|By Ron Sylvester, Las Vegas
SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 17, 2012--It no longer takes a roll of the dice or spin of the roulette wheel to become a high roller in Las Vegas casinos. You can now tweet your way to VIP status. Or you can use Facebook, Foursquare or Instagram.
MGM Resorts International today launched a program allowing its M life loyalty rewards members to connect their social media and loyalty rewards accounts to earn free stuff from casinos in Las Vegas, Detroit and Mississippi.
The social media connection is the latest in a trend of developing apps that put the Las Vegas Strip at the fingertips of smartphone owners.
On Monday, the Venetian and Palazzo unveiled their new Pocket Concierge, a navigation app designed to keep people from getting lost in those casinos.
With the MGM connection, it's not only possible to become the Foursquare mayor of New York-New York casino, you can earn a free hotel room or show tickets to "Zumanity," the Cirque du Soleil show there.
Location-based updates to Twitter, Facebook Places, Foursquare or an Instagram photo earn 500 credits for each MGM resort visited in day. That's equivalent of spending $20 on non-gaming activities, such as restaurants or nightclubs at those casinos.
In Las Vegas, M life members can rack up 6,000 credits by checking in at all 12 MGM resorts each day, or a possible 30,000 in a year, just through social media updates. People move up a tier level at 25,000 points.
Those points and tier levels add up to more discounts and freebies. M life members can sign up online.
The social rewards are powered through Top Guest, a product from Switchfly, Inc. Switchfly is a technology company whose services include helping travelers bundle hotels and rental cars through online reservation services.
Top Guest is also used by companies such as United Airlines and Virgin America, along with Best Western and Hilton Hotels.
M life members may link their rewards to Visa credit cards and receive text messages for related offers. A purchase at an Aria retail shop, for example, could trigger an discount offer from a nearby store. Buying tickets to a show could result in a price break on dinner at the same resort.
The VP Pocket Concierge, meanwhile, aims to point people in the right direction inside the 16 million square feet of the Venetian and Palazzo. The app provides a turn-by-turn guide to restaurants, nightclubs, even ATMs and restrooms. People planning trips to Las Vegas may also book rooms, buy show tickets and receive offers from that casino resort's Grazie Loyalty Program.
The app is one of four planned this year for the Venetian and Palazzo, developed by Meridian, a mobile software developer. The VP Concierge is available at the iTunes Store for iPhone or Google Play for Android.
(c)2012 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.)
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