I am often blamed for being too much the optimist. Perhaps, there’s more fodder from focusing on the negatives, rather than the positives? Maybe, I am still dreaming of the day when I face 26 bankers in a row at baccarat or find a way to exceed the epic roll at Golden Nugget Atlantic City?
Unless you have been sleeping under a travel-loyalty rock, you might have heard that MGM M life Rewards is now MGM Rewards. Today I had an enlightening conversation with Anil Mansukhani, MGM Resorts’ Vice President of Loyalty Marketing. Yes, for sure, there are way more enhancements than I expected.
Earning Tier Points and MGM Rewards Points
MGM Rewards Points
You have two types of points that you have to pay attention to with MGM Rewards. You now earn MGM Reward Points and MGM Tier Points. Look at MGM Rewards Points as the “currency,” these points can be used for your hotel stay, at food and beverage outlets, entertainment venues, or to purchase your MGM Rewards moments. One (1) MGM Rewards Point is valued at $.01. So, my 14,004 points are worth $140.04
MGM Tier Credits
MGM Tier Credits determine your tier status. Status levels in MGM Rewards advance from Sapphire (up to 19,999 Tier Credits), Pearl (20,000 Tier Credits), Gold (75,000 Tier Credits), Platinum (200,000 Tier Credits), all the way up to NOIR (by invitation).
MGM set out to simplify the program and address the issue that those with limited gaming (gambling) earning can also earn MGM Rewards Points.
Earn Rate is simple. For non-gaming, you earn 1 MGM Reward Point per $1 spend. Simultaneously, you earn 4 MGM Tier Credits per $1 spend. Previously, you ONLY earned MGM Tier Points via spend.
Of particular emphasis is that the earn rate for non-gaming is now consistent at all MGM Resorts Locations throughout the USA.
Before one of the “wise guys” chimes in, yeah, you earn fewer tier points from spend but NOW you also earn MGM Reward Points. Match to MGM Gold and want access to the best (mid-high tier public) VIP Lounge (Amphora) in the country at Borgata? No reward points, no access.
Earning Tier Points and MGM Rewards Points
While I applaud the new MGM Rewards Program for its fantastic transparency concerning almost all aspects of the program, one area that is a bit more nuanced is earning via gaming (gambling).
Once again, I have been assured that earning via gambling will be consistent in all MGM Casino Markets. This consistency is similar to how earning via spend is consistent market to market.
But, your gambling earn rates for MGM Reward Points and MGM Tier Points will vary by the game played, amount wagered, and underlying “theo” (average daily theoretical) for the game.
This means things will be great for slot players and probably not so great for full-pay video poker players.
One significant enhancement is that in the Las Vegas Market, MGM Rewards Table Game Players will now also be able to earn MGM Rewards Points for their Table Game Play.
Another important point is the seamless integration of BetMGM and MGM Rewards.
BetMGM Customers are instantly enrolled in MGM Rewards. Gamblers now earn Tier Credits for all participating wagers, in-person and online. In addition, BetMGM Customers also earn BetMGM Rewards Points that easily convert to MGM Rewards and MGM Rewards Points. BetMGM can now take your reward points and convert them into real-world experiences. BetMGM is currently in 20 markets and recently launched in New York State.
Tier Benefits – MGM Rewards
MGM Rewards now has some fantastic tier benefits. The cornerstone of these benefits is that Gold Status or above now gets waived resort fees for up to two rooms. In the past, you “might” have obtained waived resort fees via an MGM Casino Offer or a host, but now it is a codified benefit of the program. This resort fee waiver can easily be a savings of up to $45++ per night.
For complete transparency, MGM has been kind enough to clarify that this waiver benefit is ONLY applicable when booking in via direct MGM Channels. You will not get a resort fee waiver booking via FHR, Virtuoso, Chase Luxury Program, or any third party, travel agent, or OTA. In addition, rooms booked via Hyatt or booked redeeming World of Hyatt points will not get the resort fee waiver.
