Steals & Deals for January 5-19, 2017
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LA COMPAGNIE: Two to Paris in Business Class for $1,500 Each
La Compagnie has been gobbled up by a big French tour operator called XL, so maybe you should jump on their deals while the all-business-class service still exists. The latest from the airline, which flies daily Boeing 757s configured with 74 angled-flat seats? Two can fly together from Newark to Paris/CDG for $1,500 each, or a total of $3,000. That's about what OpenSkies, the British Airways-owned boutique carrier charges between New York and Paris for one seat. And it's less than half of Air France's walk-up business class fare. The La Compagnie offer is pitched as a Valentine's Day promotion, but you can fly at that price until February 28. Tickets must be purchased by January 15, however. Information: La Compagnie's LOVEBIRDS OFFER page.
THIS WEEK'S OTHER NOTABLE BARGAINS
EMIRATES: Deeply Discounted Business Class to India -- and Elsewhere
The Gulf Carriers are facing a rather unpleasant reality: Their massive expansion in the United States has left them with a surplus of seats. That oversupply was once limited to coach, but now seems to be popping up in business class, too. At least that's the conclusion you have to reach after considering the latest Emirates sale. The Dubai-based carrier is offering deep discounts on business class flights to India and several other destinations, too. Samples: From New York, it's $3,489 roundtrip to Mumbai or Ahmedabad and just $3,599 to Singapore. From Dallas/Fort Worth, it's $3,299 roundtrip to Delhi or Mumbai and just $3,689 to Hong Kong. From Los Angeles, it's $3,349 roundtrip to Delhi, $3,369 to Mumbai and $3,399 to Chennai. From Chicago, Emirates is asking around $3,800 roundtrip to Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai. There are similar discounts from Emirates' other U.S. gateways and to destinations in Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and select cities in the Middle East. Tickets must be purchased by January 11, but travel is permitted until November 29. A 7-day advance purchase and 7-day minimum stay is required. One more twist: You can save an additional $100 on business class tickets if you purchase by January 6 and use the discount code EKHELLO. Information: the Emirates FEATURED FARES page.
AMTRAK: Three Winter Trips in the East Mean a Summer Freebie
Let's just say government-owned and bureaucratically marketed Amtrak isn't at the pinnacle of promotional activity. Still, its annual version of BOGO (okay, buy three, get one) isn't too bad. If you take six Acela one-way trips (or three roundtrips) by February 28, Amtrak will buy you back a roundtrip (or two one-ways) between July 5 and August 31. It is offering the same buy three (or six), get one (or two) promotion for trips on the slower Northeast Regional runs. You must register for both offers, of course. There are some modest blackout dates on the freebies and minimum-spend rules for the winter purchases. Information: the 1-2-3-FREE page.
AFFINIA HOTELS: Winter Rooms in New York for As Little as $99 a Night
Even in the winter, hotel rooms in New York are pricey. But Affinia, a small group of four mostly all-suites properties in Manhattan, is offering a dead-of-winter sale on its accommodations. Prices start at $99 a night (the Shelburne), hit the sweet spot at $119 a night (at the Dumont and Fifty NYC) and top out at $179 a night at the Gardens on the mostly residential Upper East Side. Prices are valid in January at all hotels and into February at several when you use promo code PERFECT. Information: the PERFECT RATE SALE
> Exclusive Discounts For JoeSentMe Members <
The Aer Lingus offer: Name your own price on any route and any class of service. Aer Lingus will either accept your offer or respond with a guaranteed discount off its published fares.
How to claim the offer: Surf here for complete details.
The CircaTerra offer: Receive 15% off the price of all travel products and luggage, including sale prices.
How to claim the offer: Enter promo code JoeSentMe in the Gift Certificate or Coupon Code box on the order confirmation page when you shop at CircaTerra Travel.
The Cook Travel Offer: 10% off published fares on SkyTeam international business tickets. 5% off on Star Alliance international business or first class tickets. Upgrades on most airlines when available to business from full-fare international coach.
How to claim offer: Call 800-435-8776. Identify yourself as a JoeSentMe member.
The ECBC Offer: 30 percent off all purchases and free shipping except for Sparrow II carry-on bag and clearance items.
How to claim the offer: Enter the code JOESENTME in the promo code box on the checkout page when you shop at http://www.ec-bc.com.
The Groundlink Offer: Receive 20 percent off rides when you book them using the GroundLink app.
How to claim the offer: Download the GroundLink app from the Apple or Android stores or GroundLink.com. Enter JOESENTME in the promo code box that will appear on the screen before you confirm your ride.
HOTEL POINTS AND PRICE PROMOTIONS
MARRIOTT/STARWOOD: One Big Happy Family, One Dull Winter Promotion, Two Familiar Names
Now that Marriott, Starwood and their amalgam of 30 brands are one big happy family, it's really no surprise that they are coordinating their points promotions. Starwood Preferred Guest retains its Double Take branding, but is offering double points on your first three stays between January 16 and April 15. Marriott Rewards retains its MegaBonus branding, but is offering double points on your first three stays between January 16 and April 15. See how that works? Different names, same deal. You must register separately for each promotion. And after the first three stays, you'll receive a mass-customized promotion for additional business you throw Marriott and Starwood's way. That is a twist Marriott has used for years on MegaBonus and now it applies to Starwood, too.
HOTELS: Small Chains With Big Bargains for the Slower Season
As the big get bigger in lodging, the smaller chains need to fight for attention to stay relevant during the slower winter months. The tool of choice? Price cuts, of course, often dressed up with holiday trimmings. Here are some of the deals we've seen:
Fairmont offers 10 to 30 percent off all properties. President's Club members also receive a room upgrade. Book by March 31 for travel through April 30. Information: the STAY LONGER. STAY MORE. page.
