TIPS ON MAKING HOTEL RESERVATIONS:
When traveling for business or fun, there’s nothing worse than thinking you have a reservation and learning your hotel reservations been lost, your room has one bed and not two bedrooms, or you thought your check-in time was noon, only to find out it is really 3:00pm. To help avoid these things from happening, there are a few helpful hotel reservation tips seasoned travelers recommend:
Always use a credit card when making a hotel reservation. A credit cards offers the guest some level of protection should the hotel stay go awry. Any disputes a guest may have with the hotel, or with the billing can more easily be rectified through the credit card company. The card company will act as a mediator once their client can show effort to resolve the dispute. Additionally, if a dispute cannot be resolved, the credit card company has the authority to remove the charge from a client’s bill. If cash were paid, a hotel guest would have no recourse. Note: If you don’t use your own credit card to secure a reservation, be aware that the person whose name is on the card will be responsible for showing the card and signing at check in. If the card does not belong to the person staying at the hotel, notify the desk before leaving home (prior to arrival) and ask what their identification procedure is. They may accept a letter from the credit card holder authorizing use, and a copy of both the front and back of the card.
Ask for deals/discounts at each hotel. Many hotels offer corporate, AAA, senior, or even mid-week/off-season discounts. If one is not offered - ask about them. Many hotels now offer ‘rewards’ programs and some hotels reduce rates by $50 or more, for simply signing up for their program. If making reservations online, look for internet-only rates and shop various websites to find the best deals. Travel agents can often secure unadvertised specials or late check-in opportunities which can translate into huge savings.
When making reservations speak clearly and repeat spelling of all names. There have been many reservations lost because of inaccurate spelling and guests have been told they did not have rooms when a hotel or an entire city was booked to capacity. If any special requests are made, verify them and if possible get them in writing. Also make sure to get the name of the employee. Verify everything spell names and verify information/requests etc. Double check reservations prior to leaving for hotel and make sure names of all hotel employees you’ve spoken to are taken.
When reservations are made, changed and cancelled-confirmation numbers are given. Make sure all numbers are kept in a safe place until credit cards are billed and all charges are verified. Cancellation and confirmation numbers are often the difference between being charged for a hotel reservation that was cancelled, the possibility of a free upgrade when the hotel overbooks and you can prove when your reservation was made, and being stranded away from home without a room for the night.
Discuss hotel policies prior to making reservations, and verify them at check-in. Some hotels require credit cards at check in for any hotel charges, such as telephone usage, room service, meals in the hotel, or even take -out arranged through the hotel with area restaurants, etc. If a credit card is not available, a cash/check deposit maybe required for any services/fees that may accrue during the hotel stay. Determine when check-in/check-out times are, when cancellation policies go into affect and verify occupancy limits if staying in a room with multiple occupants.
Remember these hotel reservation tips when scheduling your travel plans. Whether by internet, through a travel agent, or by telephone, it pays to research the hotel and be meticulous when making arrangements. A little pre-planning when making reservations can save major headaches when traveling away from home.
DID YOU KNOW:
FINDING THE BEST HOTEL RATES:
Due to the internet, the manners in which hotel rooms are procured have drastically changed over the last couple of decades. Prior to internet access, guests called hotels directly to book rooms. While some guests continue to book rooms this way, many have learned that calling a hotel directly may not be the most economical choice. However, it is also been found that hotel rates also vary a great deal from website to website, especially discount travel sites.
Hotels are in constant competition with each other for your business. The goal of every hotel is to achieve 100% occupancy. Not only are they competing with each other, they are often competing with themselves. Look at how many hotels have various hotel chain subsidiaries beneath them. They must stay competitive, but still continue to make a profit while keeping their rooms occupied. This said, many hotels offer blocks of rooms to a variety of other entities to sell. Travel agents and online brokers typically compete to sell rooms for hotels, and they receive a percentage of the purchase price. The rate disparity comes into play two ways. First, the hotel is offering rooms at their standard rates or discount club rates. Second, because hotels offer these agents and booking websites various rates, someone who is getting a larger percentage of the sale price, can afford to offer the room at a lower rate than someone who is getting a small percentage from the sale.
