Categories
Budget Travel Cities Money

New York on a Budget: 25 Ways to Save on Travel

The Big Apple has a reputation as a pricey vacation destination, and that’s not entirely undeserved. The average rate at New York City hotels is a whopping $254 a night, according to a recent Statista report—America’s most expensive average nightly rate. With prices like that, visiting New York on a budget may seem impossible.

But pricey hotels aside, New York City is actually a surprisingly attractive destination for budget travelers, especially if you’re willing to do a little advance planning. Read on to learn how to save money in New York City, including tips for dining on the cheap, getting discount tickets to Broadway shows, saving on public transportation, and finding the city’s best free attractions and events.

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Planning a Trip to New York on a Budget

[st_content_ad]1. Get out the map. Group the sights that you want to see by neighborhood, so that you visit one area of the city each day (for example, visit the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street one day, and Central Park and Times Square another day). This will make the most of your time and save you money on the subway, and on Uber and taxi rides.

2. Expand your reach. Spend at least part of your trip exploring residential neighborhoods like NoHo, Tribeca, and Greenwich Village rather than sticking to the tourist traps. You’ll get to see the real New York without paying out the wazoo.

[st_related]New York City Travel Guide[/st_related]

How to Save Money on New York City Attractions

3. Purchase a tourist pass. If you know you’ll be packing in a lot of popular attractions into your stay, you may be able to save with a city pass. The New York Pass gives you entry into dozens of attractions over a set number of days for one fixed price. Another option is CityPass, which includes admission to either three or six museums and sights, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Empire State Building, over nine days. Passes such as these not only save you money, but also let you skip the lines.

4. Look for reduced admission. Check the websites of museums you plan to visit to find out whether they offer any free or reduced-price admission days. For example, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is free every Friday between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. Some museums also offer coupons or discounts on their websites, so make sure to check before going.

5. Take advantage of freebies. Some attractions are free all the time—including Central Park, where there are almost always street performers and musicians roaming around, and the High Line, a public park recently created from an old elevated rail line. The Downtown Boathouse offers free public kayaking programs.

6. Stock up on coupons. For discounts on food, shopping, spas, and attraction admissions, search discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. Those who know they’ll be traveling to New York City can stock up on some good deals prior to visiting.

7. Take the ferry. Skip the touristy (and pricey) harbor cruises and take the Staten Island Ferry instead for fantastic views of New York Harbor—it’s free!

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[st_related]10 Best Things to Do in New York City[/st_related]

How to Save on NYC Shows and Entertainment

8. Find low-cost events. Travelers visiting New York on a budget should take advantage of the many free or inexpensive concerts, readings, art exhibits, and other events happening all over the city on any given day. The only challenge is finding them. For a start, try the “Free in NYC” page of New York’s official tourist board.

9. Save on Broadway tickets. The popular TKTS booths are great places to check for discounted Broadway tickets, but they’re not your only option. There are often even better deals to be had on discount ticket websites like BroadwayBox.com.

10. Go to the source. Theaters will often sell leftover tickets (for as little as $25) a couple of hours before shows at their respective box offices—but sometimes it’s standing room only, or seats may not be together if you’ve got a group. Some theaters may give discounts to seniors or students with ID; it never hurts to ask.

11. Get a subscription. Theater lovers who visit New York regularly or are planning a lengthy trip should consider an Audience Extras membership. For a yearly fee, you get access to last-minute tickets for local shows and concerts that have empty seats to fill. Tickets are free, other than a small ticket service charge. The membership pays for itself after just a few shows.

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How to Save on New York Transportation

12. Buy a subway pass. If you’re planning a longer trip to the city, it’s often cost-efficient to buy subway passes that give you unlimited rides for a week or longer (depending, obviously, on how long you’ll be in town). This is especially true if you don’t know where you’re going because if you make a mistake and have to redirect, it may involve swiping your card several times more than you anticipated.

13. Consider driving. If you’re coming into the city with a group of people, it might actually be cheaper to take a car (though also more annoying). Say you pay $40 for parking, $15 for tolls and $10 for gas—it might be less than $30 x 4 for train tickets into the city. But be sure to weigh that against the convenience of taking the train.

