Continuing on the comp program explanations that started with a review of Caesars Rewards, today I take a look at the Mlife program. While Mlife is a national program like Caesars Rewards, it is not standardized. It can be most easily looked at in two halves – the Las Vegas version and the outside of Vegas version.
Today’s post will hopefully help make sense of what to expect from the program, and how to maximize the opportunities.
Earning Tier Credits and Comps
Base points earnings are calculated the same across the country, more or less. The basic idea is that you earn a base point for every $3 of coin-in (bets) on a slot machine (except specialty slots, which are $10 of coin-in). Video Poker is $10 of coin-in per base point as well. Table games are based on bet and house edge, as it is with many casino comp programs.
Specialty slots is right out of the gate one of those things that aren’t clear, as machines aren’t marked. In some markets it will instantly tell you how much to the next point, but in Vegas you have to just start betting and you’ll identify it. Generally speaking, newer popular games and licensed properties will fall into the category, but it seemingly differs by market at times too.
So, a base point is standard. What does that mean for earnings?
Las Vegas: More Tier Earnings
One base point means a few things:
- 10 Tier Credits per base point earned while playing in Las Vegas.
- 1 PointPlay point per base point.
- Up until September 30, 2019 it also meant one Express Comps cent. However, Mlife is moving to a more opaque model starting October 1.
Spending at Las Vegas resorts earns 25 tier credits per dollar, which can help rack up the tier credits quickly.
Outside Las Vegas: It Depends
One base point means a few things as well, but a few things that aren’t worth as much overall:
- 1 Tier credit per base point earned while playing at regional properties outside Las Vegas.
- Still 1 Pointplay point per base point.
- ExpressComps earnings varied by market. Some markets followed Vegas under the old policy, which is changing, while others had already adopted what will be the new policy of a more opaque earnings rate.
Borgata, MGM National Harbor and MGM Springfield seem to all share a more aggressive, more generous comps earnings policy, but also have properties that require a 2:1 redemption ratio. However, you can use them in Vegas at a 1:1 ratio. UPDATE 9/27/19: Borgata’s program is more complicated than other markets, but I’ve broken it down in a separate post. Learn about Borgata’s Mlife differences.
Spending at non-Las Vegas resorts will earn you tier credits as well, but a lot less – most of what I’ve found indicates closer to an 8-10 tier credit per dollar earnings ratio.
Between the heavy drop for tier credits per base point, as well as for resort spend, indicates a challenge in earning substantial amounts of tier credits outside Las Vegas unless you’re a high roller or big spender.
Breaking Down the Earnings Options
PointPlay can be used for either free play (redeemed in 500 point or 1,000 point increments for $5 or $10, respectively, depending on the market) or more comps.
Express Comps are the comp dollars earned to use on specific types of offers. You can use it for food credits and for certain experiences billed back to a room, like riding the Roller Coaster at NY-NY. You can use it for the spa and so forth.
You cannot use Express Comps for purchases made inside a gift shop or mall, like other casino programs – shopping can’t be done on their dime. In some cases you can buy branded merchandise with your comps – how generous of them!
Tier Credits are what tracks your earnings towards a higher tier. Tier credits reset on October 1 each year. They have no monetary value. UPDATE 5/6/20: mLife will move to a calendar year system going forward. Read about the updates here.
As such, the most unique thing about Mlife in terms of guaranteed earnings is that there’s two buckets – PointPlay, which is most often leveraged as free play, but could be leveraged as comps, and a distinct comps bucket, Express Comps. These are above/beyond the offers sent to players, which we’ll get to in a moment.
This many times creates a bit more confusion to players initially, but having distinct buckets can be nice as you can figure out what you have for each.
Five Tier Levels Based on Play
Mlife has five total tier levels:
- Sapphire: The base tier you get for joining the program.
- Pearl: Level 2 is earned with 25,000 tier points.
- Gold: Level 3 is earned with 75,000 tier points.
