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The Mature Traveler

Where It Pays to Count the Years

May 08, 1988|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 30-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks. and

The older you are, the cheaper you fly is the basic premise of Northwest Airlines' new senior discount air fare.

Starting at age 65, when you can get a 65% discount, (Northwest discounts match each age level) means that at 100 years you can fly free.

The all-too-short program is in effect through June 8 and is good on any Northwest flights, excluding its "airlink" flights and those to Hawaii and Alaska. Discounts apply only to the carrier's full coach domestic fares.

Travel can be any days except Friday and Sunday or May 31. Trips must include at least two nights' stay before a return trip. Reservations must be paid and tickets bought at least seven days ahead.

There is no penalty for cancellation. Proof of age and identification are all that are required for the discount.

"The stock phrase, 'I'm not getting older, just better,' deserves an updating to 'the older you are, the greater the discount gets,' " said A. B. Magary, executive vice president for marketing. "We want to make the price of an airline seat on Northwest so attractive to seniors that they can catch up on visiting family and friends in other cities or take a deserved vacation."

Northwest will follow its brief age-discount program with the Worldhorizons Senior Club starting June 1. Details are still being worked out. It will be a membership program with discounted fares for seniors, set now at age 65, that is expected to be competitive with United's Silver Wings, American Airlines' Senior SAAvers and TWA's Senior Travel Club. For reservations, phone toll-free (800) 225-2525.

Chandris Cruise Lines has announced a new senior discount and special events programs on Bermuda cruises from New York on the liner Amerikanis.

From Sept. 11 to Oct. 23 seniors 65 and older can save 50% off the regular fare of a second adult sharing the cabin.

Bermuda Senior Saver Cruises depart New York on the 610-passenger Amerikanis Sunday afternoon and return Saturday afternoon following two days at historic St. George's in Bermuda.

"Our Senior Savers are more than a good value. We've added Golden Age-era music and special events with senior appeal to our program to make this the buy of the fall season," said Harry Haralambopoulos, Chandris executive director.

For more information contact Chandris Fantasy Cruises, 900 3rd Ave., New York 10022, phone (800) 621-3446, or see your travel or cruise agent.

Quality International, which offers a regular mature traveler discount of 10% at more than 800 hotels in the United States and Canada, is upping that saving to 30% in its PrimeTime Senior Saver program.

To get the 30% you must make reservations at least 30 days in advance and make a one-night deposit. The offer is open to members of AARP and United's Silver Wings Plus Club. The new program applies only to a limited number of rooms at each hotel, so early reservations are advised. Reservations may be canceled up to 30 days before the visit without losing the deposit.

In San Francisco the newly refurbished Hotel Bedford has a Golden Advantage program for mature travelers 55 and over, including a special $75-a-night rate for two, a 15% saving from the regular rate of $89.

The program includes a complimentary copy of the Golden Advantage, an exclusive and comprehensive directory to senior discounts in the San Francisco Bay area. It includes transportation, sightseeing, shopping, dining and entertainment discounts.

The 17-story, 144-room hotel is three blocks from Union Square at 761 Post St. For information, call (800) 652-1889 from California or (800) 227-5642 outside California.

Sea Escape, which offers one-day cruises to Freeport/Lucaya in the Bahamas from Miami and Port Canaveral, has discount rates for seniors. Regular cruise rate is $99, which does not include a cabin but does include three meals. Through June the senior rate is $54 from Port Canaveral, $69 from Miami. Cruise cabins are an additional $45 inside and $65 outside (cabins are not required for the brief cruise). For information, phone (800) 327-7400.

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