14. Plan your parking. If you do decide to drive into the city, print out coupons or a parking pass ahead of time that will allow you to park all day for a flat rate, rather than paying horrendous hourly fees. One good option is Icon Parking, which is well known throughout the city and has several locations. On its website, you can enter the dates and times of your arrival and departure—give yourself a buffer of a couple of hours each way, in case you arrive early or get tied up and leave late—and choose your parking garage location using the map. It’ll then give you a printable confirmation that guarantees your flat rate for that time frame. You can either pay in advance online or get a coupon to bring to the site.

15. Use your feet. Manhattan is very walkable and you’ll see a lot more on foot than you would by public transport or taxi. Plus, it’s free.

16. Hop on a bike. Biking is a fun and inexpensive way to get around the city—just be sure to wear a helmet and stick to bike lanes for safety. There are some wonderful cycle routes around Manhattan, especially along the Hudson and East Rivers. New York has a bike-share program called Citi Bike; for a very small fee, you can borrow a bike for anywhere from 30 minutes to three days.

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How to Save on Meals in New York City

17. Follow the young folks. If upscale lounges and fancy restaurants aren’t your thing, skip the touristy Times Square area and eat where the students eat. Neighborhoods with colleges and universities—such as the East Village near New York University—often have unique local eats at fantastic prices.

18. Hit the streets. In a city renowned for its street food, you’re missing out if you eat all your meals in restaurants. From familiar hot dog carts to trucks bearing every kind of ethnic fare you can imagine, you can eat your way around the globe without ever leaving the Big Apple—or paying more than a few bucks at a time. A thorough site called New York Street Food highlights some of the best options.

19. Explore ethnic neighborhoods. Areas like Chinatown, Little Italy, and Little India are a great bet for authentic meals at affordable prices. One of my favorite dining experiences is to get up early on a Sunday and head to Chinatown for dim sum. Locals far outnumber tourists in the busy restaurants there, which offer small tapas-style plates for just a few dollars each.

20. Don’t worry, be happy. To save money at the bar, go out early and take advantage of happy hour prices and less crowded venues.

[st_related]How to Save Money on Food When You Travel[/st_related]

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Where to Stay in New York on a Budget

21. Stay outside Manhattan. Thanks to New York’s comprehensive public transportation system, there’s no need to pay through the nose for a Midtown hotel when you can stay in one of the other boroughs—or in New Jersey—and take the train wherever you want to go. Even after factoring in the cost of extra transportation, the savings can be significant.

22. Consider alternatives. There are plenty of other options besides hotels, including apartment rentals, home exchanges, couch surfing, and hostels, many of which offer private rooms in addition to shared dorms. For more ideas, see Ditch the Hotel: 10 Cheaper Ways to Stay. (Note that rentals through Airbnb and other vacation rental sites are not always legal in New York City; to protect yourself, read Airbnb and Beyond: Tips for Safe, Legal Vacation Rentals.)

23. Share a bathroom. If you’re willing to sacrifice a little comfort for a better location, consider staying in a hotel or an inn with a shared bath—it’s often one of the best ways to find a truly budget rate in the most popular Manhattan neighborhoods.

Shopping in New York on a Budget

24. Hit the flea markets. Spend your Saturday or Sunday shopping (and haggling) at one of the city’s flea markets, where you’ll always find something unique. Consider GreenFlea in Manhattan or Brooklyn Flea in Brooklyn.

25. Shop in the right spot. If you’re looking for great deals on purses or jewelry, skip the street corner vendors and head to Canal Street, where you’ll find bargain basement prices.

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More from SmarterTravel:

Carrie Gonzalez, Ashley Kosciolek, Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Dan Askin, Carolyn Spencer Brown, John Deiner, and Erica Silverstein contributed to this story.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

Categories
Budget Travel Business Travel Cities Money Oddities

Get Paid to Travel and Watch NFL Football Around the World

Do you like NFL football? Do you like to travel? Do you also enjoy receiving normally expensive things for free?

Courtyard by Marriott has announced it will send one lucky fan around the globe to spread the word about, well, Courtyard by Marriott and the NFL. This person will be hired as Courtyard’s NFL Global Correspondent, and “embark on a dream season of international travel … and share their findings with fans, followers, Courtyard guests – and the world at large.

