkyTeam), members are able to earn points with partner airlines including Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Delta and Air New Zealand.

The airline has won “Program of the Year” for Velocity at the Freddie awards several times previously, most recently in 2016.

Southwest Airlines won the top award for the Americas. The airline recently made headlines after an exploding engine part shattered a cabin window 20 minutes into a flight from New York-LaGuardia airport. A woman was partially sucked out of the aircraft and died due to her injuries. 

At least one passenger is now suing the airline for post-traumatic stress over the incident.

In the Europe and Africa region, Norwegian Air won for best program. 

The carrier’s Norwegian Reward program provides a free reward, such as complimentary seat reservations or fast track through security, every six flights. The rapidly growing airline is now Europe’s third-largest low-cost carrier. 

See also: Airline review: Norwegian Air premium economy

MIDDLE EAST & ASIA/OCEANIA

Airline Category

Program of the Year — Virgin Australia — Velocity Frequent Flyer

Best Elite Program — Virgin Australia — Velocity Frequent Flyer

Best Customer Service — Virgin Australia — Velocity Frequent Flyer

Best Redemption Ability — Virgin Australia — Velocity Frequent Flyer

Best Promotion — Emirates Skywards — 50% off first class upgrades

210 Award — Saudia Alfursan

Hotel Category

Program of the Year — IHG Rewards Club

Best Elite Program — Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Customer Service — Le Club Accor Hotels

Best Redemption Ability — Le Club Accor Hotels

Best Promotion — IHG Rewards Club — Accelerate

210 Award — TAJ Innercircle

Credit Card

Best Loyalty Credit Card — ADCB Etihad Guest Above Visa Card

AMERICAS

Airline

Program of the Year — Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

Best Elite Program — American Airlines — Advantage

Best Customer Service — Southwest Rapid Rewards

Best Redemption Ability — Southwest Rapid Rewards

Best Promotion — Southwest Rapid Rewards — Unbelievable Companion Pass Offer

210 Award — Avianca Lifemiles

Hotel Category

Program of the Year — Marriott Rewards

Best Elite Program — Marriott Rewards

Best Customer Service — Marriott Rewards

Best Redemption Ability — Marriott Rewards

Best Promotion — MGM — M life Rewards — Holiday Gift Shoppe

210 Award — MGM — M life reward

Credit Card

Best Loyalty Credit Card — Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

EUROPE & AFRICA

Airline Category

Program of the Year — Norwegian Air — Norwegian Reward

Best Elite Program — Aeroflot Bonus

Best Customer Service — Aeroflot Bonus

Best Redemption Ability — Aeroflot Bonus

Best Promotion — Norwegian Reward — Christmas Advent Calendar

210 Award — Aeroflot Bonus

Hotel Category

Program of the Year — Le Club Accor Hotels

Best Elite Program — Marriott Rewards

Best Customer Service — Le Club Accor Hotels

Best Redemption Ability — Le Club Accor Hotels

Best Promotion — Le Club Accor Hotels — Activation Booster

210 Award — IHG Reward Club

Credit Card

Best Loyalty Credit Card — American Express — Membership Rewards

with TNS

See also: Which frequent flyer program should you join?

See also: How to get into airport lounges when you’re not flying in business

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading
30Apr 2018

Rewards doubled for useful tips in Kansas City homicides – fox2now.com


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Useful tips related to Kansas City homicides will bring larger rewards for the tipsters.

Kansas City police and Kansas City Crime Stoppers announced Friday the payout for tips in homicide cases has increased from $5,000 to $10,000.

Police Chief Rick Smith says the increased rewards are a tool the city is using to encourage community involvement during a time when the homicide rate continues to increase.

Smith says several recent homicides remain unsolved and the additional reward money might have citizens an incentive to provide useful information.

The Kansas City Star reports City Manager Troy Schulte said the city is providing nearly $175,000 toward the rewards.

Rick Armstrong, president of the Kansas City Crime Commission says several other area cities may soon announce plans to increase the reward amount.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading
30Apr 2018

Out-of-state travel tab for Abbott's security tops $1 million – San Antonio Express-News



Photo: GPO, Handout / Getty Images

In this handout image provided by the Israeli Government Press office (GPO), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Gregory Wayne Abbott, Governor of Texas at his office on January 18, 2016 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Kobi Gideon / GPO via Getty Images)

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott has pursued a busy national and international schedule in his first term that has driven state-paid travel expenses for his security detail to more than $1 million and counting.

