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American Sale to Anchorage

Although you may be a little wary of American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) right about now (and rightly so), what with all their bajillion cancellations resulting from the FAA's recent crackdown on shabby aircraft maintenance, we still feel obligated to tell you about their sale to Anchorage. Because, well, it's a good one! And this sale is valid for travel from May 1 through June 19, by which time we imagine American will have bounced back from this little fiasco. There's no expiration date on this sale, so get it while it lasts! Fares include:

You may also find a few of these fares available from United and Northwest, which in some cases are matching.

JetBlue Deals for Amex Cardmembers

JetBlue (tel. 800/538-2583; www.jetblue.com) is offering up to $75 off any fare, and up to 100 TrueBlue frequent flyer points (good for a free round-trip anywhere they fly). This is a truly worthwhile offer. Go to the Try JetBlue page on JetBlue's site and register for the offer. Use any American Express Card to buy a round-trip on JetBlue for travel May 1 to June 18. You'll receive 50 TrueBlue frequent flyer points, half what's needed for a round-trip flight on JetBlue.

You'll also get $25 off that fare. And, if you sign up for the JetBlue Amex Card and you'll get an additional 50 points (and thus a free flight) PLUS an additional $50 off in the form of a statement credit on your new Amex card.

Clearly, this is a recession-buster deal, and can only mean that airline traffic is headed for a slump. But what the heck, you can be sure that we'll be registering and flying somewhere, even if only to Buffalo (No offense to Buffalo! We love Patty Novak!).

A Word About the JetBlue Frequent Flyer Program

If, like a lot of folks these days, you roll your eyes whenever you read about mile giveaways, and wonder why they don't hand out free butter churns or looms or something else just as uselessÂ?let us assure you that JetBlue's frequent flyer program works differently. See, unlike other airlines, where they charge more points or miles for certain destinations compared to others, JetBlue is unique in that it costs the same 100 points to fly from New York JFK to Buffalo as it does from, say, San Francisco to St. Maarten. So it probably all evens out for the airline, but if you're flying an "expensive" route then you really make out like a bandit.

Earning points is another matter: you get 2 points for a short flight, 4 for a medium one, and 6 for a long one; but you get double points when you book on JetBlue's web site. Points don't expire if you obtain and use the JetBlue Amex Card, another reason for signing up. See details here.

Cardmember fare specials include:

Check your city page for more of these fares.

New Service to Frankfurt from Air Canada

Good news for Canadians, or, more specifically, travelers in the Ottawa area. Ottaweeniacs starved for a decent frankfurter will now find the hop to Frankfurt a little easier. As of June 1, Air Canada (tel. 888/247-2262; www.aircanada.com) will begin daily non-stop service between Ottawa and Frankfurt. And, if you're quick enough, you can snag a seat at a special introductory price. Offer ends May 26 and is good for travel between June 1 and June 18, and again from September 8 through October 12.

Australia Deals

The big news in the Australasia sector is the announcement of a new service by a new airline. On December 15, V Australia (tel. 800/444-0260; www.vaustralia.com.au), yet another off-shoot from the tireless Virgin branding machine, will begin flying non-stop from Los Angeles to Sydney, with connecting service to other cities on Virgin Blue. Unfortunately, as of this writing the quickie promotional fare offer of $900 including taxes for travel starting early next year has ended, but we wouldn't be surprised to see more offers in the coming months.

As you may already know, May, August and November are traditionally the cheapest months to visit down under, and we've just posted a bunch of great fares for May travel and beyond. In a fairly predictable competitive pattern, Air New Zealand (tel. 800/262-1234; www.airnewzealand.com) often has the best deals to Australia, whereas Qantas (tel. 800/227-4500; www.qantas.com) is often cheaper to New Zealand, so you should always check both airlines. For spring travel, United Airlines (tel. 800/241-6522; www.united.com) currently has them both beat which just goes to show that you should also always compare fares from at least one third-party purveyor, like Orbitz, Lessno or Kayak, to make sure you're getting the best deal for your particular itinerary.

If you're planning a multi-stop tour within Australia or New Zealand (or both), their respective national airlines offer passes or add-ons for domestic travel at very attractive prices. Most airlines also officially permit stopovers across the Pacific for a reasonable fee, currently $100 on Air New Zealand and $150 on Qantas, but they can be hard to come by at those rates. As a general rule, you get a free Auckland stopover with all Air New Zealand's Australia fares and Qantas sometimes let you stay on in Sydney if you're connecting through that gorgeous city.

For fares, please visit our international city pages for Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, and Canberra.

Alaska Airlines Web Specials

The latest Web Specials from Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/426-0333; www.alaskaair.com) includes some great fares between northwestern cities, especially those that don't often catch a break from high fares (we're looking at you, Billings). These fare are all available for one-way purchase too, and can be combined with other fares if you like.

All purchases must be made by April 13.

*Additional Reporting by Tracy W. Stewart and Bo Borre

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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