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“This season-long opportunity will include travel to NFL events around the world, including games in London, Mexico City and Minnesota, culminating in Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII. Courtyard is seeking individuals who have a love for and knowledge of the NFL, are comfortable in front of a camera, are passionate and enthusiastic storytellers and are always looking to move forward in their personal and professional journeys.”

To enter, applicants must submit a 60-second video at CourtyardCorrespondent.com. The video should “highlight your NFL expertise, and how your passion for the game makes you the perfect fan for this opportunity.”

Beyond that, Courtyard by Marriott outlines some additional criteria for interested fans hoping to make the team, so to speak:

  • Be passionate and knowledgeable about the NFL and love to travel
  • A flexible schedule, and an ability to attend games in London (Oct. 28), Minneapolis (Nov. 4), and Mexico City (Nov. 19), culminating with a trip to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta next February
  • Must be comfortable on camera, with an eye for creating content, and an ability to engage an audience both online and in‑person
  • A current passport and a willingness to fly to sought-after NFL destinations.
  • Membership in either the Marriott Rewards or SPG loyalty program.

Courtyard by Marriott says candidates will be selected based on “charisma, passion and overall NFL expertise,” and will advance to an interview round before the winner announced on Oct. 16. The first trip, to London, takes place less than two weeks later.

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Categories
Airport Travel Trends

How to Get Paid to Speed Through Airport Security

Do you want to get paid to speed through airport security? CLEAR is now offering travelers a free three-month trial, $20 in Lyft airport ride credit, and a $50 LoungeBuddy credit to test its security-expediting services.

[st_content_ad]CLEAR members get to bypass the TSA’s ID check line and head straight for security screening. Instead of having an officer check your identification, CLEAR will verify your identity by scanning your finger or eye at one of its machines. Then, if you’re a TSA PreCheck member, you’ll head for the PreCheck security screening, and other travelers go to the regular security screening.

[st_related]A Guide to Global Entry Renewal[/st_related]

At $179 a year, CLEAR is far more expensive than TSA PreCheck’s membership fee of $85 every five years. CLEAR is currently available at over 35 airports and sports stadiums nationwide, compared to PreCheck’s availability at over 200 American airports. But because CLEAR hasn’t yet reached the same popularity as PreCheck, it might have shorter wait times.

Even better, children under 18 can use CLEAR for free if they’re accompanied by a family member who uses the service. Meanwhile, TSA PreCheck only permits kids ages 12 and younger to go with a family member through its screening.

[st_related]16 Ways to Get Through the Airport Faster[/st_related]

CLEAR is an exciting new option for travelers looking to get through security faster. Since CLEAR is paying travelers to try their expensive security-expediting service for free, you get to decide if it’s worth it.

More from SmarterTravel:

Alyssa Lukpat loves exploring new places. Follow her on Twitter.

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Categories
Booking Strategy Budget Travel Miles & Points Passenger Rights

Can You Sell Frequent Flyer Miles?

Airlines insist you can’t sell frequent flyer miles or rewards, and courts in the U.S. have generally backed this claim. But a court in Sao Paulo, Brazil, just ruled that frequent flyer miles can be sold, and it ordered American Airlines to reimburse one traveler for the tickets the airline canceled after citing a violation of the airline’s rules.

[st_content_ad]Could this change things? Don’t get too excited, yet: A Brazilian court’s decision is unlikely to impact American’s frequent flyer program rules or any other airline’s rules. But the precedent is interesting, and the legal rationale could, conceivably, be applied in other countries—hopefully, ones that have more clout with U.S.-based airlines than Brazil does.

[st_related]The Best Frequent Flyer Miles Programs[/st_related]

The Case for Being Able to Sell Frequent Flyer Miles

The idea of selling frequent flyer miles has an interesting history. To help win over lost customers after an airline strike in 1977, United handed out simple coupons to travelers as they deplaned their flights. The coupons were good for either a big discount on a future coach flight or a free upgrade from coach to first class. American quickly matched the move with its own coupons. Some enterprising business people, recognizing that those coupons had potentially huge cash value, headed out to big airports and offered travelers cash on the spot for them. The coupons were basically currency, so the buyers, or “coupon brokers” could and did sell them on the open market.

Fast-forward to the early 1980s, and all the big airlines had started frequent flyer programs. Although flyers couldn’t sell frequent flyer miles as such, initial program rules didn’t prohibit the sale of rewards—so the former coupon brokers quickly started buying and selling the rewards.

