The Tactical Traveler

FOR JUNE 7, 2000


This week: Web rental car deals; CityPass discounts for seven major cities; what’s new and notable in New York, Toronto and Dallas; vacation bargains and perks; and more.

COST-CUTTERS: Web Deals (Well, Maybe…) for Rental Cars
Two leading car-rental firms, Avis and National, have launched web-only sales. But there's a catch: You don't know exactly how much you'll save or whether you'll save anything at all.

The Avis deal promises "savings of up to 15%" on rentals through July 10. But when you enter the promotion code (AWD number K359200), you get a price quote that can't be compared to any other rate. You must call the Avis telephone reservation line (800-331-1212) to compare prices and find out how much, if anything, the web-only price will save you. The same problem afflicts the National promotion, which promises you save "20 percent when you book your qualifying rental online." The deal (promotion code NCRWEB) is valid for rentals through June 30, but the web doesn't tell you if you're getting your 20 percent discount, a smaller price reduction, or no bargain at all. That you'll learn only if you call National (800-CAR-RENT) and try to book a similar rental over the telephone.

BEST OF THE WEB: Take a Pass on Seven Major Cities
CityPass has a new take on city passes, the pay-one-price programs that cover a destination's major attractions. Available for seven cities--Boston, Chicago, Hollywood, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle --the CityPass booklet contains actual tickets for six attractions; that eliminates waiting in line and the confusion over validity that afflicts some other pass plans. Each CityPass also booklet also includes discount coupons. CityPass San Francisco, for example, offers admission to three museums, the Steinhart Aquarium, the Exploratorium, and the Blue & Gold Bay cruise. It also includes a 7-day pass for the MUNI, the city's mass-transit system, and discount coupons for the theater and San Francisco Giants baseball. Prices vary by destination--the Hollywood booklet costs $49.75 for adults, for instance, while San Francisco costs $33.25--so check costs, rules and restrictions at the website.

ON THE FLY: New and Notable in New York, Toronto and Dallas
Hilton Hotels opened two hotels Tuesday in New York. The 444-room Hilton Times Square is also home to a new restaurant by super-chef Larry Forgione. The 463-suite Embassy Suites New York is located in Battery Park City, a mixed-use community just a few blocks from Wall Street. … Air Canada and its new subsidiary, Canadian Airlines, have combined operations at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Domestic and U.S. flights operate now operate from Terminal Two. International flights use Terminal One. … The commuter subsidiary of Continental Airlines has launched service to Dallas/Love Field from Continental's hub in Cleveland. There are three daily roundtrips using 50-seat regional jets.

VACATION STATION: Parks, Perks, Pisa and Alaska
Delta Air Lines has launched a daily roundtrip flight between its hub in Atlanta and Anchorage, Alaska. The flights will continue through September 30 using widebody B-767s. … American Airlines Vacations is offering 10,000 bonus miles on every package booked to Mexico or the Caribbean. The vacations must be booked by July 31 for travel between August 1 and mid-November. … The Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of Italy's most enduring tourist icons, has been closed to the public since 1990. But Italy's public works ministry says it will decide later this year if they can reopen the 12th Century structure to visitors. … Collette Tours has lowered the price of the June 23rd departure of its 9-day "Northern National Parks" tour price is $1,429 per person instead of the standard $1,569 and includes visits to four parks and 13 meals.

This column originally appeared at

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