A free flight to a palm-fringed isle might seem a bit tame compared to US Airways’ latest award for frequent fliers: a trip aboard a sub-orbital passenger space ship.
No such flights are planned until 2004, but it could take a while to earn the 10 million Dividend Miles required.
The new award was announced in a statement on Monday by US Airways and Space Adventures Ltd., the space tourism firm that helped arrange the commercial space flight of U.S. millionaire Dennis Tito last year and currently is organizing the flight of South African millionaire Mark Shuttleworth to the International Space Station.
“Participants will be able to climb aboard a sub-orbital spacecraft and fly to an altitude of 65 miles, experience several minutes of weightlessness and see the planet from space,” the statement said. “Upon return to Earth, participants earn their astronaut wings!”
Without the use of frequent-flier miles, the space flight would cost $98,000, according to the Space Adventures Web site, www.spaceadventures.com. On the Web site, a drawing of the craft makes it look a bit like NASA’s space shuttles.
The sub-orbital flight is one of four space-related awards for US Airways’ frequent fliers.
For 30,000 miles plus $650, passengers can get a tour of Kennedy Space Center in Florida including a presentation by former astronauts, while 250,000 miles plus $2,000 gets a flight in zero-gravity.
A flight on a MiG-25 jet fighter can be had for 275,000 miles plus $8,000, according to the US Airways Web site, www.usairways.com.
By contrast, frequent fliers can get a round-trip coach ticket between the continental United States and the Caribbean for 20,000 miles plus $225.