Steals & Deals for Nov. 25-Dec. 10, 2015
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FLASH SALES: Discounts for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, Yes, Orange Wednesday ...
We should all be relaxing, thinking about spending some quality time with friends and family. But, no-o-o-o-o-o-o! Retailers desperate to get the jump on holiday shoppers are luring Americans to malls and big-box stores. Black Friday (November 27) has morphed into Thursday-Night Something-Or-Other. On Monday (November 30), online retailers will chime in with their Cyber Monday deals. The travel industry is slowly getting into the holiday-marketing game, too. Here's what we know so far.
Aeromexico says its Black Friday "weekend" sale covers travel to Mexico and Latin America. What it doesn't say: Reading through the terms and conditions could take all weekend. And the fares may not be worth all that plowing through fine print. From Boston, the lowest price is $299 roundtrip to Mexico City and $469 to several Central American destinations. From Chicago, it's $278 roundtrip nonstop to Guadalajara and $529 to Managua, Nicaragua. There are similar fares from about a dozen other Aeromexico gateways. Travel is available until May 31 if you purchase your tickets by November 29. And watch out for the fine print. Surf here for complete details.
Air Berlin's sale prices start at $499 roundtrip for coach flights from its U.S. gateways to Europe. The travel window varies by gateway: January 4-March 27 for New York, Chicago and Miami, for example, but May, September and October for Boston, Dallas and San Francisco. A Saturday-night stay is required. Tickets must be booked by December 1. Complete details are here.
Air Canada's sale prices start at $131 one-way (Toronto-Sudbury) on domestic runs. Crossborder flights start at $181 one-way (Toronto-New York/Kennedy or New York/aGuardia). International rates start at $664 one-way from Toronto to Brazil. Tickets must be purchased by November 29 and there's a gauntlet of restrictions on the lowest prices. Complete details are here.
AIR NEW ZEALAND
For the second consecutive year, Air New Zealand is knocking $400 off roundtrip fares (or $200 one-way) in all classes Tickets must be booked on Cyber Monday. Complete details and restrictions are here.
Alaska Airlines' Cyber Monday deals start at $44 one-way (Boise-Sacramento) and reach $129 (transcontinental routes) for Tuesday and Wednesday flights in January and February. Tickets must be purchased by December 7. Click here for details.
Cathay Pacific has knocked Black Friday prices down to as low as $664 roundtrip to Hong Kong from all of its U.S. gateways. Connecting prices to major destinations in China and Asia are below $800 roundtrip. Tickets must be purchased by December 4 for travel between February 9 and April 30. Click here for details.
A Miami-based public relations firm has lashed together the deals offered by several dozen of its lodging clients for Cyber Monday booking. The clients are mostly in Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, but there are several in Europe, too. Some properties are branded, some are independents. Ignore the claim of "up to 55 percent off" and concentrate on the specifics of each property's deal. Further information is here.
The eight Divi Resorts in the Caribbean are offering as much as 55 percent off nightly rates if you book by November 30. The travel windows are April 16-June 30 and August 15-December 20. Rates require prepayment and there are blackout dates and capacity controls. Full details are here.
Etihad is discounting in all three classes when you book by November 30. The discount is "up to 25 percent off" any coach, business or first class fare from the airline's U.S. gateways to dozens of destinations via the Etihad hub in Abu Dhabi. No Abu Dhabi stopovers are permitted, either. But, of course, there's no discount if you actually want to fly to Abu Dhabi. And I have not been able to get a full 25 percent off any fare I tried. Not exactly a scam, but discounts seem more like 20 percent--and only on a very limited range of seats and days. Travel is permitted from January 1 to June 30. Full details are here.
Hertz claims it will offer special deals on Cyber Monday, but has not yet revealed the details. Click here for information when it posts.
Hilton says its 72-hour sale (November 30 through December 2) will offer as much as 30 percent off stays in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. No pricing has been released, but the restrictions seem daunting: a two-night minimum stay for Thursday to Sunday arrivals only and a travel window of December 20 to February 29. Check the Hilton home page for details starting on Monday, November 30.
