101 Budget Britain Travel Tip is stupid cheap on Amazon right now. — Anglotopia Community

Amazon has hugely discounted our guidebook 101 Budget Britain Travel Tips. Normally $19.99, they’re charging $7.23 right now (we get paid the same no matter what). Not sure how long it will last!

Lots of great tips for planning your trips to Britain this year! We updated the book last year so lots of great new advice!

Details here: https://amzn.to/3eZFUCU

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Siblings Used An Amazon Gift Card To Tip Their Server & TikTok Is Divided Over It

The holiday season can really put a dent in your wallet, and there’s a chance that sometimes, you might be out of cash but flush with gift cards.

That’s precisely what happened to a sibling trio on TikTok during a recent trip to a Korean BBQ spot in California.

Kaitlyn and Gustavo Lombera, along with their older sister, decided to grab some food together but found themselves in a pickle when they had no spare change left to pay their tip.

The siblings posted about the awkward moment on TikTok, in a video that shows them leaving a $25 Amazon gift card on top of their almost $100 bill.


holidays left us #broke 😮‍💨😮‍💨

The caption read: “holidays left us #broke.”

To be fair, they asked the waitress first if she’d accept her tip in gift card format, the siblings told BuzzFeed. The server was totally OK with it and even thought it was funny, they said.

However, other TikTok users were torn over how they felt about paying with a gift card. Many who identified as service industry workers said they’d love to get a gift card as a tip, while others thought it was a cheap move.

One commenter said: “I’m a bartender. I WOULD HAVE LOVED THAT AS A TIP!!! 😁😁😁”

Another agreed and even pointed out that the $25 gift card was probably more than she would get in tips anyways.

“Also that $25 gift card is not taxable. You get that money all for you,” said another person in the comments.

However, not everyone agreed with the move.

One person said: “I didn’t think it was bad till I saw the bill. ‘We didn’t have money for a tip,’ you should’ve put some food down then.”

Other people also brought up the hefty bill and questioned why they were unable to pay the tip.

“Really?! The receipt says it cost $95, and he couldn’t afford to tip her $10 like wow.”

Many people came to their siblings’ defence and pointed out that tips are up to the guest, so a gift card should be more than acceptable.

“It blows my mind that people get angry at customers for not tipping them, rather than be mad at companies for not paying a livable wage,” one person wrote.

Another person joked that the card might be nearly empty. “Gift card has $0.37 in it,” they wrote.

One user who claimed to be the restaurant owner’s son even joined in on the fun.

“LMAO that’s my dad’s restaurant!” he wrote. “Hope you guys enjoyed.”

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Reopening Day, Amazon, Summer Travel: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. A “return to life as we know it.”

With 70 percent of adults in New York having received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted nearly all restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. That includes ending capacity limits, social distance requirements, disinfection protocols and health screenings. Above, the restaurant Juliette in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

It was also “reopening day” in California, as Gov. Gavin Newsom called it. He, too, lifted nearly all of the state’s restrictions, with 72 percent of adults having received at least one dose of the vaccine. As the economy fully reopens, our California restaurant critic said the most exciting place to eat in Los Angeles is Chinatown.

While the U.S. edges toward normalcy, many countries in Asia are still facing months of uncertainty and isolation as their vaccination campaigns just start to gain steam.

2. We learned more about Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to help overturn the election results.

An hour before William Barr stepped down as attorney general, the former president was pressuring his replacement, Jeffrey Rosen, above, to back his false election fraud claims, emails show. Two weeks later, another email from Trump asked the Justice Department to file a brief to the Supreme Court that argued state officials used the pandemic to weaken election security and pave the way for widespread election fraud.

Separately, the Biden administration is aiming to bolster its ability to combat domestic extremism. A new plan acts as a blueprint on how to more effectively identify extremists in the U.S. after years of heightened focus on foreign terrorists.

4. Amazon did the impossible for customers during the pandemic. But at its only fulfillment center in New York City, the company burned through workers as orders skyrocketed.

An examination by The Times into how the pandemic unfolded at JFK8, as the center is known, found that the crisis exposed the power and peril of Amazon’s employment system. JFK8 helped the company book the equivalent of the previous three years’ profits rolled into one. It also relied on a strained, faltering system for mass-managing people that hired, monitored and fired without much human contact.

Here are five takeaways from the investigation.

Separately, President Biden named Lina Khan, a prominent critic of Big Tech who first attracted notice as a critic of Amazon, as chair of the F.T.C.

5. Hundreds of thousands of post-Covid patients, including Karla Jefferies, above, are experiencing nagging new problems they didn’t have before the disease, a new U.S. study revealed.