Security accompanies Abbott whether he is pursuing job expansion for Texas, fundraising for his campaign, promoting his book, speaking at a political event or vacationing in Hawaii — the most expensive single destination reported so far for the security detail, at more than $71,000.

Print subscribers get a password for your existing account here

But the title of costliest trip is a moving target.

Not yet available is the security cost of Abbott’s recent nine-day business development trip to India.

And at least one trip with multiple destinations cost more than his recent holiday in Hawaii. His January 2016 trip to Israel and Switzerland to meet with leaders and promote Texas business interests cost nearly $97,000 for security.

Here are the out-of-state travel expenses for Gov. Greg Abbott’s security detail, which accompanies him on trips and is paid for by taxpayers.

Note: These travel-related costs were reported by DPS. A small number of trips may have been canceled without refunding advance costs, and a few may have been taken alone by Mrs. Abbott, who also is covered by the security detail. Additionally, the month something was expensed is not necessarily the month of travel.

Abbott’s direct travel expenses typically are covered by means outside of state taxpayer money, such as his campaign or an economic development entity.

But the security detail is funded by taxpayers through the Texas Department of Public Safety. The San Antonio Express-News regularly tracks this expense through reports maintained by the agency.

Since Abbott took office in January 2015 through February, the latest report available, the travel cost for his security detail has mounted to $1.2 million. Of that, $1 million is for out-of-state trips. The total includes travel, fuel, food, lodging and a category called “other.” It does not include salaries or overtime.

One of the Democrats vying to face the Republican governor in November said Abbott should reimburse taxpayers through his campaign account for security expenses on trips that aren’t for state business. At last count, Abbott had more than $41 million in cash on hand.

“Governors need security when they’re traveling and taking care of the people’s business. But should taxpayers be on the hook for security costs when Abbott wants to have a steak dinner and some wine with the Koch brothers? No. Should they have to pay for him to be on Fox & Friends or address the NRA? No,” said Juan Bautista Dominguez, spokesman for former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. “Working Texans are already hurting from Abbott’s raid of education funds and neglect of health care. They cannot afford his tea party jaunts.”

Valdez faces Houston businessman Andrew White in the May 22 runoff election for the Democratic nomination for governor.

White, son of the late Democratic former Gov. Mark White, was more measured.

“In the interest of taxpayer funds, I hope the governor would reduce his security detail for out-of-state trips — especially out-of-state personal trips — to the absolute minimum security required,” White said.

Matt Hirsch, deputy chief of staff for Abbott, said the governor isn’t open to making reimbursements for security. Like former Gov. Rick Perry’s staff did, he points out that being governor is a 24-hour-a-day job and that security requirements are determined by DPS.

The taxpayer-funded cost of security for a governor was highlighted when Perry ran for president while holding his state office.

Like Abbott, Perry’s direct travel expenses typically were not charged to taxpayers. But Perry’s state-paid security costs ballooned as he raced for the White House.

Perry’s security detail incurred nearly $3.7 million in out-of-state travel expenses from his 2010 re-election through December 2014, his last full month in office. Of the total, $1.8 million was tallied when he sought the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, has unsuccessfully pushed legislation to require state officeholders to pay for the cost of security on trips outside the state for personal or political reasons. He also has pushed ethics legislation to rein in the appointment of big donors by governors. Larson was among lawmakers whom Abbott unsuccessfully sought to unseat in this year’s GOP primary.

Larson said that in the next legislative session, he wants to work with the governor’s staff “on a solution that can be part of overarching ethics legislation that will transcend political party affiliation regardless of who resides in the (Governor’s) Mansion.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairman John Zerwas, a Richmond Republican who is running for House speaker, said lawmakers might want to have more discussion about the issue of security costs, noting the spotlight on the matter when Perry was traveling.

“I don’t know that we ever developed a solid policy position on it,” Zerwas said.

Like any official, Zerwas said, the governor has political obligations. Like any person, he said, the governor has a need for private time.