HOWARD JOHNSON HOTELS
This one stretches the bounds of common sense--not to mention raising the question of whether you even want to bother with Howard Johnson. The chain claims it will offer 60 percent off room rates on Orange Wednesday (December 2), but only if you call one of the participating hotels directly and only if you are one of the first three people to call each property. Stays must be completed by March 2 and there are blackout days, too. Click here for details--if you're still interested.
On Cyber Monday, LAN and TAM, which dominate South American routes, offering roundtrips as low as $299 roundtrip from Miami. Some fares reach $999 roundtrip (New York to Argentina). Tickets must be purchased by December 1. Flights are permitted on varying dates in January, February and March with a 3- or 4-day minimum stay. Complete details are posted here.
With the exception of its Orlando properties, Loews Hotels is offering 20 percent off rooms when you book on Cyber Monday. Based on availability, you can travel through November 30, 2016. Click here for details.
From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, LOT Polish promises 20 percent off all fares for travel between January 15 and March 31. Complete details are posted here.
A large number of Marriott-affiliated hotels and resorts in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America will offer as much as 30 percent off rates when you book November 27-30. Rates are discounted by as much as 25 percent if you're a general guest (use promo code 444) or 30 percent if you're a member of Marriott Rewards (use code 39B). Advance purchase is required and, since this is Marriott, expect a long list of terms, conditions, exclusions and other annoying twists. There's no Web page for information yet.
Omni hotels around the nation are offering reduced rates (from $89-$229 a night) when you book by December 1. The travel window for the so-called Season of Savings sale extends until January 31. Blackout dates apply and a $50 nonrefundable deposit is required. Surf here for details.
Pacifica Hotels, a chain of 24 beachside properties in California, is offering 40 percent off room rates booked on Cyber Monday. Travel is permitted until March 11 although there are blackout dates and exclusions. Surf here for details.
Porter Airlines, based at Toronto/City Island, says its Black Friday sale offers "up to 50 percent" off "regular" fares. Heaven only knows what it means by "regular" fares. But some prices: Newark-Toronto for US$89 one-way; Boston-Montreal for US$139; Chicago/Midway-Halifax for US$230, and Washington/Dulles-Toronto for US$92. Travel is permitted until March 31, but a 21-day advance purchase applies. There's plenty more fine print, too. Tickets must be booked by November 27. Full details are here.
RED ROOF INN
Red Roof says it offers rooms discounted by as much as 30 percent if you book on Cyber Monday. The travel dates are December 1 to March 31. Click here for details.
Singapore Airlines is offering terrific coach prices ($599 roundtrip) on two nonstop Asia routes (Los Angeles-Tokyo and San Francisco-Seoul). It's just $499 roundtrip nonstop between Houston and Moscow and $699 between New York/Kennedy and Frankfurt. In business class, the prices are good, if not quite as noticeable: $2,699 roundtrip (JFK-Frankfurt) and $2,999 (LAX-Tokyo or SFO-Seoul). Travel is permitted between January 10 and May 31 if you purchase tickets by November 30. There are some weekend surcharges. Full details are here.
On Cyber Monday, Sonesta Hotels will offer 20-35 percent off two-day stays at many of its traditional hotels and ES Suites extended-stay properties. You may travel until March 31 if you book by December 3. More details are here.
About 1,000 Starwood properties are offering 25 percent off rates when you complete reservations by December 6. The travel window is open until September 6. But the prepaid rates are riddled with blackout dates, onerous restrictions, length of stay and arrival-day rules and other caveats. Click here for details.
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
TAP insists its Black Friday sale to Portugal and Europe from its Newark and Miami gateways are actually reduced prices, but they don't seem that inexpensive, especially when you consider virtually everything requires you to change in Lisbon. Coach fares are divided into winter (January 12-March 15), when rates seem especially lackluster, and spring (April 7-June 5), when prices do seem more like sales. Prices start at $727 roundtrip in winter and $809 in spring. Tickets must be purchased by November 30. Surf here for complete details.