6. A heat wave across the Western U.S. could deliver temperatures above 125 degrees and stress electric grids in a region facing the worst drought in two decades.

Arizona, above outside Superior, and Nevada are bracing for the possibility of record highs, while firefighters confronting small blazes in California may be forced to do so in triple-digit heat. The Texas power grid’s operator has urged residents to minimize their electricity usage or risk outages. More than 100 people died in Texas during a February snowstorm that crippled the grid.

We’re also watching two tropical weather events. Tropical Storm Bill became the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season overnight, though it is expected to remain away from the coast. And a tropical depression may form by the end of the week, bringing heavy rains to the northern Gulf Coast.

7. Charitable giving in the U.S. rose 5 percent in 2020 to a record $471.4 billion, with civil rights and environmental groups benefiting.

A national conversation over race in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer fueled fund-raising, as did a rising stock market and government stimulus checks.

For the third time in under a year, MacKenzie Scott, above, one of the richest women in the world, announced a multibillion-dollar round of grants — $2.74 billion to 286 organizations. The latest round brings her total to more than $8 billion. When Scott and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, divorced in 2019, her stock was valued at about $36 billion. Amazon’s soaring stock price has since pushed her net worth to an estimated $60 billion.

8. “Can I lick these people?”

Stephen Colbert, above, returned to a capacity, vaccinated crowd at the Ed Sullivan Theater last night after 15 months of hosting “The Late Show” from home, prompting his guest, Jon Stewart, to ask the question above. “There was something of a surviving-your-own-funeral aspect to the reunion,” writes our TV critic James Poniewozik.

And after four decades, Martin Yan, who used TV to help many North Americans start cooking Chinese food at home, is as cheery as ever but aware of some harsher truths. We spoke to the chef, who is now re-energizing fans as a YouTube host, about the new food media landscape.

In updated recommendations, the C.D.C. said domestic and international travel are low risk for fully vaccinated Americans, but it’s still far from simple. Here’s what you need to know.

10. And finally, the art of the toast.

Massive wedding parties with 10-piece bands and champagne fountains may be giving way to the micro-wedding, but one tradition remains steadfast: the wedding speech.

If you’ve been charged with saying a few words about the couple, we spoke to several experts for tips to help you speak from the heart. Think about your relationship with the couple, consider making it a group effort, cut the clichés and keep it short.

“We’re all so acutely aware that no one has any idea what tomorrow will bring,” one toastmaster said. “The fact that two people want to tackle that tomorrow together feels especially noteworthy.”

Have a moving night.

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10 Amazon products that are travel must-have | Focus

10 Amazon products that are travel must-have

Everyone takes a vacation to unwind. However, no matter where they go, there is always the chance of not having all one needs for their stay. Most people overlook one thing and end up wasting a large portion of their holiday money on, for instance, a bottle of shampoo. Alternatively, people may find themselves unable to sleep on the flight because those seats are simply uncomfortable unless one is traveling first class. Here are the top travel items on Amazon to deal with both large and small travel problems. Some of these might make excellent gifts for a colleague who is always on the lookout for their next adventure.

1)        Passport Wallet
One of Amazon’s most popular travel goods, and with great reason. Some clients have a problem receiving this item, but there is a Solution: this Amazon item cannot be shipped to your location error at borderoo.com. The passport wallet will collect all of a person’s possessions into one convenient place, and it comes in 35 stunning shades, making the most difficult part of this purchase deciding which one to get!

2)        Toiletry Bag
The hanging toiletry bag is the one item on this list that everyone should have. It can be filled with all of the toiletries required for any journey. When a person goes on a trip and realizes they have forgotten something, they should make a point of adding it to their bag so that it improves over time and they never have to travel without something they require. It is so simple when packing to travel. Grab the toiletry bag and put it in your luggage without giving it a second thought or worrying about forgetting something crucial.

3)        Leak Proof Travel Bottles
These are a must-have item. These bottles are entirely leak-proof, easy to fill because they have a large opening. These tiny acrylic jars are quite useful if someone only needs to transport a small amount of a product.

4)        Reusable Water Bottle
It is costly to buy a new bottle of water every time someone needs to hydrate. Many airports now include a water bottle filling station where passengers can fill up their refillable water bottles for free. Many towns also feature drinking fountains, so having a bottle to fill when one comes across a water filling station is useful.

5)        Laptop Backpack
This anti-theft backpack is fantastic for anyone concerned about theft. It is one of the best-selling travel packages. Not only does it include an anti-theft lock, but it also has a USB charging connector, allowing users to stay powered while on the go.