“The governor is the single most recognizable public figure that we have. We can’t expect him to not ever have some personal time away,” Zerwas said. “He still is going to need some security in that case.”

Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson said Abbott’s security cost “plays into a larger story to which we are increasingly sensitive,” that of security for officials overall, including in the Trump administration. Jillson cited the example of Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, who was reported by the Associated Press to have a “swollen” 20-member security detail that cost the agency millions of dollars.

While acknowledging cases such as that of former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was badly injured in a shooting, Jillson said an attack harming a governor hasn’t happened in decades.

“The idea that you need a security team to protect a governor — I’m not convinced,” Jillson said. “At least not that it needs to be an extensive security team. … We are in danger of overly securitizing our public officials and separating them from the public.”

DPS Director Steve McCraw said that when Perry was governor that he worried whether there was enough security, saying Perry had received death threats.

Among trips by Abbott and his wife, Cecilia, who also gets security protection, are multiple visits to California, where their daughter attends college. On one such trip last year, Abbott presided over the coin toss in a game between the University of Alabama and the University of Southern California.

Abbott also has traveled outside the country for state business and for personal time. In addition to Israel, Switzerland and India, he went to Mexico and Cuba on state business. Besides Hawaii, he has vacationed in Paris, Rome, Mexico and Sydney, where he exchanged hats with the Australian prime minister.

The governor went to President Donald Trump’s inauguration and has had other visits to Washington, including to advocate for the state’s need for assistance after Hurricane Harvey.

He has promoted his book, “Broken but Unbowed,” in New York; given speeches; attended conservative gatherings, including those in California and Colorado involving the billionaire Koch brothers; and raised money in Oklahoma for his campaign.

Peggy Fikac is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of her stories here. | pfikac@express-news.net | @pfikac

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading
30Apr 2018

Scammers discovering ways to combat credit card chip technology – KHON2


AP File Photo

HONOLULU (KHON2) – Last week’s data breach involving Zippy’s restaurants highlights the risks of using your credit card, despite all the security improvements made to help protect you from fraud.

The Hawaii Better Business Bureau says scammers have discovered ways of combating credit card chip technology.

In at least one case, the cards are being intercepted in the mail.

That’s when the chips are pulled off and replaced with fake ones.

Then the card is sent on its way to the cardholder.

“It’s as if they copied the information of your credit card like the credit card number, expiration date, and security number, all those things that you protect from scammers”, said Hawaii Better Business Bureau Marketplace manager Jason Kama.

When the cardholder activates the card a day or two later, that opens the door for the scammer to go on a shopping spree.

It’s not until the cardholder tries to use the card with the fake chip on it that he or she finds out it doesn’t work.

By then it’s too late.

In Arizona, scammers managed to insert a small device, similar to a USB, inside a chip reader located inside a store.

“In this case they’re inserting something that leaves behind something that reads the chip card information and then later they’ll come back and insert that card again to download that information off of that item that they inserted”, said Kama.

It’s not clear how they’re able to use the information since the data is different for every transaction and can’t be duplicated.

So far there have been reports of either scam happening in Hawaii.

That’s why paying close attention to your credit card statement is so important.

If you have a concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer for just a few hours a week, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading
29Apr 2018

Make the most of your travel rewards points in time for summer vacation – Newsday


Summer is just around the corner. Now is a good time to tally up your credit card and travel points and rewards to see where you stand and come up with a strategy for making the most of what you have.

Reap your rewards. Not everybody is capitalizing on what’s in their wallet. According to a NextAdvisor survey of more than 2,000 people, 35 percent of frequent flyer enrollees don’t know how many miles they have, and 47 percent of those in hotel loyalty programs don’t know how many points they have. Worse, 36 percent of those in frequent flyer programs and 33 percent in hotel loyalty programs don’t know how to redeem points.

Read the fine print. What travel partners are associated with your credit card? “You can use your miles towards purchases with partners like airlines or hotel chains. Earning rewards is great, but acquiring rewards you’ll actually use is the goal,” says Natasha Rachel Smith, a personal finance and travel expert at TopCashback.com.

