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  • Hidden 'resort fees' can be a nasty little surprise on hotel bills

    Hidden 'resort fees' can be a nasty little surprise on hotel bills

    I recently received a nasty little surprise on my bill when checking out of a Memphis, Tenn., hotel. Tucked in with the room charge and the various taxes were a $20 "resort fee" and a $20 a night charge for "valet service." Never mind that I hadn't used the valet. Or that when I checked in, the...

  • Study up on benefits your credit card offers; it might save you money

    Study up on benefits your credit card offers; it might save you money

    Fifty thousand bonus miles! Free checked bags! Lounge access! Credit card issuers attract new applications by highlighting lots of splashy perks, but some of their least-hyped benefits may be some of the most valuable. Linda Beltran, an entertainment executive based in Orlando, Fla., learned that...

  • Five ways to boost frequent flier miles you might not have considered

    Five ways to boost frequent flier miles you might not have considered

    You know the tried-and-true ways to boost the number of miles in your airline awards account: flying one or two carriers consistently, staying in specific hotel chains that give airline miles, using credit cards that earn points or miles on everyday purchases. With help from Emily Jablon and Daraius...

  • Smaller booking and search sites may have best hotel rates

    Smaller booking and search sites may have best hotel rates

    You know the major players in hotel booking and search systems. Expedia, for instance, just bought Orbitz and previously acquired Travelocity, and Priceline owns Booking.com and Rentalcars.com plus Kayak. But they don't control the entire marketplace — yet. You might find better results with the...

  • How to make smarter bids on travel at charity auctions

    How to make smarter bids on travel at charity auctions

    Wilson Fang had an exceptional weekend in Napa Valley that included a romantic bed-and-breakfast, dinner for two on the Wine Train and tastings at Beringer Vineyard. Best of all, he bought it below retail at a charity auction. You can find great deals for travel at benefit auctions, but Fang knows...

  • Hotel stay coming up? Here's insider knowledge from the front desk

    Hotel stay coming up? Here's insider knowledge from the front desk

    We interviewed hotel front desk clerks and managers to learn some insider secrets, and many of them have to do with money matters. Be prepared for your next hotel stay by knowing what will cost you money and what might save you money — and what might save the hotel money at your expense, so to...

  • Want airline elite status? Here are tips for fliers based in L.A. area

    Want airline elite status? Here are tips for fliers based in L.A. area

    You want free checked bags and extra legroom. Priority boarding sounds nice too. But those perks are reserved for road warriors, the elite fliers among us, right? Not necessarily. Fliers in the Southland can reach elite status with as few as six annual cross-country trips. (Generally, if you take...

  • Avoiding fees and surcharges on airlines' frequent-flier award tickets

    You've worked hard for your award ticket, piling up miles in hopes of the free ticket at the end of the rainbow. But surprise: "Award tickets are never free," says Ben Schlappig, an award travel expert and the founder of the blog One Mile at a Time. "There is always going to be some quantity of...

  • How to complain about an airline to get the best results

    How to complain about an airline to get the best results

    Sooner or later, nearly everyone ends up complaining about an airline — usually aloud, but sometimes in a missive that goes to the airline. After all, you've paid your hard-earned money and you expect something in return, something you paid for. Lodging your complaint effectively is key to getting...

  • Renting a car? Stand firm against reservation changes, insurance offers

    Before a recent trip to New Mexico, I reserved a rental car, in this case, an economy-class car from Budget for $282. That seemed reasonable for 11 days in the desert. My electronic confirmation said I would get a "Hyundai Accent or similar." The "or similar," of course, is an important asterisk...

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