For women going places

Are your credit card points at risk?


Credit card companies continue to tack on fees.

Beginning this month, American Express Co will not transfer reward points earned by customers holding American Express Cards for Delta, Starwood Hotels, Hilton Hotels and Jet Blue while their account is in arrears. American Express will charge a reinstatement fee to transfer those points in addition to any other late fees and interest charges due for late payment.

Other credit card companies may adopt similar policies. Citigroup card members receive points on purchases made with their own card and will not be able to redeem those points if their account is not current. Under certain circumstances, a reinstatement fee may be charged. Citi currently does not charge a reinstatement fee for cards issued under its American Airlines and Hilton programs.

JP Morgan Chase will cease awarding travel miles on their cards with United Airlines and Marriot Hotels for customer accounts that are past due. To date, this company does not charge a reinstatement fee when the account becomes current.

Credit card policies are constantly changing, especially now with federal fee and interest rate restrictions about to become effective. You should keep yourself alert to changes affecting the credit cards you hold by reading the fine print of the documents you receive from your credit card company or contacting the company.

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Airport security changes and how they impact you


The ramifications of the foiled terrorist attack on Christmas Day will continue to be felt by business travelers for the foreseeable future. The TSA issued the following statement:

"On January 3, 2010, the Transportation Security Administration issued a new security directive to all U.S. and international air carriers with inbound flights to the U.S. effective January 4, 2010. The new directive includes long-term, sustainable security measures developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and our domestic and international partners.

TSA is mandating that every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening. TSA directed the increase use of enhanced screening technologies and mandates threat-based and random screening for majority passengers on U.S. bound international flights."

We've spoken to a number of domestic travelers, who have noticed an increase in TSA personnel but minimal increases in wait times and few changes in procedures. A few helpful hints to keep in mind when you travel domestically:

- Keep up on security procedure changes through the TSA website (
- Check your carry-on for any stray liquids or powders. Be sure all liquids and gels are in containers of less than 3 ounces and those containers are in a zip-top plastic bag.
- Confirm that the name on your ID matches the name on your boarding pass.
- Report any suspicious activity -- it was the heroic efforts of the passengers and crew of Northwest flight 253 that foiled the terrorist attack.

On the other hand, procedures promise to be tighter and waiting times longer for international travelers:

- Expect more thorough screening and probably full body scans for many passengers.
- Remember that carry-on baggage policies differ between airlines and departure cities.
- Passengers flying from certain countries identified as posing particular terrorism risks (currently Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) should anticipate particularly close scrutiny and thus further delays.

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