6)        Travel Umbrella
It can be a good idea for someone to bring a travel umbrella with him or her depending on where one is heading.

7)        Wet Brush Hairbrush
It is inexpensive, yet it is required for any holiday, including swimming, sailing, or anything involving the ocean, a pool, or similar activities. It is not an option.

8)        Extra Long Charging Cable
One never knows where the outlets will be on a plane, at a hotel, or wherever they are desperate for a charge. It is useful for charging ports that are difficult to reach.

9)        Packing Cubes
When it comes to staying organized, these are a godsend. If someone is looking for a pair of pants, they take the pants cube and find the top they want and the same for any other item. The cubes allow one to find what they are looking for without disturbing the rest of their belongings, and they are a fantastic and inexpensive investment.

10)      Luggage Travel Lock
If someone does not have a locking mechanism on any of their bags, they should order a 7for a bunch of these. People have stayed in beautiful hotels with less than ideal luggage storage systems, so one can never know when to lock their belongings.

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Online Travel Update: Travelport and Amazon Web Services announce travel startup accelerator; recent studies reveal Generation Z’s online travel preferences | Foster Garvey PC

Where did summer go? It was another quiet week in the online travel world, though I expect things may pick up in the weeks ahead as everyone returns from their summer breaks. Enjoy.

Travelport and Amazon Web Services Announce Travel Startup Accelerator
(“Travelport Teams With Amazon Web Services to Support Travel Startups,” September 2, 2021 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Recently, Travelport and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the launch of a travel startup accelerator designed to provide travel entrepreneurs access to data and channel expertise, potential supplier partners (including hotels) and prospective travelers. The inaugural session will feature 10 travel startups with a focus on digital marketing and personalization. Judges will include representatives from American Express GBT, Internova and Priceline.

Recent Studies Reveal Generation Z’s Online Travel Preferences
(“What do Gen Z travelers want from online travel brands?” August 31, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
Generation Z travelers, those born between 1997 and 2021, are the focus of several recently issued traveler studies, including a recent study conducted by Phocuswright Research. According to the studies, Generation Z travelers (who have never experienced life without readily available internet access) are increasingly likely to rely on online travel resources (particularly, OTAs) for travel inspiration, planning and booking. Of particular note, although this generation has less brand loyalty and are less likely to belong to loyalty programs generally, enrollment in OTA loyalty programs is higher with this demographic than just about any other generation. The Phocuswright study also noted that this generation is more open to booking travel through other unique intermediary options like Google or travel membership services. What are Generation Z travelers looking for when they plan travel? The studies reveal inclusivity, diversity, sustainability, and safety and security take the highest priority.

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Former Amazon Exec Joins American Airlines as Chief People Officer

American Airlines has hired former Amazon executive Mecole Brown as chief people officer, a position that will lead the carrier in employee-facing areas including recruiting and diversity, equity and inclusion. Brown most recently was VP of human resources for two different businesses within Amazon and prior to that was SVP and chief human resources officer for Conifer Health Solutions as well as SVP of human resources for Walmart’s U.S. stores and chief diversity officer for Walmart. 

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Online Travel Update: Booking.com announces new cancellation and deposit policies; Expedia offers discount rates to all of its travel agency partners; Agoda launches new booking tool; Amazon drops virtual experiences prices | Foster Garvey PC

Expedia Expands its Affiliate Network
(“Expedia opens up discount rates to COVID-hit travel agency partners,” February 3, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
Thought it was difficult to monitor and manage the thousands of agents in Expedia’s affiliate network? Just wait. Discounted package rates historically made available through Expedia’s affiliate network will now be made available to everyone. Previously, the discounted rates had been available only to Expedia Silver or higher level members of the network. According to Expedia, the change was made to assist travel agents recovering from the ramifications of COVID-19 as demand for travel increases. Yes, that may be true, but the potential increase in bookings associated with the expanded network might also benefit Expedia.

Meet GoLocal Tonight – Agoda’s Newest Booking Tool
(“Agoda sees growing demand for last minute deals, launches new tool,” February 3, 2021 via WIT)
The last-minute booking tool, which is expected to be rolled out this month across the Asia-Pacific region, will feature heavily discounted rates (30 percent off standard rates) for same-day arrivals. Hoteliers should watch carefully whether existing rates are discounted for distribution through the program. Obviously, any decision to participate in the program must also be made in light of hoteliers’ existing contract requirements, as rates for same-day bookings are rarely excluded from rate parity or best available rate requirements.

