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More Three-fers for Wings and Wheels

September 15, 2003 -- Travel deals often come in threes. With two three-fers today, from JetBlue and Avis, we hit the trifecta: combined with the Quikbook deal we described yesterday, there are now three-fer bonuses for flights, cars and hotels.

JetBlue's Sorta-Three-Fer

JetBlue doesn't advertise their Long Beach-Fort Lauderdale special as a three-fer, but that's how we want to think of it. First, sign up for JetBlue's TrueBlue frequent flier program and sign up for this special promotion at www.jetblue.com/blueplate.

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Then fly two roundtrips between Long Beach (near LA) and Fort Lauderdale, in either direction, before October 12. You'll earn quadruple points on these trips, giving you 96 of the 100 points you need for a free roundtrip flight. Finally, fly any roundtrip on JetBlue's system, any time in the next year. You'll get somewhere between 4 and 24 points for that flight, bumping you over 100. So: three flights, one for free.

This works with any fare, even JetBlue's lowest, which is a striking $99 each way between Long Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Book online at www.jetblue.com.

If you had any points in your account to start with, all you need is the two Long Beach-Fort Lauderdale flights and you're good to go. And even if you only fly once on this route, the promotion's worth signing up for. One roundtrip gets you about half the points you need for a free flight. That's pretty impressive.

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Avis Triples Your Drive

Quikbook has hotels. JetBlue has flights. Now Avis (they do say they try harder) is doing a three-fer of car rentals.

First, go to www.avis.com/AvisWeb/profile/InvokeCreateProfile?APPLICATION_TYPE=WIZARD to sign up for Avis' frequent-renter program. Then register for the special promotion.

Now, rent a car from Avis for at least two days, three times before Dec. 31. Use your Wizard number. After your third rental, you'll be mailed a certificate for a two-weekend-day free rental, usable any time between Thursday and Sunday from October 2, 2003 until May 17, 2004. Holiday periods are blacked out, as is the entire New York metro area.

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Sure, this deal has restrictions, but if you're planning to rent a car anyway, it's great.

When Will the Airlines Learn?

The JetBlue, Quikbook and Avis three-fers all show up the milquetoast free-flight promotions sent out by the major airlines back in June. Those promotions required that fliers buy absurdly expensive flights. In one case, we found that we could get almost five discounted Delta roundtrips on the airline's own site for the price of three "eligible" fares.

Consumers want simplicity, even from their discounts. That's a lesson the financially struggling major airlines apparently still need to learn.

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