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Microblogs

  • [Reuters: World News] Two Koreas, U.N. Command hold first talks on disarming border: North Korea, South Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC) held their first three-way talks on Tuesday to discuss demilitarizing the border as the two Koreas push for peace, Seoul's defense ministry said.
  • [Reuters: World News] Turkish police leave Saudi consulate in Istanbul after nine hours: witness: A team of Turkish police investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago, spent more than nine hours in the building, a Reuters witness said.
  • [Reuters: Health News] HPV vaccination not linked with rise in teen risky sex: (Reuters Health) - A new study adds to earlier evidence that getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) does not lead girls to be less careful about sex.
  • [War Zones: War News, Coverage, Analysis & More - The Washington Post] New Zealand lawmaker accuses opposition leader of corruption: A New Zealand lawmaker has accused the opposition leader of corruption by deliberately hiding a donation from a wealthy Chinese businessman
  • [Reuters: Sports News] Raisman questions USA Gymnastics' interim president pick: Three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman on Monday spoke out against USA Gymnastics' choice for its interim president and chief executive, saying survivors of sexual abuse "deserve better."
  • [Reuters: World News] Google latest to withdraw from Saudi conference: Alphabet Inc's Google on Monday became the latest company to drop out of a business conference in Saudi Arabia.
  • [Reuters: Technology News] Google latest to withdraw from Saudi conference: Alphabet Inc's Google on Monday became the latest company to drop out of a business conference in Saudi Arabia.
  • [Reuters: Business News] Google latest to withdraw from Saudi conference: Alphabet Inc's Google on Monday became the latest company to drop out of a business conference in Saudi Arabia.
  • [War Zones: War News, Coverage, Analysis & More - The Washington Post] Koreas, US-led UN Command discuss disarming border area: The rival Koreas and the U.S.-led United Nations Command are meeting to discuss efforts to disarm a joint-controlled military zone in the inter-Korean border under a peace agreement between the Koreas
  • [Reuters: Environment] Trump surveys Michael's wrath, rescuers search for bodies: U.S. President Donald Trump got a first-hand look on Monday at the ?total devastation" that Hurricane Michael brought to Florida, as rescuers searched for scores of missing people and hundreds of thousands of residents remained without power.
  • [World: World News, International News, Foreign Reporting - The Washington Post] Koreas, US-led UN Command discuss disarming border area: The rival Koreas and the U.S.-led United Nations Command are meeting to discuss efforts to disarm a joint-controlled military zone in the inter-Korean border under a peace agreement between the Koreas
  • [Reuters: Technology News] Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies of cancer complications at 65: Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen, the man who persuaded school-friend Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard to start what became the world's biggest software company, died on Monday at the age of 65, his family said.
  • [Reuters: World News] Northbound migrant group doubles in size, enters Guatemala: Up to 3,000 migrants crossed from Honduras into Guatemala on Monday on a trek northward, after a standoff with police in riot gear and warnings from Washington that migrants should not try to enter the United States illegally.
  • [Reuters: Environment] Scientists make plea to save Pacific Northwest killer whales: SALMON, Idaho (Reuters - A small group of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest faces extinction unless U.S. government fisheries managers reverse a decline in their main food source, Chinook salmon, scientists said on Monday.
  • [Reuters: Sports News] Celtics, Raptors ready to move to top of East: If you noticed a gust of wind sometime in early July, it might have been 15 Eastern Conference teams breathing a sigh of relief that LeBron James finally decided to head west.
  • [Reuters: Technology News] Cloud software firm Twilio to buy SendGrid in $2 billion deal: Cloud technology company Twilio Inc said on Monday it would buy email technology firm SendGrid Inc in an all-stock deal valued at about $2 billion, combining two firms that handle communications between apps and their users.
  • [Reuters: Business News] Cloud software firm Twilio to buy SendGrid in $2 billion deal: Cloud technology company Twilio Inc said on Monday it would buy email technology firm SendGrid Inc in an all-stock deal valued at about $2 billion, combining two firms that handle communications between apps and their users.
  • [Reuters: Environment] Second, larger quake recorded off New Caledonia: USGS: A magnitude 6.8 earthquake was recorded east of New Caledonia in the South Pacific on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, about half an hour after an earlier 6.5 quake in the same area.
  • [Reuters: World News] Second, larger quake recorded off New Caledonia: USGS: A magnitude 6.8 earthquake was recorded east of New Caledonia in the South Pacific on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, about half an hour after an earlier 6.5 quake in the same area.
  • [Reuters: Technology News] Crypto exchange Coinbase opens Dublin office as Brexit looms: Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has opened an office in Dublin, it said on Tuesday, joining the growing ranks of banks and financial firms with major British businesses developing European Union outposts as Britain's exit from the bloc looms.
  • Show more…

Photos

  • Honduran migrant caravan crosses Guatemala border, US-bound

    Hundreds of Honduran migrants have surged over the Guatemalan border hoping to make it to new lives in the United States, far from the poverty and violence of their home nation

  • Honduran migrant caravan crosses Guatemala border, US-bound

    Hundreds of Honduran migrants have surged over the Guatemalan border hoping to make it to new lives in the United States, far from the poverty and violence of their home nation

  • Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and billionaire investor, dies at 65

    He left Microsoft in 1983 and invested his billions in sports teams, aerospace ventures and philanthropic efforts.