Other perks include an annual dinner that ranges from $100 to $500 (“Tier achievement celebration dining experience”) as well as an air travel credit that ranges from $600 to $1200 per year. Be sure to review the summary of key benefits by Tier Status.
To be clear, to redeem the annual tier perks ($100 dinner, etc.), you must earn the tier level in 2022. So reach MGM Reward Gold Status with 75,000 Tier Points, and you qualify for the dinner. Even if you earned Gold in 2021, you need to earn it (again) in 2022 to be eligible for the dinner.
But, but…. I status matched to MGM Gold? Sorry, you won’t get the annual tier perks for matching status. You only get those perks for earning status. But, you still get a number of other features including the waived resort fees.
(Status) Match Away, it’s still happening!
Want no resort fees? You can easily match from most major casino loyalty programs to MGM Rewards Gold or Platinum. Even better, have World Of Hyatt Status? Match directly online. World of Hyatt Explorist and Globalist Members match to MGM Rewards Gold. Happen to be a Wyndham Diamond and want to match? That works. Just match your Wyndham Diamond online to Caesars Diamond (they are partners) and then you will be able to match Caesars Diamond to MGM Rewards Gold.
Odds And Ends
I am still getting some answers to a few questions about expiry and resort fees. This includes how long you have to use your “Tier achievement dinner” once it is earned as well as the status of “MyVegas” redemption of coins for rooms and resort fees if you have Gold or higher MGM Rewards Status. I have also been asked a few nuanced questions about MGM Rewards NOIR Status. NOIR Status is an invitational top-tier status (in the airline world, that would be like American Airlines Concierge Key).
MGM Resorts Mobile App
MGM has a really good mobile app. Not only does the app integrate MGM Rewards, but it also is a full-functioning app for your hotel reservations. Secure check-in with key drop is available via the MGM Resorts App. In addition, the app allows you to review your folio charges (hotel room charges) in “real-time.” Grab a Starbucks at 7 am, you’ll see the charge on your folio (within the app) instantly. The app check-in is also extremely compelling in Las Vegas where the lines on a capacity day to check-in at a 2000+ room hotel can take more time than trying to get an airline on the phone during a snowstorm.
2x in 2022
A very good caveat. Currently, for 2022 you can earn 2x tier at the Las Vegas Resorts. This 2x multiplier on the new Tier Credit earning rates is applicable for gaming and non-gaming spending. This 2x offer is applicable from February 1 – April 30, 2022. Always be sure to check out the current promotions for any casino loyalty program.
The Future Is Exciting
A few years ago, I talked about how casino loyalty programs should pursue several things. In Embrace ALL Gamblers | Why Vegas Casino Loyalty is Broken, a big emphasis was on driving improvements via technology as well as reducing fees for gamblers.
“Surprise and delight based on customer actions. Acknowledge casino customers while they are on the property. If they are gambling more or spending more on property, give guests additional discounts and incentives. Everyone likes to be acknowledged “on the spot,” there is no reason technology cannot provide this much appreciated instant gratification.”
After speaking with MGM Rewards today, they mentioned how they are focusing on the future. Some areas include enhanced personalization and a focus on more ways to redeem through the app. Future enhancements will also include building out more “self-service” for using your MGM Rewards Points.
But, what is exciting is that MGM Rewards is planning to take it “next level” with gamification in the app. Imagine unlocking multipliers? Imagine getting rewarded for visiting multiple properties in a day (perhaps for dining or gaming)? Yep, that is what we have to look forward to.
These will be entertaining ways to engage gamblers and non-gamblers based on your geolocation to serve offers.
Also, remember in 2018, I talked about how everyone wants a suite upgrade? In 2022 MGM Rewards has a suite upgrade benefit for MGM Rewards Platinum Tier members.