Nine Trump Collection hotels are offering 30 percent off suite accommodations between January 1 and March 31 if you book between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Click here for the details.
Although the fares don't seem eye-poppingly great, WestJet has put huge chunks of its network on sale until November 30. Travel is permitted until April 30 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Prices range from C$99-C$399 one-way. There are advance purchase and capacity controls, of course. Click here for details.
THIS WEEK'S OTHER NOTABLE BARGAINS
ACCOR HOTELS: A Global 'Private' Sale With a Babel of Rules and Rates
The problem with being big? Launching sales is incredibly complicated and convoluted. Consider Paris-based Accor Hotels, with thousands of locations around the globe. It can't get its disparate franchisees to agree on the offers or even when the discounts apply. Thus, a so-called private sale that isn't private and hardly counts as a traditional sale. Still, you will find bargains: between 40 and 50 percent off in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Oceana. Some deals are strictly for the winter, some run into the spring and some will deepen the discount if you are a member of LeClub, Accor's loyalty program. The franchisees don't even agree on whether the rates include taxes or consider government levies an add-on. You'll have to poke around to see if you can find something that works for your travel plans and budget. Information: the PRIVATE SALES page.
UNITED AIRLINES: A Sale (Uh, Reduction) in Europe Award Prices
I don't think, grammatically, you can have a sale on mileage awards. 'Cause, you know, technically, they are "awards." That said, however, United Airlines is reducing its prices on MileagePlus coach awards to Europe. Instead of the normal 60,000 miles, you'll pay 45,000 miles roundtrip if you fly on Monday through Thursday. The price is cut to 51,000 miles roundtrip if you travel on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The sale (uh, price reduction) is valid between January 11 and March 10 when you claim awards on United metal. Awards must be booked by December 8 to get the sale (uh, reduced price) rates.
WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS ...
LA COMPAGNIE: How to Show Your Support for Paris--and Get a Bargain, Too
If you want to go to Paris and show your support, it's probably not wise to do it on Air France. Why? Its premium economy fares for winter, the slowest travel season of the year, are inexplicably $350 roundtrip higher than its prices this spring. But there is an alternative, at least from Newark. La Compagnie is offering roundtrip prices in its business class to Paris/CDG for just $1,600. That price is valid for travel until March 31 when you book flights by January 31. The fare isn't valid every day, of course, but, hey, we're talking $1,600. And there's nothing wrong with getting a bargain while you're showing your support, right? Aren't based in the New York Metro area and want to show your support? Self-connect to Newark. Your behind-gateway fare plus the La Compagnie price will still be a terrific bargain. Information: the WINTER MADNESS page.
OPENSKIES: Another Way to Support Paris, This Time for a Grand
OpenSkies, the British Airways boutique airline that flies to Paris/Orly airport from New York/Kennedy or Newark, also offers some amazing fares to the hurting, but defiant, City of Light. Fares in its fine premium economy cabin--decent meals, a new club at Orly, 2x2 seating and about 47 inches of legroom--are as low as $1,003 roundtrip. According to the BA calendar of fares, the price is good (with a seven-day stay) through March. The widest availability is during January and February, of course, but you'll still find some days with seats during the upcoming holidays. Information: the NEW YORK TO PARIS page.
HYATT: Long Weekend Discounts in France This Winter
Hyatt Hotels posted this promotion even before November's terrorist attack in Paris. Since it still isn't large in France--just six hotels, including three in the heart of Paris--it's hoping to bulk up occupancy during the slower winter season with an interesting discount. If you spend three weekend nights, you'll get a 30 percent break off the Hyatt Daily Rate. You must arrive on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, but the rate is extendable to Tuesday or Wednesday for longer stays. The promotion is valid between December 18 and March 14 when you book by March 7. One fly in the ointment: Rates require full prepayment at the time of booking. So check to make sure post-paid rates or discounts won't yield a better value. Information: the FRANCE WEEKEND OFFER page.