  • How Trump bobs and weaves to avoid the truth

    In ?60 Minutes? interview, the president resorted to his favorite moves to sidestep facts

    Related
    How Trump bobs and weaves to avoid the truth [Campaigns: Campaign and Election News & Analysis - The Washington Post]
    How Trump bobs and weaves to avoid the truth [Congress: Congressional News, Schedule, Votes & More - The Washington Post]
  • Mattis: ?I?ve never registered for any political party?

    The defense secretary said he has never spoken to President Trump about leaving his position a day after the president called the retired general ?sort of a Democrat.?

  • Minnesota Senate candidate Karin Housley compared Michelle Obama to a ?chimp? in 2009

    In a Facebook post, Housley said that a chimpanzee from a 1951 film ?stood up straighter than Michelle. Uh-oh, someone is going to make a comment.?

    Related
    Minnesota Senate candidate Karin Housley compared Michelle Obama to a ‘chimp’ in 2009 [Campaigns: Campaign and Election News & Analysis - The Washington Post]
  • Minnesota Senate candidate Karin Housley compared Michelle Obama to a ?chimp? in 2009

    In a Facebook post, Housley said that a chimpanzee from a 1951 film ?stood up straighter than Michelle. Uh-oh, someone is going to make a comment.?

    Related
    Minnesota Senate candidate Karin Housley compared Michelle Obama to a ‘chimp’ in 2009 [Congress: Congressional News, Schedule, Votes & More - The Washington Post]
  • Trump tops $100 million in fundraising for his own reelection

    The president raised more than $18 million last quarter through three committees.

    Related
    Trump tops $100 million in fundraising for his own reelection [Campaigns: Campaign and Election News & Analysis - The Washington Post]
  • Trump tops $100 million in fundraising for his own reelection

    The president raised more than $18 million last quarter through three committees.

    Related
    Trump tops $100 million in fundraising for his own reelection [Congress: Congressional News, Schedule, Votes & More - The Washington Post]
  • Stacey Abrams urges a massive turnout to fight what she says is voter suppression in Georgia

    Abrams urged her supporters to push back against restrictive policies by turning out in record numbers as early voting begins in the tight Georgia governor's race.

    Related
    Stacey Abrams urges a massive turnout to fight what she says is voter suppression in Georgia [Campaigns: Campaign and Election News & Analysis - The Washington Post]
  • Show more…

Entries

  • Australia embraces royal couple after pregnancy announcement (253 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 23:12:00 -0400Australia embraces royal couple after pregnancy announcementReuters: World News

    Crowds thronged the Sydney Opera House and shores of the city's sparkling harbor on Tuesday to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan during their first public appearances in Australia since the announcement they were expecting a child.

  • United States seeking Mexican steel export quotas: negotiator (253 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 22:54:00 -0400United States seeking Mexican steel export quotas: negotiatorReuters: Business News

    The United States is seeking to impose quotas on Mexican steel exports as part of a negotiation to remove metals tariffs, the chief trade negotiator of Mexico's incoming government said on Monday, adding the issue needed to be resolved within weeks.

  • China's Dabeinong says suspected African swine fever case on affiliated firm: China Securities Journal (265 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 22:10:00 -0400China's Dabeinong says suspected African swine fever case on affiliated firm: China Securities JournalReuters: Health News

    Major animal feed and pig breeding firm Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co Ltd said on Tuesday an affiliated firm has culled nearly 20,000 pigs due to a suspected case of African swine fever, according to a report by the state media China Securities Journal.

  • The Full Photoshop CC Is Coming To the iPad In 2019 (1519 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 21:00:00 -0400The Full Photoshop CC Is Coming To the iPad In 2019Slashdot

    The "real version" of Photoshop is coming to the iPad next year, complete with a user interface similar to the desktop application and all the main tools. Ars Technica reports: Photoshop for iPad has a user interface structured similarly to the desktop application. It is immediately familiar to users of the application but tuned for touch screens, with larger targets and adaptations for the tablet as well as gestures to streamline workflows. Both touch and pencil input are supported. The interface is somewhat simpler than the desktop version, and although the same Photoshop code is running under the hood to ensure there's no loss of fidelity, not every feature will be available in the mobile version. The first release will contain the main tools while Adobe plans to add more in the future. Cloud syncing is a key element of Photoshop on iPad. Edits made on the iPad will be synchronized transparently with the desktop -- no conversions or import/export process to go through. Using a feature not available in the iPad version should then be as simple as hitting save and then opening the file on the desktop, picking up where you left off. Adobe is also reportedly building a tablet painting app called Project Gemini, which "simulates real brushes, paints, and materials as well as the interactions between them," reports Ars. "It combines raster graphics, vector drawing, and the Photoshop engine into a single application designed for artwork and illustration."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Cardinals' Wilks: Jobs 'in jeopardy, including mine' (504 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 20:59:00 -0400Cardinals' Wilks: Jobs 'in jeopardy, including mine'Reuters: Sports News