Finding the best room rate:
If contacting the hotel directly, ask if they have any current specials. If your travel plans are flexible, inquire about any future specials, and the specific parameters of those specials.
If you’re a ‘select’, ‘rewards’ or hotel ‘member’, mention this, and ask if they have any special discounts available for members of their programs. Additionally, if you are affiliated with a corporate account, or a roadside assistance plan which offers travel benefits, mention that too. Sometimes guests are eligible for more than one discount and can pick and choose the one that provides the greatest savings.
When placing reservations online through a hotel booking service, first find the service that offers the best deal. The best deal may not be the one which provides the lowest price, but the service with the best room guarantee, who is willing to price match. If you’ve found the room for a lower rate elsewhere, tell your preferred vendor and ask them to match the price. Several websites will even provide a 30-day guarantee against lower prices - so even after booking your reservation, stay vigilant.
Hotel rates vary so much because there are numerous entities vying to secure your business by competing with each other. With a little investigative prowess, you can secure the best rates possible for your hotel stay, despite the varying rates.
REAL ESTATE TIP OF THE WEEK:
MORTGAGE CREDIT CERTIFICATES:
In the United States, a Mortgage Credit Certificate (more commonly referred to as MCC) is a certificate issued by certain state or local governments that allows a taxpayer to claim a tax credit for some portion of the mortgage interest paid during a given tax year.
The MCC program is designed to help first-time home-buyers offset a portion of their mortgage interest on a new mortgage as a way to help home-buyers qualify for a loan. Because it is a tax credit and not a tax deduction, mortgage lenders will often use the estimated amount of the credit on a monthly basis as additional income to help the potential borrower qualify for the loan.
The Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) reduces the amount of federal income tax the borrower must pay, which in turn, frees up income to qualify for a mortgage. Homebuyers must not exceed household income and home purchase price limits set according to federal tax law and MHC guidelines.
The federal government allows every homebuyer to claim an itemized federal income tax deduction for all of the mortgage interest paid each year on a mortgage loan. The MCC will allow the borrower to take a tax credit equal to 25% of the annual interest paid on the mortgage loan for a single family conventional residence and 40% on a manufactured single family home. That is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of their federal tax liability. The remainder (75% conventional, 60% manufactured home) of the mortgage interest will continue to qualify as an itemized tax deduction. The specific dollar amount of the tax credit depends on how much interest the borrower pays on a mortgage loan. The amount of the credit cannot be more than their annual federal income tax liability after all other credits and deductions have been taken into account. In no case can the tax credit exceed $2,000 per year.
Generally speaking, homebuyers who wish to obtain an MCC must meet certain minimum guidelines:
-Buyers must not have owned a home in the previous three years.
-Buyers must meet income and purchase price restrictions.
-Buyers must intend to use the new home as a primary residence.
Some of these restrictions may be waived for certain circumstances. For example, following a natural disaster, state or local governments may raise or remove the income limits for affected municipalities temporarily to help spur redevelopment.
The amount of mortgage credit allowed varies depending on the state or local government that issues the certificates, but is capped at a maximum of $2000 per year by the IRS. As an example, if a homebuyer were to receive an MCC that offers a 30% credit on a $200,000 loan for 30 years with a rate of 6%, the allowable tax credit would be figured as follows (all numbers rounded):
Mortgage Interest Paid (1st Year): $11,933
x MCC Credit: 30%
= Total Credit: $3579
Because the total credit in this example exceeds the IRS limit of $2000, the homebuyer would report a $2000 credit on their tax return. The buyer may continue to receive a tax credit for as long as they live in the home and retain the mortgage.
Refinanced Mortgage Without losing the Credit:
You can refinance your mortgage without losing this credit if your existing MCC is reissued and the reissued certificate meets all of the following conditions:
• It must be issued to the holder(s) of the existing certificate for the same property.