Amazon Drops Prices of its Virtual Experiences
(“Amazon Gets Aggressive With Promotional Pricing for Virtual Tours,” February 3, 2021 via Skift) (subscription may be required)
Four months after the launch of Amazon Explore, Amazon is putting pressure on participating tour operators to lower their prices (with some experiences priced as low as $10.00). Whether this is a sign of further things to come (including a rumored transition to in-person tours and experiences) for the online giant, remains to be seen.

Other news:

Hotel Direct Channels Gained Share of Bookings in 2020
February 2, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Hotels in many markets around the globe saw growth in the share of bookings coming through their direct channels during 2020. According to SiteMinder data based on gross revenue sources for all users of its platform across more than 20 of the world’s top destinations, hotel websites maintained their top-five position in all destinations over the full year 2020.

Tripadvisor’s Bokun Creates Activities Service With JTB Online Giant in Japan
February 5, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Online travel agency JTB is working with Bokun to give tour, activity and experience providers in Japan the tools to manage their businesses. The partnership between Tripadvisor-owned Bokun and JTB, the largest intermediary in the Japanese market, is aimed at establishing distribution connections through OTAs (online travel agencies) and other sellers for the country’s wide array of operators.

Fully Refundable Vacation Rentals Get 4.2x More Bookings, Higher Revenue
February 5, 2021 via Phocus Wire
As owners and managers of vacation rentals vie to capture bookings from those willing or needing to travel despite the pandemic, data from Sweden-based Your.rentals – a provider of software for bookings, payment, channel management and listings – reveals a winning strategy: Properties that offer a full refund for cancellations get both a higher volume of bookings and higher average revenue per booking.

Facing Lawsuit, OTA Pulls Southwest Logo — But Keeps Selling Its Tickets
February 3, 2021 via travelweekly.com
The OTA Kiwi.com has stopped displaying the Southwest Airlines logo on flight search results following the filing of trademark infringement suit by the carrier last month. Kiwi, however, has continued to sell Southwest tickets.

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Online Travel Update: Tripadvisor introduces virtual voice tours for Amazon Alexa; Airbnb Experiences continues to face challenges; TripActions succeeds with fresh approach to travel management | Foster Garvey PC

As evidenced by our list of stories below, it was a relatively quiet week for online travel.

Tripadvisor Introduces Virtual Voice Tours for Amazon Alexa
(“Tripadvisor creates virtual destination tour via Amazon Alexa,” January 29, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
Working with tourism authorities in Abu Dhabi, last week, Tripadvisor launched what it claims to be the first virtual destination voice tour for Amazon Alexa. Users in the United Kingdom can summon the voice tour by asking their Alexa-enabled device “to explore Abu Dhabi.” The voice tour is part of a larger campaign between Abu Dhabi and the review/distribution platform and, according to Tripadvisor, the feature will be made to other destination partners.

‘Experiences’ Continues to Challenge Airbnb
(“Airbnb Experiences Is Still a Conundrum With Strategy Lapses,” January 28, 2021 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Given the disastrous effects of the pandemic on activities and experiences this past year, it is not surprising that Airbnb Experiences is proving to be a challenge for the company. Industry observers suggest, however, that Airbnb’s challenges are more than pandemic related. Suspected problems include product offerings (local, curated experiences instead of tickets to popular destinations), supplier mix (small, local hosts instead of professional tour operators) and connectivity. As a newly minted public company, Airbnb will face increasing pressure to work out these challenges, which may require it to abandon some of its cultural foundations.

Travel and Expense Management Company TripActions Raises Another $155 Million
(“TripActions snags additional $155M, valuation now $5B,” January 21, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
Despite claims by legacy TMC (travel management company) American Express Global Travel that innovation and innovators in the TMC space had stalled in 2020, TripActions is set out to prove differently. Last week, TripActions announced the successful closing of a Series E investment round at a valuation of $5 billion. Notwithstanding the pandemic, 2020 was a good year for TripActions as it launched nearly 40 product enhancements and new capabilities. Corporate users now include Netflix, Wayfair and Accor. Co-founder and CEO Ariel Cohen describes his company’s approach to travel and expense management as the “modern” approach – which leverages cutting-edge technology to deliver superior customer service (while generating margins unavailable to the legacy “old model” travel management companies (American Express, BCD and CWT)). With the corporate travel segment turned on its head because of the pandemic (and the widely anticipated long-term shifts in how people work and travel for work), it will be interesting to see what the long-term effect these technology-driven platforms will have on travel management.

