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Web Specials from Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines' (tel. 800/426-0333; www.alaskaair.com) most recent Web Specials are valid for travel from November 30 through December 19. Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights or all days. Some markets may not operate daily service. All fares require immediate purchase.

Visit AlaskaAir.com for more info. Fares include:


48-Hour Sale From Your Fave Domestic Airline

You like them. You really like them! Virgin America (tel. 877/359-8474; www.virginamerica.com) has landed the #1 spot for Best Domestic Airline in Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards, and they're having a little celebratory 48-hour sale. Hurry and you can still catch the tail end. Fares are valid for travel from October 20 through February 15, with the lowest fares for Tuesday/Wednesday travel, followed by Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday, with slightly higher fares for travel Friday/Sunday.

For travel between Los Angeles/San Francisco and Cancun, travel from January 19/20 through March 16. For travel between Los Angeles/San Francisco and Dallas, travel from December 1/6 through February 15.

Fares must be purchased by 11:59pm PDT, October 15. Other airlines are matching along certain routes.

20% Bonus When You Convert Amex Points into Virgin Atlantic Miles

This strikes us as a very good deal. Throughout the month of October, when you transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to your Virgin Atlantic (tel. 800/862-8621; www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/us/index.jsp) Flying Club frequent flyer account, you'll get a 20% bonus. So let's say you transfer 10,000 Amex points: you'll actually get 12,000 miles in FlyingClub.

Another cool thing about FlyingClub, we've found, is that Virgin Atlantic seems to have reward seats available whenever we look, unlike some other airlines. We've done some spot checks at random over the last few weeks, and had no trouble finding free seats in all classes on various travel dates.

Of course, let's face it, the seats aren't really "free." An UpperClass roundtrip between New York-JFK and London-LHR for midweek October travel, available for 90,000 miles currently, comes with $568 in taxes and "fees." But still, were we to buy that flight, it would cost $5,601 round-trip including tax at current prices.

Also, when you consider that you could easily spend that many miles or more for a business class flight between New York and Los Angeles, costing around $2400 round-trip, on some U.S.-based carriers (we're thinking of you, Delta), you're much better off spending them on a much more expensive first-class experience to London, with Virgin's enormous fully-lie-flat seat beds and other perks. And now, with the 20% bonus, that 90,000 mile trip will actually just cost you about 74,000 miles. A jolly good deal, indeed.

British Airways Sale to London: Not as Bad as You Think!

Does British Airway's (tel. 1/800-247-9297; www.britishairways.com) current London sale strike you as being a tad on the pricey side? At first glance, yes, but here's the deal. Gone are the days of a $250 round-trip fare to the UK, where the government recently raised airport taxes by quite a bit. Plus? These fares are for nonstop travel. You may find slightly lower fares available along some routes, but with connections. So, for the convenience, these fares work out to be pretty reasonable. Fares are valid for outbound travel, Monday through Wednesday, from October 21 through April 3. Avoid blackout dates on December 20, 21, and 22. Fares require a 7-day advance purchase. Fares require a Saturday night stay. All tickets must be booked by October 26.

Flying on Empties?

Q. Do the airlines fly "repositioning flights" (for example, there is a 777 on the ground at Los Angeles, but that airplane is needed at New York JFK) that are not listed on their web sites, but that do have seats available for sale through their call centers only?

A. Find out on Airfarewatchdog.com

Additional reporting by Tracy W. Stewart

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and blogger whose website, www.airfarewatchdog.com, tracks unadvertised airfare wars and fare sales, including the most helpful and always updated Top 50 Airfares.

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