Transfer values. Some travel rewards cards allow you to transfer points or miles to third-party travel loyalty programs, but not every card offers 1:1 transfer value. “Before you try to transfer travel rewards to [a third-party program], call to verify the transfer process won’t cost any fees. Whether the point of transferring rewards is to extend the expiration date or simply gifting someone miles, make sure you don’t pay anything out of pocket or via your miles. Also ensure that the number of miles you transfer is a 1:1 transfer ratio,” says Smith.

Avoid mistakes. Don’t give in to the temptation to purchase miles. Do so sparingly and only when it makes sense financially.

Get the Biz Briefing newsletter!

The latest LI business news in your inbox Monday through Friday.

By clicking Sign up, you agree to our privacy policy.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading
29Apr 2018

Cleveland air travel enters the Iceland age; Wow Air launches this week, Icelandair to follow – cleveland.com


CLEVELAND, Ohio – It’s been nearly 10 years since a commercial passenger airline last flew across the Atlantic Ocean to and from Cleveland.

That changes this week, as air travel in Northeast Ohio enters the Iceland age, with two Reykjavik-based airlines set to start service from Cleveland.

First up is Wow Air, with its signature bright purple airplanes and super-low fares, due to land in Cleveland for the first time at 11:30 p.m. Thursday. It will turn around and fly its maiden voyage from Cleveland Hopkins an hour later, departing at 12:30 a.m. Friday.

Less than two weeks later, on May 16, Icelandair launches service from Cleveland, with five flights per week to Keflavik International Airport, about 30 miles west of Reykiavik.

Related:Destination Cleveland hosts European travel agents, writers to promote international tourism

The service marks the first time since 2009 that Cleveland has had a nonstop flight to Europe. That year, Continental Airlines canceled nonstop service between Cleveland and London; a year earlier, Continental discontinued service to Paris.

Since then, internationally-minded Northeast Ohioans have had to travel through New York City, Chicago, Detroit or another large hub when flying to Europe.

Frequent flyer Ingrida Bublys, president of Cleveland’s International Business Network, is among those who are eager to connect through Reykjavik instead. “I think it will be more enjoyable, more relaxed,” she said, noting that going through Cleveland’s recently renovated U.S. Customs facility should be far less stressful than the bigger airports.

Her organization recently invited executives from Icelandair to make a pitch to local business leaders with European ties, an event that filled the ballroom at the Embassy Suites hotel in Independence last week. Bublys encouraged the crowd: “Everyone in this room should try Icelandair at some point.”

Both Icelandair and Wow offer connections to dozens of cities in Europe, including London, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin and many others.

Both airlines are known for their low fares. Wow has base fares that start at $99 one way to Reykjavik and $149 elsewhere in Europe, but also assesses fees for advanced seat assignments and checked and carry-on luggage. Icelandair’s fares are more inclusive, and generally more expensive, starting at about $225 one way to Reykjavik, more to mainland Europe. It is considered the more business-friendly of the two, with premium seating and service in what it calls Saga Class.

How both of these airlines – Iceland’s only carriers, and fierce competitors – decided to fly from Cleveland in the same month remains a bit of a head-scratcher.

Related:How Cleveland Hopkins International Airport scored two routes to Iceland in one week

Cleveland Hopkins’ new carriers to Europe: What to know before booking on Wow, Icelandair

The two carriers revealed their Cleveland plans in back-to-back announcements in late August.

Both airlines have been on a growing spree recently. In addition to Cleveland, Wow is adding Cincinnati, Detroit and St. Louis to its U.S. route map this spring, for a total of 12 U.S. destinations. Icelandair is adding Kansas City, Dallas, Baltimore and San Francisco, for a total of 18 U.S. cities.

After these additions, the two airlines will go head-to-head in six U.S. cities, including Chicago, New York, Baltimore, Boston and San Francisco. Cleveland is, by far, the smallest airport to host both.

Egill Almar Agustsson, the director of network planning for Icelandair, who was in Cleveland last week, said he was looking forward to the competition. “We’re excited to take it on,” he said. “We’re definitely very happy with the performance in Cleveland so far. This summer is looking good.”

Cleveland has enough traffic to Europe to justify both airlines, said Cleveland Airport Director Robert Kennedy. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation figures, on an average day, 327 passengers traveling from Cleveland Hopkins are headed to Europe (with more in the summer, fewer in the winter).

