|Want another way to rack up frequent flier miles? Check out American Airlines AAdvantage's new partnership with The World's Leading Cruise Lines -- also known as the family-of-Carnival. The program, which involves all of the Carnival companies -- Carnival, Costa, Windstar, Seabourn, Holland America, and Cunard -- is pretty straightforward. Buy a trip through AAdvantage Cruises and you get a varying number of frequent flier miles. For Carnival Corp. -- whoops -- The World's Leading Cruise Lines, the appeal of the partnership is an opportunity to reach out to one of the airline industry's largest passenger bases, not to mention a new sales venue. American AAdvantage has "offered land packages," says World's Leading Cruise Line's Vice President Lynn Torrent, "but did not have a cruise presence."|
How does it work? Sailings of 1 - 5 days automatically earn the program's minimum --1,500 advantage points. Trips that last 13 or more nights get the maximum - 10,000. Anybody who books a cruise through AAdvantage Cruises between now and December 31, 2002 gets a 5,000 mile bonus.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the program is that the points are awarded solely based on days sailed -- a weeklong cruise on the more expensive Seabourn, for instance, would earn the very same number of frequent flier miles as a 7-day Caribbean bargain on Carnival. Travelers must either buy the cruise via AAdvantage Cruises' web site (www.aadvantagecruise.com/.com) or call its toll free number. A third party travel agency actually handles the details once the sale is made. Port fees and taxes are not included in the fares and AAdvantage Cruises tacks on a $15 service fee.
Caveat emptor, however -- you may want to compare AAdvantageCruise's prices -- and decide how much you really are willing to pay for those extra miles. We found, for instance, that a four-day Western Caribbean cruise on Carnival's Fascination, departing January 13, was selling for "as-low-as" $269 on the AAdvantage Cruises -- and $155 on Cruise411.com.