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The Big Ski Towns at Bunny Slope Prices

American (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) is having a pretty decent sale to/from Ski Country, meaning places like Jackson Hole, Gunnison, Vail, and Steamboat Springs. It's rarely cheap to fly to these places, and some of the fares are eyebrow raisers, as in, why is it just $287 RT to fly between Rochester NY and Steamboat, but $381 from Rochester, MN, which is a lot closer. We haven't a clue. Travel Dec. 13 to March 11, but don't expect to find these fares over peak holiday periods (you know better than that by now, right?).

Purchase by 11:59 CT Nov. 28.

Iberia Winter Sale

This Thanksgiving, trade in that turkey for tapas and give thanks to Iberia Airlines (tel. 800/772-4642; www.iberia.com) for their latest sale to Spain and beyond. Though this sale is also valid for DC, we found the best savings to be out of Boston. Take a look:

The sale also covers other destinations in Europe as well, such as:

Interested? Be sure to purchase your ticket by November 15, and the final day of departure is November 30.

And speaking of Iberia, they have some of the best deals from New York to Africa and Israel, for fall/winter travel:

New Route from Virgin America

Some birds fly south for the winter but the Virgin America (tel. 877/359-8474; www.virginamerica.com) variety continues to head west. It might be time to follow their lead and soak up some southern California sun, as Virgin America launches its San Diego service beginning February 13, 2008. They're offering limited-time introductory fares, starting at $129.00 from Washington, D.C. (Dulles) and $139.00 from New York (JFK). Service for both is via San Francisco. These are one way economy fares, taxes and fees additional. With the majors offering fares of about $320.00 and up for nonstop, round trip economy flights (plus taxes and fees), it might be worth treating yourself to the bells and whistles Virgin America has to offer! Seats are limited and tickets must be purchased by Dec. 19, 2007. First class seats start at $499.00 each way.

New nonstop service between San Francisco and San Diego begins on February 12, 2008, at introductory fares of $39.00 each way plus tax and fees. First class is $149.00 each way, base fare. December 19 is the purchase deadline for this offer as well. Seats are limited and not available on all flights. 21 day advance purchase restrictions apply.

By the way, joining Virgin America's frequent flyer program, known as elevate, might help you reap some extra benefits too! Recently, they offered a 10% reduction on their already low fares for eleVAte members, so do consider signing up. By the way, many online travel agencies (OTAs) do not list Virgin America.

A-ten-hut!

Veteran's Day is coming up, and American Airlines is offering 20% off flights to/from our major military cities, such as Albany, Baltimore, Colorado Springs, Corpus Christi, Washington Dulles, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Mobile, Chicago, and Norfolk. A few sample fares include:

This offer is good for roundtrip and one-way travel from November 28 through December 12, 2007. Tickets must be booked online by midnight, Nov 11. and enter in promotion code DFNOV7GO to take advantage of this offer. Remember, these fares work in reverse to so, for example, Los Angeles to Albany NY is $158 round-trip too.

AirTran Sale & New Service to San Juan

We're not jumping up and down about this new AirTran (tel. 800/AIR-TRAN; www.airtran.com) sale. Sure, it's "from $39" but there's only one route that low: Atlanta to Savannah. All the other fares are higher, and some of them $328 RT, which isn't much of a bargain. Anyway, do check it out. This sale ends on Nov. 15 midnight ET. In other Airtran news, they're starting new service between both Orlando and Atlanta to San Juan beginning March 5.

Save $50 with JetBlue & Amex

JetBlue and American Express team up periodically to provide special deals for JetBlue flights booked with an Amex card. This latest deal is unique in that not only do you get a $25 discount on any roundtrip flight, but you also receive a $25 American Express gift card, which is as good as cash. This offer is valid anywhere JetBlue files, for travel between November 17 and December 18. You must book by November 17 by using this link on JetBlue's website. Additional details and restrictions can be found there.