“There are enough people going to Europe through other connecting hubs to support this – to support them both,” said Kennedy.

In addition, he said, low fares offered by Wow and Icelandair should stimulate the market, increasing Cleveland’s passenger count to Europe substantially. (Wow offered $69 one-way fares to Reykjavik last week, which were scooped up within 24 hours.)

Icelandair is flying five days per week (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday); Wow, four days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday).

Is it too much?

Industry consultant Henry Harteveldt thinks it might be. He’s doubtful both Wow and Icelandair will be successful in Cleveland. “It’s a very risky gamble on both airlines’ part,” said Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group.

Their success may depend on the extent to which other, more familiar airlines – United, Delta, American – are willing to match lower fares to Europe. An analysis conducted in February by travel company Hopper.com showed that fares between Cleveland and Europe were down more than 30 percent for 2018, and that U.S. carriers were likely lowering prices, as well.

In addition to price, other factors that may influence the decisions made by Cleveland travelers: ease of connections, flight frequency and flexibility, and loyalty programs.

“It’s a series of tradeoffs,” he said. “What works for one traveler will be different from what pleases another. This is what competition is all about.”

He said the new airlines should know within six months how well the Cleveland market is responding. In the meantime, he said, it’s a good time to travel to Europe from Cleveland.

The competition, he said, “is wonderful for the consumer.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading
29Apr 2018

Credit cards: Good and bad reasons why Americans open new accounts – CBS19.tv KYTX


For better or worse, credit cards are an integral part of our economy. It’s estimated that 70% of Americans have at least one credit card, which translates into 174 million users. Given that number, Credit Cards Explained conducted a survey to see what motivates consumers to open new credit cards, and the results were mostly encouraging:

Reason for opening credit card

% or consumers

Improve credit score or history

42%

Earn cash back

23%

Earn travel rewards

20%

Earn store rewards

12%

Maxed out a previous card

8%

Earn a signup bonus

7%

DATA SOURCE: CREDIT CARDS EXPLAINED.

If you’re thinking of opening a credit card, it’s crucial to do so for the right reasons. Otherwise, that card might spell nothing but financial trouble.

Pile of credit cards

GETTY IMAGES

Good reasons to open a credit card

The most popular reason for Americans opening credit cards is a positive one. When used correctly, a new credit card can actually improve your credit score in a number of ways. First, if you make charges on that card but pay your bills on time every month, you’ll boost your payment history — the single most important factor in determining a credit score. You’ll also help your credit utilization ratio by increasing your credit limit.

Rewards are another great reason to open a credit card, provided you use that card only to buy things you were already planning on purchasing. Cash back is the most popular reward type because it gives you limitless options. If your credit card company sends you a check for the amount you’ve accrued in rewards, that money is yours to spend as you see fit. You can use it to pay off debt, contribute to an emergency fund, or meet whatever other needs you have.

Similarly, signup bonuses are a great thing provided they don’t tempt you to spend money you weren’t planning to spend. But since most of us have basic expenses that can be charged on a credit card, like groceries and gasoline, snagging those bonuses is often quite easy.

More:What the (almost) end of credit card signatures means for you

More:New credit reward cards from Fiat Chrysler, Uber and Starbucks add to payment options list

More:Financial procrastination: You’ll act on these tips — one of these days

And one very bad reason to open a credit card

While most of the aforementioned reasons for opening a credit card make sense, one very bad reason to get a new credit card is if you already have maxed out your other ones. If you’re in this position, it’s a sign that you shouldn’t have a credit card to begin with because you can’t be trusted to use it responsibly.

Most people are granted credit limits that are higher than what they should actually be spending based on their income. Therefore, if you’ve already managed to max out at least one credit card, it’s a sign that you’re at risk of repeating that mistake. If that’s the boat you’re in, rather than open a new credit card, you instead should focus on paying down your current one.

Remember, if you max out a credit card and carry that balance for an extended period of time, you’ll not only spend extra money on interest, but possibly drive up your credit utilization ratio, which can negatively impact your score. Granted, opening a new card should increase your total line of credit, thus helping that ratio initially, but if you max out that additional card, you’ll be back where you started.

