Understanding Comps

MGM Rewards Comp Program Explained

Written by Joshua

This post was most recently updated March 30, 2022, to reflect all of the changes implemented as part of the launch of MGM Rewards in February, 2022.

As one of the largest casino groups in the United States, MGM Resorts has long maintained a national comp program. However, in 2022, they heavily revamped their old Mlife program into a new one, MGM Rewards. While much of the structure is similar to the old program, there are changes that both improve what’s offered and make much more difficult the ability to tier up.

Today’s post will hopefully help make sense of what to expect from the program, and how to it differs from the previous program.

Earning MGM Rewards Tier Credits

The old program had a transparent tier earnings formula. The new one does not, which makes it a rarity for national comp programs, although many regional casinos have certainly done this for a long time now.

It appears, based on some research I’ve done so far, that the tier credit earnings is based on a game’s house advantage – you’ll earn faster on games that the casino has a higher house advantage than those on a lower one.

They used to differentiate specific types of machines as specialty slots, which earned at a lower rate than others, but this differentiation is gone. They used to also let you earn much faster in Las Vegas than at their regional properties. So far, this differentiator also appears to be eliminated.

They kept a public calculation for non-gaming spend, which used to earn anywhere between 8 and 25 tier credits per dollar, depending on location. With MGM Rewards, that has been slashed to 4 tier credits per dollar.

For a back of the napkin calculation, it seems you earn a bit less than one tier credit for every dollar wagered. But the actual amount can differ pretty widely from one game to the next.

The tier year with MGM Rewards is the calendar year; your tier technically lasts through January 31 of the following year, in line with Caesars, but your earning year is the calendar year. So whatever your final tier credit score at the end of each year will determine your tier for the following year.

If you tier up in the middle of the year, you get to enjoy those tier perks immediately, and you also get to enjoy the tier for the next full calendar year as well, while you work to renew that tier.

Earning Comp Dollars with MGM Rewards

One thing they didn’t mess with in the new program is they offer two buckets of comp dollars, something that I’ve only seen at MGM Rewards:

  • MGM Reward Points are your standard comp dollars. While you cannot in most of their properties use them for shopping at stores like you can most casinos with comp dollars, they can be used for food, hotel rooms, spas, and other experiential options on property.
  • Slot Dollars are effectively a bonus free play bucket that is available above/beyond any standard free play offers you get from the casino. Redemption of these can be done in $5 or $10 increments, depending on your location.

(Those who have the MGM Rewards credit card earn points on their card, and have the luxury of selecting which bucket they wish their points to be contributed towards.)

The earnings rates on either comp dollar bucket is equally opaque to tier credits, but in my experiments they seemed tied to the house advantage as well, and moved proportionally up or down with the tier credits earnings pace. So similarly, games that are going to make the house more money over time will earn you comp dollars more quickly.

When you play slots and other electronic games like Video Poker or Keno, you earn towards both buckets. When you play table games, you only earn MGM Reward Points, but that is a new perk to Las Vegas players for 2022; previously only certain regional properties let you earn those comp dollars while playing table games.

Non-gaming spend also now earns MGM Reward Points for the first time, at a 1% rebate (1 MGM Rewards Point for every dollar spent).

MGM Reward Points are additional comp dollars beyond resort credits that may be included in an offer. MGM Reward Points expire in 6 months for their base level (Sapphire) players, but have no expiration date for players at Pearl level and above. This is an improvement over the previous 12-month expiration date for those levels.

Five MGM Rewards Tier Levels

MGM Rewards has five total tier levels, whose names and values remained virtually unchanged in the 2022 program (Pearl’s earnings requirement went down a bit):

  • Sapphire: The base tier you get for joining the program.
  • Pearl: Level 2 is earned with 20,000 tier credits.
  • Gold: Level 3 is earned with 75,000 tier credits.
  • Platinum: Level 4 is earned with 200,000 tier credits.
  • 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 December 31 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.

If you’re a regular Las Vegas visitor, Pearl and perhaps Gold are likely achievable – even with the changes, I suspect Pearl won’t be out of reach for many players, and Gold for some, but it has definitely gotten more difficult with the revisions launched in 2022.

One perk for higher level tiers is you get an earnings bonus on your Slot Dollars based on your level when playing slots, video poker/keno or video lottery terminals (such as those at Empire City):

  • Pearl: 10% earnings bonus
  • Gold: 20% earnings bonus
  • Platinum: 30% earnings bonus
  • Noir: 40% earnings bonus

The old program gave multipliers in other places based on tier, but it’s just down to Slot Dollars now.

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, and this was amplified under the new program, but most upper tier levels have access to some perks.

