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The Bargain Corner

Rainbow of Savings Down Under

May 15, 1988|JACK ADLER

Flag Inns, which has about 470 properties in Australia and an additional 70 in New Zealand, is offering a South Pacific hotel pass with vouchers that provide discounts running from a few dollars to 30%.

The color-coded vouchers are red, blue, green and yellow in Australia and red, blue and green in New Zealand. The red-, blue- and green-coded properties tend to be more expensive and central. Yellow vouchers are for more out-of-the-way properties.

The more expensive the property, the greater the discount. The regular rate at the Southern Cross Hotel in Melbourne is about $138 U.S. for two, with a red voucher selling for $97 on the same double-occupancy basis.

All of the red, blue and green vouchers provide a saving, but only about 80% of the yellow ones.

Regular rates in some cases in New Zealand may even be less than the worth of the voucher. But the vouchers include the goods and services tax of 10% that would otherwise have to be paid. The end result is generally a saving.

With all prices based on double occupancy, the red vouchers in Australia sell for $97, the blue for $79, the green for $57 and the yellow for $36. In New Zealand the red vouchers go for $79, the blue for $67 and the green for $53.

Another advantage of the vouchers is that their value is good for all of 1988, even if hotels raise their rates and regardless of the fluctuation of the dollar. Purchases of vouchers can be in any combination of colors and in any amounts.

The red vouchers can be used at any property. Similarly, the blue vouchers can be used for properties marked blue, green or yellow, and the green vouchers are good at any green- or yellow-coded places. The yellow vouchers are only valid at yellow-coded accommodations. But no refund is provided for using a more expensive voucher at a lesser-priced property.

Refunds for unused vouchers are offered upon return to the United States, minus a $20 administrative charge.

Bookings can be made in advance in the United States. Subsequent reservations can be made in Australia and New Zealand through a toll-free number. It's always a good idea to make a reservation for your first night abroad.

Contact travel agents or Flag Inns at (800) 624-FLAG. Flag Inns also provides free directories that include the color-coded roster of properties, regular rate listings and pertinent city and street maps.

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