Ultimately, it takes a certain type of discipline to have a credit card. If you can’t trust yourself not to spend excessively and max out its limit, then you’re better off forgoing those rewards and paying for purchases in cash. It’s a far better bet than racking up expensive interest charges, ruining your credit, and setting yourself on a disastrous financial path.

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.

Offer from the Motley Fool: 5 Simple Tips to Skyrocket Your Credit Score Over 800!
Increasing your credit score above 800 will put you in rare company. So rare that only 1 in 9 Americans can claim they’re members of this elite club. But contrary to popular belief, racking up a high credit score is a lot easier than you may have imagined following 5 simple, disciplined strategies. You’ll find a full rundown of each inside our FREE credit score guide. It’s time to put your financial future first and secure a lifetime of savings by increasing your credit score. Simply click here to claim a copy 5 Simple Tips to Skyrocket Your Credit Score over 800.

Copyright 2017 USATODAY.com

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading
28Apr 2018

The Motley Fool: Teens can reap rewards by investing in stocks – Seattle Times


ASK THE FOOL

Oops!

Q: There’s an error in the federal tax return I filed. How can I correct it?

A: The 1040 form you file isn’t the only one you can file for each year. You can file an amended return with a 1040X form, and you can even amend an amended return later!

Mistakes involving your filing status, income, deductions or credits will require an amended return.

One way to avoid an amended return is to use tax-prep software such as TaxACT or TurboTax. Such software can reduce errors, since it will do calculations for you and will help you be thorough, submitting all needed forms.

Most Read Business Stories

Unlimited Digital Access: $1 for 4 weeks

Q: Are stocks too risky for teenagers?

A: Not at all! As long as they’re investing for the long term, young people stand to do the best investing in stocks. For example, if you’re 15 and you invest $1,000 in the stock market each year and earn an average annual return of 8 percent, you’ll end up with almost $50,000 when you’re 35 and about $280,000 by age 55.

Of course, you’ll be able to invest more as you get older — amassing more money that can help you buy a home or retire early. People in or near retirement have far less time in which their money can grow.

Short-term money — money needed within five or even 10 years, perhaps for college — should be in “safer” places than stocks, such as money market accounts or CDs.

MY DUMBEST INVESTMENT

Twice burned

Dear Fool: I got burned on stock in Molycorp, a rare-earth materials company. That kind of thing happens. The dumb part was that I did it twice!

I made a bad move, got out, berated myself for bailing out, then saw the stock price go way lower. So I bought again, watched it drop more, got out and resisted the temptation to try it again — I won’t let a stock fool me three times.

Unless it’s a large, stable company with a long, profitable track record, my mantra now is, “Burn me once, you’re done.”

The Fool responds: Molycorp was once flying high, but then China increased the world’s supply of the rare elements used for products such as batteries, camera lenses, catalytic converters, hard drives and MRI machines. Prices dropped, and Molycorp ended up with years of massive losses, eventually filing for bankruptcy protection. It emerged as a new company later, but only after shareholders were wiped out. The lesson here is to not try to catch a falling knife. Unless you have strong reason to believe the company will ultimately recover and prosper, aim to make money elsewhere. Selling at a loss is better than selling at a greater loss later. Companies that file for bankruptcy protection will often end up burning their shareholders.

THE MOTLEY FOOL TAKE

Learn your Alphabet

Google, child of parent company Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOGL, Nasdaq: GOOG), controls more than 70 percent of the desktop search market worldwide, and more than 90 percent of mobile searches. (It’s true — Google it!) It boasts seven products with at least 1 billion monthly users each: Search, Gmail, Chrome, Maps, YouTube, Google Play and Android.

Google entered the cloud-computing game late, but it has made impressive gains. On the company’s most recent earnings conference call, CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google Cloud was “already a billion-dollar-per-quarter business.”

Most of Alphabet’s revenue comes from online advertising, but it’s a pioneer in the artificial-intelligence technique of deep learning, and it’s also home to a number of “moonshots.” Those include Waymo, the company’s self-driving division that’s set to launch a driverless ride-hailing service later this year.

Other potential growth drivers include the subsidiary Verily that’s working on projects such as smart contact lenses that detect blood glucose levels, while subsidiary Calico aims to increase the human life span.