Suites In Vegas Are Sweet
While we are on the topic of suite upgrades, did you know that almost every MGM Resort (especially in large markets like Las Vegas) has suite buy-up offers at check-in? These offers are fantastic and can land you into outstanding accommodations for a fraction of the price. Heck, I did just that to surprise my wife a few months ago.
I called the morning of her reservation at Mirage and was able to secure (as a surprise) a cash upgrade for her business trip. A few clicks and a short time later (all while she was taxiing on the runway at LAS), they dropped a room key into my wife’s iPhone for a Penthouse Suite. Now, how is that for “happy wife, happy life” and technology?
It’s a good summary but afaic I can’t make a decision about the value of the program until we see the earn rates on the different games. Caesars has the best earn rate and also waives resort fees, offers free rooms and dinners, cruise and whatnot. So I don’t agree that this is the best program. Incidentally if the earn rate is specific to the machine there’s a good opportunity for a crowdbased database of the best slot machines in the various casinos.
These are fair comments, but some of the “concepts” that determine best (subjective, and in this example) are based on the quality of the hotel properties and the quality of the program for non-gaming participants. This also includes app-tech such as being able to truly check into rooms, review charges, etc. This is squarely from the angle of the mass market. To go deeper into the casino loyalty-specific aspects you would have to take into account things like marketing offers, tournaments, and earn rates. The issue here, is the earn rates are opaque which could very well be significantly more positive for some than for others. One thing I agree with for sure, the only program that is competitive is Caesars Rewards. Historically, MGM Rewards offers for slot players have been “better” at much higher quality properties than Caesars Rewards. (And yes, most casino loyalty people do test and share earning details. Very valuable. But, always subject to change.)
Excited for the new changes, think it will be great for MGM long term. One thing I do wish is that if you are MGM Gold or higher, that resort fees were waived during booking like Ceasar’s. At the moment, you have to ask for those to be refunded at check in.
Long term, with the gamification via app and other app enhancements MGM Rewards is going to easily surpass the other casino loyalty programs. I do believe that the Resort Fee Waiver for rooms/suites booked via the correct (MGM Direct) channels is supposed to be seamless. This might be because of the very recent launch (that you had to inquire). Long term, you should not have to ask for the waiver if your status level is properly attached to the MGM Direct Channel booking.
Have to disagree about it being the best loyalty program, IMO that still goes to Caesars – even after the recent cuts. It’s great that MGM is trying to be more competitive, but they basically just matched what Caesars was already doing (waived resort fees, celebration dinner, $600 airfare credit, etc.). Also, as you mentioned in your post, point earning was significantly reduced for VP players.
rooms are way more expensive at MGM hotels vs. Caesars hotels. Can get $7 a night at Caesars properties. MGM cheapest I see is like $23.
Yes, and overall the room product and room portfolio from MGM Resorts is much better. That factors into our feeling about “best.” Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, Delano, SkySuites, SkyLofts, Mansion, ParkMGM, NoMad, and soon-to-be Cosmopolitan. Even the lower-end properties have better renovations. Point, in fact, the renovated Luxor Rooms are using the old Bellagio Furniture. It is like “Bellagio light.” IMHO, “cheapest” does is not a path or road to “best.”
One thing that’s pretty disappointing is the “meal” and the “600 in air credits” is only for people who achieve the “platinum tier” during this current “earnings year”
I earned Platinum status in 2021, which they said would make 2022 the “benefits year”
yet here I am, having to essentially earn everything again
This point has been brought up. I agree that the communication should have been better. But since the new program features were not announced until January 2022 (for the most part), it is not like you earned the status in 2021 with “hopes” of getting these benefits to use at the beginning of 2022. My strongest advice to those that qualified for MGM Platinum Tier in 2021 is to speak to your casino cost and see if they can approve an exception. One of the points of this article was actually to make people aware of the fact they had to “earn” the tier in 2022 to “unlock” those benefits.