Because planes back then were usually only about 60 percent full, reward seat availability was usually a sure thing. For example, at that time my wife and I flew first class to Buenos Aires (on now-dissolved Eastern Airlines) for about the same cost as economy tickets by buying rewards. Within a few years, however, airlines tightened their rules to prohibit the purchase and sale of awards, and they sued most coupon brokers out of business.

The Brazil ruling is interesting because it’s the first legal test of frequent flyer program rules with a pro-consumer outcome. What remains to be seen, though, is if anyone outside Sao Paulo will pick up the idea and run with it.

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Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuses every day at SmarterTravel.

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Categories
Adventure Travel

Fly for Free to Australia’s Outback

Considering a trip to Australia this year? Tourism Northern Territory is giving you one more reason to make it happen, by offering free flights to the Northern Territory. The deal is good on packages booked through their vacation partners from May 31 through July 31, for travel until December 31. The offer is valid for a free one-way flight from Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney to Alice Springs, Darwin and Uluru.

If you choose the free flight to Uluru, you’ll be in time to see the incredible Field of Light art installation (click here to watch a video of the display) which consists of over 50,000 solar-powered lights, and just received an extension to stay up until 2020.

Still not convinced to include the Northern Territory in your Australia trip? The New York Times named the Top End (a region of the Northern Territory) to the number 12 spot on its list of Places to Visit in 2018.

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Categories
Booking Strategy Frequent Flyer Travel Trends

InterContinental Devalues Popular Credit Card Perk

The IHG Rewards Club MasterCard, issued by Chase, has long been a favorite of the frequent-traveler crowd. For good reasons:

  • A 60,000-point sign-up bonus, after spending $1,000 within three months
  • A modest $49 annual fee, waived the first year
  • Platinum elite status
  • A free night at any IHG hotel on the cardholder’s anniversary

That’s a lot of value in a card with a decidedly modest annual fee. Too much value, apparently, because the free-night perk is being pared back.

[st_related]Visa Versus MasterCard Versus American Express – Does It Matter?[/st_related]

Beginning on May 1, the annual free night benefit will only apply at IHG hotels that would normally be priced at 40,000 points or less on the IHG Rewards award chart. IHG award nights can cost as much as 70,000 points, so clearly this is a significant devaluation.

A surprise? Not really. Free anniversary nights from other hotel co-branded cards are restricted as well. With Marriott’s Premier card, the free night is limited to Category 1 – 5 hotels. And Hyatt cardholders are limited to Category 1 – 4 hotels for their anniversary free nights. The popular Starwood Preferred Guest co-branded card offers no free anniversary night at all. So there was no competitive pressure to offer unrestricted access. Result: regression to an increasingly stingy mean.

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

[st_newsletter]

Categories
Budget Travel Island

Enter to Win a Caribbean Cruise for 2

Enter the Treasury Wine Estates “Coastal Cruise a Week” sweepstakes by June 30, 2018, for a chance to win one of 52 weekly grand prizes: each a four- or five-night Caribbean cruise for two, on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

To enter, provide the requested contact information (name, email, etc.) on the sweepstakes landing page and press “Submit.” Done! Time required to participate: less than 30 seconds.

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The Fine Print

  • Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, including the District of Columbia, who are at least 21 years old at the time of entry.
  • Limit: one entry per person per day.
  • Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of the grand prize: $1,262.

Somebody has to win this trip, right? Might as well be you.

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

[st_newsletter]

Categories
Booking Strategy Budget Travel Frequent Flyer Health & Wellness

Recap: The Week’s Biggest Travel Stories and Best Deals

Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.

If it was a good deal—or a notably bad deal—from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly.

Earn Double Delta Miles for Partner Transactions

Earn double Delta miles for hotel and Airbnb stays, Lyft rides, rentals, more.

Visa Versus MasterCard Versus American Express – Does It Matter?

When it comes to a credit card’s usefulness, the number of merchants that accept it matters. The biggest is …

Big Changes at Hilton Honors from April 3

Here’s what you need to know about Hilton Honors’ upcoming changes.

How to Earn an Easy 300 American AAdvantage Miles

Here’s how to earn a handful of frequent-flyer miles, quick and easy.

