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Coming & Going: Travel news and notes

Sunday, February 20, 2011; F03

Coming & Going

Delta gives its frequent fliers a break; Alexandria honored

Delta: Miles forever

If you have thousands of frequent-flier miles with Delta Airlines, relax: You can take your time using them.

Last week, Delta became the first major U.S. airline to eliminate expiration dates on frequent-flier miles. The change applies to all accounts, retroactive to Jan. 1.

Previously, miles expired 24 months after a member's last "qualifying mileage activity," which meant that a flier had to either earn or redeem miles during that period. Most airlines have similar requirements.

The change is part of a series of improvements the airline has made to its SkyMiles program, such as eliminating award redemption fees as well as a first checked bag fee for Gold, Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles credit card holders from American Express.

"Now that our massive frequent-flier program integration is complete, we are focused on smart ways to improve the SkyMiles program for all members," said Jeff Robertson, Delta's vice president for SkyMiles. "We know how much customers value their miles, so eliminating mileage expiration is a major win for them."

The airline has promised more enhancements to the program this year, including an upgraded award travel calendar on Delta.com and a better booking process. Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members should also expect several new benefits when flying certain alliance partner airlines, such as Air France, KLM, Alitalia and Alaska Airlines.

The Lucky Dozen

Throw down the red carpet: The National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced this year's Dozen Distinctive Destinations. The nonprofit judged the American towns on cultural significance, architecture, character, diversions and overall spirit.

And the winners are . . .

l Alexandria

l Chapel Hill, N.C.

l Colorado Springs, Colo.

l Dandridge, Tenn.

l Eureka, Calif.

l Muskogee, Okla.

l New Bedford, Mass.

l Paducah, Ky.

l San Angelo, Tex.

l St. Paul, Minn.

l Sheridan, Wyo.

l Sonoma, Calif.

In addition, the organization invites Americans to pick their fan favorite. The polls are open until March 15. Vote and you can have boasting rights, plus a chance to win a two-night stay at any Historic Hotel of America property. Info: www.preservationnation.org/ddd.

Travel Tickers

Amtrak has launched a YouTube Channel that will feature safety tips, info on the Trails and Rails program, footage of employees and more. Info: www.youtube.com/amtrak. . . . Go paparazzo with TMZ's new celebrity tour of Los Angeles. The TMZ Hollywood Tour - Secrets and Celebrity Hot Spots starts May 1 and costs $69. Bookings will be available on March 28 at www.starlinetours.com and www.tmz.com.

Andrea Sachs, Nancy Trejos

Help feed CoGo. Send travel news to: cogo@washpost.com. By mail: CoGo, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071

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