• It must entirely replace the existing certificate. The holder cannot retain any portion of the outstanding balance of the existing certificate.
• The certified indebtedness on the reissued certificate cannot exceed the outstanding balance shown on the existing certificate.
• The credit rate of the reissued certificate cannot exceed the credit rate of the existing certificate.
• The reissued certificate cannot result in a larger amount than would otherwise have been allowable under the existing certificate for any tax year.
To receive an immediate benefit from the MCC, the borrower must file a revised W-4 withholding form with their employer, which should reduce their yearly tax contribution and increase the borrower’s take-home pay, or take the benefit once a year through the federal income tax return to be filed.
So you have made it this far now you want to see what happens to Rick who has been locked in a freight car. Will the Walking dead star make it out alive?
Some of the Shows now playing on AMC: A very big international appeal exists for some of those shows.
Comic Book Men
Hell on Wheels
The Walking Dead
The Trivial Pursuits of Arthur Banks
On March 31, 2013, during the third season finale of The Walking Dead, AMC unveiled a rebranding campaign with the new tagline "Something More" and inverted the logo from a rectangular outlined box to a solid gold block with the network's acronymic name retained in the center. 2013 saw the channel's unscripted slate doubled with the additions of Freakshow, Immortalized, Owner's Manual, Showville, and Talking Bad.
Also in April, Rectify, which was originally developed for AMC, premiered on AMC's sister channel Sundance Channel to jump start that network's emerging slate of original scripted programming. It was then followed by the July announcement that fellow sister channel WE tv had picked up another series originally developed for AMC for the 2012-2013 development slate, The Divide, to series. During this timeframe, AMC had started to run marathons of certain shows and run commercials from its co-owned sister channels.
In July 2013, it was announced that the network had picked up two drama series: Halt & Catch Fire and Turn, which are set to premiere in 2014. This was the first time that AMC had four pilot orders picked up to series in the same cycle, the other two being The Divide and Low Winter Sun. The latter premiered on August 11, 2013 after the season premiere of the final season of Breaking Bad.
WALKING DEAD COMIC BOOK STORY WHICH GIVES A PLOT TO THE SHOW ON AMC:
Shot in the line of duty, Cynthiana, Kentucky police officer Rick Grimes wakes from a coma in the hospital to find his town overrun with walking corpses. Rick learns from fellow survivors Morgan Jones and his son Duane that the government told people to find safety in Atlanta, Georgia. Rick travels to Atlanta in search of his wife Lori and son Carl. He meets a scavenger named Glenn, who takes him to a small survivor camp outside the ruined city, where Rick reunites with his family.
After a fatal zombie attack on the camp, Rick criticizes its leader, his former police partner Shane Walsh, who also had an affair with Lori before Rick came. Shane pulls a gun on Rick, but is shot dead by Carl. Now de facto leader, Rick decides the survivors need to find a safer home. Upon meeting Tyreese, his daughter Julie, and Julie's boyfriend Chris, Lori reveals she's pregnant, but doesn't know if the father is Rick or Shane.
Rick’s early settlement attempts are disastrous. Donna, mother of twins Ben and Billy, is killed after the survivors move into a gated neighborhood infested with zombies. A farmer, Hershel Greene, invites the group to stay on his land, where Glenn strikes a relationship with Hershel's middle daughter Maggie, - until zombies kept in the barn break free and kill two of Hershel's children. The group's fortunes improve when they discover an abandoned prison with a zombie-proof fence.
