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My 2015 Travel Year, Exciting New Airline Routes & More

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Each Saturday, we round up news stories that you may have missed from the week before, including several that already appeared on The Points Guy, and some more that we haven’t covered yet. If you’re an avid TPG reader, scroll down for the new stuff. Here’s the top miles, points and travel news you may have missed this week:

One of my favorite trips this year was Ghana.
One of my favorite trips this year was Ghana.

My 2015 Travel Year in Review

2015 was a crazy travel year for me — I took 112 flights on 28 different airlines; flew 203,058 miles; and redeemed 1,623,460 miles. Those stats don’t paint the entire picture, though; for details on the highlights of my year in flights, hotels and destinations, read the full post here.

Maui
Virgin America added another flight to Hawaii this month. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Exciting New Airline Routes for December 2015 and Beyond

This December, new routes have launched from San Francisco (SFO) – Maui (OGG) on Virgin America and Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney (SYD) on American Airlines. Lsat month, carriers also announced a variety of new routes to launch in 2016, including  Oakland (OAK) – London (LGW) on Norwegian Air. For more new routes, click here.

Remember, check customs requirements and fees before exiting foreign countries!
Before you buy exotic spices and teas, make sure you check customs requirements to see if you can take them home!

Have Mistakes, Will Travel — A Year of Travel Mishaps

TPG Contributor J. Keith van Straaten shares some of his craziest travel mishaps in 2015, including showing up to the airport without a visa and losing out on a big credit card bonus. Read the full post for more.

You can now explore China for longer without a visa hassle.
You can now explore China for longer without needing to apply for a visa. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

China Doubling Visa-Free Transit Period

Soon, China will double its visa-free travel waiver period from three days to six, giving you more time to explore cities such as Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing. So far, we don’t have details such as a launch date and which visitors will be covered, but we think the terms will likely be similar to the current 72-hour visa waiver available at many ports of entry. For more information, click here.

Visiting Colmar, France during the holidays is highly recommended.
Visiting Colmar, France during the holidays is highly recommended.

6 Reasons Colmar, France is a Must-Visit During the Holidays

Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen explains why you should consider a trip to the French border town of Colmar during next year’s holiday season. The town is walkable and beautiful, and although there are no hotel chains, Nick was still able to earn 3x the points by charging his Airbnb stay to his Citi ThankYou Premier Card. For more details on his trip, read the full post here.

In Other News…

Delta basic economy fares are now available on select transatlantic flights.
Delta basic economy fares are now available on select transatlantic flights.

Delta Basic Economy Spreading to Transatlantic Flights

Delta Basic Economy fares are made to compete with low-cost carriers like Spirit, and while these fares have been available on many domestic flights, they’ve only recently been spotted on transatlantic routes. Basic Economy Tickets for international transatlantic travel seem to be about $40 less than the regular economy fare, and the trade-off is limited Medallion benefits and seat assignment only after check-in.

Are baggage fees too low or too high? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Are baggage fees too high — or too low? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Are Checked Bag Fees Too Low?

Most of us complain about the cost of checking bags, but according to Priceonomics, these fees may actually be too low. The blog came to this conclusion by comparing airline baggage fees with those charged for cargo shipments. Do you think checked baggage fees are too low, too high or just right? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

LAN offers some new technology updates.
LAN offers some new technology updates.

LAN Updates App, Website and In-Flight Entertainment

LAN is updating its website to offer a more user-friendly experience, along with better access for mobile devices. The carrier also updated the LAN app to include flight status information and a live chat feature with agents. Finally, 65% of the LAN short haul fleet has been updated to include the new IFE system with movies, TV shows and an interactive map to follow your trip.

You might be able to earn 2,500 bonus Hilton HHonors points.

2,500 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points with Your Next Stay … For Asking?

According to a current rumor circulating among points and miles enthusiasts, it could be possible to earn 2,500 Hilton HHonors points after your next stay by simply sending an email to hhonors@hilton.com and asking. We at TPG haven’t had a chance to try out this promo, but it certainly never hurts to ask (nicely). If it works, the bonus points should be posted alongside your base points after your next stay.

Happy 2016 from the entire TPG team!

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