    Arizona Cardinals: With the Cardinals' offense last or next to last in a litany of categories (yards per game and per play, passing and rushing per game and per play, points, third-down percentage, time of possession), questions about coordinator Mike McCoy's job security have increased. When asked Monday about the matter, head coach Steve Wilks replied, "I would say all our jobs are in jeopardy, including mine, if we don't win." McCoy was fired from the Denver Broncos last November after the te

  • Elway: Broncos 'fighting for our lives' (504 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 20:57:00 -0400Elway: Broncos 'fighting for our lives'Reuters: Sports News

    Denver Broncos: General manager John Elway didn't mince words on Monday when discussing the team's loss to the Rams, the Broncos' fourth straight following a 2-0 start. Speaking with the team's radio partner, Orange and Blue 760, Elway said, "At some point in time we have to play better football ... we're still making the mistakes we shouldn't make to beat good football teams like the Rams." Elway finished the interview saying he hopes the team can "take a mentality into [Thursday's game at Ariz

  • Printer Makers Are Crippling Cheap Ink Cartridges Via Bogus 'Security Updates' (1701 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 20:20:00 -0400Printer Makers Are Crippling Cheap Ink Cartridges Via Bogus 'Security Updates'Slashdot

    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Printer maker Epson is under fire this month from activist groups after a software update prevented customers from using cheaper, third party ink cartridges. It's just the latest salvo in a decades-long effort by printer manufacturers to block consumer choice, often by disguising printer downgrades as essential product improvements. For several decades now printer manufacturers have lured consumers into an arguably-terrible deal: shell out a modest sum for a mediocre printer, then pay an arm and a leg for replacement printer cartridges that cost relatively-little to actually produce. The Electronic Frontier Foundation now says that Epson has been engaged in the same behavior. The group says it recently learned that in late 2016 or early 2017, Epson issued a "poison pill" software update that effectively downgraded user printers to block third party cartridges, but disguised the software update as a meaningful improvement. The EFF has subsequently sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, arguing that Epson's lack of transparency can easily be seen as "misleading and deceptive" under Texas consumer protection laws. "When restricted to Epson's own cartridges, customers must pay Epson's higher prices, while losing the added convenience of third party alternatives, such as refillable cartridges and continuous ink supply systems," the complaint notes. "This artificial restriction of third party ink options also suppresses a competitive ink market and has reportedly caused some manufacturers of refillable cartridges and continuous ink supply systems to exit the market."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Use Marriott Rewards Points to Attend the World Series (2805 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 20:15:00 -0400Use Marriott Rewards Points to Attend the World SeriesThe Points Guy

    Will it be the Houston Astros or the Boston Red Sox vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers in this year’s Major League Baseball World Series? It’s too early to know which teams will step up to the plate when the 2018 World Series starts on Oct. 23, but we now know some ways you can take in the game courtesy of your Marriott Rewards points.

    As has been the case throughout the postseason, both the SPG Moments and Marriott Moments sites have unique packages available using your Marriott Rewards points. Sadly, unlike the previous baseball postseason rounds, none of the packages have a fixed redemption cost — all of them are auctions.

    The SPG Moments World Series auctions bidding starts at 25,000 Marriott Rewards points for two ticket packages. There are multiple packages available per game and some include extras such as a Sheraton stay, meet and greets, swag bags, stadium tours, batting practice and even throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

    Via SPG Moments, you can also still redeem 50,000 Marriott Rewards points for two tickets to NLCS games 5 or 6, if needed. I’ll offer the tip that SPG Moments seems to be drawing less attention this postseason than Marriott Moments, so don’t forget to check there before bidding on a Marriott Moment.

    On the Marriott Moments side of the field, you can find basically the same type of packages available. While some have a lower starting bid amount of 15,000 points for two World Series tickets, that starting price won’t likely matter in the end as one package is already over 250,000 points in bids — which is a little strange since no one knows the cities or teams yet!

    While we are on the topic of using points and miles to attend a postseason game, note that there are also auctions going on to attend the current ALCS home Astros games using United MileagePlus miles. The price is currently at 70,000+ miles for two dugout seats plus a parking pass.