Joined by four surviving inmates, Hershel, his remaining family, and a few friends meet along the road, Rick’s group fortifies the prison against zombies. In a suicide pact gone wrong, Julie gets shot by Chris, but then reanimates as a zombie and gets shot again by Chris. After a vengeful Tyreese kills Chris, the group learns that you don't have to be bitten or scratched to become a zombie, but can reanimate when you die without head trauma. After Rick goes to Shane's resting place to kill his reanimated body, danger comes from within: a psychotic inmate murders Hershel’s two youngest daughterswho soon gets killed by a vengeful Maggie, Rick kills another inmate during an attempted coup against his group, and one inmate decides to leave his fate to the zombies. As the last surviving inmate Axel and katana wielding suvivor Michonne are welcomed by the group, Allen, the twins' father gets bitten and dies from a long battle against blood loss from having his infected limb amputated. Increasingly erratic and brutal as he struggles to keep order, Rick steps down as the group’s leader, replaced by a committee run by him, Hershel, Tyreese, and the group's oldest and wisest member Dale.
Rick, Glenn, and Michonne, leave the prison to investigate a nearby helicopter crash and stumble upon Woodbury: a survivor town ruled by an insane tyrant called The Governor, who kills other groups of survivors to take their supplies and keep their severed heads as trophies. When his visitors won’t tell him where they came from, he imprisons them, cutting off Rick's right hand and forcing Glenn to listen to him sadistically raping Michonne. The Governor eventually allows the three to escape, hoping to tail them back home. But on her way out of town, Michonne captures, tortures and mutilates the Governor.
The prison dwellers prepare for a reprisal attack, but slip into complacency and distraction after weeks with no sign of Woodbury forces. Lori gives birth to a girl and is named Judith. Dale gets bitten on the leg but lives through having it amputated and gets a wooden peg to replace his leg. Glenn marries Maggie and “adopts” Carl's girlfriend Sophia after her mother Carol commits suicide. Dale and his 40-year younger girlfriend Andrea adopt the twins. Rick and Hershel are admiring the courtyard vegetable garden when the Governor (having been revived former Army medic Bob Stookey) and a small army rolls up to the prison fence.
Despite their better weapons and larger numbers, the Woodbury forces take heavy casualties and retreat. Convinced they will return, Glenn, Maggie, Sophia, Dale, Andrea, and the twins flee in Dale's RV. Michonne and her lover Tyreese are captured while attempting a preemptive commando strike on Woodbury. Michonne escapes into the wasteland but the Governor executes Tyreese outside the prison gate before launching his second assault.
The Governor’s forces use a tank to break down the fence and massacre the prison dwellers, killing Hershel, Axel, Lori, Judith, and many others. Rick and Carl flee to a nearby town. Zombies pour in through the broken fence and surround the Woodbury forces. One of the Governor’s soldiers Lilly Caul, shoots him in the head for making her kill Judith, before his army runs out of ammo and presumably perishes.
Rick and Carl reunite with Michonne and those who fled in the RV. These few survivors of the prison massacre wander until they join up with a trio headed to Washington, D.C. One of them, Eugene, claims to be a government scientist in radio contact with survivors in the capital.
Maggie attempts suicide over the death of her family. Rick and Abraham, a U.S. Army sergeant traveling with Eugene, bond during a supply run to Cynthiana as they confess the killings they’ve each committed to survive. Upon returning to Cynthiana, Rick encounters Morgan, but discovers Duane became a zombie. Though he is extremely grief-stricken, Rick allows Morgan to join the group.
Ben becomes mentally unstable and kills his own brother. Ben is later secretly killed overnight by Carl. While mourning the twins' deaths Dale gets bitten again and sneaks into the forest to die alone, but is kidnapped by a group of cannibals known as the Hunters, who eat his leg before he dies. Rick and the other adults find, kill and mutilate the Hunters to avenge Dale and everyone else they've eaten. A priest who recently joined the group, Fr. Gabriel Stokes is the only person among them appalled by their brutality.
On the outskirts of Washington, Eugene admits he is actually a high school teacher and has no contact with the government. Washington is overrun like other cities. But the group is approached the same day by Aaron, a recruiter for a peaceful walled-off town of about 40, the Alexandria Safe Zone.
