Steals & Deals for March 17-31, 2016
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STARWOOD: Stay Three Times at a Design Hotel, Get a Free Night
Starwood is slowly integrating the Design Hotels Collection into the Starwood Preferred Guest program. And now it's trying to goose your knowledge and use of these independent properties. The incentive? Stay a total of three nights at any of 40 participating Design Hotels and you'll receive a free night at any SPG property worldwide in Categories 1-5. You can earn as many as two free nights when you register by May 15 and complete your paid nights by May 31. The free stays are valid through September 30. Information: the STAY OUT OF THE ORDINARY page. (Note: You may be required to provide your SPG number before you can see details of the promotion.)
THIS WEEK'S OTHER NOTABLE BARGAINS
AIR FRANCE: Book Now, Fly Much Later for Great Premium Economy Fares
Do you know where or why you'll be flying between October 30 and December 15? If you do and it matches up with Air France's offers--and if you're willing to book and pay now--you'll find sterling deals in the airline's premium economy cabin. Prices are as low as $1,669 roundtrip from Los Angeles to Paris and $2,020 roundtrip between Atlanta and Johannesburg via Paris. There are similarly good rates from New York and San Francisco. As I say, the catch is the timing: Tickets must be booked and paid for by March 25. Depending on the route, fares require a Saturday-night or 7-day stay. INFORMATION: the PREMIUM ECONOMY CLASS page.
AMTRAK: Double Points on Rides for Two Months
If only Amtrak's trains ran as reliably as the promotions for the Amtrak Guest Rewards program. As it does every year for the first few months of spring, the so-called Double Day promotion has appeared. In short, you get double Guest Rewards points when you travel between March 21 and May 21. Advance registration is required, of course. Information: the DOUBLE DAYS page.
AMERICAN EXPRESS: Get 35,000 Starpoints--While You Still Can
If Marriott can close the deal to acquire Starwood, you can be fairly sure that the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card will disappear. And that would close off a terrific opportunity for earning Starpoints, one of the most valuable and flexible frequency currencies. At the moment, Amex is also offering a 35,000-point acquisition bonus to take the card. To score the bonus, you will need to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. On the other hand, Amex is waiving the $95 annual fee during the first year. Applications are accepted until March 31. Information: the GET 35,000 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 May 31. Information: the Avis DRIVE FOR MILES page.
EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS FOR MEMBERS
Now a part of IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, Aer Lingus has created a spacious and sophisticated transatlantic business class service to Dublin from many North American gateways. It has also built an extensive European network from its Dublin hub and hometown.
The Aer Lingus Offer: Receive a free roundtrip coach ticket to any Aer Lingus destination in Europe when you purchase an Aer Lingus business class seat to Dublin. Travel is permitted until August 31 from any Aer Lingus gateway in the United States or Canada. Stopovers in Dublin are permitted.
How to claim the offer: Surf here for complete details and information.
As the ground-transportation landscape has changed, we have a wide range of new global choices to get us to, from and around airports and cities. I favor Groundlink because it blends the traditional comfort, reliability and professionalism of black-car service with the price benefits and convenience of app-based ride-hail operations.
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 the GroundLink.com Web site. Enter JOESENTME in the promo code box that will appear on the screen before you confirm your ride. The 20 percent discount will be applied to your ride price.
Owned by a journalist and operating for nearly 40 years, Cook Travel specializes in discount international business and first class fares and supplies premium seats at a substantial savings. Cook Travel also offers upgrades from full-fare coach on many international airlines. It also has net fares for substantial savings on last-minute travel.
The Cook Travel Offer: Receive 10% off published fares on SkyTeam international business and first class tickets. Receive 5% off published fares on Star Alliance international business and first class tickets. Complimentary upgrades on most airlines when available to business class from full-fare international economy. Booking fees for international tickets waived.
How to claim the offer: Call 800-435-8776 and identify yourself as a JoeSentMe member.
SHEFFIELD SPICE & TEA COMPANY
Sheffield has a shop in Las Vegas, where it has won raves for its unique products, offerings, recipes and service. But it has also launched a gorgeous Web site and has been winning customers from around the world. There are literally hundreds of products on offer: a dazzling range of carefully chosen teas, familiar and exotic spices, custom blends and rubs, chilis, oils and vinegars, sugars and accessories. In other words, everything a business traveler with taste needs to eat and drink better.
The Sheffield Spice & Tea Offer: Receive 15% off all purchases.