HOTEL POINTS AND PRICE PROMOTIONS
HILTON HHONORS: An Extra Helping of Devalued Points for the Holidays
You have the right to be torn on this one. Hilton HHonors is a terribly devalued program and bonus offers tend to be gilding a dead lily. Still, points are points. During December, you'll get 2,500 bonus points for two-night stays in any U.S. property in the Hilton Family. One bit of good news: The deal "stacks"--in other words, it can be layered atop Hilton's current quarterly promotion (see below). Registration is required. Information: the HOLIDAY BONUS page.
HYATT: 20-25 Percent Off Late Fall/Early Winter Rates Around the World
Even comparatively small hotel chains such as Hyatt are now global players. Which is about the only way to explain a shoulder-season rate sale that is valid at a limited-service Hyatt Place in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a cool crib like the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica. The proposition is this: Stay two nights and get 20 percent off Hyatt's lowest rates or stay three or more nights and get 25 percent off. The travel window is open until January 18 if you book by November 30. There is a seven-day advance reservation required and you'll have to pay at the time of booking, too. But still, you've always wanted to spend the holidays flitting between the Napa Valley (a snappy downtown Andaz), South Beach (Hyatt's new Centric property) and Bolivia (a Hyatt Place in LaPaz), right? About 180 properties are participating in the promotion. Information: the WARM UP WITH WINTER SAVINGS page.
AMERICAN/MARRIOTT: 1,000 AAdvantage Miles Per Stay Through January
If you're an American AAdvantage member, Marriott is offering a nice bonus: 1,000 miles per stay at select hotels until January 31. There are some typically annoying Marriott restrictions, however. You must register (of course), but you also must reserve your stays by December 23. And you max out at 5,000 miles during the promotion. You can see the list of participating properties here. They are all in the full-service category: Marriott and JW Marriott hotels as well as Renaissance and Autograph Collections properties. Information: the MORE DESTINATIONS. MORE MILES. page.
HILTON HHONORS: Double or Triple HHonors Points Through the End of the Year
Hilton has so devalued HHonors, it's hard to tell whether its seasonal promotions are even worth giving the program a second look. But if you are playing HHonors and staying at Hilton Family properties, the so-called Triple Your Trip promotion is better than a sharp (or even a dull) stick in the eye. The offer is double base points for stays on Monday through Thursday and triple points for weekend nights. The promotion runs from September 1 to December 31 and it does look like all Hilton-branded properties are playing. Advance registration is required, of course. Information: the HILTON HHONORS page.
STARWOOD HOTELS: 20 Percent Off Luxury Domestic Weekends--If You Jump Through Hoops
Thirty of Starwood's Luxury Collection and St. Regis properties in the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico are trying to goose weekend occupancy. Their offer: 20 percent off the best available rate for a two-night weekend stay if you charge your booking to a MasterCard. But there are plenty of restrictions. The stay can't be less than or more than two nights. It must begin Thursday-Saturday for stays between Thursday and Monday. And you must pay for your room at the time of reservation. There are blackout restrictions and capacity controls, too. But, you know, really, they want you to come... Information: the PRICELESS CITIES page.
HYATT: 15 Percent Off on Dozens of Hotels for Months and Months
Hyatt has rolled out a targeted, but quite useful, sale that runs through March 31. If you're headed to Hawaii, Phoenix, San Diego or the District of Columbia, the chain's My Hyatt Rate promotion knocks 15 percent off standard prices. The only caveat: You must be a member of the Hyatt Gold Passport program. The sale covers five hotels and resorts in Hawaii; nine hotels in the Phoenix area; eight hotels and resorts in and around San Diego and five hotels in Washington. Information: the MY HYATT RATE page.
ELEMENT HOTELS: Buy Four Nights, Get Two Free Until the End of the Year
Starwood Hotels is struggling: Profits are down, the company is for sale and there isn't even a permanent chief executive. So there are lots of promotions on offer just now. One of the most interesting (and, frankly, weirdest) is what we can only call a BFGT (buy four, get two) from Element, the chain's ostentatiously eco-friendly extended-stay chain. The deal offers two additional free nights if you book a four-night minimum stay. The promotion is available until December 31 when you arrive Wednesday to Saturday and pay for your reservation in advance. All Element stays include breakfast and an evening reception. You'll also earn SPG points. Information: the STAY FOUR NIGHTS page.
GLOBAL AIRLINE DEALS TO CONSIDER
BRITISH AIRWAYS: Let's Do That AARP $400 Discount Deal for Another Year
The still-inexplicable British Airways sale late in October was sweetened by the fact that you could stack the AARP discounts atop the already ridiculously low fares. The AARP deal was slated to end on October 31, but much to the surprise of some observers, it's been extended for another year. That means you can score $400 off a first or business class fare, $130 off a premium economy price and $65 off in coach. Those discounts are for roundtrip prices, of course. No one-ways or open jaws need apply. But the discounts also apply to BA's code-shares with American, Iberia, OpenSkies and Finnair. Naturally, you must be an AARP member (go ahead, spring for the $12 annual fee) and you do have to book through the approved AARP portal. As we learned during the October bonanza, however, all of BA's fares are there. Information: the TRIP OF A LIFETIME page.
UNITED AIRLINES: Big Bonuses If You Fly to Haneda Because Someone Should
U.S. carriers spent decades trying to get access to Tokyo's close-in Haneda airport. When Japanese authorities finally allowed it several years ago, U.S. carriers received what could be politely called sub-optimal take-off and landing times. Which explains why American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have already dropped several of their Haneda routes. United is still plugging away on its San Francisco-Haneda service, however, and now it's offering up large MileagePlus bonuses if only you'll fly the route. First class fares (F and A codes) receive 7,500 bonus miles per segment. The bonus is 5,000 miles in business (J, C, D, Z and P codes) and higher-priced coach fares receive 3,000 miles. You can receive an unlimited number of bonuses through January 31. And here's a bonus atop a bonus: You'll receive the same number of bonus miles if you fly All Nippon Airways' Los Angeles-Haneda flights. Advance registration is required. Information: the United OFFER page.
AER LINGUS: We've Got a Lot of Business Class Seats Now So We'll Discount Liberally
Aer Lingus remade itself as a low-fare European specialist long before British Airways' parent company decided the Irish carrier would be a great alternative for travelers looking to avoid connections at London's crowded and convoluted Heathrow Airport. But both factors mean Aer Lingus has a lot more gateways and a lot more business class seats. And that means discount opportunities for us. For travel until March 31, roundtrip prices are as low as $2,499 roundtrip (New York to Dublin or Shannon). There are also excellent prices from Chicago ($2,649 roundtrip to Dublin). There are also sales from Boston, Washington and San Francisco, but the rates aren't quite as notable. The lowest prices require a 28-day advance purchase, there are some no-fly days and a Saturday-night stay is required. Information: the FLY BUSINESS CLASS page.
LAN: Still Another Crazy-Quilt South America Business-Class Sale
With premium class flight deals to South America rare, we should always be thankful for the bargains from LAN, the pan-Latin powerhouse that is part of the Oneworld Alliance. Yes, the deals are scattershot, with varying restrictions, several infuriating regulations and odd travel windows. But you'll find some fabulous bargains, especially from Miami. Samples: Miami-Bogota for $891 roundtrip and Miami-Lima for $1,196 roundtrip; Los Angeles-Lima for $2,598 and New York to Sao Paulo for $2,781. But beware: Restrictions and travel dates vary by route and tickets although travel generally ends by December 31. Information: the PREMIUM BUSINESS page.
