The Tactical Traveler

FOR MAY 3, 2000


This week: New hotels and flights help fill demand in Silicon Valley; online hotel locators identify properties with high-speed Internet access; Marriott Rewards launches Elite Membership; Wyndham Hotels debuts By Requestv recognition program; USAirways offers Dividend Miles statements via email; Canadian Airlines exits the Canadian version of American Express Membership Rewards; and more.

COST-CUTTERS: Take Ten at Vanguard
Vanguard Airlines, ( the 5-year-old low-fare carrier based in Kansas City, is offering 10 percent off all ticket prices. The catches: you must buy directly at the Vanguard site, purchase your seats by Friday, May 5, and complete your travel by June 30. Vanguard currently serves nine cities, including major business-travel destinations such as Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh.

Anyone who's visited the Silicon Valley lately knows that the area's booming economy has strained the existing travel infrastructure. Flights are packed, hotels rooms are hard to find, and car rentals are in short supply. Some relief is on the way, however. A Candlewood Suites ( opened in Santa Clara late last month. The hotel (408-241-9305) has 98 studio suites and 24 one-bedroom suites. Through May 31, rates start at $99 a night. In Palo Alto, a 184-room Westin officially opened on Monday; rates start at $299 a night. And American Airlines ( is adding flights at San Jose International Airport ( Flights to Honolulu began this week and American will begin service to Phoenix (three daily roundtrips) and Denver (four daily) on July 2. The carrier is also adding additional daily flights to its hubs at New York/Kennedy, Chicago/O'Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth.

BEST OF THE WEB: Finding a High-Speed Hotel Connection
Business travelers are beginning to book hotels based on the availability of rooms with high-speed access, but hotel chains have yet to create pages on their sites to feature the locations with the service. However, three of the companies that install the high-speed infrastructure have placed hotel locators on their respective sites. These include: CAIS Internet, which is also placing print advertisements showcasing hotel locations; STSN; and Wayport. High-speed access prices vary by hotel, but most are charging $10 for unlimited daily access.

MILES & POINTS: New Programs, New Wrinkles, Abrupt Departures
Marriott Rewards ( launches Elite Membership ( on June 1. The program has three tiers, based strictly on the number of nightly stays at the nine participating Marriott hotel brands. Fifteen nights earns silver status and gold status kicks in at 50 nights. Seventy-five nights are required for Platinum Elite status. USAirways ( says Dividend Miles members can now receive monthly statements via Email. Travelers who sign up for the service ( before June 30 receive a 500-mile bonus. Wyndham Hotels ( has launched By Requestv, ( a chain-wide recognition program. The company will continue awarding frequent-flyer miles, however. In fact, it is offering 1,500 miles a stay at Wyndham and Summerfield Suites hotels through June 30. Sol Melia, ( the Spanish chain which operates 250 hotels in 25 countries, has launched its MaS frequent-stay program ( in the United States. Canadian Airlines ( has abruptly exited the Canadian version of American Express Membership Rewards.

VACATION STATION: Parks, Theme Parks and Politics
The cost of visiting a theme park is skyrocketing, according to Amusement Business ( magazine. The average adult admission to a U.S. theme park is now $37, an increase of $2.70 compared to last year. Calculated based on a survey of 30 theme parks, the increase is the largest in seven years. The National Park Service ( now says it will crack down on snowmobile use ( in the parks. Virtually unlimited snowmobile use has been common in the parks and environmentalists claim the Park Service has ignored contrary regulations that date back to the 1970s. The world's annoyance at Austria for including a far-right party in the new government was short-lived. After a sharp drop in foreign visitors in February, travelers returned to Austria in droves in March. According to official statistics, overnight stays in Austria jumped 15 percent this part March compared to March, 1999.

This column originally appeared at

Copyright 1999-2010 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.