How to claim the offer: Surf to SheffieldSpices.com and when you reach the shopping cart page, enter this code in the coupon code box: joesentme2016
HOTEL POINTS AND PRICE PROMOTIONS
STARWOOD HOTELS: 15 Percent Off Suites for Spring and Summer--If You Book Fast
I'm not sure this is particularly compelling, but Starwood Hotels says it is knocking 15 percent off suites at select hotels in North and Latin America. The deal also includes 3,000 bonus Starwood Preferred Guest points and breakfast, although the breakfast deal varies by property. While you have to book by March 22, you can travel between April 1 and September 30. Expect blackout dates and capacity controls. Use rate code 16B and, with all deals of this type, make sure there isn't a better suite rate available when you look at prices. Information: the ISN'T THIS SUITE OF US? page.
ACCOR HOTELS: Three-Night Weekends for the Price of Two This Spring
The global Accor hotel chain has gone from a patchwork of worldwide offers to a single, unified deal: three weekend nights for the price of two. The so-called "weeeeekend" offer is essentially a 33 percent discount off the hotels' normal rates. The promotion is valid for stays between March 19 and May 29 if you book by March 29. But there are some caveats: Rooms must be paid at the time of reservation and a 10-day advance purchase applies. Thousands of hotels are participating, but, of course, Accor is weak in the United States, so this is basically an international rather than domestic sale. Information: the THE WEEEEEKEND page.
MARRIOTT: A Cactus League Promotion--With Cracker Jack, Too!
Marriott Hotels in Arizona have come up with a promotion tied to Cactus League spring training games. With more than a dozen major league teams conducting spring training in Arizona, 11 Marriott properties in the state have put together a baseball-themed bundle: accommodations, WiFi, a Sharpie (for autographs), a bag of peanuts, two bottles of water and, of course, Cracker Jack. The package is valid until April 5 with code SPE. Prices start at $159 a night at hotels in Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix and Mesa. Information: the BATTER UP! page.
BEST WESTERN: Not a Lot of Dough, But a Lot of Chances to Earn a Little Dough
Best Western Rewards has upped its game a little bit from last year with its spring promotion. Two stays between February 8 and May 8 will earn you a $25 Best Western gift card. That's chump change, of course, but this time Best Western is allowing you to earn the bonus as many as five times during the promotional period. Advance registration is required. Information: the REWARDS WORTH CELEBRATING page.
MARRIOTT: Third Night Free at a Baker's Dozen of Paris-Area Hotels
With visitor numbers to Paris sagging after the November terrorist attacks, airlines and hotels are making sporadic attempts to stimulate business. Marriott, for example, is offering a third-night-free at a baker's dozen of properties in the Paris area. The promotion is valid when you book two nights between Thursday and Monday and include a Friday and a Saturday night. The deal is valid until May 2 when you reserve by April 28 and use the promo code C9E. You also must use a Visa card to pay. As always with these types of promotions, make sure there aren't other, cheap rates applicable during your stay. Information: the Marriott 3 FOR 2 IN PARIS page.
CLUB CARLSON: Stay Twice, in Two Brands, Get a 5,000-Point Bonus
Club Carlson, the loyalty and frequency plan of Radisson and several other hotel brands, continues to struggle for visibility among top-tier lodging plans. To get you to pay attention, it'll give you a 5,000-point bonus when you complete stays at two separate Carlson brands by March 31. Besides the Radisson and Radisson Blu brands, Club Carlson also offers Country Inns and Suites, Park Plaza, Park Inn and, if you can find a hotel, the Quorvus Collection. The bonus is available only once and advance registration is required. Information: the BRANDS TO LOVE page.
HOTELS: We Want Your Business--Just Not Too Much--in the First Quarter
If you were hoping the hotel industry would lust after your business in the traditionally weak first quarter, you're going to be disappointed. The major chains' frequent-stay promotions are extremely dull, quite uninspired--and not particularly compelling enough to change your buying decisions. But here's what's on tap from several leading players for the first quarter.
Hilton HHonors is offering double points or double miles at any of its hotels worldwide between January 1 and April 30. Advance registration is required and you can do it here.
IHG Rewards Club members have a mass-customized offer. You'll have to log in and register here to see it. The so-called Accelerate promotion seems to top out at 50,000 points during the first quarter.
Starwood Preferred Guest is offering double SPG points if you stay two nights between January 11 and April 30. There's also a 250-point-per-night bonus if you stay in select properties in several destinations. Complete details and registration information is here. You must register by April 10.