Pearl Level Perks

Most of the time, second-level cards don’t get all that much, and that’s also the case here, but there are a few things available:

  • Buffet Line Cutting Privileges in Las Vegas, which can truly make a difference given the reduced number of buffets since the reopening and the level of crowds seen in Vegas.
  • MGM Rewards Points don’t expire for inactivity – if you can’t make it to an MGM property for awhile, your comp dollars will be there for you.
  • Complimentary Tickets to select MGM Rewards concerts in Las Vegas, which so far as proven to be linked to a Las Vegas offer that needs to be booked as a whole. However, this is something that didn’t exist before 2022 and so is a new perk for players to partake.
  • Invitations to Member-Only Events as well as tournaments and other promotions.
  • Complimentary Self Parking in Las Vegas.

Gold Level Perks

There are a number of concrete perks added for Gold level players, along with a couple that previously existed:

  • Line Cutting Privileges in markets like Las Vegas for things like the hotel check-in desk can be quite handy during busier timeframes.
  • Resort Fees Waived is a brand new perk added for Gold players in 2022 and is guaranteed.
  • Free Enhanced Room Upgrade is another new perk, when available, offering things like a high floor or a room with a view within the same room type booked.
  • $100 Tier Status Dining Credit is another new perk, but only for players who earn their tier starting in 2022 (status matches do not quality for this benefit). Dining credits are available for up to 12 months from the date the tier is earned, so if you earn your tier late in the year you still get plenty of time to use it.
  • Dedicated Line at Restaurants and Fine Dining Priority Reservations are both helpful perks when at a busy casino, so Gold level players will certainly have something to enjoy there.
  • Complimentary Valet Parking where available.

Platinum Level Perks

The perks get even stronger for Platinum level players, especially the $800 in cash value offers for earned Platinum tier players:

  • $200 Tier Status Dining Credit, earned on top of the Gold one with the same rules, but again only for players who earn that tier level, starting in 2022.
  • Up to $600 Air Travel Credit once a year for a flight to Las Vegas, but this is another perk for players who qualify by earning their tier. Similar to the dining credits, Air Travel Credits have a 12 month window to be used from the date the tier is earned. This is awarded as either free play or cash at MGM’s discretion.
  • One Suite Upgrade in Las Vegas per year, for up to a three-night stay.
  • Complimentary 4 pm Late Check-Out when available.
  • Complimentary Early Check-In upon request, with 24-hour notice required, as early as 1 pm when available.
  • Priority Access to Pool Cabana, Spa and Salon Reservations once you reach the Platinum level or above with MGM Rewards.
  • Annual Complimentary Cruise in an Oceanview Stateroom for up to 5 nights on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises
  • Dedicated Cashier Line is available for Platinum and up.
  • Expedited Taxi and Valet Service is one final perk if you don’t like waiting in line.

NOIR Level Perks

Finally, NOIR players get even more:

  • $500 Tier Status Dining Credit, earned on top of the Gold and Platinum ones, but again only for players who earn that tier level, starting in 2022.
  • Up to $1200 Air Travel Credit once a year for a flight to Las Vegas, a doubling of the Platinum perk.
  • Complimentary Transportation to/from Nearest Airport when staying at their hotel.
  • Guaranteed Hotel, Show or Restaurant Reservations with a 24-hour notice.
  • Annual Complimentary Cruise perk expands to include balcony staterooms on cruises up to 7 nights.
  • Increased Cap on MGM Rewards Points Earnings over the other tier levels.
  • VIP Check-In Lounge where available at MGM Rewards destinations.

Offers Vary By Market

MGM Rewards handles offers differently within Las Vegas vs. their regional properties.

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 MGM Rewards Points, 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 MGM Rewards got more visits and more glimpses at my play, the offers evolved and got more generous, but the structure remained the same.

Aside from the guaranteed resort fee waiver at Gold and above, it does appear players with strong enough offers can still have a resort fee waiver, regardless of tier, included in their offers. I’ve seen resort fee waivers on offers above a certain level before and after the MGM Rewards launch.

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.

Your Play is Rated By Market

One thing that’s consistent between Caesars and MGM Rewards 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 MGM Rewards 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.

Summary

If you’re a regular Las Vegas visitor and have an MGM Rewards 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 MGM Rewards casino at home, you can still benefit from MGM Rewards’ more balanced offers (since Caesars tends to leave much more heavily on room offers) when visiting Las Vegas.

Are you a fan of MGM Rewards? What’s your favorite perk? Share in the comments!

About the author

Joshua

My name is Joshua, and I’m a 30-something who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, games that give you a potential edge, casino promotions and systems and how you can get the most out of it.

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