With Alphabet’s control of search and promising position in many other businesses, investors might want to buy and hold Alphabet for decades. (Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and has recommended Alphabet.)

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading
28Apr 2018

It's time to tell the truth about your vacations – USA TODAY


It’s time to tell the truth about your last vacation – the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Was that hotel or vacation rental overrated? Did that five-star restaurant only deserve four stars – or less? Was the place too crowded, too expensive?

“Dad, it’s time to tell your readers the truth,” my 15-year-old son Aren exclaimed after a recent trip.

“What do you mean?” I asked incredulously. “Haven’t I been doing that all along?”

“No,” he said, “I mean the truth.”

Ah.

At a time like this, getting all the facts would be helpful. People are planning their summer vacations, consulting social media, review sites, travel agents and friends for reliable recommendations. But relationships seen and unseen prevent these sources from telling it like it is. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the unvarnished truth?

“What truth should I tell?” I asked my son.

“Portland, Oregon,” Aren replied without hesitating. “You said you liked it. You didn’t.”

I scrolled back in my mind to the summer trip to Portland. OK, so Portland wasn’t my favorite place. I failed to mention the city’s homeless epidemic in my coverage. I didn’t say anything about the times I felt unsafe when walking through the city.

“And you forgot to warn people about Voodoo Donuts,” said Aren, who was disappointed by the trendy sweet shop.

“You should have told them about Blue Star Donuts,” he said.

 

True, Blue Star is superior. It’s a small regional chain of donut shops, and they specialize in exotic flavors like Blueberry Bourbon and Cointreau Crème Brûlée.

But after the sugar buzz wore off, I should have written more honestly about Portland, too. It’s not for everyone. Yes, there’s a significant homeless population – more than 4,000, according to a recent count.

Travel journalists constantly leave information on the cutting room floor. Sometimes, the omission is inadvertent. Other times, it’s because it would take a much greater commitment to explore the dark side of the destination. I didn’t have the time to write a hit piece.

Your friends don’t tell the whole truth, either

If you can’t trust a travel writer to tell the whole truth about a popular destination, consider the advice your friends give you.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Why would a friend lie to you? If you ask about that last theme park vacation – how did it go? – you could be putting your buddy in a bind. If the vacation was terrible, he might be reluctant to admit it. After all, he or she just spent thousands of dollars on a family getaway.

People lie about their vacations.

I know. I lived in Orlando for 12 years, and for most of that time, I had an annual pass to all of the theme parks. I saw the meltdowns, breakdowns, and vacation failures firsthand. Some of them were my own.

The truth? Some people come to Disney World and don’t have a magical time. When that happens, they don’t run home and tell everyone to avoid the Happiest Place on Earth. Instead, they use euphemisms to describe their experience.

“It was great,” they say, “We had a few bumps in the road.”

Want the truth? Question everything

Not to be cynical, but it’s a tenet of journalism that you should question every source, no matter how reliable they seem.

The internet is filled with review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, which promise you the truth about a destination or travel product. My family has tried them, but we stopped. That’s because the sites can be chock-full of reviews by reputation management operatives, disgruntled former employees or vengeful guests.

Sites that self-host reviews are even less reliable. I’m steering clear of Airbnb after one particularly negative experience that started with a series of too-good-to-be-true reviews for one property in Colorado Springs, Colo. Let’s just say sites like Airbnb have a vested interest in keeping things positive – too positive to be of any use to the average guest.

How about travel agents? Not all of them tell the truth, either. Some do, but I’ve run into a few who put commissions above customers.

In other words, you might ask your trusted travel advisor to plan a long weekend in Seattle. But your agent might push back and try to persuade you to book a week at a Sandals all-inclusive property.

Always follow the money. Who is compensating your agent? That’s a fair question. If your advisor can’t or won’t answer, move on.

Check with multiple sources before you make a vacation choice, but never make a decision based solely on the recommendation of a single source, even if that source is your travel professional. Or your best friend.

I agree with my son – it is time to tell the truth. I’m sorry, Aren. I should have written something about the Passion Fruit Cocoa Nibs at Blue Star. Next time.

Christopher Elliott’s latest book is “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). He edits the family adventure travel blog Away is Home. You can follow his adventures on Twitter or Facebook.

Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2r71ZWT

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading