THE New World group is reported to be negotiating to buy 100 per cent of Penta Hotels, owned by Lufthansa and a German bank. Penta has about 15 hotels, mostly in Europe. Should the deal fall through, New World may switch its interest to another European group, Scandic Crown hotels. In a separate transaction, New World's Ramada has taken over the operation of two Penta hotels, at London's Gatwick and Heathrow airports. THE triangle fare for Hongkong-South Africa-Europe-Hongkong has risen from $18,110 to $19,200. But one new routing is allowed (making six patterns from Hongkong), flying Cathay Pacific to Johannesburg, then Air Portugal to Lisbon and on to any Cathay gateway in Europe for the return flight. IN MANILA, the Galleria Suites, part of the same group asthe Cebu and Manila Midtown hotels, is due to open in April. The new hotel is in EDSA, near Shangri-La's EDSA Plaza hotel and the Mega Mall shopping and entertainment centre. Despite its name, only about 150 of the 400 units are suites. Introductory rates are US$90 (HK$700) for rooms and US$120 for studio suites. Book direct, phone (63-2) 633-7111 or fax (63-2) 633-2824. THE British Airways flight London-Hongkong-Taipei, originally in the schedules for a January start, has been restructured and delayed until March 29. To avoid protest from China, the airline will form a 100-per cent subsidiary, British Asia Airways, to operate the Taiwan route. The flight will operate twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Sundays from Hongkong. Contact British Airways on 868-0303. THERE has been a big hidden increase on travel passes for America's state-owned train operation, Amtrak. A 30-day unlimited pass for the US costs US$389 (up from US$349 for a 45-day unlimited pass) and US$309 off-peak. The Far Western pass, covering California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada is up US$30 to US$229, off-peak US$209. Book through your travel agency. ANOTHER Hongkong-London air fare bargain has been announced. The round-trip on Singapore Airlines costs just $5,995 including seven days' car rental in the UK, or three nights hotel accommodation in London, or two nights accommodation in Singapore. The offer is only available on SIA's six-times-weekly daylight flight which leaves Singapore at 11 am and arrives in London about 7 pm the same day. But only on two days, Mondays and Saturdays, are there direct connections from Hongkong. On the other days, travellers will need to stop over one night in Singapore - but this is included in the $5,995 price. Another condition is that the fare is based on two people travelling together (so $11,990 for a couple). The offer is available only from March 29 to the end of May. Contact P & O Travel on 543-3878 or fax 815-1202. ALITALIA gives 180 frequent flier points for a one-way flight to Europe in economy class, 280 in business and 380 in first. A one-way ticket to Europe ''costs'' 1,000 points (and only 1,500 points for two one-way tickets) in economy class, 1,700 (2,500) in business and 2,400 (3,500) in first. The airline also has flights from Hongkong to Manila and Seoul. These flights earn 60 points in economy, 120 in business and 200 first, and tickets on these routes ''cost'' 500, 850 and 1,000. Wallem Travel is a designated agency for Alitalia, phone 821-3868. Information compiled by Travel Database, GPO Box 12761, Hongkong. Fax 507-4620.