Airline's New '88 Passport Features Lower Fares

Hughes is a 25-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks

Eastern Airlines' popular one-year travel plan for mature travelers, the Get Up & Go Passport, has been redesigned for 1988 with reduced prices and other new features, including a "money's worth" refund policy.

"The new Passport is available for persons 62 and over who like to travel frequently and for the lowest price possible," John Nelson, Eastern's senior vice president-marketing, said.

Through Jan. 31, the passport will be priced at its 1983 introductory rate of $999, a saving of $300 off the 1987 price. The price returns to $1,299 on Feb. 2.

And, for the first time, a refund policy assures Passport purchasers $999 worth of travel over one year, or an applicable portion of their money back.

"In the past, some mature travelers voiced concerns about losing their investment if suddenly they were unable to travel," Nelson said. "The new refund policy eliminates this worry."

Eastern is adding other new features to the 1988 program, including a first-class travel option for an additional $500 and a Caribbean travel option that allows nearly unlimited travel to 17 islands for $300 extra.

The Get Up & Go Passport offers one year of virtually unlimited travel at off-peak times. Passport travelers can fly from noon Monday to noon Thursday and on Saturdays as often as once a week (except during short blackout periods) for less than $90 a month to more than 100 cities Eastern serves in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

The new "money's worth" refund policy guarantees Passport travelers the lowest available fares for their one-year period.

If at the end of the year the Passport holder believes the value of the trips taken is less than the Passport price, the entire travel itinerary will be computed to the lowest adult excursion fare published prior to departure.

If the actual fares used total less than the Passport purchase price, the difference will be refunded, minus a $25 processing fee.

A mature traveler may also purchase a Get Up & Go Passport at the same price for a companion of any age, even a grandchild, for use whenever the companion travels with the senior passport holder.

For more information and to receive an application, phone (800) 225-8300 or call your travel agent.

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Through a new program from Grand Circle Travel, mature travelers over 50 can earn cash and trip credits.

If a "Vacation Ambassador" brings in from one to 11 new customers in a calendar year, he or she receives 1% of the price of each person's trip in cash or 3% of the trip prices in credit toward their next Grand Circle vacation.

If the ambassador brings in 12 or more new customers, he or she will receive 2% of the prices of the trips booked in cash or 5% of the trip prices in vacation credits. If 15 people book the same trip, the ambassador can take the same trip free.

Grand Circle Travel, founded 30 years ago and today the nation's leading direct marketer of travel for people over 50, is also offering two new trips into the southwest and northwest regions of China: the fabled Treasures of the Silk Route, and the far reaches of Tibet.

Silk route visits include Narita (Japan), Beijing, Urumqu, Turpan, Dunhuang, Xian, Shanghai, Guilin (China), and Hong Kong.

Sights along the way range from Mao's Tomb, the Great Wall, the Flying Horse of Gansu and the Terra Cotta Army to the less-visited Uygur yurt or tent home, a sheep farm, a Kazakh commune and the floating sampan village of Aberdeen.

The Far Frontier covering China and Tibet takes adventurous travelers into the ancient region of Tibet along with visits to Narita, Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Lhasa, Xigaze, Guilin, Guangzhou (China) and Hong Kong.

Tour members will have an opportunity to sample authentic Szechwan cuisine and view the Dalai Lama's residence in the Himalayas.

Prices for the Treasures of the Silk Route start at $3,175 for 22 days; for the Far Frontier it's $3,675 for 24 days. For a copy of the new China and the Orient catalogue, as well as the Vacation Ambassador program, call toll-free (800) 248-3737.

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Image Hotels of America is offering a 20% discount off the room rates at all Image Inns and Image Suites properties to mature travelers 55 and over. All rates include full breakfast.

There are three Image Hotels in the San Diego area: Image Suites at Point Loma, Image Inns at Mission Bay and Image Inns at Encinitas.

At each property, 40% of the rooms are reserved for non-smokers.

Features include swimming pool and spa, and most locations provide a TV with VCR and a film library. Microwave ovens and refrigerators are available.

A 20% discount off of the menu is also offered at Ringles by the Bay, which is within walking distance of the Image Inn at Mission Bay.

Season rates for the Encinitas property range from $34 to $75; for the Mission Bay property, $39 to $85, and for the suites hotel in Point Loma, $49 to $75 (deluxe rooms) and $69 to $95 (suite rooms). For more information, call toll-free (800) 828-8111.

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