The French National Railroads is expanding its France Rail-and-Drive program to include air travel. Two packages, offered by the railroad, Air Inter and Avis, will allow visitors to combine travel by rail, road and air.
One package is for 8 days of travel - 4 days by train, 3 days of car rental and 1 day of unlimited air travel - during a 15-day period. A 17-day package offers 2 days of unlimited air travel, 9 days of rail travel and 6 days by car within a month.Prices for the 8-day package begin at $199 a person for two people, at $299 for a person traveling alone. The 17-day program begins at $349 a person for two, $499 for one. Air travel is subject to seat availability.
The packages go on sale Jan. 1. More information: French National Railroads, 610 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10020; 212-582-2110.
As of Jan. 1, American Express will provide collision damage waiver coverage to those who pay for car rentals with its standard green card. Until now, the company had offered such coverage only with its gold card. In response, Hertz will raise its rates 3.5 to 5 percent January 1, citing an anticipated loss in revenue from waivers.
To get the American Express coverage, renters must decline the rental company's CDW option.
Such coverage is secondary, meaning that it pays only for what a renter's own automobile insurance does not cover.
Those without auto insurance get full coverage from the card.
There are some differences between green card and gold card use. Users of the gold card receive coverage for personal injury and medicial expenses and loss of personal property.
Green card users only get coverage for damage to the rented vehicle.
Users of Visa and MasterCard gold cards also get CDW coverage when those cards are used for rentals.
While American Express would not reveal the number of holders of its green card, an official said there are 22.1 million holders of all its cards - green, gold, platinum and corporate - and that "the vast majority" of those people have green cards.
Visa and MasterCard said they have no plans to offer CDW coverage for their nongold cards, but Joseph Russo, vice president of marketing for Hertz, said that he expects those card issuers to follow suit, in effect providing free collision damage waiver coverage for practically all car rentals.
"Once you add in MasterCard and Visa that makes 99 percent of car rental transactions," he said.
"TORONTO DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE PLUS" offers visitors 50 percent off room rates at more than 40 hotels from Thursday to Sunday until Feb. 25.
Visitors must ask for the package when booking.
Those who pay for their rooms with an America Express card get an upgraded room, if available. And those who buy a one-way or round-trip coach ticket for VIA Rail to Toronto get an upgrade to first class, if available, through March 1 by presenting a coupon that comes with a borchure on the program.
For more information or a brochure listing participating hotels: 800-268-3735; in Toronto 416-965-4008; in Montreal 800-937-0858.
IN THE BAHAMAS, three Resorts International properties are offering midweek guests a four-night Paradise Island Express package for the same price as a three-night weekend package, through Feb. 11.
Departures are from Newark, Hartford, Dulles Airport and Tampa and Orlando, Fla. Midweek costs from Newark for four nights start at $299 a person, double occupancy, at the Paradise Paradise Beach Resort. At Paradise Island Resort and Casino, the price begins at $369; at the Ocean Club $379. More information: 800-722-4262.
THE TOKYO HILTON INTERNATIONAL is offering a two-night Tokyo Advantage package through April 30.
For about $390 single and $470 double for the room for both nights, guests get a welcome sake, a fruit basket, American breakfast, use of the hotel's gym, sauna and indoor swimming pool and checkout delayed to 3 p.m. More information: 800-223-1146.