Worried the Alexandrians have forgotten the dangers of the wasteland, Rick gradually asserts authority over them. As town constable, he secretly carries a gun and disobeys Alexandria's leader, Douglas, to intervene in a domestic dispute. After Rick beats down the abusive Pete Anderson, Pete tries to kill him with a knife but accidentally kills Douglas' wife Regina instead. With Douglas' permission, Rick executes Pete, but the gunshot alerts a group of bandits to Alexandria. After defeating the bandits in Alexandria, Douglas admits Rick is a better leader and steps down.
The gunfire during the bandit attack attracts a herd of zombies, who surround and break through Alexandria’s wall, killing Morgan, Pete's wife Jessie, and her son Ron. The surviving residents retreat to their houses while zombies flood the town. When Rick and Carl get surrounded by zombies, Douglas tries to help them, but accidentally shoots Carl in the eye before he is killed himself. Rick carries Carl to Dr. Denise Cloyd, Alexandria’s last surviving doctor, then returns outside and - with Michonne and other residents - destroys the entire herd. The victory convinces Rick that zombies are a manageable threat if everyone puts their issues aside and work together, and he resolves to rebuild civilization at Alexandria.
Carl wakes from a coma with amnesia. Rick quashes a small rebellion against him but forgives the transgressors. Andrea confesses she loves Rick, but he mostly spurns her advances, until he admits he returns her feelings.
Paul "Jesus" Monroe, who claims to represent a nearby community known as the Hilltop Colony of about 200 survivors, offers to trade supplies with Alexandria, claiming he already does so with several other survivor groups in the area. Fearing a trap, Rick imprisons Jesus and prepares Alexandria to defend against an attack. But he soon has a change of heart and decides to trade with Jesus' group. Once arriving at the Hilltop Colony, Ethan, a Hilltop resident attempts to kill the leader Gregory for an enemy named Negan, until he is killed by Rick. Jesus reveals that Negan is the psychopathic leader of a group known as the Saviors who clear out zombies but take half of a group's supplies as payment. Jesus asks Rick to help him eradicate the Saviors so they can live in peace, and he accepts.
The Alexadrians manage to repel two Savior attacks but Abraham gets killed by Savior lieutenant Dwight. While returning to the Hilltop Colony with a small group to ask for help, Rick gets ambushed by Negan, who beats Glenn to death with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire as punishment for killing his men. Before leaving, Negan demands that Rick hand over half of Alexandria's supplies soon. Once returning to the Hilltop Colony, Maggie and Sophia decide to remain there as it was Glenn's last wish that they stay for their safety and Maggie's unborn child. With Jesus by their side, the group returns to Alexandria, where Dwight has been captured. Pretending to be scared and giving authority to Negan, Rick releases Dwight and has Jesus secretly follow him to find more information on the Saviors. Though he gets captured along the way, Jesus escapes.
Thinking his father is scared to do anything, Carl sneaks into a Savior truck and kills many Saviors using Abraham's rifle, but is stopped by Dwight. Negan takes a liking towards Carl for his hard-headedness and lets him go to Rick, proving he can be reasonable. Jesus decides they need help from another large survivor community known as the Kingdom. As Rick meets "King" Ezekiel, they are approached by Dwight, who claims to want kill Negan for what he's done to him and his wife Sherry and offers to reveal Negan's secrets.
While preparing to battle the Saviors, Jesus prevents Hilltop patrolman Kal from ratting out the attack plans on the Saviors to prevent anyone else from dying. While Rick and a small group make plans at the Kingdom, Negan comes to Alexandria to collect half of its supplies. He is approached by Douglas' son Spencer who wishes Negan to become Alexandria's leader and kill Rick. Disgusted by Spencer's cowardliness, Negan disembowels him, irking Rick. After angrily giving Negan half of Alexandria's supplies, Rick stages an ambush with the Alexandrians and prepares to kill Negan, but Negan reveals he has Savior snipers surrounding them, leaving Rick cornered. Sensing the danger, Jesus and Ezekiel come to the rescue, forcing Negan to flee, as he now plots to battle Alexandria, the Hilltop Colony, and the Kingdom for their desire to kill him.