GLOBAL AIRLINE DEALS TO CONSIDER
LA COMPAGNIE: One Airline, Two Routes, Real Pressure on Business Class Prices
What can I say other than La Compagnie continues to keep the pressure on U.S., British and French carriers on the runs to Paris and London. The boutique carrier is now offering its all-business-class flights for as little as $1,600 roundtrip. That's less than half the price of the major carriers' lowest fares and about a fifth of their walk-up prices up front. Yes, La Compagnie only has the two routes--Newark to Paris/CDG and Newark to London/Luton--and, yes, the business class isn't state-of-the-art perfect. But it's $1,600 roundtrip to London and $1,700 roundtrip to Paris. Really, what else is there to say? Information: the DEALS AND SPECIAL OFFERS page.
CATHAY PACIFIC: Comparatively Comfortable to Hong Kong at Decidedly Cheap Prices
Premium Economy class is quickly replacing business class as the airlines' promotional choice for fare sales. Witness Cathay Pacific, which has a fabulous premium economy cabin indeed. Is it as good as Cathay's award-winning business class or its superlative first class? Of course not. But the prices are extraordinarily modest for the comfort offered on these long-haul flights. The current deal highlights the East Coast: Just $1,880 roundtrip nonstop from New York to Hong Kong when you travel before April 30. It's $2,079 roundtrip from Boston or Chicago. It's $1,926 roundtrip from Los Angeles or San Francisco. Cancellation and change fees are quite modest ($100) and the 7-day advance purchase requirement is modest, too. The lowest fares are for midweek travel until April 30. Information: the PREMIUM ECONOMY CLASS OFFER page.
FINNAIR: Please, Somebody, Fly Us to Russia This Summer and Fall
For decades, Finnair has been the go-to carrier between the United States and Russia--and the Soviet Union before that. Its comfortable, compact hub at Helsinki has been a perfect place to change planes and reach a variety of Russian destinations. But what happens when no one is flying between the United States and Russia? Traffic now is almost as bad as during the bad old days of the Cold War. So faced with a nasty political impasse and a plummeting ruble, Finnair is doing the only thing it can do: slash prices to the bone. It's selling flights for as little as $570 roundtrip to Yekaterinburg, $585 to St. Petersburg and $590 to Moscow. Travel on Sunday through Thursday from August 16 to December 14. A seven-day minimum stay is required. Information: the OFFERS page.
EVA AIR: Premium Economy From Houston to Asia via Taipei at Low Fares
Eva Air, the Taipei-based carrier that is a member of the Star Alliance, now flies to Houston/Intercontinental, a major hub of Star anchor United Airlines. But Houston-Taipei isn't a route that's top of most flyers' minds, so EVA is promoting its premium economy service with onward flights to Asia. That means flights from Houston to Saigon via Taipei are as low as $1,494 roundtrip. For just a few dollars more you can fly instead to Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong. But there are catches: The flights beyond Taipei are in coach and the fares are only available for midweek travel in April when you purchase by March 31. Information: the PROMOTION page.
IAG: A Year of Business Class Fare Sales on a Chart
IAG and the carriers it effectively controls--British Airways, Iberia, OpenSkies and Aer Lingus--now post a year's worth of business class fare sales for nearly two dozen destinations in Great Britain and continental Europe. Some examples: $2,856 roundtrip from New York to Lisbon from May through August; $2,811 roundtrip from Boston to Copenhagen in August; $2,995 roundtrip from Chicago and Paris from August through January; $2,492 from Miami to Madrid from April through next February and $3,666 roundtrip from San Francisco to Barcelona this month. All of the fares include a 7-day stay requirement, but expect advance-purchase and other rules to apply on a market-specific basis. You can also assume travel could include flights on American Airlines and other Oneworld partners. Best of all, the year-ahead grid allows you to plug in any departure and arrival cities as well as your proposed number of days and find your business class prices. Information: the BA OUR CHEAPEST FARES page.
TAP AIR PORTUGAL: We're Back--With Cheap Fares, Free Stopovers and Free Tickets
As explained in today's Tactical Traveler, TAP Air Portugal is making a bid to grab a piece of the transatlantic market and reestablish Lisbon as a European hub. To promote its restored flights to Boston/Logan and New York/Kennedy, TAP is offering coach fares as low as $799 roundtrip. But it is also pushing out fabulous business class fares, too. From Boston, business class prices are as low as $1,992 roundtrip for travel between June 11 and September 30. From JFK, the price is $2,299 roundtrip for travel between July 1 and September 5. From the existing Newark hub, it's $2,299 roundtrip for flights from May 17 to September 5. And from Miami, it's $2,499 roundtrip for flights between May 17 and September 5. Tickets must be purchased by March 31. But wait, there's more, as they may or may not say on Portuguese television. Tickets come with a free stopover in Lisbon for as long as three days and/or free flights to Porto, Portugal's second-largest city and the eponymous hometown of the port wine industry. The TAP Web site may not yet reflect all the fares and offers, so check with a good travel agent.