Other news:

What’s Next for Airline Distribution as IATA Pushes its Retailing Vision?
January 26, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Progress in the adoption of the New Distribution Capability (NDC) airline distribution standard is driving the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to lay out next steps. The organization says the NDC journey accelerated last year, despite the pandemic, with the 20 percent target for NDC bookings in the indirect channel hit around June, albeit for mostly domestic leisure bookings.

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Amazon tip: Get a $70 gift card when you sign up for Amazon Prime Rewards Visa


If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, this Visa card is a must-have for a variety of reasons — not the least of which is a $70 Amazon splurge.


Do you have an Amazon Prime subscription? Could you use an extra $70 to spend on, say, a Valentine’s Day gift? Consider adding a new credit card to your wallet: If you sign up for an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, you’ll get a $70 Amazon gift card. And not in four to six weeks or anything like that; it’s awarded as soon as you’re approved. 

Although this bonus was $100 around the holidays, $70 is still a pretty nice chunk of free money. And it’s not a one-and-done proposition, either: Amazon’s no-annual-fee Visa also pays you 5% back on just about everything you buy from Amazon and Whole Foods. You get 2% back at restaurants, drug stores and gas stations, and 1% on most other purchases.

Here’s a lesser-known benefit as well: Amazon frequently runs exclusive offers for Prime Card holders. Right now, for example, you can get 10% back on select a variety of Roku streamers and soundbars — and that’s on top of pretty solid sale prices. (The cash back kicks in when you pay using the Amazon Visa, natch.)

I will note that there are some pretty mixed customer reviews for this card, though it seems many of the lower ratings have to do with poor customer service from Chase, the issuing bank. For what it’s worth, I’ve had a Prime Rewards Visa for about a year. I use it exclusively for Amazon purchases, and it’s been hassle-free. Your mileage may vary, of course.

As with any credit-card offer, be sure to read all the terms and conditions first.

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Amazon will pay $61.7 million to settle Flex driver tip dispute with FTC

Amazon will pay $61.7 to settle allegations made by the FTC over failing to pay Amazon Flex drivers their tips. 

On Tuesday, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the settlement figure represents how much drivers allegedly lost in tips over a two-and-a-half-year period. 

Amazon Flex is an offshoot of the company’s standard delivery infrastructure. Under Flex, drivers can sign up and use their own vehicles to deliver packages on behalf of the company, and customers are able to tip their drivers if they wish. 

According to the US watchdog, Amazon ‘misrepresented’ the job by telling drivers they would receive and keep all of their tips — and also told customers that any tips awarded would go straight to the driver. 

The FTC claims that in 2016, Amazon Logistics began to pay Flex drivers a lower rate than $18 – $25 previously advertised and also covertly moved drivers to a different system that would short drivers — as their tips would be used to bump up the hourly rate rather than be paid out separately. 

“Amazon used the customer tips to make up the difference between the new lower hourly rate and the promised rate,” the agency said. “This resulted in drivers’ being shorted more than $61.7 million in tips.”

Amazon allegedly received “hundreds” of complaints as drivers began to become suspicious, but emails were sent to them “falsely” claimed that no changes had been made to the tip system, the FTC added. 

Furthermore, the FTC says that Amazon only “stopped its behavior” after being made aware of an investigation into the practice by the agency in 2019. The company has since returned to a pay model that provides drivers their tips in full. 

Under the terms of the settlement, the e-commerce giant will not only pay $61,710,583, but will also be prohibited from changing how it handles tips without the consent of drivers, and the company has been barred from “misrepresenting driver earnings, pay or percent of tips” paid.

The settlement will be used to return the missing tips to Flex drivers.

“Rather than passing along 100% of customers’ tips to drivers, as it had promised to do, Amazon used the money itself,” commented Daniel Kaufman, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Our action today returns to drivers the tens of millions of dollars in tips that Amazon misappropriated, and requires Amazon to get drivers’ permission before changing its treatment of tips in the future.”

Earlier this week, Amazon reported Q4 revenues of $125.6 billion with $14.09 earnings per share. 

At the time of the financial earnings disclosure, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos announced that he was stepping down from the helm and AWS chief Andy Jassy would be taking on the role of CEO in Q3 2021. 

Update 15.26 pm GMT: An Amazon spokesperson told ZDNet:

“While we disagree that the historical way we reported pay to drivers was unclear, we added additional clarity in 2019 and are pleased to put this matter behind us. Amazon Flex delivery partners play an important role in serving customers every day, which is why they earn among the best in the industry at over $25 per hour on average.”

Previous and related coverage

Have a tip? Get in touch securely via WhatsApp | Signal at +447713 025 499, or over at Keybase: charlie0

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