Chicago/NYC/Washington to Paris Just $435+ Winter and Spring on United

United Airlines is offering discounted flights to Paris this winter and spring. NYC is $435, Washington DC is $446 and Chicago is $460 round-trip.

Paris, France is a popular destination.
Paris, France is a popular destination.

Actually, I’m not surprised at the low fares. I flew to Paris a couple of weeks ago from Chicago and the plane was less than half-full. My guess is that fears of terrorism are keeping Americans home.

How to Get Compensation from Airlines

This post from The Points Guy tells how to request and receive compensation from airlines for issues related to air travel. Perhaps most importantly, it tells you right up front what sorts of issues do not merit compensation.

How To Get Compensation When Flights Go Wrong

For example, if your flight is delayed due to weather or air-traffic-control, the airline doesn’t owe you anything. There is also an explanation of the European rules, which are more favorable to passengers than American rules.

Fly to Cuzco, Peru, to see Machu Picchu
Fly to Cuzco, Peru, to see Machu Picchu

Airports With Free City Tours During Long Layovers

It’s not a lot of fun to be stuck in an airport during a multi-hour layover. Some major airports have a surprising alternative: A free city tour.

Long Layover? Take a Free City Tour at One of These Airports

If you find yourself at any of these airports with hours to kill, taking one of these tours is like a quick and easy vacation. Just be sure to leave enough time to return through security and passport control.


Crazy Low $143 r/t to Belgrade, $227 r/t to Sophia, Bulgaria

You may not have flown on Air Serbia, but it is a legitimate airline with landing privileges in the United States. They are offering a crazy-low $227.06 round-trip fare from New York JFK to Sophia, Bulgaria this Fall and Winter.

UPDATE: Now $143 to Belgrade, as per

Bulgaria is an Eastern European nation with a long history and many things to see and do. The nation is friendly to the United States and considered safe to visit.

The FAA monitors airlines that fly within and to the United States, and will not permit those that do not meet minimal safety standards.

New Uses for Your Old Smartphone

The August 11, 2016 issue of the Wall St. Journal had a great article by Geoffrey A. Fowler about how to use your old iPhone and Android mobile phone. You may have a newer model, but the old one in the drawer still has a lot of useful capabilities.

Just update the operating system, plug it in so it’s continuously charging, and install one or more new apps.

Among the suggested uses:

  • Security Camera — The Manythings app lets your iPhone function as a smart security camera, notifying you by email if there is movement in its camera’s field of view.
  • International Travel Phone — Unlock your phone, then buy a local SIM card when you are traveling internationally.
  • Smart Alarm Clock — There are many apps to choose from.
  • TV Remote — For Android phones equipped with an IR port, you can get apps that let you control your TV / cable box / DVD player.
  • Digital Picture Frame — Use your old iPad or Android tablet to display photographs, either singly or as a slide show.
  • Second Monitor for Computer — Duet is a $20 app for Apple that lets your old device serve as a second monitor for your computer.
  • Car TV — Let kids in the back seat watch videos on your old iPad or iPhone.
  • Kitchen Helper — Get recipe app(s) for your iPhone, iPad or Android device.

This was a very useful newspaper article.

Chart Shows Which Points Can Transfer into Airline Miles

This handy chart from Million Mile Secrets shows which points (Membership Rewards, Starwood, Thank You, Ultimate Rewards) can transfer into which airline frequent flyer mileage plans (American, Delta, etc. etc.)

Which Points Transfer to Which Airlines? Handy Chart for Converting!

Many consider Starwood Starpoints to be the most valuable “currency” because they can be transferred into the most different airline frequent-flyer programs. Plus, for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer, you receive an additional 5000 frequent-flyer miles.

How to Cancel a Priceline Hotel Reservation and Get Your Money Back

Priceline is famous for its Name Your Own Price (NYOP) program, which can often provide significant savings on hotel rooms. But, one of the cardinal rules is that NYOP reservations are NON-CANCELLABLE. However, this blog post reveals a trick that works.

How I cancelled a Priceline ‘Name Your Own Price’ hotel reservation for free

The comments to this blog post are very instructive.

The idea is to call the hotel first and get them to agree to a cancellation. Then call Priceline, tell them the hotel has agreed to cancellation and give the name of the hotel person. A Priceline representative will call the hotel to verify, then refund your money.

Hilton Hotel
Hilton Danube Waterfront, Vienna

How to Pass Muster for Travel to Cuba

For Americans, there are legal requirements that they must meet to travel to Cuba. This post clarifies what they are, how to meet them, and what records must be kept.

American, JetBlue, Spirit and other airlines are cleared to begin scheduled service to the island, some as early as September. JetBlue will have fares as low as $99 (or 3500 points).

JetBlue Will Be First U.S. Airline Back to Cuba

Fly the Inaugural Flight to Cuba for Just 3,500 Points!

Austin to Denver $58 Round-Trip on Frontier, Many Dates

Frontier Airlines flies the Austin / Denver route non-stop, and is selling one-way tickets for as low as $29 for August and September travel.

The above link should take you to Calendar View, which will show you many available dates for this low low fare.

If you want to avoid the fees that Frontier charges, you can fly on Southwest for just $117 r/t or United for $133 r/t.

Nonstop Flights: Austin to/from Denver $117 r/t – United / Southwest