There are numerous tradeoffs / differences among and between player’s club comp programs for gamblers in Las Vegas. In recent months, several Vegas player comp systems have been revamped and “upgraded” according to press release marketing efforts from competing properties or groups.
The two major Strip gaming conglomerate player clubs competing for gambler’s time and money in Sin City are M life (MGM Resorts) and Total Rewards (Caesars Entertainment). Both entities have marketed new programs, with both touting big changes designed to improve player friendliness. The intent of this article is to outline and compare specific award levels and subsequently temper the hard figures by interjecting our own actual comp program experiences from these two Vegas gaming giants. This initial entry pertains to program benefits of Mlife.
Casinos track or rate players club member wagers and play through use of individual player cards in slot / video poker machines and at table games. Players interested in comps should be certain that their play is being tracked at every machine they play by inserting cards in machines ( with verifiable responses on readouts) or that pit crews assign credit for buy-in amounts at table games.
Comp players stay and play at certain Vegas casinos for a myriad of reasons beyond specific award level rates. Gambling environment, room quality and comfort, dining choices, level of service, show options, and previous gaming experiences / player tier levels can all greatly influence where individual players elect to risk their gambling bankrolls and accrue comp awards. As expected, perusal of gambler online forums regarding M life and Total Rewards comparative experiences suggests pros, cons, advocates, and detractors of both programs.
Average Daily Theoretical (ADT) losses are a key factor utilized by the casinos to make comp awards decisions. This factor determines how much a given player’s gaming activity is actually worth to a given casino ( average money lost per day = their revenue ) based on prior history and pivotal in determining specific comp awards to players.
M life : M life is the players club for all MGM Resorts International properties and includes MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Mirage, New York – New York, Monte Carlo,Vdara, Aria, Luxor, Excalibur, Signature at MGM Grand, and THEhotel at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The program also covers a few casinos outside Las Vegas.
The Tier Credits system is used to determine player status. The five Tier levels and the number of minimum accumulated credits required to attain each level are …
- Sapphire – starter level up to 24,999 credits
- Pearl – 25,000 credits
- Gold – 75,000 credits
- Platinum – 200,000 credits
- Noir – 1 million credits
M life Tier Credit accumulation is calculated as follows:
- 5 Tier Credits awarded for each $1 coin-in for slot play and
- 1 Tier Credit awarded for each $1 coin-in on video poker machines.
Table game Tier Credit awards ( and all other comp awards) generally require $25 minimum bets per hand in order for players to be rated for comps at MGM Resorts properties. Credit awards will vary with the game, the average bet per hand, and play duration ( see previous LVE articles linked below regarding base comp calculation formulas and other factors that influence actual comp awards).
Tier Credits are also awarded for money spent on non-gaming activities such as shopping, dining, lodging, and entertainment. Any of these activities that can be successfully charged to a player’s room during their stay should accrue Tier Credit awards. One Tier Credit is earned for each dollar spent at these specific activities, and players should be aware that not all venues at MGM properties participate in this Tier Credit award program. Players have to ask which specific venues honor specific comp types because many venues are not posted as such.
Each progression to a higher Tier level results in additional program benefits and accelerated Points earning for Gold level and above. Tier credit benefits are additional Mlife perks aside from gambling daily average ( though in actuality, those form the basis for the Tier system). The Tier Credit system allows linkage / combining of two player’s accounts as well.
Mlife points earning for actual comp accrual:
- $10 coin-in on video poker machines = 1 point
- $2 coin-in on slot machines = 1 point
- $25 minimum bet per hand table games per hour = 550 points (with accelerated accrual for Gold Tier level and above)
- Comps are awarded as Express Comps or Primary Comps
- Express Comps are earned as 2 cents for each point earned on slots/video poker
- Express Comps earned at table games are based on length of play, average bet, and game type ; players will have to hound pit crews or players club reps to determine the sketchy formula used for table games Express Comp levels.
- Express Comps can be redeemed for lodging, dining, and entertainment costs.
- Primary Comp awards earnings formulas are a trade secret, but an answer for specific players Primary Comps accrual can be discovered at Mlife players club desks at all the properties. We speculate that many factors, including actual gaming wins or losses, influence Primary Comp awards.
- Point accumulations for comps are valid as long as players gamble again within a twelve-month period
- Resort fees are standardly waived at MGM properties on comped rooms
- POINTSplay is an available option allowing players to use accumulated points for slot and video poker play only. For each accumulated point, players can redeem them for 1 cent of POINTSPlay at the machines as opposed to using cash. Unless players have a gazillion points, we don’t recommend this option because it can rapidly exhaust accumulated points based on our experience.
Our overall experiences with M life have been good. We always have free room offers ( recently most have been for 2 or 3-night stays including weekends at MGM Grand, New York-New York, and/or Mandalay Bay), $150 to $200 in Free Play in conjunction with room offers, and $50+ dining credits per room offer. Additionally, we have received seasonal corporate offers that include free midweek rooms at some of the upper end properties ( eg Bellagio and Aria ) along with some free play.
Our play levels include an average of $1000 – $2000 coin-in (not wins or losses) on slots per day and 3 to 6 hours blackjack per day of $20 – $25 per hand. That level of play can be categorized as low to barely mid-stakes gambling levels, particularly on the Strip.
One of the key specific plusses of the MGM Resorts for us is the quality of blackjack games ( good rules and other aspects of player favorability) at some of their properties. Playing these “better” blackjack games is an important aspect of our Vegas trips and , overall, those types of games are more easily found at a few MGM properties as compared to all of the Caesars Entertainment locales at our wager levels.
Other M life / MGM Resorts plusses include the new Express Comps that are particularly convenient for quick dining comp redemption. Average room quality and comfort levels have been better ( and more recently renovated ) at the MGM Resorts properties compared to the Caesars locales. The South Strip MGM Resorts locations (MGM Grand, New York-New York, Mandalay Bay ) area is another appealing aspect that drives our choices. Accumulated players club point validity time of twelve months with M life is superior to the Total Rewards 6 month period. Finally, overall point reward rates for slot play is 2.5 times better with M life vs Total Rewards.
Like many Vegas visitors, we loathe resort fees. None of the Caesars properties charge resort fees, which is quite appealing. However, there are no resort fees charged at MGM Resorts properties on comped rooms .