Up to 20 % off Europe and 20,000 Bonus Miles

US Airways (tel. 800/622-1015; www.usairways.com) is offering 10 percent off coach class tickets to Europe plus 10,000 bonus Dividend Miles for round-trip tickets to Europe. Or if you feel like splurging, you'll receive 20 percent off their Envoy (aka business class) seats as well as 20,000 bonus miles.

Both promotions are valid to the following cities: Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Munich, Milan, and Zurich.

To qualify for either promotion, you'll have to use a valid MasterCard to book your ticket before December 31 for travel from November 27 through March 15, 2008. Blackouts on December 14 to December 29 and January 1 to January 8, 2008.

For coach tickets, use eCertificate MCEUROPE when making a reservation and MCENVOY for business class. You'll have to register online first before making your reservation in order to receive the bonus miles. Complete rules and restrictions and to register for the bonus miles, visit their site.

Reactivate Expired AAdvantage Mles

Members of American Airlines' AAdvantage mileage program can now reactive some or all of their miles that expired on or after December 31, 2002. There's currently no limit as to how many expired miles you can reactivate, but it does come at a price. It'll cost $50 for every 5,000 miles, plus a $30 processing fee per transaction, per account, and it must be done before December 31, 2007.

For example: to reactivate 24,500 miles from one account will cost $280 -- that's a $250 mileage reactivation fee and a $30 transaction fee. To get that many miles, you'll have to fly round-trip to Asia.

To reactive your miles, you can either call AAdvantage customer service at (800) 421-0600, or email your request to AAdvantage customer service by selecting the Contact AA tab at the top of www.aa.com.

Reactivated miles will be credited to your account as a mileage bonus and do not count toward elite status qualification, and it'll take up to 72 hours for the miles to post to your account. You will have at least 18 months in which to redeem reactivated miles for an award. Reactivated miles will not expire as long as your account has qualifying activity in any 18-month period. Complete rules and restrictions is available here.

20% Bonus for Purchasing SkyMiles

Delta Air Lines' (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) SkyMiles is offering a 20 per cent bonus for members who purchase miles for themselves or as gifts for friends and family. For example, buy 10,000 miles and you (or your recipient) will receive an extra 2,000 miles for a total of 12,000 miles. This promotion is available through December 31, 2007.

SkyMiles costs $0.0275 per mile (with a minimum purchase of 1,000 miles, and a maximum of 30,000 miles per calendar year) plus a 7.5 percent Federal Excise Tax per mile. More information or complete rules and restrictions are available at www.delta.com/buymiles.

What Became of the Air Courier Game?

"Fly to Hong Kong or London for up to 80% off, or even free" the pitch goes, "and all you have to do is accompany some documents or a shipment of engine parts!" Sounds like an opportunity that's too good to be true, and, of course, it is. Courier travel is hardly cheap these days, and courier companies are fast disappearing, victims of 9/11 and technology. A few remain, but like Madonna or George Michael, the savings are shadows of their former selves.

So...can you still fly to Djibouti on a whim, for just a handful of dollars? Find out by reading the Airfarewatchdog blog.

Leprechauns, Chupacabra, & Rule 240?

Some "travel experts" are quick to lump Rule 240 in with Bigfoot and Unicorns but there's no denying its existence. Many airlines do still have a Rule 240, or some mutation of it. Just look in the Contract of Carriage and there she blows.

We spent the past week poring over United's, American's, Alaska's, and US Airways' Contracts of Carriage, getting the skinny on their individual Rule 240s, and what we found had us clutching our pearls. And just how do they deal with this sort of thing in Europe? Find out in our blog.

$900 Compensation if Your Flight from Europe is Severely Delayed?

And speaking of consumer protection when flying, did you know you have certain unalienable rights when you fly from a European airport, and no, you don't have to be French, British, or Italian to exercise them? These EC regulations protect any one, even Americans. In fact, if your long haul flight back to the US is over 4 hours late, you can receive up to 600€ in compensation from the airline, which these days is almost $900 US, and lesser amounts for shorter flights. Cancellations are also covered, but there is a bit of fine print. Read all about it.

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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