    If you decide to cheer for the Astros in a postseason game, here is where I recommend you use your Marriott Rewards points to stay (and park) directly across from the stadium. While we have you thinking about peanuts and Cracker Jacks, we also put together a round up of unique stadium food and the best credit cards for sports fans (hint: you want cards that offer a bonus on entertainment, like the 4% back on entertainment from the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card).

    When doing math on whether these type of redemptions are worth it, check out the TPG monthly point valuations and compare that to the selling prices of the tickets. That said, if your team is in the World Series, do you own math on what’s worth it — and of course, root, root, root for the home team.

    Featured image by Cristina Briboneria

    Related
    Exciting News for Baseball Fans – Yankees vs Red Sox in London in 2019 [Million Mile Secrets]
    Use Marriott Rewards Points to Attend MLB Postseason Games [The Points Guy]
  • United Announces 22 New Routes in 2019 (1712 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 20:00:00 -0400United Announces 22 New Routes in 2019The Points Guy

    Six United hubs will begin hosting a total of 22 new routes as early as this month, according to a United statement released Monday. The bulk of the routes bolster the airline’s East Coast presence, especially out of the New York/Newark (EWR) and Washington Dulles (IAD) hubs.

    “New Yorkers don’t stop, and neither should their flights,” said Jill Kaplan, United’s president of New York/New Jersey. The Newark hub is adding nonstop service between New York/Newark and Pensacola (PNS), Anchorage (ANC) and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (HHH).

    The announced routes introduce a number of nonstop service options, such as between Washington Dulles and Asheville, North Carolina (AVL), as well as between San Francisco (SFO) and Columbus, Ohio (CMH), beginning in June 2019. Nonstop service between Los Angeles (LAX) and Eugene, Oregon (EUG), Madison, Wisconsin (MSN), and Pasco/Tri-Cities (PSC), Washington will begin March 31, 2019. Meanwhile, Chicago O’Hare (ORD) will begin offering direct service to and from Hilton Head Island as well, coming April 2019.

    Other cities that will enjoy expanded service include Detroit, St. Louis, Omaha, Richmond, and Kansas City, Missouri, according to Kaplan. Denver International Airport (DEN) will see a significant increase in new service, adding Charleston, South Carolina (CHS); Eureka, California (ACV); and Fairbanks, Alaska (FAI), to its travel list. A few other changes are in the works: United will shift existing shorter-haul flights to Elmira, New York (ELM); Lexington, Kentucky (LEX); and Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT), from New York/Newark to its Washington Dulles hub.

    Featured photo by Alberto Riva for The Points Guy

  • Could trade provide graceful exit for Giants' Manning? (504 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 19:49:00 -0400Could trade provide graceful exit for Giants' Manning?Reuters: Sports News

    Dallas Cowboys: It's tough replacing one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, but that's just what Brett Maher is doing this season -- and doing it well. When the Cowboys cut Dan Bailey and his $3.4 million salary and brought in the $480,000-a-year Maher, no one was quite sure how it would turn out. But on the season, he's hit 15 of 16 field goals, missing only his first attempt of the year. On Sunday, in the Cowboys' 40-7 drubbing of Jacksonville, Maher hit field goals of 32, 46, 50 and

  • Most Americans Can't Tell the Difference Between a Social Media Bot and A Human, Study Finds (1549 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 19:40:00 -0400Most Americans Can't Tell the Difference Between a Social Media Bot and A Human, Study FindsSlashdot

    A new study from Pew Research Center found that most Americans can't tell social media bots from real humans, and most are convinced bots are bad. "Only 47 percent of Americans are somewhat confident they can identify social media bots from real humans," reports The Verge. "In contrast, most Americans surveyed in a study about fake news were confident they could identify false stories." From the report: The Pew study is an uncommon look at what the average person thinks about these automated accounts that plague social media platforms. After surveying over 4,500 adults in the U.S., Pew found that most people actually don't know much about bots. Two-thirds of Americans have at least heard of social media bots, but only 16 percent say they've heard a lot about them, while 34 percent say they've never heard of them at all. The knowledgeable tend to be younger, and men are more likely than women (by 22 percentage points) to say they've heard of bots. Since the survey results are self-reported, there's a chance people are overstating or understating their knowledge of bots. Of those who have heard of bots, 80 percent say the accounts are used for bad purposes. Regardless of whether a person is a Republican or Democrat or young or old, most think that bots are bad. And the more that a person knows about social media bots, the less supportive they are of bots being used for various purposes, like activists drawing attention to topics or a political party using bots to promote candidates.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Ultimate Guide to Taxes and Fees on Aeroplan Award Tickets (10462 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 19:30:00 -0400Ultimate Guide to Taxes and Fees on Aeroplan Award TicketsThe Points Guy

    One of the biggest surprises people face when redeeming their points and miles for the first time is that those “free” flights we keep talking about aren’t actually 100% free. Experienced award travelers know exactly what I’m talking about: those pesky little taxes, fees and surcharges that accompany nearly every award redemption. These can range from the trivial, like the $5.60 in taxes you’ll pay on most domestic awards within the US, to well over $800 one way for some aspirational awards, like Emirates first class.

