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Airlines Offer Special Rates on Hotel Bookings

<i> Taylor, an authority on the travel industry, lives in Los Angeles. </i>

Choosing an airline for your flight abroad may be more than a matter of fares and connections. Some carriers, as long as you book your flights with them, also offer discounts on hotels and other programs.

Air New Zealand has a couple of programs in this vein. As described in its “Good Night Book,” the airline offers hotel rates that are, in most cases, less than rates booked otherwise.

For example, the rate for one night at the Hilton International Melbourne--if you fly Air New Zealand (any fare, any class)--is $74 a night double occupancy . The rate quoted by a travel agent in Los Angeles for the same room was $106. The rate quoted in the “Good Night Book” for the Inter-Continental Sydney is $88 a night double occupancy, with $136 cited by the travel agent. These rates may change, of course, due to currency fluctuations.

With these discounts, arranged under the Hotpac system for Air New Zealand, you have to prepay the number of hotel nights you want, although you can get an open-dated Miscellaneous Charge Order and make your bookings after you arrive. It’s a good idea, however, to have at least your first night’s booking taken care of before departure.

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The hotel rates cited in this program are generally valid until the end of the year. Accommodations cover New Zealand, Australia, Tahiti/Moorea, Fiji and other points on the carrier’s route in the South Pacific, Asia and around the world.

Land Package Offered

Air New Zealand has a comparable program going with land packages in New Zealand, with most of the 220 products listed in its “Holiday Planner” brochure providing a price advantage on walk-in rates. Again, you have to prepay, but you can make your bookings after arrival in New Zealand. You must, of course, fly with Air New Zealand.

Copies of both brochures are available from travel agents and the carrier at 9841 Airport Blvd., Los Angeles 90045. The phone number is (800) 262-1234.

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Under SAS’s “Copenhagen Money-Saver Hotel Packages” you can get a hotel room for your first night at lower than rack rates with round-trip airport-city terminal transfers, a Scandinavian-style breakfast for two, and taxes/service charges thrown in. A room at the Sheraton Copenhagen, double occupancy, would be $130 if booked with SAS and about $162 otherwise.

All Price Ranges

There are 16 hotels of all price ranges available in the program, which is effective until Sept. 30. Extra nights are also at a reduced rate--$110 double occupancy, for example, at the Sheraton Copenhagen and still including the breakfast for two.

You have to fly SAS--any fare, any class--and book your package at least 72 hours before departure from the United States.

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Copies of the Copenhagen hotel program are available from agents and SAS at 8929 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills 90211. The phone number is (800) 221-2350.

With KLM’s “Super Holland Bargain” program you can get your first night’s hotel room on a single, double or triple occupancy basis, in and around Amsterdam for only $10. You also get round-trip airport-city terminal transfers, continental breakfast for two, and a meal and beverage credit at your hotel restaurant worth 40 Dutch guilders (about $15 at this writing). Additional nights at the hotels would be at regular rates.

Another option under this program, also for $10, is a room for a day (8 a.m.-4 p.m.) plus the round-trip transfers and a $40 guilder food/beverage credit. Continental breakfast is not included.

This program, which has to be booked in the United States in conjunction with a KLM flight, is good until Oct. 31.

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Fancy for Diamonds

And if you have a fancy for diamonds, you can get a 15% discount at five Amsterdam centers by showing your round-trip transatlantic ticket on KLM.

You can get copies of the “Spider Holland Bargain” brochures from agents or KLM at 9841 Airport Blvd., Los Angeles 90045. The phone number is (800) 556-7777.

Other variations on this theme might include a free hotel night at an intermediate stop for a long-haul flight. El Al, for example, offers a free hotel night in Amsterdam for its passengers flying from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv.

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Scheduling your flights abroad to deliberately arrive too late in the day at a stopover city to catch the next leg of your flight to your destination on the same airline can sometimes mean a free night’s accommodation (your hotel, though, might be at or close to the airport and outside of town). This depends, of course, on the airline and what fare and class you’re using.

Another special airline program of note is with Lufthansa, whose transatlantic passengers are entitled, at no extra cost, to complimentary two-hour rides along the Rhine River from Frankfurt to Duesseldorf on the airline’s Airport Express Train. You have to arrange for this train passage in the United States.

In general, it’s always a good idea to check with travel agents and airlines about what special packages and programs the carriers might offer their passengers at their gateway cities overseas. You might find some good deals, both in terms of savings and convenience.


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