ALITALIA: A Perplexing, Quick-Hit Sale for Premium Economy Seats
The always perplexing Alitalia has another weird sale. Premium economy seats are as low as $1,239 roundtrip--but only if you travel before December 15. The entry-level price is valid on New York-Milan/Malpensa flights and other rates include: $1,599 (New York-Rome); $1,622 (Boston-Venice); and $1,661 (Miami-Florence). Restrictions are all over the map. Only a Sunday-night stay is required for New York flights, but a 10-day stay is needed on other routes. New York tickets require a 7-day advance purchase, but 14 days on other routes. Travel from New York is valid between November 1 and December 10 while it is available until December 15 on other routes. Information: the TRAVEL IN COMFORT page.
HAINAN AIRLINES: China Cheap in Coach for Two Months
Privately owned Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines has been expanding rapidly in the United States and it also has an excellent reputation for service. Even better, it's offering some astoundingly inexpensive fares in coach if you can travel by December 10. Seattle-Shanghai is only $669 roundtrip, Chicago-Beijing is just $739 roundtrip and it's only $880 between Boston and Shanghai. Several other nonstop markets are equally low in price. Even the minimum stay is attractive: only three days. Information: the Hainan OFFERS page.
ONEWORLD ALLIANCE: Big Bonuses in All Classes for Transatlantic Flights
The prime Oneworld Alliance carriers plying the transatlantic routes--American, British Airways, Finnair and Iberia--last year offered as much as 125,000 bonus AAdvantage miles for just three premium class roundtrips. This year it'll five take roundtrips in first or business class before January 31 to earn that much, but there is a saving grace. This year premium economy flights and coach travel earn bonuses, too. Each low-fare coach flight will earn 2,000 miles up to 10,000 miles. Premium economy travel earns 7,000 bonus miles per roundtrip up to a maximum of 35,000 miles. And business and first class roundtrips each earn 25,000 miles. You must register in advance, of course, and you should check the fare buckets to see exactly what you earn. Information: the FLY TO EUROPE page.
AMERICAN/JAPAN AIRLINES: Big Bonuses for Higher Fares to Asia
Oneworld and joint-venture partners American Airlines and Japan Airlines are dishing out big AAdvantage mileage bonuses if you travel on higher fares this fall. The eligible cities: Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo. Until December 15, you'll get double miles when you book certain coach fares as well as business and first class seats. Check the specific fare classes to be sure. Advance registration using promo code ASIA4 is required. Information: The TRAVEL TO ASIA page.
PACKAGE DEALS WORTH CONSIDERING
OXFORD: So You Never Got to Be a Rhodes Scholar...
So you never got to be a Rhodes Scholar. Fear not because there is always The Oxford Experience, the summer session at Oxford University that offers dozens of week-long courses to travelers of all ages, social classes, intelligence levels and interests. One-week packages include the tuition and lectures for your course; lodging in Christ Church College dorms; and three meals daily. There are several dozen courses from which to choose, including studies in archeology, history, literature, politics, art and music. Courses are held in the morning, which leaves afternoons free for touring and optional excursions and evening for everything from whisky tasting to lessons in Morris dancing. At the end of the week, you even get a farewell dinner and something like a diploma. It's then up to you whether you want to run for the House of Commons or buy yourself a seat in the House of Lords. (Okay, I made that last part up, except, you know, the buying your way into the House of Lords.) Prices start at 1,285 pounds per person and upgrades to private accommodations with private baths start at 90 pounds each for two traveling together or 180 pounds if you go solo. The weekly sessions take place from July 3 to August 13. My choice for favorite courses in the 2016 offerings? There's a nice overview of 1960s popular music, one that seems to riff off British TV costume dramas and a deep dive into Lawrence of Arabia. (The person, not the movie...) Information: the University of Oxford SUMMER SCHOOLS page.