    When it comes time to redeem your points or miles, there are certain government-imposed taxes that an airline or program must collect (and these can be pricey). However, it’s up to the individual airline or loyalty program to determine which of the carrier-imposed fees to pass along to the customer. In some cases, a program will have wildly different out-of-pocket charges for awards booked between the same origin and destination but on two different carriers. One of the best examples of this dichotomy is Aeroplan, the spun-off loyalty program of Air Canada. Today I want to break down the taxes and fees you can expect to pay on Star Alliance carriers the next time you redeem Aeroplan miles.

    Now, it’s important to note that one of the most notorious sources of these costs are termed “fuel surcharges” by many carriers. I won’t bore you with my rant against fuel surcharges, but suffice it to say that they actually have very little correlation with the price of fuel. However, for this analysis, I’m lumping together all the miscellaneous taxes and fees that Aeroplan will charge on awards. If you’re specifically wanting to avoid those dreaded fuel surcharges on Star Alliance carriers, consider booking through United instead. You’ll rarely see taxes above $150, even on long-haul first class awards.

    That being said, Aeroplan generally has lower mileage costs that United, which is why the program can be a great redemption option for Star Alliance. You just need to factor in the out-of-pocket costs of Aeroplan awards. Sure, traveling in Lufthansa first class can be a life-changing experience, but paying an extra $500+ for the privilege of using miles can remove some of the luster. That’s why I’ll demystify the process below and provide some tips to assist your planning.

    There are two quick qualifications I’d like to make to this chart. The first is that Aeroplan lists all prices in Canadian dollars (although I’ve converted to USD), so fluctuations in currency exchange rates might have a mild impact on the taxes you pay. The second is that while these numbers are generally accurate, an individual city like London or Paris may apply additional taxes to award tickets that makes them more expensive than what’s shown here. In fact, if you’re flying to through or from London, you should prepare to add at least a few hundred dollars in taxes to your award ticket, even above the costs shown below.

    Ready? Let’s dive in! Here’s what you can expect to pay when you redeem Aeroplan miles on its Star Alliance partners, broken down by domestic/short-haul and international/long-haul. All amounts are for one-way travel, and N/A indicates the carrier doesn’t operate long-haul flights.

    Takeaways:

    Armed with that knowledge, there are several important things to think about when booking your award travel through Aeroplan

    1. Pick Your Carrier

    It’s pretty easy to tell by looking at the chart above which airlines will cost you when you book award flights through Aeroplan. But the high fuel surcharges for ANA and Asiana redemptions don’t have to derail your trip; there are plenty of cheaper ways to fly to Asia by booking through Aeroplan. If you routed instead on United, EVA or Air China, you could end up saving a few hundred dollars per person and even more on a round-trip award.

    2. Pick Your Cabin

    For many of the carriers that do impose fuel surcharges, you’ll pay a lot more to fly at the front of the plane. Lufthansa’s long-haul fuel surcharges top out at around $200 in economy, but for first class they can easily climb as high as $800. Austrian is similar, with taxes on business class award tickets often costing twice as much as economy. This isn’t to say you should avoid booking that aspirational first class redemption; you should just consider all of your options to make sure you’re getting the best value from your points and your money.

    3. Which Products Are Worth Paying More For?

    That leads perfectly into the important question of which products are actually worth paying for. Not all premium cabins are created equally, and not all of them are worth incurring several hundred dollars in additional taxes and fees. Lufthansa first class is one of the most consistently excellent flights, with tickets often retailing for well over $10,000. Meanwhile, the carrier’s business class, shown above, is a solid option but seriously lacking in privacy. It might be worth emptying your pockets to sit all the way in the front of the plane, but the same doesn’t necessarily hold true for business class.

    4. Europe Is Expensive

    Despite its close geographical proximity to the US, redeeming miles for flights to Europe often ends up being surprisingly difficult and expensive. For many of the Aeroplan partners with generally low taxes, flights out of London (LHR), Paris (CDG) and Frankfurt (FRA) were $100 – $200 more expensive than Asian and North American cities. Again, this is not to say that you shouldn’t travel to Europe. When you’re ready to depart Europe, consider a cheap positioning flight on a low cost carrier like EasyJet to get you to a city with lower departure taxes. It’s often possible to find one-way tickets around Europe for less than $50, and you could end up saving triple that in taxes.

    5. Consider alternate programs

    There are many flavors of Star Alliance loyalty programs, and some don’t impose the same taxes and fees as Aeroplan does. For example, neither United’s Mileage Plus program nor Avianca’s LifeMiles program pass on fuel surcharges on their respective partner airlines, so that can keep some serious cash in your pocket. That being said, you’ll oftentimes see higher redemption rates through these programs.

