Two free nights in a hotel when you book a flight to London

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Here's your chance to let British Airways pick up the tab for a couple of nights -- in a three- or four-star hotel no less.

With a new promotion from British Airways, when you book a flight to London from a choice of 20 U.S. gateways, the airline will put you up for two nights for free in a hotel. Of the properties included with the offer, most have great city-center locations with brand names you'll recognize (Hilton, Holiday Inn, Best Western, and so on).

Flights start at $206 each way from the New York City area (JFK and Newark), and run, for example, $244 from Boston, $252 from Washington, D.C., $259 from Houston, and $279 from San Francisco. All of these fares are one way based on the purchase of a round-trip ticket. Taxes and fees aren't included in these rates, and they'll add a few hundred more dollars onto your total. A seven-day advance purchase is required, and the cheapest flights will be for travel on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Tickets must be purchased by October 26, and travel is valid between October 21 and April 3, 2011, and there are some blackout dates -- namely, December 20, 21, and 22.

All of these restrictions and extra charges are pretty standard. What's unusual, however, is that there's an airline willing to pay for two nights' lodging during your vacation.

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