Strange and Extravagant Airline Rewards

When it comes to airline rewards programs for frequent fliers, the ideas can get rather creative.  For many of those that fly the friendly skies, the reward of choice is simply more travel. But with the proliferation of rewards credit cards available, there is a growing contingent of fliers who want something that money just can’t buy — they want an experience. Thankfully, many airline reward programs are offering more unique and offbeat options to those who choose not to settle for the same old run-of-the-mill rewards.

The company Idea Works released a report last year detailing some of the more eccentric rewards available. Here’s a sampling:

Become a “Yachtee”

Azimut 68S yacht

If you’ve got enough points (386 million to be exact) you can walk (or rather sail) away with a yacht from Eithad Airways valued at $3.5 million dollars. The 2009 model Azimut 68S offers accommodation for you and five of your closest friends in three expansive cabins. Thankfully for the non-captains among us, the price includes delivery.

Fight the Good Fight

Fighter Pilot experience

If 386 million points is a little out of your league, perhaps you’d like to consider the Fighter Pilot Experience offered by Southwest Airlines for a mere 213,750 points. You’ll get to maneuver the sky in a genuine military aircraft (no pilot’s license necessary) and participate in simulated dogfights. You’ll even get your very own DVD commemorating the experience.

Clown Around

If you’ve ever wanted to run away to join the circus, Virgin Australia has got your back. A 90-minute circus experience provided by the Candy Stripe Circus in Katoomba, Australia (you have to make your own way there) awaits if you’ve got 15,500 points to spare. Each workshop is tailored to suit your abilities, and you’ll get to experience juggling, walking on stilts, and that all time favourite — flying on a trapeze.

Get a Piece of George Clooney

George Clooney george clooney

A fashionable little piece of Hollywood can be yours through Air Canada. A leather vest, signed by none other than Up in The Air star George Clooney is one of the rewards available through their Aeroplan rewards program. It’s a steal at 177,000 points, and all proceeds go to the charity War Child Canada.

Freeze your Tush

Ice Hotel Sweden

And if your leisure pursuits lean towards the outdoors — the very cold outdoors — SAS Scandinavian offers what you’re probably looking for — a 3-day adventure 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle at the Ice Hotel. A dogsledding tour and thermal sleeping bags are included. Cost: 395,441 points.

What strange or extravagant airline rewards have you heard of?