    For example, if you had to book a round-trip Austrian Airlines business class flight from the US to Europe, which of the following would you rather do?

    • Pay 140,000 United miles + ~$70 in taxes and fees
    • Pay 126,000 LifeMiles + ~$60 in taxes and fees
    • Pay 110,000 Aeroplan miles + ~$1,200 in taxes and fees

    Everyone has his/her own thresholds for what makes a “good value” redemption, but saving 30,000 miles by paying over a thousand dollars doesn’t seem like a great option to me.

    Bottom Line

    Aeroplan is a great loyalty program with reasonable award prices for both short-haul and long-haul flights, and as a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, points are relatively easy to earn. The one area where the program stumbles is the inconsistency in additional fees on partner award flights. It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether you’re willing to pay hefty charges to secure the exact itinerary you want. Just pay attention on the checkout page so you don’t end up making a costly mistake.

    Related
    Five Redeeming Qualities Of Delta SkyMiles [One Mile at a Time]
    How to Avoid Fuel Surcharges on Award Travel [The Points Guy]
  • Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels defamation lawsuit against Trump (259 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 19:29:00 -0400Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels defamation lawsuit against TrumpReuters: Politics

    A U.S. judge on Monday dismissed adult film actress Stormy Daniels's defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump and ordered her to pay his attorney's fees, saying a tweet the president had written referring to her was protected by free-speech laws.

  • Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels defamation lawsuit against Trump (259 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 19:29:00 -0400Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels defamation lawsuit against TrumpReuters: U.S.

    A U.S. judge on Monday dismissed adult film actress Stormy Daniels's defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump and ordered her to pay his attorney's fees, saying a tweet the president had written referring to her was protected by free-speech laws.

    Related
    Judge throws out Stormy Daniels’s defamation lawsuit against Trump [Campaigns: Campaign and Election News & Analysis - The Washington Post]
    Judge throws out Stormy Daniels’s defamation lawsuit against Trump [Congress: Congressional News, Schedule, Votes & More - The Washington Post]
  • Flaky Flight: A Review of United?s 767 in First From Newark to Honolulu (13067 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 19:15:00 -0400Flaky Flight: A Review of United?s 767 in First From Newark to HonoluluThe Points Guy

    The last time I flew to Hawaii in a premium cabin, I was 9 years old. It was Hawaiian Airlines first class, back when first class seats were essentially oversized leather armchairs. Lie-flat beds and private suites weren’t really *a thing* yet, and you could still pack full-size toiletries in your carry-on. What a world.

    When the opportunity to fly United?s nonstop business-class flight from Newark Liberty International (EWR) to Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) arrived, I was thrilled to relive my blurry childhood memories en route to one of my favorite destinations on earth. But my dim recollections were nothing like the flaky flight I took in late September.

    Booking

    United’s EWR-HNL nonstop is convenient once you’re on board, but booking it is another story. It’s a chore (if not impossible) to find saver awards up front (the carrier treats this flight as a United First route, which is actually less premium than its business offering on transcontinental flights and international flights, some of which are shorter in duration).

    If you have a stroke of luck and are able to find one, you can expect to pay 50,000 miles each way, though searching through the end of the schedule revealed that you’d likely have to pony up a whopping 95,000 miles one way. One redeeming factor of all of this is that it’s easy to earn MileagePlus miles, thanks to the program being a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. Just signing up for and earning the sign-up bonus on one of Chase’s Sapphire cards (either the Preferred or Reserve) could get you a one-way saver ticket ? if you can find one, that is.

    Given that sad reality and the close-in nature of my booking, we paid cash for the ticket, which cost $1,398. We charged the airfare to The Platinum Card® from American Express in order to earn the 5x bonus points ? 6,990 (worth about $133 according to TPG’s most recent valuations) in this case.

    Since this was a paid fare, I got to earn miles for my flight. In total, I walked away with 6,620 redeemable miles, 1,324 PQDs and 9,924 PQMs.

    Check-in

    My  Honolulu-bound United flight departed early Monday morning. If you want to greatly improve any airport experience, book your flight an hour before you’d normally leave for work, and all will seem relaxed and easy by comparison. I checked in online the night before and encountered no errors or hiccups (for the first time in recent memory) that would force me to drop by the check-in desk, so I breezed right to security downstairs.

    The line for premium-cabin passengers was noticeably shorter than the line for TSA PreCheck, but I still went through the latter (who wants to take their shoes off?) and was through security in less than 10 minutes. After watching planes mill around in the gate area in the early morning sunlight, I started toward my gate.

    Lounge

    Since this was a United First domestic flight, I didn’t have access to any United clubs, which I found annoying, considering the approximately $1,400 price tag for my ticket. And you can forget about even getting near the luxe new Polaris Lounge in Terminal C ? that’s reserved for Polaris business class, Star Alliance long-haul first and Star Alliance long-haul business passengers only.

