Posted by: Tyler Colman (a.k.a. Dr. Vino)

smartcar Would you drive a free rental car?

Walking around Paris during the last week, I’ve seen a few Smart cars completely smothered in ads.

Finally I got up the gumption to inquire with a driver leaving a Smart car plastered with fish, advertising a plasma TV: “Do you get paid for these ads?”

“110 euros a month,” he said. “It pays for my gas!”

He elaborated that there was one pink ad a few months ago that he found particularly embarrassing but otherwise he didn’t really mind the rotating ad program.

It started me thinking: drivers get paid for ads. EasyJet and RyanAir get paid to come to certain airports. Could there ever be a synthesis in the free rental car, one covered in ads? OK, even if it weren’t free, just discounted, would you drive around in what amounted to a sedan-sized billboard?

Have your say in the comments!

Tyler Colman, Ph.D. clutters up the internet writing about wine on DrVino.com.

Posted by: Mark Ashley

mini golf windmill Free golf courtesy of Star AllianceThe Star Alliance wants to give you a free round of golf or a free golf lesson if you travel on one of their member airlines internationally.

It’s 18 holes of real golf, not mini golf, despite my choice of image. (As an aside, if you demand more images of minigolf windmills, see here.)

The deal: Register at the Star Alliance golf offer site, GetPracticing.com. Then buy an international ticket on one of their airlines. El Cheapo Deluxe fares won’t cut it, unfortunately. Tickets need to be in Y, B, or M fares (high-end economy), or full fare business and first. Gee, thanks. But if you’re already intending to go on one of these fares, and you like golf, you might as well get that extra perk. Bizarrely, the offer is open only to residents of the United States and China (but not Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan).

Three days after travel, you should receive an e-mail with the voucher for the free golf. The list of golf courses that participate (limited availability, first-come, first-served, etc., etc.) is pretty extensive, spanning 22 countries, including Pebble Beach (good luck getting that one.)

(image, via The MiniGolf Enthusiast)

Categorized in: free stuff, Star Alliance
Posted by: Mark Ashley

Update December 9, 2007:
The freetraveling.com site is dead. So the list of promotional codes for American Airlines and other carriers, linked below, is down. However, there IS a 5% discount codes for American Airlines, as well as a discount for US Airways Vacations, in the 2008 edition of the Entertainment book, which may be a worthwhile investment.

The text of the original post follows, as originally published.


The folks at FreeTraveling.com have compiled a list of promo codes (Edit: link is deleted, as the site is dead) for several U.S. airlines.

Most of the discounts are for American Airlines, but I found codes for Continental and Northwest as well.

To find your code, you need to select your destination city from a pulldown menu first. At this point, there are about 40 cities with promo codes.

Discounts aren’t always available for every time frame, much less on every airline, but it’s worth taking a look before you buy.

To use the codes, you may need to select “advanced” fare search options on the airlines’ websites. They don’t always make it immediately apparent.

Alternate way to get a discount: Buy an Entertainment book. The price of the book varies according to the “home” location, but each book contains a 5% discount code for American Airlines.

Miles Part 1: United Airlines alters its online booking bonus
Say goodbye to the 1000-mile booking bonus on United.com. It’s been revised to 500 miles for the roundtrip. BUT… while they taketh away, they also now giveth an online booking bonus of 250 miles for one-way trips, and 500 for circle-trips and open-jaws. Unfortunately, they still aren’t plugging the codeshare hole: If ANY of your flights are on a United codeshare partner (other than United Express or Ted) or if the itinerary includes any connections on another airline, you won’t get the bonus. Asinine.

Miles Part 2: Delta limits your routings for frequent flyer mile redemptions
When you’re trying to get from point A to point B, nonstop flights are usually the preference. But if you’re cashing in miles to travel halfway ’round the world, it’s sometimes nice to break up the trip a little, even if only for one night, to spend a little time in a city along the way. (On international routings, many programs allow you to break up the trip without penalty if there are less than 24 hours layover.) Delta is making such itineraries harder to create. Domestic itineraries will be limited to two stops each way, and international itineraries max out at three stops. If you’re not flying from a major hub, this might affect you more than you think. Gary Leff has the lowdown.