KLM: Sure, Africa Is a Long Haul in Coach, But These Prices Are Insane
Deals to Africa are hard to come by. But along comes KLM with simply insane pricing albeit in coach. How about San Francisco to Cairo for as little as $807 roundtrip? Or New York to Algiers for $745 roundtrip? Or Los Angeles to Nairobi for $828 roundtrip? Or even Boston to Johannesburg for as little as $807 roundtrip. The prices aren't come-ons, either. KLM has a handy-dandy bar graph showing you when the fares are available between now and September and there seems to be substantial availability. Almost all of the itineraries include a stop in Amsterdam, but that shouldn't surprise you. Restrictions are minimal, too, requiring only a 7-day and Sunday-night stay. Even more interesting? This is a repeat of a fare sale run earlier this year and most prices are lower than they were several months ago. Information: the EXPLORE AFRICA TODAY page.
AUSTRALIA: Big Mileage Bonuses From the Land Down Under
There's no truth to the rumor that I made these Australia bonus offers from Delta SkyMiles and American AAdvantage the deals of the week just because I wanted to link to Men at Work's banging, 35-year-old video for Down Under. I mean, what would you think of me? The deals can stand on their own. American Airlines, for example, is offering 5,000 miles for each roundtrip discounted coach flight, 15,000 miles for full-fare coach or premium economy flights and 30,000 miles for first and business class roundtrips. You can earn the promotional miles up to three times for as many as 90,000 miles on flights until May 31 on American or Qantas to Australia. Advance registration is required, of course. Meanwhile, Delta SkyMiles is offering a straight-up double miles promotion for Delta or Virgin Australia flights between Los Angeles and Sydney or Brisbane until May 31. That means you'll receive 10 miles per dollar spent plus any Medallion bonuses. Advance registration is required here, too. Meanwhile, I hope someone offers a promotion to Vienna, Austria, soon. There's a fabulous episode of Taxi featuring the Billy Joel song Vienna I want you to see. Oh, wait...
LOT POLISH: Sub-$2,000 Business Class Fares to Europe All Summer
The once-popular summer business class sale, made famous first by Continental Airlines and later adopted by United and the Lufthansa Group of carriers, has become more memory than marketable in recent years. But LOT Polish, a Star Alliance carrier that never really played in the annual bazaar in previous years, is offering sub-$2,000 roundtrip business class fares all summer. The routes are over LOT's hub in Warsaw--thankfully, it's compact and efficient--and LOT uses Boeing 787 Dreamliners on the transatlantic legs. Sample fares: From Chicago, $1,950 roundtrip to Barcelona and $1,960 to Venice; and from New York/JFK, $1,975 to Athens and $1,998 to Vienna. The fares are available most of July and August in Z class (look for booking code ZSPCA14) and require a Sunday stay. There's also a surprisingly low $100 cancellation/change fee.
HAINAN AIRLINES: At These Prices, Fly Just for the Hunan Cuisine
Privately owned Hainan Airlines is trailblazing a nonstop route to Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, from Los Angeles. The flights started January 21 and the carrier has posted eye-popping coach and business class prices. In business class, the roundtrip price is just $2,709 for travel through March 24. In coach, the fare is $547 roundtrip for flights between January 28 and April 30. At those prices, you can fly over just for a taste of genuine stinky tofu or stewed beef with rice vermicelli. And there's always Hunan beer duck. I mean, why wouldn't you? The one caveat: Tickets must be purchased in the next few days to score the capacity controlled lowest fares. Information: the OFFERS page.
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.
PACKAGE DEALS WORTH CONSIDERING
ENGLAND: Because There'll Always Be a Downton Abbey Tour
If you want to talk British TV, I'm happy to discuss Monty Python or The Forsyte Saga or even the David Bowie-inspired Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes mash-ups of police procedurals and science fiction. But Downton Abbey? I got nothing. Never watched a moment of the global phenomenon that ended on Christmas day in Britain and is wrapping up soon in the United States. Still, the travel industry knows a winning formula when it watches one, which explains why a packager called Tours International is on its third "series" of Downton Abbey-inspired packages. This year's offering, from September 3-6, includes: a visit to Highclere Castle, the eponymous Downton Abbey; a tour of Bampton, the village that the show calls Downton; a visit to the location used for Yew Tree Farm; and even a stop at Lady Rosamund's residence, which is really 35 Belgrave Place in London. There are other show-themed visits and events; three nights of accommodations in a four-star London hotel; breakfasts, lunches, Champagne and, of course, afternoon tea. The tour is limited to 25 people and costs $3,500 a couple or $2,200 if you're going solo. Airfare is not included. Information: the DOWNTON ABBEY page.
