Bad news on fuel surcharges, a new safari to add to the list, questioning Southwest’s family-friendliness and more

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Name countries where you can go on safari. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that your list probably included South Africa, Kenya…maybe Botswana….did you say Sri Lanka? If not, you’ll want to check out the post below about Wilpattu National Park. In this Frequent Miler week in review, you’ll also find why you should really be considering the Avios transfer bonus, bad news on fuel surcharges, and more. Read on for the weekly recap from around the ‘net.

Hong Kong Ending Ban On Fuel Surcharges

In my opinion, “carrier imposed surcharges” on award tickets are ridiculous. I can understand the airline passing on taxes, but surcharges annoy me as the airline really ought to just include their operating costs in their fares the same way that any other business includes its costs in the price of a product you buy. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t go out of my way to avoid them — but I like to avoid them when I can. One way to do so has been to originate in Hong Kong as the government there has had a ban on these surcharges for several years. Unfortunately, that’s coming to an end. Lucky at One Mile at a Time has the scoop on when it’s changing and why. If you’re looking to book Emirates first class with JAL miles and skip the surcharges, your time is limited.

EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK

I took this pic at Kruger National Park in South Africa, but I’d happily travel to this park for the chance to see leopards again.

I’ve written before about my experiences on safari in Kruger National park, which I loved so much the first time that I had to go back and do it again within a couple of years of the first trip. Kruger has certainly made me interested in other safari locations, and in a recent week in review, I highlighted a map made by Travel Is Free showing the world’s national parks. One such national park, Wipattu National Park, looks like an awesome safari locale…though if not for this post from Becky at SightDOING, I wouldn’t have known that Sri Lanka was home to something like this. I’ve now added this to my ever-expanding list of places to see. For the record, I’ll totally concur that a decent set of binoculars are a must. On my first safari, I didn’t even think about it and ended up buying a set in the park figuring that I’d resell them afterwards and get most of my money back. I ended up keeping them and bringing them on my next safari. You’ll be glad you have them.

How Family Friendly Is Southwest, Really?

Southwest certainly has a reputation for being more family-friendly than competitors, but I had a recent experience with Southwest that left me feeling like they aren’t so family-friendly after all. Our son had a ….diaper emergency mid-flight. The short version of the story is that this was going to be a two-person job for sure, but only the front lavatory had a changing table. We were not allowed to change him together because it would have been a “security issue” for both of us to be at the front. I couldn’t help but feel that an airline with the family-friendly reputation of Southwest could have conjured up a scenario where it would make sense to have a changing table in the rear lav. See this post from As the Joe Flies for his take on Southwest’s relative family-friendliness in a number of other regards.

American Express 40% Transfer Bonus: Fly to Europe in Coach for 10,000 and in Business for 23,000 Points

We have the current 40% bonus from Amex to Avios listed on our Current point transfer bonuses and I was aware of Aer Lingus’s excellent pricing from some cities considering the bonus. I however hadn’t looked at the peak and off-peak calendar for the coming year. Andy at Lazy Traveler’s Handbook lays out why you might want to consider transferring to Avios with this bonus, and I just may be convinced. In my post about the Strengths Membership Rewards has over Ultimate Rewards, I noted transfer bonuses – and this is a great example of why those bonuses are so valuable.

CURVE CARD CUTS FOREIGN EXCHANGE FEES – NOW ESSENTIAL FOR TRAVELERS…

If there are any venture capitalists reading, can you please throw some money at these guys to expand into the US? If you have family in the UK, maybe you can make use of this somehow — otherwise, you’ll just have to oogle this post from God Save the Points from afar.


That’s it for this week around the web. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.

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