Sonesta offers 10 to 35 percent off at Sonesta hotels and 25 percent at Sonesta ES extended-stay properties. Travel must be booked by February 10 for travel by March 31. Use code 2017WS for U.S. properties and WINTER for hotels in St. Maarten. Information: WINTER SALE page.
BEST WESTERN: $10 Back on Every Stay in December and January
Best Western has a weak loyalty program, so its primary method of goosing up traffic in the slow months is cash--or cash equivalents. This cycle's promotion: a $10 electronic gift card for every stay until January 29. You have to register for the promotion, of course, and be a member of Best Western Reward, that weak frequency plan. Information: GO. GET. REWARDED. page.
HILTON HHONORS: 5,000 Bonus Points If You Do a Bunch of Stuff
Hilton HHonors points are viciously devalued, so 5,000 of them aren't worth much. Still, Hilton will give you 5,000 if you register, book using the Hilton HHonors app and use a Visa to pay for a stay before January 31. Got that? Register, book by app, pay with Visa and stay in the next few months. Ironically, the information is on Hilton HHonors' MAKE TRAVEL EASIER page.
MARRIOTT REWARDS: A Huge Acquisition Bonus and Elite Status for $85
Silver Elite status in the Marriott Rewards program isn't fabulous and usually requires 10 nights of stays a year. But the Marriott Rewards credit card from Chase will comp it for you in exchange for its $85 annual fee. There is also a free night in Category 1-5 hotels each year you maintain the card. But now there's another interesting fillip: an 80,000-point bonus if you charge $3,000 in the first three months. The big bonus is good for two free restricted nights at Marriott's best hotels (Category 9) or four restricted free nights in the chain's mid-range (Category 5) properties. Information: the Marriott Rewards EARN 80,000 POINTS page.
GLOBAL AIRLINE DEALS TO CONSIDER
SINGAPORE AIRLINES: $1,299 Lemonade (Premium Economy) From Lemons (Houston-Manchester)
Singapore Airlines keeps trying to make lemonade from its grab bag of so-called "fifth freedom" rights that allows it to fly to a third country en route from the United States to Singapore. The most lemon-y route of all? Nonstops between Houston/Intercontinental and Manchester, a service that replaced the failed Houston-Moscow run. Starting January 17, Singapore will deploy one of its new Airbus A350s on the IAH-MAN run and that means a 24-seat premium economy cabin, too. Singapore was late to the game with premium economy among international airlines, so you twin a bad route with a little-known product and you have a service ripe for a big discount. The solution? Roundtrips as low as $1,299 when you book by January 31 for travel until March 31.
AIR FRANCE: Might as Well Try Premium Economy Before Delta Co-Opts it
Delta Air Lines has announced that it will launch a genuine international premium economy cabin next year and the betting is that its product will look a lot like the one already on offer from Skyteam partner Air France. It's one of the best in class. And, right now, Air France is offering some extraordinary values on the service, especially from the West Coast. It's just $1,406 roundtrip from Los Angeles to Paris and only $1,445 from San Francisco. The low-ball price is from Washington/Dulles, at just $1,285 roundtrip. From New York, it's $1,427 roundtrip. The advance purchase rules are a bit stiff, however: 21 days from New York and 28 days from other cities. Travel is permitted until April 6, however. Information: the PREMIUM ECONOMY page.
BRITISH AIRWAYS: Let's Do That AARP $400 Discount Deal for Another Few Months
The still-inexplicable British Airways sale last year was sweetened by the fact that you could stack the AARP discounts atop the already ridiculously low fares. This year's AARP deal was slated to end on October 21, but was extended until December 31. Now it's been extended to January 31. That's either good news or bad. Short-term extensions are always good, but, in previous years, BA extended the deal for an entire year. Either way, though, it means you can still 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 minimal annual fee) and you do have to book through the approved AARP portal. As we learned during last year's bonanza, however, all of BA's fares are there. Information: the TRIP OF A LIFETIME page.
GROUND TRANSPORT DEALS WORTH YOUR TIME
NATIONAL CAR RENTAL: The Best Car-Rental Bonus Ever Is Back Again--for Another Month
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. But now it's even better: the rental period has been extended until February 28. 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, Europe or the Caribbean. 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. There are also bonuses for weekend and weekday rentals of specified durations--and renting from local Enterprise locations. Advance registration and membership in the National Emerald Aisle program is required. Information: the ONETWOFREE page.
AVIS/BUDGET/AADVANTAGE: Rent Three Days, Earn Up to 500 Miles
Mileage earning from car rentals has had a strange history. In the early days of the frequency programs, they were gushers of cheap miles. Then the car rental firms realized they were paying plenty to the airlines for miles without moving the market since all the companies were doing the same thing. So for decades rentals were earnings deserts. Lately, however, airlines and rental firms have been working out relatively exclusive deals. Latest example? Avis/Budget will give you as many as 500 American AAdvantage miles for a three-day rental. The deal is valid until April 30, after being scheduled to end on October 15. Information: the EARN MORE. SAVE MORE. page.
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 December 31, 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 member of MileagePlus. So that means 2,000 to 2,750 miles for rentals as short as a single day. Does this sound familiar? It should. It's a re-introduction and extension of a promotion that the two companies have continually offered since last year. Information: the EARN AWARD MILES 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 22. Information: the Enterprise WEEKEND SPECIAL page.
This column is Copyright © 2017 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2017 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.