- Platinum: Level 4 is earned with 200,000 tier points.
- Noir: This is an invite-only level that does not have an advertised requirement to achieve.
Once you achieve a level, you keep it through the current tier year (which as mentioned before ends September 30 of a given year), as well as a full tier year following that. You must renew within that full tier year to keep it for the following tier year.
One thing that helps you renew your tier is you get an earnings bonus based on your level:
- Pearl: 10% earnings bonus
- Gold: 20% earnings bonus
- Platinum: 30% earnings bonus
- Noir: 40% earnings bonus
The earnings bonus applies to all three numbers: Tier Credits, PointPlay and Express Comps.
You get shopping discounts as a card holder, which escalate based on tier:
- Sapphire: 5% discount
- Pearl/Gold: 10% discount
- Platinum/Noir: 15% discount
Perks grow as you level up; in most cases Gold is really where things begin to get interesting, as you get more line cutting privileges, but some things require Platinum.
If you’re a regular Las Vegas visitor, Pearl and Gold are likely achievable – I have achieved Pearl relatively easily. It’s only $7500 in coin-in on regular slots in Las Vegas, significantly less than tiering up at Caesars to Platinum.
Offers Vary By Market
Mlife, similar to how they handle their program inside and outside of Vegas, seems to have different approaches to offers.
Las Vegas: All-in Offer Approach
In Las Vegas, an offer tends to be a composite of three components:
- Room offer at some level
- Free play linked to the room offer and requiring a stay
- Resort credit, also linked to the room offer and requiring a stay. Resort credit has the same restrictions as Express Comps, in that you can’t use it for shopping but can for food, experiences and so forth.
You can’t cash in any of the other benefits without a room stay, but you do tend to get a bit of each. After my very first visit to Vegas, paying a discounted room rate at New York-New York, I had two night offers with free play and resort credit for my next visit. As Mlife got more visits and more glimpses at my play, the offers evolved and got more generous, but the structure remained the same.
Resort fee waivers are not guaranteed, unlike Caesars, based on tier level. Instead, it’s a component of the room offer based on play. A friend of mine gets resort fees comped at about half of the MGM line-up; I get them comped right now only at Luxor or Excalibur. But I have received suite opportunities at Luxor so room types are diverse even at a given property.
Outside Vegas: ‘Local’ Model Approach
Outside Las Vegas, the offers are more in line with locals markets. Free play and room offers are generally separate and distinct, and don’t require a tie. Both are connected to your play, of course.
You might qualify for free play and only a discount on a room, for instance. You can choose to visit, use the free play, and ignore the room offer. You don’t get anything more generous by using the room offer, for instance, either.
Offers are even displayed in different formats depending on whether it’s in Vegas or not. That indicates the varying approach between Vegas resorts and non-Vegas ones. Like most everything else, there’s a bifurcated approach to marketing.
UPDATE 9/27/19: I failed to note/include that Borgata isn’t even bookable in the Mlife system; I cover how to look up offers and book at Borgata here.
Your Play is Rated By Market
One thing that’s consistent between Caesars and Mlife is that your play is rated by market. That means your offers are generated based on your play in a certain market, or could be teaser offers to visit another market.
I’ve received flight/hotel/free play offers to visit the Beau Rivage, for instance, another Mlife property. When MGM National Harbor opened in the DC area, an offer was floated for awhile to get me to come down and visit. Similarly I had some first-time offers generated to visit MGM Springfield, and then as a play history was established there my offers began to evolve on their own.
If you’re a regular Las Vegas visitor and have an Mlife casino as a local, my recommendation is to earn comps at home and bring them to Las Vegas, where you have more generous redemption options. Use the comps to then have a better gambling budget that can earn you the tier credits much faster.
If you don’t have an Mlife casino at home, you can still benefit from Mlife’s more balanced offers (since Caesars tends to leave much more heavily on room offers) when visiting Las Vegas.
Are you a fan of Mlife? What’s your favorite perk? Share in the comments!