Ask Finney: Best time to book a hotel, tax advice, travel rewards changes

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- 7 On Your Side's Consumer Expert Michael Finney answers your consumer questions.

Question 1:

Tammy from Albany asked: When is the best time of the week to book a hotel in the United States?

Answer 1:

The best time to book a hotel room is on the weekend. The travel app, Kayak, says fewer people are looking then, and so prices drop.
For international travel, Thursday and Fridays are the best. The worst day is Tuesday because that is the heaviest day for bookings.
And while airline tickets are best bought 45 to 60 days out, the best time for hotel rooms is last minute. However, selection is limited and you could be skunked on holiday weekends and when your favorite band comes to town.

Question 2:

Michelle asked: My mother-in-law, who is married, hasn't filed her income taxes that last few years. She currently has financial problems, in a fixed income, and doesn't know where to start. Any advice?

Answer 2:

I'm sorry to hear that. She could be prosecuted if she does not make a move, so she has to do something. Since money is tight, she should first have a tax professional look at her paperwork to see if she even owes money. Next, she needs to meet with an attorney. Sounds expensive, but there are free services for both tax professionals and legal advice.

Question 3:

Alan from Martinez asked: I have a U.S. Bank Travel Rewards card. I had 35,000 points that I wanted to use for a $700 airplane ticket. However, as of January, I was told I need more than 47,000 points for the same-priced ticket. Do I have any recourse?

Answer 3:

Not really. This is probably a real "gotcha." Generally speaking, credit card companies and airlines pull fairly regularly, then devalue what you have earned. U.S. Bank informed customers six months prior to the change. And it is completely legal. That said, in general, I want you to call and ask if they can honor the points you already had before the new policy took effect. But, U.S. Bank did contact me, after our initial inquiry, so I'm glad they have been working with you, Alan.
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