Miles Part 3: US Airways ending partnership with Qantas
Frankly, I’m amazed this hasn’t ended earlier, since US Airways is in Star Alliance and Qantas is in oneworld. As USA Today’s Ben Mutzabaugh reports, you’ll have until February 28 to earn US Airways miles on Qantas. February 28 is also your deadline for booking Qantas award tickets with US miles, though your deadline for flying on that ticket is January 31, 2008.

Free gold status with Hilton?
Not sure if this will work, but Gary Leff (again!) offers a possible way to get Hilton Gold for free. Use this link and enter code EMOD.

Free dream vacation?
CondeNast Traveler’s Wendy Perrin invites you to submit a description of your dream vacation. The winner gets what they ask for. Be creative!

shatner transformed man Short hops    January 18, 2007    Frequent flyer miles, free stuff, and William ShatnerJanuary 18 is William Shatner Travel Blog Appreciation Day
Not sure why, but two — count ‘em, two! — separate blogs written by journalists draw lessons on the travel world by reference to William Shatner. Coincidence, or providence? Benet Wilson invokes the prime-time Shatner in discussing the TSA, while Chris Elliott salutes “The Shat” and his Priceline-hawking skill. I have no relevant Shatner link-ups to make, so I’ll just slap up an image of his amazing 1968 album, The Transformed Man. Update: Shatner’s album has been remastered and re-released! Wow. His renditions of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” are legendary. Here’s the reprint at Amazon.com. (aff. link)

Chicago area to Phoenix area for $1
New discount airline SkyValue is offering $1 tickets from Chicago-Gary Airport (in Gary, Indiana) to Mesa Williams Gateway Airport (outside of Phoenix). Kickin’ it Ryanair style! Alas, the $1 flights are only available on January 24, but return flights are only $79 plus taxes. And the taxes are low, since neither airport seems to charge a passenger service fee. I found (but didn’t buy) long-weekend roundtrip tickets for $91.80 per person, all-in. SkyValue flies Boeing 737-800 jets. Their website is jaw-droppingly horrendous, like it was designed by a teenager in 1996. (via CheapFlights)

FedEx installs first anti-missile system on a commercial jet
We may not be safe from missile attacks in the air, but our overnight deliveries are. The first anti-missile system on a plane was just installed.

“Singapore Girls”: A sexist stereotype or a national treasure?
Regardless of your stand, Singapore Airlines’ flight attendants may be undergoing a makeover.

If you thought hotel pay-per-view was racy now…
…Just wait until they start offering live-action pay-per-view. It’s coming.


218725522 e91c7a321a SkyEurope pays you to fly with them (sorta)
Discount intra-European airline SkyEurope is one-upping the Ryanairs and Easyjets of the world by offering tickets at NEGATIVE base fares. They claim to be the first airline to pay the passenger to fly with them.

And indeed, I was able to price out a one-way ticket from London to Bratislava on November 23 with a base fare of -₤1. Taxes and fees come on top of that of course, making it a ₤19.19 one-way ticket, so you’re still paying something for the flight. It’s a marketing gimmick, but still, that’s pretty cheap.

Book by midnight Sunday, October 22.

(Thanks to reader Lar!)
(image: tj.de)


connexion Free inflight internet through January 1, 2007
While Boeing has thrown in the towel on its satellite-based Connexion inflight internet service, there is a short-lived silver lining on this cloud.

Until the lights are turned off, you can use the service for FREE through the end of the year.

You need to sign up for the service in order to use it. See here.

As reported earlier, Panasonic is considering reviving the service in 2007, but it won’t be immediate or seamless. Milk the free internet while you can, though.

(via inflighthq)