Alaska Airlines to Add New Mileage Partner: Aer Lingus

Alaska Air’s loyalty program is famous for its extensive airline partnerships. Now, add another carrier.

Airfares, Hotel Rates Will Rise How Much in 2018?

A new forecast has airfares rising just 1 percent this year. Really?

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Here’s How You Can Win a 15-Day European River Cruise

Here’s how to win a 15-day European river cruise spanning four countries, including airfare, 12 guided tours, meals.

Somebody has to win this trip, right? Might as well be you.

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

[st_newsletter]

Categories
Booking Strategy Frequent Flyer

Big Changes at Hilton Honors from April 3

Hilton announced early this year that there were significant changes coming to the Honors program, set to take effect on April 3. This is a reminder of what’s coming, and how it’s likely to affect you.

Earning

The most impactful changes take place in points-earning.

First, members will earn points only—no more points-and-miles or points-and-points.

[st_related]Visa Versus MasterCard Versus American Express – Does It Matter?[/st_related]

Second, the earning rates, including elite bonuses, will change, as follows:

  • Blue (non-elite) members will earn 10 points per $1 (versus 15 currently)
  • Silver members will earn 12 points per $1 (versus 16.5 currently)
  • Gold members will earn 18 points per $1 (versus 17.5 currently)
  • Diamond members will earn 20 points per $1 (versus 20 currently)

Elite Benefits

Perhaps recognizing that the earning changes would be perceived as a net devaluation, Hilton is adding some new perks for elite Honors members:

  • Elites can rollover elite-qualifying nights
  • Gold and Diamond elites can gift elite status to other members
  • Elite members will receive milestone bonuses (10,000 points every 10 nights beginning after 40 nights)

Winners and Losers

On the earning side, there are clearly more losers than winners. Only Gold members earn more, and only marginally more.

Points-and-miles is a program feature that had value for many members. While Hilton claims that only 1 percent of Honors members elected to earn that way, that’s still a big number (1 percent of 71 million equals 710,000 members). It will be missed.

For Gold and Diamond elites, the combination of rollover nights, elite-status gifting, and milestone bonuses will make the program modestly more valuable.

Honors remains competitive overall with the other major chains’ loyalty programs. No thanks to these latest changes.

Reader Reality Check

How do these changes affect your relationship with Hilton and Honors?

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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Categories
Frequent Flyer

How to Earn an Easy 300 American AAdvantage Miles

Sometimes you just need a few frequent flyer miles, to reach an award threshold or to keep your accumulated miles from expiring.

Here’s one quick and easy way to do that, if what’s needed are American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

First go to Miles for Opinions and spend two minutes setting up an account (name, address, AAdvantage number, and so on).

Then, within three months of enrolling, take one of the proffered surveys. You’ll earn 250 miles for enrolling and taking the first survey, plus the miles awarded for that first survey.

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Longer surveys award more miles; shorter surveys award fewer. And in both cases, the numbers aren’t big. But sometimes, a handful of miles are just what’s needed. In that case, a bit of opining might just be the quickest, easiest way to get them.

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

[st_newsletter]

Categories
Booking Strategy Frequent Flyer

Alaska Airlines to Add New Mileage Partner: Aer Lingus

When Aer Lingus launches its new service between Dublin and Seattle on May 18, it won’t be going it alone.

Aer Lingus has partnered with Seattle’s hometown carrier, Alaska Airlines, in an interline relationship designed to make it easier for Aer Lingus passengers to transfer to Alaska Air flights, and vice versa.

[st_related]Survey Confirms That Coach Seating Sucks[/st_related]

But that’s just for the short term. Longer term, the agreement calls for reciprocal frequent-flyer program participation. That means members of Alaska’s Mileage Plan program will be able to earn and redeem miles for flights on Aer Lingus, and members of the Aer Lingus AerClub will be able to earn and redeem on Alaska Air flights.

Alaska’s Mileage Plan already has one of the most robust rosters of airline partners of any airline loyalty program, allowing program members to earn and redeem miles on 13 airlines serving over 900 destinations.

No dates for the loyalty program tie-up have been announced.

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

[st_newsletter]

Categories
Booking Strategy Frequent Flyer

Earn Double Delta Miles for Partner Transactions

Double miles are always nice, but …

Offer Details

Through May 31, Delta SkyMiles members can earn double miles for transactions with program partners the member did not do business with in 2017.

