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Spirit Airlines Free Ticket Offer

Scrappy little Spirit Airlines (tel. 800/772-7117; www.spiritair.com) has a cool buy one get one airfare deal. To qualify, you need to be a member of their frequent flyer program (clever way to get new members, eh?). And you must register for the program before midnight EST on December 7, 2006. Buy a ticket before midnight December 7 and travel between January 10 and March 28 next year; in early May, you'll get a voucher in the amount of your original purchase good for future travel.

Bellingham's New Airline

A new low-cost airline, Western (tel. 888/929-2359; www.iflywestern.com) is starting service out of Bellingham, WA, which lies 90 miles north of Seattle, WA and 60 miles south of Vancouver, Canada. The airline will begin operations on January 18, 2007. Service doesn't operate daily.

Bellingham, WA to (all one-way and not including all taxes or fees):

  • Ontario, CA: $ 59
  • Phoenix (Williams Gateway Airport): $ 59
  • Reno: $ 59
  • San Diego: $ 59

Fun in the Sun

Delta Air lines (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) is having a sale to warmer climates for travel through January 31, 2007. Here are some sample fares before taxes and fees:

Travel must be completed by January 31, 2007. Purchase your ticket by December 15, 2006 at least 7 days in advance of travel.

Silverjet

Another all business class airline is starting up with service between Newark and London's Luton Airport. Silverjet (tel. 877/359-7458; www.flysilverjet.com) is offering introductory fares at $799 one-way. Below is a sample itinerary including all taxes and fees:

Depart February 8, Return February 15

  • Newark to London-Luton $1,707 vs. $1,496 on Maxjet (JFK to London Stansted)

Service begins on January 25, 2006. Book by December 31, 2006.

Midwest Airlines Sale

Midwest Airlines (tel. 800/452-2022; www.midwestairlines.com) has discounted fares for travel through April 30, 2007. Here are some sample fares including taxes and fees:

Depart January 22, Return January 26

  • Milwaukee to/from Des Moines $187 vs. $157 on Delta
  • Nashville to Kansas City $210 vs. $159 on Northwest

Depart February 14, Return February 28

  • Milwaukee to/from Ft. Lauderdale $197 vs. $229 on Continental
  • Kansas City to/from San Antonio $207 vs. $189 on Northwest

Depart March 16, Return March 25

  • Cleveland to/from Minneapolis $261 vs. $254 on Northwest
  • Minneapolis to/from Kansas City $248 vs. $277 on American

As you can see, fares vary widely and we recommend you shop around before purchasing your ticket. Keep in mind though that on many routes, Midwest offers all-first-class service and operates nonstop, so price shouldn't be your only consideration. For the lowest fares, travel Monday through Saturday. A Friday- or Saturday-night stay is required. Book your ticket by December 11, 2006 with a 14-day advance purchase requirement.

Korean from Los Angeles

Korean Air (tel. 800/438-5000; www.koreanair.com) is offering discounted fares on its Los Angeles to Seoul route. Below are some sample fares including taxes and fees:

Depart January 7, Return January 15

  • Los Angeles to Seoul $940 vs. $1,011 on United

As you can see, this is a very good year end sale, and Korean flies the route nonstop with exemplary service. Depart December 24, 2006 through January 31, 2007. Purchase your ticket by December 17, 2005. LAX to ICN must be on flight KE002 via Tokyo.

Alaska's 15% E-certificate

Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/252-7522; www.alaskaair.com) is offering a 15 per cent discount on flights within Alaska (excluding Prudhoe Bay and Dutch Harbor). To receive the discount, enter e-certificate code EC06206 when making reservations at alaskaair.com. Travel between January 3, 2006 and February 14, 2006. This offer expires December 10, 2006.

Sale to Europe

Lufthansa (tel. 800/399-5838; www.lufthansa.com) has announced a winter sale to Europe. Here are some sample fares including taxes and fees:

Depart January 10, Return January 17

  • Philadelphia to London $408 vs. next lowest $435 on British Airways
  • San Francisco to Amsterdam $646 with Continental matching

Depart February 14, Return February 28

  • Boston to Dublin $465 with Continental matching
  • Portland to Frankfurt $505 vs. $551 on American

As you can see, Continental is matching these fares on some routes, but again, keep in mind that in some cases Lufthansa flies nonstop (to Germany of course) and on others it connects, usually through Frankfurt. The best search engine for finding low international fares these days is Orbitz.com, since it's the only U.S.-based site that offers a flexible date search capability on international routes. Depart between November 27, 2006 and March 16, 2007. Complete all travel by April 16, 2007. Purchase your ticket by December 12, 2006.

21 Great Travel Tips

When NBC Today Show Travel Editor Peter Greenberg talks about flying, we should all listen. He's written one of the best collections of insider tips we've seen in a long time. It's in the December/January issue of Best Life (an offshoot of Men's Health magazine). Essential reading.

Bonus Frequent Flyer Miles for Free

What would you do with 17,500 Delta frequent flyer miles? We know what we'd do: upgrade! With economy seats getting more uncomfortable as airlines squeeze in more passengers, first class is the way to go. Delta charges 5,000 miles to upgrade each way from a full coach ticket, and 10,000 from most discounted economy tickets. And you can get those miles essentially for free by signing up for a special offer from the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card and American Express. Amex waives the annual membership fee for the first year (you can cancel after that) and applying online is fast and easy, with approvals in less than 60 seconds. Don't think you need an American Express card? Here's something to consider: If you've ever lost your Amex card you know that in most cases they'll replace it, even in foreign destinations, in a day or less. That's something that other credit cards just can't do, and one reason why we really do never leave home without it.

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and blogger whose website, www.airfarewatchdog.com, tracks unadvertised airfare wars and other fare sales.

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