As an editor of a luxury travel blog and webzine, I get inundated with “news” releases that none of you would care about in the slightest, so most go in the virtual trash bin. This week, however, a few items have come down the line that could either impact your future travels or enhance them while you’re there.

The big news this week was that Taca/Avianca officially joined the Star Alliance network of airlines. This is a huge deal for frequent fliers going to Latin America, both from a miles earning standpoint and a cashing in standpoint. Most road warriors consider the Star Alliance to be the best network of the three, in no small part because you can book the award tickets online, transparently. (As opposed to using AAdvantage miles for Lan flights, where you have to call a representative and pay $25 to get it done.) The Star Alliance includes United, Singapore Air, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and many more. Panama’s Copa is in there too, so you’re well-covered in the Americas. See the options at

This story came out two months ago, but I just saw it. Apparently a staggering 95% of Brazil’s tourism is domestic. I’m sure the reciprocal visa fee doesn’t help, but tales of poor value and high airfares probably has a lot to do with it as the booming economy led to a rapidly rising currency. The World Cup and Olympics should change that number a bit though.

Speaking of Brazil, as I’ve remarked in the newsletter before, Brazil is going to have a tough time accommodating visitors for the World Cup in 2014. Their cities are woefully underbuilt when it comes to hotels (especially high-end ones). I admire Kensington Tours‘ proactive move of offering World Cup Tours of Brazil that include tickets and a place to stay. See these links for their 8-day tour and their 9-day tour.

As of yesterday, one of Mexico’s most famous chefs took over food and bar operations at Hotel Matilda in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Chef Enrique Olvera, who launched to stardom running Pujol in Mexico City, has built a menu in his style and this is a huge leap forward for San Miguel.