The travel deals that have characterized most of 2009 are rolling right along, heading deep into the fall, as industry vendors continue to try to pump up business during the recession - and this traditionally slow time of year.
Here's a line on some interesting deals that have filled my inbox in recent days. As always, be detail-oriented and check the terms with providers if you consider booking.
*American Airlines is offering double elite-qualifying miles for various levels of its AAdvantage frequent-flyer program for travel on American through Dec. 15 (www.aa.com/elitestatus). Book with the promotion code DBLEQ.
* United Airlines, Virgin America and others are offering discounted fares to and from the San Francisco Bay Area for fall and winter travel. Deals center on San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport, as reported by the travel bargain Web site TravelZoo.com. Sample fares - one-way, based on round-trip purchases, before taxes and fees - include San Francisco-Las Vegas from $49 and Oakland-Boston from $109. For more information, go to www.virginamerica.com, www.united.com or www.travelzoo.com/Newsflash).
* Speaking of airfare sales, Continental Airlines has a good business-class fare from its U.S. hubs in Newark, Cleveland and Houston to prime locales in Europe (www.continental.com). The catch: Deals are for travel during the U.S. Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Prices are as low as $1,130 roundtrip and nonstop from Newark to Europe from Nov. 21-Nov. 27, and back to Newark from Nov. 26-Dec. 4. Slightly higher but still good fares obtain on the same routes for those willing to fly over the Christmas holiday.
* The designer boutique hotel Opposite House, in Beijing (www.oppositehouse.com), is offering a third night free for guests who book two previous consecutive nights. Rates start at $337 U.S.
Offer is good through Dec. 31, and includes add-ons such as breakfast for two on weekends and a guided cultural walk around Beijing on Saturdays.
* Another American Airlines promotion: Selected destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, the Bahamas and Bermuda are on sale through Sept. 15, good for travel to and from the United States till Nov. 19. There are no advance purchase requirements and no embargo dates. The terms include a minimum 2-day and maximum 30-day stay. Sample fares - one-way based on round-trip purchase, before taxes and fees: Washington, D.C.-Kingston, Jamaica, $95; Chicago-Montego Bay, Jamaica, $100. (www.aa.com).
* Some 75 California winemakers, hotels and restaurants are rolling out special deals throughout September, dubbed California Wine Month in the Golden State. Deals encompass the prime winemaking regions in northern California's Napa and Sonoma valleys and southern California's productive Paso Robles area (www.visitcalifornia.com).
Here's wishing you a fabulous fall.
I'll be departing late tonight to Asia, to experience and write about "voluntourism'' - the giving-back by travelers to communities in need.
I'll also be blogging frequently about the high points of some great Asian destinations. You'll be hearing more about the latest happenings in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Bangkok, among others, as well as impressions of my airline journeys (I'm booked on Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair) and no fewer than six Shangri-la hotels and resorts in east Asia.