What Would You Do With One Million Loyalty Points?

Loyalty
the Italian voice/Flickr

That’s the question 10 lucky winners will need to decide in Best Western International’s Loyalty Millionaires promotion, a part of their 25th anniversary celebration. Two randomly selected winners will be chosen each week through July 14, each winning one million bonus points to redeem in any way they like, and not just on hotel rooms either.

“Whether it’s a trip with the family or that special something you’ve been saving for, we hope our 10 lucky loyalty millionaires get their summer off to a great start,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western International in a Broadway World article.
With more than 60 redemption options starting at 8,000 points, including free hotel nights, retail gift cards like Starbucks, Target, Home Depot and Amazon, BWR members have countless options to redeem their rewards points. One BWR member recently redeemed their points for retail partner gift cards and used them to buy a tractor.
Redemption options include free hotel nights as well as retail gift cards like Apple, Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Busch Gardens.

But what, exactly, might one million Best Western points get you? We did some calculations for a variety of stuff Gadling readers might want to have or do.For starters, a million points will get you about four months in a Best Western Hotel. But it will also enable buying 200,000 air miles on American, Delta, US Airways or Alaska Airlines. You could also get $3,846 in gift cards from Starbucks, Disney, Outback Restaurants or Dunkin Donuts. Want to spend those million points on gear? You could walk away with a Canon PowerShot A2600, some Beats by Dre Studio High-Definition Headphones, a Samsung 8GB Galaxy 2 Tablet 7″ Screen and tickets to see 400 movies at an AMC Theater with some change leftover.

Read more about Best Western Re
To enter, sign up for the free Best Western Loyalty program then register on the Loyalty Millionaire tab on their Facebook page.

New Loyalty Perks for Smartphone Shoppers

Mach Tower to open at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Virginia’s Busch Gardens Williamsburg is to open Mach Tower, a new tower ride for the 2011 season. Guest will find the twenty-four story tall drop ride in the German Oktoberfest section. The ride will begin with a spiraling lift to a lofty 240 feet above the park. At the top, riders will be treated to one of the best views in the theme park industry as Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been rated the World’s most beautiful theme park for 21 straight years by the National Amusement Park Historical Association. After a pause, the 30 riders will be sent plummeting at 60 mph back to the ground.

Mach Tower is part of a two year upgrade to the Oktoberfest section. The plans also include a new multiple-launch roller coaster that is scheduled to open in 2012. The coaster will be built on the former site of the Big Bad Wolf. Learn more about Mach Tower at Busch Gardens’ website.


Triple-launch roller coaster Cheetah Hunt opens at Busch Gardens Tampa

Thousands were treated to Busch Gardens Tampa‘s new roller coaster Cheetah Hunt this past weekend. The new roller coaster is a lengthy 4,400 feet long and it boasts not one, but three separate launches. Cheetah Hunt speeds along the park’s African-themed back drop along the ground, above it, and also below it in a watery canyon. Like some of Busch Gardens Tampa’s other attractions, the ride incorporates its namesake in cheetah viewing area called Cheetah Run. It’s designed to give guests a close encounter with the cheetahs as they show off their legendary speed.

Some early reviews of Cheetah Hunt describe it as a fun family roller coaster that’s a step between the park’s smaller coasters like Scorpion and the park’s signature thrillers like Montu and SheiKra. If that’s an accurate depiction, then it’s likely a wise addition for Busch Gardens Tampa as they’re always competing with Orlando’s many family-oriented theme parks. Central Florida’s only going to get more competitive later this year when the new Legoland Florida opens. Cheetah Hunt was my most anticipated roller coaster opening in 2011 and these videos make me even more eager to get down to Florida. Learn more at CheetahHunt.com.


Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, SeaWorld Orlando raise ticket prices

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay increased its ticket pricesBusch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld Orlando have announced price increases at the Florida theme parks.

The new ticket price at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is $83.45, including sales tax. You will pay $72.75 for kids ages 3-9.

At SeaWorld Orlando, tickets are now $85.19 with tax included, $74.54 for kids.

By comparison, a 1-day, 1-park ticket including tax at Walt Disney World is $87.33. Disney’s most recent price increase was in August.

Those prices don’t take into account the myriad of discounts available, including savings on multi-day tickets, combo tickets that include admission to other theme parks and/or water parks, and online-only deals.

And Florida residents are also eligible for special pricing. For example, a Florida resident who pays full price for a 1-day admission receives a “Fun Card” that gets him or her in free for the rest of the year.

As the Miami Herald reports, only 1/3 of theme park patrons actually pay full price for a 1-day admission into the parks.

[Image credit: Flickr user LaurenKates]

Free admission to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens for volcanic ash victims

Travelers from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Continental Europe who are stranded in the US are eligible for free admission to SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Waterpark and Busch Gardens Tampa.

Because of the volcanic ash flight disruptions, thousands of tourists are stuck waiting for their airlines to get permission to fly, and a free day trip to one of these parks could really help take some of the stress (and boredom) out of waiting.

To get your free tickets, you need a return airline ticket valid from April 14 through Wednesday April 21 (or until flights return to normal). One free ticket is issued for each airline ticket presented. The offer is also extended to airline crews. For more information on this very generous promotion, you can call 1-888-800-5447 or visit the SeaWorld parks and entertainment blog.