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The Bargain Corner

Sleep Easier in Britain

May 22, 1988|JACK ADLER

The Bonusbreaks program offered by Palo Alto-based Great Exchange allows you to stay free at about 400 hotels, primarily in Great Britain and France, when you eat a minimum number of meals at these properties.

You also have to fly round trip on Pan American to Great Britain, France or Ireland, using any fares except those bought from travel consolidators.

Because consolidator-sold tickets can offer low-fare opportunities, not being able to use them should be figured along with the savings.

Air bookings can be made through travel agents or Great Exchange, with the latter afterward sending a Bonusbreaks packet of five coupons and a Bonusbreaks card usable for discounts at more than 500 restaurants throughout Great Britain, including about 50 in London.

Coupons are good for free hotel rooms on a double-occupancy basis. However, you must eat breakfast and either lunch or dinner at the hotel each day (you could have dinner one day and breakfast the following morning if you're staying one night). You can stay at any of the properties for a maximum of three nights on this basis.

The minimum daily meal expenditures at each property, as well as their combined value in the local currency, are listed in the information. Meal expenditures range from $20 to $50 per person for the two meals combined.

Wine and liquor are separate expenses with meals. If you don't eat the two meals, you'll be assessed their value at checkout. That amount then becomes the rate for your room, which will still be considerably less than what the regular room rate would have been, Great Exchange says.

London is excluded from the "free hotel" aspect of the program, but there are 18 hotels in the British capital where you can get special rates of about $25 a night per person.

This year the free hotel program has been expanded to cover 100 hotels in France, including Rouen, Le Havre, Caen, Bayeux, Strasbourg, Deauville and Toulouse. Paris is not included. Some hotels in the Netherlands, including several in Amsterdam, also participate in the program as well as a few properties in other Western European nations.

The packet also lists the restaurants offering discounts and the times when they welcome card holders.

A code indicates the specific discount offered, which might be one complimentary full meal or main course when two people are dining. Not all the restaurants allow use of a credit card on a discount, so check first.

Great Exchange can make your first night's hotel reservation. After that, travelers have to handle their own bookings.

Contact Great Exchange at (800) 243-8883.

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