The rise of the insincere travel offer – and what to do about it

Before Brenda Galindo retired to Winterville, N.C., Continental Airlines made her a promise: The frequent flier miles she’d earned from her business travel wouldn’t expire.
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Warning! These “free” travel offers can really cost you

The travel industry is infatuated with the word “free,” and face it, so are travelers. Don’t believe me? Then feel free to ask anyone who has taken advantage of a “free” deal and regretted it.
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A little disconnect on Sprint’s discount offer

Sprint promises Jennifer Thomas a discount, but it doesn’t come through. Can she force the phone company to honor its word?
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Did United Airlines overcompensate this passenger?

Gary Wiener’s question comes along only once in a blue moon. Did United Airlines overcompensate him after a recent flight delay?
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In 2014, beware of the word “free”

Mega Pixel/Shutterstock
Mega Pixel/Shutterstock
How dumb do they think you are?

As the dust settled on the now-finished holiday shopping season, I couldn’t help but wonder. One study concluded it was one of the strongest seasons in recent memory, adding that more than seven shoppers said they plan to take advantage of “free shipping” offers, while nearly half expect “free” returns.

I nearly choked on my espresso when I read that. Did they just say “free”?

Right about now, half of you are saying to yourself: TANSTAAFL! That’s shorthand for “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” and you’re right, of course. Bonus points if you can tell me which Robert Heinlein book it’s from. (Yeah, I grew up reading sci-fi novels.)

The other half? “Grinch!” (Belatedly.) Or worse.
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