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Jun 25, 2015

Auto insurance loyalty can cost you

By Mitch Lipka

(Reuters) – When Jonathan G. Stein became unhappy with his long-time car insurance carrier earlier this year, the 41-year-old lawyer from Elk Grove, California switched to a new company.

How was he rewarded for his disloyalty after nine years? With savings of about $300 a year and a boost in his under-insured motorist coverage.

Jun 18, 2015

Hotel discounts are hard to keep if you extend your stay

June 18 (Reuters) – Investment adviser Mitch Tuchman scored
a deal any traveler would be proud of: $280 a night for a recent
stay at the luxurious Viceroy Hotel in Manhattan, where the
going rate can exceed more than $500 on a weeknight.

But when a change in plans required him to stay another day,
all bets were off. The price soared to $720 a night.

Jun 8, 2015

When booking travel online, it pays to shop around

June 8 (Reuters) – When Christel Shea was trying to book a
trip from Providence, Rhode Island to Greenville, South Carolina
a couple of weeks ago, it took more than one online search for
her to identify that the best buy was to fly into Charlotte,
North Carolina and rent a car for the hour-long drive.

Shea, managing director of the group tour research site
TourMatters.com (tourmatters.com), used a combination of
Google Flights (google.com/flights/) and Bing Travel
(bing.com/explore/travel), and then eventually booked
through American Airlines because you cannot book
directly through Google.

May 19, 2015

Wedding photography pushes the limits of novelty

May 19 (Reuters) – Recording Amanda Bortzfield’s wedding
last summer at the Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Florida, was
no simple – or cheap – task. Still photography and video added
up to more than $23,000, not far off the average total cost for
a wedding in the United States.

“The end results far surpass anything I could have
imagined,” says Bortzfield, 27, whose overall wedding costs were
significantly more than average, to say the least.

May 14, 2015

How much should you give as a wedding gift?

BOSTON, May 14 (Reuters) – When you go to as many weddings
as Stephanie Wong does, you need to come up with some guidelines
for gift-giving. During the past two years, Wong, 32, who works
in marketing for a book publisher in San Francisco, has been to
about a half-dozen weddings. She expects to attend three more
this year.

The amount Wong spends is all about her relationship to the
people getting married, how fancy the wedding is going to be and
whether she brings a date.

Apr 14, 2015

Sharing-economy jobs make taxes uber-complicated

By Mitch Lipka

(Reuters) – Before Jane LeBoeuf started driving for Uber and Lyft, doing her taxes was cheap and easy.

LeBoeuf would swing by the local H&R Block office, pay $150 and end up with a refund. But now, that is not the case.

Apr 14, 2015

YOUR MONEY: Sharing-economy jobs make taxes uber-complicated

April 14 (Reuters) – Before Jane LeBoeuf started driving for
Uber and Lyft, doing her taxes was cheap and easy.

LeBoeuf would swing by the local H&R Block office,
pay $150 and end up with a refund. But now, that is not the
case.

Apr 8, 2015

How much is your hotel loyalty worth?

By Mitch Lipka

(Reuters) – When it comes to hotel stays, Gary Burris is loyal to a fault.

In about 20 years of traveling, he has stayed 1,079 nights in Marriott International Inc hotels, where he expects – and receives – a certain level of service, says the 51-year-old sales manager for Oregon-based Tec Laboratories.

Hotels covet loyalty from customers like Burris. More than two-thirds of frequent travelers stay with the same hotel company more than half their days on the road, according to a 2014 study on hotel loyalty by Deloitte Consulting.

Mar 24, 2015

In U.S. winter storms, some passengers found rewards

By Mitch Lipka

(Reuters) – Among the hundreds of thousands of fliers on canceled flights this winter, there were actually a few happy customers. Well, maybe not exactly happy, but at least placated by apologies and freebies from the airlines.

Take Elizabeth Schirmer, whose destination wedding in Mexico got upended by bad weather in late February in Rochester, New York. She and her three flying companions, including her groom, endured a hassle-filled journey with multiple plane changes and long layovers.

Mar 24, 2015

YOUR MONEY: In U.S. winter storms, some passengers found rewards

March 24 (Reuters) – Among the hundreds of thousands of
fliers on canceled flights this winter, there were actually a
few happy customers. Well, maybe not exactly happy, but at least
placated by apologies and freebies from the airlines.

Take Elizabeth Schirmer, whose destination wedding in Mexico
got upended by bad weather in late February in Rochester, New
York. She and her three flying companions, including her groom,
endured a hassle-filled journey with multiple plane changes and
long layovers.

    • About Mitch

      "Mitch Lipka is editor of TheConsumerChronicle.com and is a veteran consumer columnist, editor and reporter. Most recently, he led a 10-person consumer reporting team at AOL’s personal finance channel, WalletPop.com. He received the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer writing on the web and is the 2011 Best Friend honoree from Kids in Danger for his work covering child product safety. Mitch has been a reporter and editor for more than 25 years and has worked for The Philadelphia Inquirer, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Consumer Reports. The opinions expressed here are his own."
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