Going Places – consumer news and travel
Save $500 on Wendy Wu’s Sapporo & Snow Monkeys 12-day package which includes accommodation, international and Japan internal flights, most meals, time in Tokyo, Nagano, Sapporo for the Ice and Snow Festival and Otaru for its Snow Light Path Festival.
Departing Australia on February 1. From $9480 a person twin-share if booked by July 9. Phone 1300 727 998. See wendywutours.com.au
Save up to $890 on Insight Vacations’ 15-day Spectacular Scandinavia and its Fjords escorted journey. Begin in Copenhagen and see Sweden including the capital Stockholm, and Norway, including the fjords, Bergen and Oslo where the tour concludes.
Priced from $4950 a person for the July 31 and August 19 departures. Phone 1800 001 781. See insightvacations.com
Save $1050 a couple on seven nights at Club Med Kani in the Maldives. The deal is on a twin-share club room and covers Club Med’s all-inclusive offering.
From $2515 a person, twin share. On sale till September 15 for travel November 1 to April 30. Phone 1800 044 066 and quote deal code 4147028. See travel-associates.com.au
Seven nights in Tahiti includes five nights at the Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa in an overwater bungalow with breakfast, two nights at Manava Suite Resort Tahiti in a standard room, return economy flights and transfers throughout, including inter-island catamaran transfer.
From $3709 a person twin-share. It’s just one of a suite of deals from Air Tahiti Nui, on sale till June 30. Phone 1800 234 444. See airtahitinui.com.au
Take two kids, one under 11, the other under 5, for free to the Pullman Khao Lak Katiliya Resort & Villas in Thailand for a holiday with all meals and lots of other inclusions.
$999 an adult twin-share for value up to $5083. On sale till June 25 or until sold out. Travel until October 2017. Phone 1300 889 900. See LuxuryEscapes.com
Save 50 per cent on an 11-night round trip cruise to Vanuatu departing Cairns on Pacific Eden, October 4.
Fares start at $699 a person quad-share and the cruise visits Santo, Port Vila, Mystery Island and Noumea. It includes main meals onboard, entertainment and most onboard activities.
On sale till sold out. Phone 132 494. See pocruises.com.au
Save $1000 on a package that includes return air, a night in London with breakfast, a 14-night Iceland cruise aboard P&O’s Arcadia round trip from Southampton, and two nights’ accommodation in Singapore including breakfast.
$4999 a person twin-share if booked by June 30. Departs Australia August 5. Phone 1300 813 391. See ditravel.com.au
Travelmarvel’s “Fly Free” deal on its Europe River Cruising 2017 trips includes an offer of business class for $2995 on bookings of A or A+ suites on cruises of 15 days or more. Many cruises also have no single supplement.
Offer is available until sold out, and also applies to select departures. Phone 1300 196 420. See travelmarvel.com.au
Pier One Sydney Harbour is offering a winter special which gives late check-out of 1pm and up to 30 per cent off room rates . The Marriott Autograph Collection property is right on the water, not far from Sydney Harbour Bridge. From $246 a room a night. Valid for sale and stays till August 31. Phone (02) 8298 9999. See marriott.com.au
Get three nights for the price of two at Crown Plaza hotel Adelaide in a package that also includes a tour of Penfolds Estate with wine tasting, transfers and some internet.
It costs from $409 a person twin-share. Valid for sale and stays till August 31. Phone 1300 939 414 and quote deal code 4122974. See flightcentre.com.au
Never buy foreign currency at the airport you’re departing from, do it at your arrival airport instead and you should get a better rate.
MITCHELL TAYLOR, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TAYLORS WINES
Q. What are your tips on picking a wine from an unfamiliar list when travelling?
A. Finding a new favourite wine while travelling is a rewarding and memorable experience, and it often leads to a passionate search for that same wine when you get back home. But to be sure you pick a winner when you’re looking at an unfamiliar wine list, there are a few key pointers I keep in mind when travelling abroad.
As a general rule while travelling, aim for the mid-price range. You’ll generally find a more interesting wine style or variety while snagging a bargain. Normally, the cheapest wines are from lesser multi-regional areas of high volume production, while the highest priced wines can be a disappointment due to their age and large mark-up.
If you’re feeling chatty, and possibly in the local language, check in with the restaurant’s sommelier, bartender or waiter to help you pick a variety that is similar to one you like from home. For instance, if you’re travelling through Spain and love your Pinot Noirs, the sommelier may suggest something like a Mencia, which is an equally delicate wine that really captures the essence of where it comes from, much like Australian Pinot Noir wines.
To further encourage a good wine selection, challenge the restaurant staff to put their reputation on your selection, and let them know that you will recommend their restaurant and wine list if they help you find a great wine.
And if you’re more of a tech person, try one of the wine apps, like Delectable or Vivino to see how other consumers from around the world are rating different wines.
THE BIG ISSUE
Business class on the cheap
US-based Fly Business for Less is the offshoot of a US real estate operation that harvests big numbers of frequent flyer points in the course of doing business. FBFL operates as a points broker, using those points to purchase business and first-class tickets for flyers who want to travel in those classes at a discount.
And the discounts are huge – anything from 30 to 50 per cent off the cheapest premium class ticket purchased from the airline itself. It’s one of a number of US-based outfits operating along similar lines.
Sounds too good to be true? There’s a catch. Such a ticket violates the terms and conditions that most airlines impose on their reward flights, which stipulate that their frequent flyer points are to be used for the benefit of the flyer who earns them and their family members.
However, from anecdotal evidence and review site reports, it appears that US airlines are the only ones inclined or able to police their own T&Cs diligently. Evidence also suggests that these carriers will probably deny boarding to any passenger discovered to be holding such a ticket.
One way that operations like FBFL use to get around the problem of ticketing is to open a frequent flyer account in the name of the passenger and deposit points to that account.
According to a spokesperson for FBFL, passengers holding their tickets have been denied boarding only on very few occasions. Should that happen, according to the spokesperson, a call to FBFL is all it takes to get them rebooked on the next available flight.
A cut-price seat at the pointy end on a premier airline is a tempting proposition. If you plan to fly on a ticket bought through any points broker, paying with a credit card should offer you some level of protection if things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to.
Michael Gebicki travelled as a guest of Fly Business For Less.