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February 13, 2013 | By Bill Shaikin
Mike Piazza has not set foot in Dodger Stadium since his retirement. When the Dodgers offered to honor him with a bobblehead night last season, Piazza declined. "He doesn't want to come back because he thinks the fans will boo," former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, the godfather to Piazza's brother, told The Times last month. Piazza did himself no favors on that score in his new book, "Long Shot. " In the book, he blames iconic Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully for turning fans against him during the contract stalemate that preceded his trade to the Florida Marlins in 1998.
January 28, 2013 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
If you are a member of a hotel loyalty program, you are probably not very loyal to your hotel. That is one finding of a survey of about 4,000 travelers by Deloitte & Touche about how they book hotels and what guides their decisions. Only 1 in 4 travelers spent more than 75% of their nights at their preferred brand, and 65% of frequent travelers reported staying in two or more hotel brands in the last six months, according to the survey, released last week. Only 19% of those who responded to the survey said that a loyalty program was very important when choosing a hotel.
January 25, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
There's a notable scene in the 2009 film "Up in the Air" when George Clooney's character Ryan Bingham becomes obsessed with amassing 10 million frequent-flier miles. When Bingham makes his milestone flight, he receives a Champagne party and congratulations from the airline's chief pilot.  Real-life passengers have racked up more than 10 million miles on United and American Airlines, but all that might be changing. A new study finds consumer loyalty to particular airlines and hotels is plunging and that companies need to up their game if they want to keep members interested.
December 16, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - Battles raged Sunday in a sprawling Palestinian refugee camp outside Damascus as Syrian government troops pressed an offensive against rebels on the outskirts of the capital. Opposition activists reported at least eight killed when rockets from Syrian fighter jets struck near the Abdul Qader Husseini mosque in the Yarmouk camp, on the southern fringes of Damascus. Video said to be from the scene shows blood-streaked pavement and wounded people lying amid the rubble. The reported airstrike on Yarmouk would mark the first time that the government had used warplanes to target the camp, a densely populated urban zone that is home to tens of thousands, both Palestinians and non-Palestinians.
November 22, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Ramin Mostaghim, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - Iran for years has supplied Hamas with weapons as part of its own struggle against Israel, but the conflict in the Gaza Strip reveals a shift in regional dynamics that may diminish Tehran's influence with Palestinian militant groups and strengthen the hand of Egypt. The longer-range missiles fired by Hamas over the last week - believed to be modifications of Iran's Fajr 5 missiles - startled Israel by landing near Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. A front-page story in Iran's conservative daily, Kayhan, boasted: "The missiles of resistance worked.
November 1, 2012 | David Lazarus
AMC Entertainment wants to thank you for patronizing its movie theaters. But not too much. The company, which recently was purchased by a Chinese conglomerate, has quietly rejiggered its rewards program to be a good deal less generous in doling out credits for free tickets or food. AMC's revamped loyalty plan is reflective of an ongoing trend in the business world to clamp down on runaway rewards, experts say. Airlines, banks, retailers and service providers are all offering less when it comes to acknowledging customers' steady business.
October 28, 2012 | Gale Holland, Los Angeles Times
So I was sitting in the office when I happened to remark that I liked the Giants for the World Series. Like the Greek Furies, three colleagues swooped in and lined up at the cubicle divider. No real Dodgers fan would back San Francisco, they said. And it wasn't just my team loyalty they challenged. The most implacable Fury, call him Fury No. 1, cast doubt on my identity. I was not a real Angeleno, he said. Only their glowering faces were visible as I sat cowering in my chair.
September 24, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
For a limited time, members of a hotel loyalty program can get free access to faster security lines at airports around the country. Loews Hotels & Resorts, based in New York, announced Monday that it will pay the $100 application fee for members of its YouFirst Platinum loyalty program who want to sign up for a government program to let pre-screened frequent travelers go through expedited airport checkpoints. But the offer only extends to its current 2,400 members of the program and will expire in 60 days.
September 6, 2012 | By Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For officials who fretted about whether Joe Biden's avuncular style could be tamed by the trappings of the vice presidency, it was an inauspicious beginning. Barely 48 hours into the Obama-Biden administration, the new president ceded the microphone to his partner for a brief task: swear in members of the senior staff. After a bit of confusion, Biden made a crack at the expense of Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who had transposed words of the presidential oath two days earlier.
June 19, 2012 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Square has add new features to both of its mobile payment apps, allowing merchants to offer customers loyalty benefits through its service. The San Francisco start-up announced the update to its Square Register and Pay with Square apps Tuesday. Among the new features are tools letting merchants offer first-visit specials as well as punch cards that can be customized. On the other side of the transaction, customers can now also collect loyalty cards from merchants they frequent and track rewards.
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