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American Express and Boingo Join to Offer Free, Unlimited Wi-Fi to Card Members

Boingo American Express Wifi

A few months ago, Delta eliminated free Delta Sky Club guest passes for American Express Platinum, Centurion, and Delta Reserve cardholders. But credit card company seems to be making up for the loss in it’s new partnership with Boingo: free, unlimited Wi-Fi. Starting this June, Platinum, Centurion, and Corporate Gold card members will have access to more than a million hotspots in airports, hotels, and retail locations around the world on up to four devices. We know what you’re thinking, and unfortunately, the answer is no—this does not include inflight Wi-Fi.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.


Photo courtesy of American Express and Boingo

E-Book Subscription Service Scribd Announces Partnership with Lonely Planet

Scribd

Scribd is like Netflix for books: a monthly fee of $8.99 gets you unlimited access to more than 300,000 e-books from 900 publishers, the largest of which is Harper Collins. Today, the company is launching a new travel category through a partnership with Lonely Planet—which means for less than the cost of one title, you can browse hundreds of guidebooks. (The category also includes non-fiction titles, such as 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.)

Scribd is especially useful for travelers: not only is it compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and any web browser, but you can also download books to read off line—ideal when on the road without Internet access. (And you can keep any books you download indefinitely, as long as you remain a member.)

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Public Artist Stephen Powers' New Book Launches at the Strand

A Love Letter to the City

For the last few days, the public artist Stephen Powers has been leaving his mark on New York’s Strand bookstore—as he says, “sneaking around the aisles and painting little love letters to reading and writing.” It’s all to celebrate the launch of his book, A Love Letter to the City (Princeton Architectural Press; $24.95), a collection of essays, sketches, and vibrant photos of his works from Coney Island and his hometown of Philadelphia to Dublin, São Paolo, and Johannesburg.

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Crowd-Sourced Travel Show "Don't Kill Eli" Puts Viewer in the Director’s Chair

Eli Newell’s new crowd-sourced travel show Don’t Kill Eli can best be described as a real-life “choose your own adventure.” The 36-year-old comedian and world traveler will ask viewers (via videos on the YouTube channel) to vote on where he should go and what he should do when he gets there. As he puts it in his Kickstarter video, “No matter how gross or stupid or dangerous it is, if you want me to do, I’ll do it."

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Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas Introduces 24-Hour Checkout

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This week, the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas became the first major property in the U.S. to offer what may be the most genius perk ever, especially in a place like Sin City: 24-hour checkout.

For no additional cost, guests can select the 24-hour checkout option when booking a Superior, Premier, or Ivory Suite exclusively through the hotel’s website. They’ll be asked for their anticipated arrival time, and checkout is the same time on the following day (though it can’t be later than 11 p.m.). For added convenience, you can even checkout via text message. Now if only winning at blackjack was that easy.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1

Photo credit: Palms Casino Resort

Cuba Will No Longer Process U.S. Travel Visas

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Until a few weeks ago, travel restrictions to Cuba were looser than they’ve ever been, thanks to President Obama’s 2011 policy allowing tour companies to apply for travel licenses for “people-to-people” educational and cultural trips. But that’s all come to a halt now that the one bank responsible for processing these visas—M&T Bank in Buffalo, New York—has decided to stop offering its services to diplomatic missions. As of yet, no replacement bank has been found, despite efforts from both sides.

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"Global Kitchen" Cookbook by David Joachim Let’s You Travel the World One Dish at a Time

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“A culinary greatest hits of the world.” That’s how best-selling author David Joachim describes his 40th cookbook, Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy (Oxmoor House; $29.95), which hit shelves this week. It’s a compendium of 150 recipes—including 120 pulled from Cooking Light’s 25-year-old archive developed by the likes of Lidia Bastianich and Rick Bayless.

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Green Hotel Trend: Wooden Key Cards

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Hotel chains have been going green for years, but the latest eco-friendly initiative to catch our eye are wooden key cards by Sweden-based Sustainable Cards.

According to head of sales Johan Kaijser, 30 billion plastic cards are produced every year—that’s 150,000 tons of plastic. Using cards made from wood can reduce the carbon footprint by 50%. So far, hotel brands such as Radisson Blu, Westin, Four Seasons, Accor, and Kempinski—plus retailers like Starbucks and Whole Foods (which use them as gift cards)—have signed on. The European hotel company Scandic was an early supporter, while Mövenpick is the first to adopt them across the brand.

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Four Seasons Resort Lanai Introduces an Airport Lounge in Honolulu

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We’ve told you about new developments in airline and airport lounges (most recently here and here)—but now the Four Seasons Resort Lanai has debuted its very own version at Honolulu International Airport. Located in the commuter terminal, the 1,000-square-foot lounge means that guests start their hotel experience even before setting foot on the island—and the hotel. Visitors awaiting their 25-minute flights to Lanai will have all the free perks: food, beverages, iPads, Wi-Fi access, charging stations, luggage holding areas, TVs. Plus, a Four Seasons concierge is on hand to assist with check-in and reservations at the restaurant or spa.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1

Photo Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Travel Warning Issued to Airlines for Possible Shoe Bomb Threats

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According to an NBC News report, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning to airlines about a possible new threat of shoe bombs—specifically on U.S.-bound overseas flights. The warning mentioned nonstop flights from Johannesburg, Paris, London, and Cairo. Though it did not come with any directives to the airlines, passengers should expect heightened security, including additional pat-downs and full-body screenings.

Homeland Security released the following statement—the same one they used after the temporary ban earlier this month on carry-on gels, liquids, powders, and aerosols on flights from the U.S. to Russia.

 “Out of an abundance of caution, DHS regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners about relevant threat information as we work to meet our mission of keeping the traveling public safe. These types of regular communications are part of that important priority. Our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by the latest intelligence and as always DHS continue to adjust security measures to fit an ever evolving threat environment.”

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1

Photo credit: Juice Images/ Alamy

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