    To my great fortune, however, I had received the coveted Classified invite just a few days prior to my flight. So, realizing I had loads of time to kill and nowhere particularly fun to be (until Hawaii), I booked a reservation at Classified on the phone and proceeded to the hidden restaurant, tucked behind Saison in Terminal C.

    Classified became my lounge for the morning, where I enjoyed high-speed Wi-Fi, planespotting views and an excellent vanilla iced Americano and eggs Benedict with salmon.

    I was hesitant to order breakfast because, at the time, I wasn?t especially hungry and I knew I?d have breakfast on the flight. But it turned out to be the best decision I made all day, after a series of less-good decisions I?d come to regret.

    Boarding

    Gate 128 went from blissfully relaxed to a fuming horde so quickly I didn?t have time to snap a photo of the resulting chaos.

    Despite the airline?s new efforts to streamline and manage the boarding process, I somehow ended up boarding at the same time as someone in Group 4, even though I was second in line for Group 1. The gate agents were also late, which fueled the frustration.

    Cabin and Seat

    United?s 2-1-2 business-class configuration on its Boeing 767-400ER is great for people who score one of the seven middle seats, and just fine for everyone else.

    I opted for a window seat in Row 8, at the back of the cabin, next to what appeared to be a storage closet, hoping it would give me added privacy.

    But shortly after boarding, I realized that I was across the aisle from a single business-class seat reserved for resting crew members.

    Shortly after pushback, a pilot unfurled a series of interconnecting curtains and disappeared into a private cocoon for the duration of the flight. While Seat 8L felt more private than most of the couplets, I wouldn?t recommend it.

    If you?re flying this aircraft to Hawaii, opt for a seat closer to the cockpit. (More on that later.) The configuration also required me to either scramble over my seatmate or time my trips to the bathroom with hers.

    Each of the 39 seats measured 21 inches wide and offered a generous 75 inches of pitch. The legroom was more than enough for me at 5 feet 2 inches, and I had plenty of room to stretch out when the seat was reclined all the way into lie-flat mode.

    There were two options for charging: a USB port and a universal outlet.

    When it came time for me configure the seat into a lie-flat position, it was a hassle. It took quite a bit of aggressive button pushing to get the seat to recline fully. And later, it was just as much of a process returning my chair to the upright position.

    The seat was comfortable and spacious, but the footwell was tapered and narrow. Whenever I tried to put my seat flat, it ended up getting stuck on either my shoes or the small backpack I had stowed underneath the footwell.

    In general, the cabin felt rundown. The 18-year-old bird had scratches and scrapes on the shells of the business-class seats and overhead bins, and my foldout tray table was flimsy: It was impossible to type on my laptop without it rocking back and forth.

    Amenities

    There were signs of Polaris on board, namely in the form of the fluffy pillow and cozy Saks Fifth Avenue blanket, as well as a pair of headphones of so-so quality. That was it, though. I noticed immediately that there was no menu to peruse, save for a crumpled United Polaris menu shoved between the seat and the aircraft wall.

    Flight attendants came around early with moist towelettes, and seats were stocked with standard United literature (the September issue of Hemispheres) and a safety card, among others.

    In the restroom reserved for premium-cabin passengers, fragrant Cowshed amenities were available.

    Each seat came with a large touchscreen preloaded with a selection of films, including a few new releases I was excited about (business trips are one of the few opportunities I have to binge-watch chick flicks without upsetting my partner). “Deadpool 2,” “Life of the Party” and “Ready Player One” also jumped out immediately as viable options for my 10-hour flight. There was a remote available to control the system as well. It worked fine, but it wouldn?t retract back into its holster.

    The aircraft also promised inflight Wi-Fi, which meant ? as a MileagePlus member ? I could toggle between my phone and my laptop during the flight. For $27.99, I purchased a basic connection I could use for the duration of the flight. But after three and a half hours, the Internet shut off. Or, as United put it, the service became ?temporarily unavailable.?

    I used the inflight map to check our location, and we weren?t even over the Pacific when the Wi-Fi began dropping off. The Wi-Fi continued to kick in and sputter off throughout the flight.

    Food and Drink

    Flight attendants came by early to take beverage orders, though I did wish they had been waiting with a glass of sparkling wine during boarding, as I?ve experienced on a number of international business-class flights.

    Shortly after dropping off our mimosas (my seatmate and I had similar taste in morning beverages) our flight attendant ? a woman with puzzlingly large glasses ? returned to take our breakfast order. With a piece of paper in hand, she told us they were out of eggs and there were only two options remaining: a single apple soufflé for us to fight over, or cornflakes.

    Because I?d had the foresight to dine at Classified before departure, I wasn?t famished, and let my seatmate take the apple soufflé, leaving me with cornflakes. I was less annoyed they were out of eggs than I was that cornflakes was even an option in first class. My ticket had a cash value of about $1,400. A bowl of cornflakes (retail value: under 6 cents per serving) is, in my opinion, simply unacceptable. And if you?re going to give a first-class traveler cereal for breakfast, at least let them choose what kind of cereal she eats. Even my flight attendant agreed when she took my order. ?I myself don?t really like cornflakes,? she said, shrugging.