I subscribed for airline points info not to be encouraged to go gambling This is on the wrong blog
Las Vegas is a primary destination for many readers around the globe. People want to know how to work things as best they can there. Just sharing. No problem if you don’t want to read it, but I think commenting on a loyalty program in a key travel destination is very fair game.
I might add, Vegas is a destination for lots of non-gaming. Tons of conventions and other reasons people travel to Vegas. In addition, MGM Rewards is one of the largest loyalty programs in the world (with a huge hotel footprint) and a very significant hotel loyalty partner => World Of Hyatt!
One change that really sucks for us is tear match with Celebrity Cruises we have been Platinum members for the last 6 years now we are bumped down to gold no matter what AR level is in celebrity
They have really devalued they way to earn tier credits on slots. This past weekend, 1 tier credit for every $6.25 put into the slot machines. Video poker was even worse at 1 tier credit for $11.20 put in. Time to make the switch, even Bconnected is better than this.
The requested online match from Wyndham Diamond to Caesar’s is taking awhile…9 days and counting. Should I be concerned?
Thanks for the run-down. I have a couple of questions, since you mentioned each in the article. I am a MGM platinum, so theoretically I’m eligible for the room upgrade and early check-in- but can you get these benefits if you are using the mobile app to check in? They seem like something you would have to ask a live person at the reg desk about. But it would be great if you didn’t. Curious.
Also, regarding suite upgrades- are these upgrades to a better suite from an existing suite, or can you upgrade to a suite from a standard room?
MGM Rewards factually represents a major devaluation regarding how slot players earn both points and tier credits vs the previous more generous MLife program!
Playing non-licensed penny slots, I would previously earn 1 point/10 tier credits for every $3 coin-in and 25 tier credits per $1 spent on non-gambling resort purchases
$18,000 coin in earned 6,000 points/60,000 tier credits
$600 resort spend earned 15,000 tier credits
GOLD CARD ACHIEVED > 75K tier credits
BUT now under MGM Rewards?
1 point/10 tier credits for every $10 coin-in on those same penny slots and only 4 tier credits per $1 spent on non-gaming resort purchases
$60,000 coin-in now to earn those same 60,000 tier credits
$3,750 resort spend now to earn those same 15,000 tier credits
A FEW ADDED BENEFITS DOESN’T COMPENSATE PLAYERS FOR THIS MASSIVE DEVALUATION!:(
I think this massively devalues tier earning. Before you would get 25 tier credits per dollar spend on rooms in Las Vegas. This was a huge benefit to non-gamblers who wanted to just catch shows and didn’t want to gamble, now it’s only 4. I had a host tell me “now it’s no longer regional, so you can stay at any of our properties in the US”. Well guess what, I will plan a vacation to Las Vegas, I’m not going to plan a vacation to Michigan or Maryland or any of the other non-vegas destinations you have listed. This is garbage now.
How much does MGM pay you to write this bs dude ? First off the fact that I put up over 400k in points last year and now have to do it all over to get perks this year is total bs. Secondly the $600 in air fare credit is not that at all. It is $600 in free play, I used to get a 4 day trip in a suite with $400 free play and $150 folio credit which is now gone along with Mlife. The $100-$200 dinner credit is a fraction of what I used to get in 30% more comps. The 2x multiplier in Vegas is just to ease the shock that now it cost twice as much to earn the same points. Oh and the 4x points on spend used to be 25 points on every dollar spent this is a 84% devaluation. I play here. I know. So either you are being paid by MGM or you drank their corporate Kool aid and your going to put on the black Nike sneakers and take that trip to the comet that’s coming. Lol. What BS.
Do you work for mgm? This new rewards program sucks. Takes two or three times more play to earn less! Was mlife platinum for many years but I’ve had it with their greed. No more 3/2 blackjack, charging for parking, and now painting the new rewards program as great. Many people see right through this negative process for players. I’ll try Caesars program
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