More frequent-flier tweaks
American Airlines is changing its frequent flier program, becoming the latest carrier to have passengers earn miles based on how much they spend rather than how far they fly. The move follows similar changes by Delta Air Lines and United Airlines and benefits business travelers who purchase expensive, last-minute tickets. Associated Press
Airbnb courts business travel
Airbnb is pushing business travelers to book a short-term home rental instead of checking into a hotel. The San Francisco-based company has announced a new feature to distinguish rentals offering the extras that business travelers need, such as wireless Internet, an ironing board and a hair dryer.
Los Angeles Times
Eat Here now
Everyday French fare … in Omaha
In Omaha, Neb., land of steak, there is an oasis of French cooking — the witty and charming Le Bouillon. The food is what chef Paul Kulik describes as "everyday French fare," an attitude reflected in a chatty and informed staff and an unpretentious vibe in an airy brick 1880s building. The menu draws from various French regions, including Aquitaine (hearty fare with a judicious use of goose and duck fat) and Basque country (plenty of seafood), as well as ingredients from local Nebraska producers. The restaurant flies in oysters from both coasts for its raw bar. As a nod to Nebraska, we ordered the local corn soup, which was silky and buttery with a dab of chorizo oil that held it together. Mediterranean cuisine was represented by the arroz à la plancha, a fragrant bed of Calasparra rice with braised short rib and oyster mushrooms. Braised Wagyu beef cheeks were made juicy with a red wine reduction and accompanied by a shaved celery and carrot salad. New York Times
Google Maps offers offline option
Google Maps is getting disconnected. With a new update for Android phones, you'll be able to search nearby businesses and get driving directions, including turn-by-turn voice prompts, even if your Internet connection is spotty or nonexistent. A version for iPhones will come soon. The feature is ideal if you're trying to leave an underground parking garage or a remote national park. It's also great if you're traveling abroad and want to conserve on expensive data plans. You'll need to download databases ahead of time, preferably when you have a Wi-Fi connection. To do so, search for a location, such as a city. Then pinch in or out to select what area you want to download.
NYC, Norway on 'Wow' deal list for 2016
Travelzoo, the big website that tracks deal trends, has analyzed which destinations will be on its 2016 "Wow" deal list. Amazingly, New York City is on the list. Big Apple lodging rates are plunging by as much as 60 percent, thanks to a strong U.S. dollar. A four-star hotel can be as low as $109 a night, Travelzoo found, especially in the low-season January-to-March period. (See New York hotel story on page 6.) Another interesting spot TravelZoo calls a "Wow" for 2016 is Norway. The new airline Norwegian Air Shuttle has slashed airfares to as low as $144 each way from New York to Oslo. Other "Wow" destinations for 2016 include Cuba, Canada and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Detroit Free Press