    When the flight attendant dropped off our breakfasts, I eyed my seatmate?s apple soufflé, which she devoured. At the center of my tray was a large, white bowl filled with dry cornflakes. I ate the fruit cup (thick wedges of grapefruit, orange, pineapple and a smattering of grapes) and finished off the vanilla Chobani yogurt. The flight attendant came around with a basket of hot baked goods, including cinnamon rolls, and I helped myself to a warm, flaky biscuit. But probably out of spite more than anything, I didn’t eat my cornflakes.

    Before takeoff, the pilot had announced that paid beverages on board included wine, beer and mai tais ? because Hawaii. Later in the flight (I waited until after breakfast, at least) I requested a mai tai when the flight attendant came around for another drink service. She scrutinized me before saying, ?I think we have that.?

    She did in fact return with a mai tai, garnished with a maraschino cherry and a slice of pineapple. And it was perfectly strong.

    But other than that, the food service on this flight was a complete miss ? even if we?re going to pretend the cornflake fiasco didn?t happen. Later in the flight, the flight attendants returned to ask what we wanted for lunch. Our options were calzones ? my flight attendant could not confirm exactly what was in the calzone, which eliminated it as an option for me ? and a chicken salad. When I asked the flight attendant to repeat the options, she did so with a tone that made my seatmate shoot me a sly stare. I’d describe the FA’s attitude as gruff at best.

    The salad greens and vegetables were fresh, and I was pleased the grilled chicken was on the side, as I don?t eat meat. But there was nothing especially tasty or memorable about this meal, either, except that it wasn?t breakfast cereal. A small improvement.

    Later, while using the restroom and stretching my legs, I noticed a basket of snacks and glasses of waters with DIY fruit garnishes by the door. I don?t recall an announcement being made about the self-serve treats.

    Overall Impression

    Afterward, the flight was mostly smooth ? a handful of hours spent working (at least until the Wi-Fi went out) and watching films.

    The nonstop United flight from Newark to Honolulu is convenient ? it doesn?t leave too early in the morning, and you arrive in Honolulu just in time to check in to your hotel and cool off in the pool (or with a proper mai tai). And of course, if you find saver space in business class, it?s certainly a more comfortable way to fly. But travelers shouldn?t expect much in terms of service.

    Despite the flight lasting more than 10 hours, it?s treated like any short, domestic, business-class flight. If you’re flying between the East Coast and California, you’ll (supposedly) get better service, expanded amenities and better food. Not to mention lounge access.

    For many travelers, it may be a better value to simply take a connecting economy flight where you can stretch your legs and buy a decent meal on the ground before continuing on to Hawaii. If you do book a seat on this aircraft for a trip to Hawaii, be sure to select a seat farther up, near the cockpit. You may actually have a shot at a hot breakfast.

    When I recall my childhood first-class flight on Hawaiian and my recent United first experience, there’s not much comparison. Both had miniature salt and pepper shakers. And, perhaps most importantly, both flights ended in Hawaii ? meaning you can quickly forget about the crummy cornflakes and brusque flight attendants.

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  • Lufthansa Lounge Detroit Added To Priority Pass (2627 characters)

    Mon, 15 Oct 2018 18:52:00 -0400Lufthansa Lounge Detroit Added To Priority PassOne Mile at a Time

    This is an awesome development. In the US lately we’ve seen a couple dozen airport restaurants added to Priority Pass. Now we’re seeing a pretty solid lounge added at an airport that doesn’t currently have a Priority Pass location.

    The Lufthansa Business Lounge Detroit Airport has been added to the Priority Pass network. This will be the first Priority Pass location at the airport. Priority Pass members have access to the lounge during the following hours:

    • Monday through Saturday: 5AM until 1PM and 4PM until 6:30PM
    • Sunday: 11AM until 1PM and 4:00PM until 6:30PM

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    To my knowledge this is the first Lufthansa Lounge to join Priority Pass, so I hope that this is a trend we see continue, because it seems like a win-win. The airline can generate more revenue during periods when it otherwise wouldn’t be used (or at least not widely used), and Priority Pass members have access to more lounges.

    I would guess that the lounge will feature watered down food and drinks during the hours where Priority Pass members have access, just as you’ll find at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse LAX during Priority Pass hours, for example. That’s fair enough, since Priority Pass doesn’t give lounges much of an incentive to offer a superior experience, since as far as I know that doesn’t impact how much lounges are compensated.

    However, that’s still better than nothing.

    Will anyone benefit from the addition of the Lufthansa Lounge DTW to Priority Pass?

    (Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)

             
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    Thanks to AL for the pointer!
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