GROUND TRANSPORT DEALS WORTH YOUR TIME
UNITED/HERTZ: Really Awful Suppliers, Really Big Bonuses
I can't think of two suppliers doing poorer jobs right now than United Airlines and Hertz. But they are marketing partners these days--in fact, a failed former United C-suite executive runs Hertz--and they seem desperate for your custom. The solution: gigantic bonuses for even one-day rentals. Until February 29, book a mid-size or larger Hertz car at United.com and you'll receive a 1,500-mile bonus atop the 500-1,250 miles you'd normally earn as a MileagePlus member. So that means 2,000 to 2,750 miles for rentals as short as a single day. Information: the EARN AWARD MILES page.
AVIS: 500 American AAdvantage Miles for Three-Day Rentals
Mileage offers are drying up everywhere else, but there continue to be relative gold mines in the car-rent arena. The latest from Avis is 500 American AAdvantage miles on virtually any rental worldwide. However, you will have to do a three-day rental for those miles, which isn't nearly as generous as the previous 500-mile-per-day offer. Use coupon code #MUAA062 for rentals that begin by December 31. Information: the Avis MORE MILES FOR THE DRIVE page.
ENTERPRISE: The Return of the $10-a-Day Weekend Rental
Even as it has rocketed to the top of the car-rental heap, Enterprise continues to do things differently. For starters, all of its locations are company owned, astonishing in this era of franchised everything. It has expanded rapidly at airports, but its roots remain in the we'll-pick-you-up local station. And many of those local stations close on Sunday with short hours on Saturday. The result: a ridiculously wonderful promotion that offers cars as low as $9.99 a weekend day, so long as you return the car on Monday. The $9.99 rate covers economy or compact cars. Larger cars are $14.99-$19.99 a day. The rates include 100 miles per day and are valid for rentals that start on Fridays. Best of all, the prices are valid at participating local stations until May 23. Information: the Enterprise WEEKEND SPECIAL page.
NATIONAL CAR RENTAL: The Best Car-Rental Bonus Ever Is Back Again
Sometimes the classics are the best and that's certainly true for National's One Two Free promotion. Two rentals of a midsize car by January 31 earn a free rental day that you can use by June 15. As has been the case in recent years, the points-based system offers 300 points per qualifying rental. It takes 600 points for a freebie. And as usual, National has thrown in a few wrinkles to pique your continued interest. You'll get a one-time bonus of 300 points for any size rental in Latin America, the Caribbean or Europe. You'll also receive 300 bonus points for every renter you refer to the Emerald Club. Downloading and using National's app gets you 75 bonus points per rental up to a maximum of 300 points. You can earn as many as 50 free rental days during the promotion. Advance registration and membership in the National Emerald Aisle program is required. Information: the ONETWOFREE page.
AVIS/CARLSON: 9,000 Club Carlson Points for Three-Day Rentals
Car rentals are suddenly a valuable source of points and miles again thanks to the proprietary bonus deals that the rental chains are cutting with airlines and hotel chains. Avis, for example, has once again teamed with Club Carlson, the loyalty program of Radisson and Country Inns. The offer: three-day rentals from most airport locations earn 9,000 bonus points. Use code MUHA021. And, boy, are these guys convinced they're BFFs: The promotion is available until December 31, 2015. Information: the ALWAYS ROOM FOR MORE page.
NOTABLE CREDIT CARD ACQUISITION BONUSES
CHASE: Take a United Business Card, Get 50,000 MileagePlus Miles
With the major airlines now essentially locked in to a partner bank, lavish super-duper acquisition bonuses have largely disappeared. But here's a way to pick up a 50,000-mile bonus essentially free. Chase has bumped up the acquisition bonus on the business version of its MileagePlus Explorer card to the 50,000-mile plateau. All you need do is spend $2,000 on the card during the first three months. Chase will even comp the first year's annual fee of $95. The card itself has some good benefits: no foreign exchange fees; first checked bag free; a pair of United Club passes each year, and primary car-rental coverage. Carrying the card also means United waives the expiration date on your MileagePlus balance. Information: the FOR BUSINESS OWNERS page.
This column is Copyright © 2015 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2015 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved. All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.