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 July 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 October. Information: the EARN AWARD MILES page.
CAR RENTALS: Drive North to a Colder Place for Big Deals This Spring
Consider this the reverse of the brilliant songwriter Alec Wilder's South to a Warmer Place. When the weather in northern climes improves, car-rental firms need to get their cars out of a warmer place, specifically Arizona and Florida. So they slash their rates on one-way rentals as a way to induce you to move the cars north for them. Should the geography work for you (rent in Arizona, drop off in select Western states or rent in Florida, drop off in the Northeast), the bargains are terrific. Here's what's on tap so far for this "drive out" season from major rental firms. Be sure to examine the terms and conditions carefully because they differ substantially.
Alamo is offering cars for $7.95 a day, SUVs for $17.95 and minivans for $24.95 a day if you drive them one-way from select Florida locations. Those prices are actually a few bucks lower than last year's drive-out rates. The applicable one-way rental period is from one to 21 days from April 1 to May 31. Details are here.
Avis offers Florida drive-out rates when you rent one-way from one to 14 days. From Florida daily rates start at $9.95 for cars, $14.95 for convertibles and $19.95 for SUVs. The rental period is April 1 to June 30.
Budget is playing in both Florida and Arizona. From Florida, rates are $9.49 for cars, $14.49 for convertibles, $19.49 for SUVs and $24.49 for minivans. The rental period is April 1 to June 30. From Arizona, you can rent from March 28 to May 31. Daily rentals are $11.49-$17.49 for cars and $19.49 for smaller SUVs. Rental periods are one to 14 days.
STAR ALLIANCE: Free Heathrow Express Upgrades for Gold Members
The Star Alliance isn't exceptionally strong in London, the hub for Oneworld Alliance partner British Airways. Which may be why it is offering upgrades to London-bound Star Alliance Gold members. But curb your enthusiasm. The upgrade isn't for London flights, but for trips on the Heathrow Express train that connects the airport with London Paddington station. To score the upgrade, present your full-fare coach Heathrow Express ticket and Star Alliance Gold credentials as you board the train. The promotion starts February 15. A reminder: You're Star Alliance Gold if you hold United MileagePlus Gold or higher status or Air Canada Altitude 50K status or higher. Information: the STAR ALLIANCE OFFERS page.
AMTRAK: Discounts Systemwide, But a $90 Roundtrip Gem From New York to Montreal
With travel in its annual winter slump--and traffic a bit lower than the usual seasonal lows--even Amtrak is cutting rates. Its promotional page is festooned with intriguing offers. But the one that catches the eye is a $90 roundtrip fare between New York/Penn (and some other nearby stops) and Montreal. The price is available on weekends (Thursday through Monday) for a maximum stay of five days. The travel window is ridiculously wide--until April 28--when you book by April 25. A three-day advance reservation is required and there are blackout dates around Easter (March 24, 25 and 28). And with the U.S. dollar buying C$1.43, Montreal itself is a winter and early spring bargain of epic proportions. Information: the ABOARD THE ADIRONDACK 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.
NOTABLE CREDIT CARD ACQUISITION BONUSES
BARCLAYCARD: The New Premium JetBlue Card Has the Best Bonus and Package
JetBlue Airways has dumped American Express as its credit card partner and moved to Barclaycard. The best of the new cards is the Barclay JetBlue Plus. It has a modest ($99) annual fee and a good acquisition bonus: 30,000 TrueBlue points when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. Ongoing card benefits include six points per dollar spent with JetBlue and two points per dollar spent at restaurants and grocery stores. You'll also get your first checked bag free and a 5,000-point bonus each year you hold the card. Information: the FLY FASTER page.
CHASE: 80,000 Points (and More) to Take the Marriott Rewards Card
The attention lately has all been on how Marriott will integrate the Starwood Preferred Guest program into Marriott Rewards. While that controversy bubbles on, Chase has rolled out an 80,000-point acquisition bonus for taking the Marriott Rewards Visa card. You'll need to spend $3,000 within three months of opening the account to score the bonus, but there's another perk buried in the fine print: a 7,500-point bonus for adding a second authorized user to the account. All in all, a pretty decent buy for the $85 annual fee. Standard benefits of the card include a free night at a Category 1-5 property each year, five points for every dollar spent at Marriott and enough elite credit to score silver-level status. Information: the LIMITED TIME page.
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 © 2016 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2016 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.