Transactions eligible for the bonus include hotel stays, Airbnb stays, Lyft rides, car rental bookings, SkyMiles Cruises bookings, FTD and Vinesse purchases, SkyMiles Shopping, and SkyMiles Dining transactions.

[st_related]Survey Confirms That Coach Seating Sucks[/st_related]

Registration is required.

Deal or No Deal

Double miles are always nice. But the requirement that qualifying transactions be with partners you haven’t done business with for over a year has to call into question whether you’ll have any compelling reason to do business with them during the next two months.

Still, if you do happen to find yourself staying at an Airbnb or using Lyft for the first time since December 2016, it would be a shame to miss out on the double miles.

So register, just in case.

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

[st_newsletter]

Categories
Budget Travel Food & Drink Historical Travel Luxury Travel

Here’s How You Can Win a 15-Day European River Cruise

Enter the Viking River Cruises “Grand European Tour” sweepstakes by April 30, 2018, for a chance to win the grand prize: a 15-day European river cruise spanning four countries, including airfare, 12 guided tours, meals.

To enter, provide the requested contact information (name, email, etc.) on the sweepstakes landing page and press “Submit.” Done! Time required to participate: less than 30 seconds.

NOTE: As is often the case with online sweepstakes, by entering you are agreeing to receive email marketing messages from the sponsors. You can easily opt out at any time.

[st_related]Here’s How You Can Win a 6-Day Trip to Northern Portugal[/st_related]

The Fine Print

  • Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, including the District of Columbia, who are at least 21 years old at the time of entry.
  • Limit: one entry per person.
  • Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of the grand prize: $23,188.

Somebody has to win this trip, right? Might as well be you.

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

[st_newsletter]

Categories
Airport Booking Strategy Budget Travel Frequent Flyer

Recap: The Week’s Biggest Travel Stories and Best Deals

Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.

If it was a good deal—or a notably bad deal—from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly.

Survey Confirms That Coach Seating Sucks

A new Consumer Reports survey finds little satisfaction with coach seating.

Delta Downgrades SkyMiles with New Award-Ticketing Rule

Three-day advance booking for award travel that begins or ends outside the U.S. or Canada. Ouch!

The Cheapest Airfare? Here’s When to Book

When to book to get the lowest airfares? Here are some guidelines.

The Cheapest Times to Visit the World’s Top Travel Spots, According to TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor’s new Travelers’ Choice awards has you covered on where to go on the cheap.

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Earn a free night after 2 Choice hotels stays. Good deal!

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Here’s How You Can Win a 6-Day Trip to Northern Portugal

Prize includes a six-day trip to Portugal, including airfare, hotel, daily breakfast, a river tour of the Douro wine region.

Somebody has to win this trip, right? Might as well be you.

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

[st_newsletter]

Categories
Booking Strategy Frequent Flyer

From Choice Hotels: A Free Night After 2 Stays

Over the past several years, Choice’s recurring promotional offer has been 8,000 points after two stays.

[st_content_ad]Sometimes it’s promoted as such: 8,000 points after two stays. More often though, the headline promotes either a free night or a gift card—both of which are available for 8,000 points.

For its latest promotion, the featured bonus is a free night. But what you’re really earning is 8,000 Choice Privileges points—enough to redeem for a gift card, or for a free night at one of 1,500 lower-priced hotels in the Choice network.

Offer Details

Between April 2 and May 25, Choice Privileges members can earn 8,000 points after two stays. Again, that’s enough points for a free night at more than 1,500 Choice hotels.

Qualifying stays must be booked at ChoiceHotels.com, via the Choice mobile app, or by calling 1-800-4CHOICE, although Diamond and Platinum members may book direct with the hotel, and corporate travelers may book through a travel agent or corporate booking system.

There’s no limit to the number of times the bonus may be earned.

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Registration is required.

Deal or No Deal

Earning enough points for a free night after two stays, even at a lower-end hotel, is a potentially high-value offer, especially if the qualifying stays are single nights at lower-priced properties.

That makes this one of the more lucrative of the current hotel promotions.

There’s no harm in being repetitious, if what’s being repeated is a good deal.

More from SmarterTravel:

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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