Recently MGM announced three changes to its Mlife program, one that has already begun to take effect around hotel room pricing, and two others, specifically around the comps earned, that will take effect in October. This follows changes to Mlife Vegas offers that were earlier mentioned here at Know Your Slots, and likely relate to MGM’s ongoing MGM 2020 belt-tightening program.
This will impact some of us more than others, so let’s take a look at each change and what this means for the program.
Reduction in Non-Comped Room Discounts
Previously, depending on your tier, you qualified for discounts on rooms, which grew as your tier increased. MGM is now making it a flat 10 percent discount. This doesn’t effect those who are just trying to book their normal comps, but for those who are hoping to book a second room for other guests, like friends and family, the perks are now watered down.
This was one of the perks that made pushing for a higher tier valuable, and so to take that away certainly is frustrating some of the higher tier players. Worse, they decided to roll this change out immediately in Las Vegas, and it’s coming soon to other markets, so there wasn’t time to get some last bookings in before the change.
This will only impact a subset of Mlife customers, but those who rely on it won’t be happy.
Express Comps Calculation Changes
This one’s probably the most important for those who visit Vegas. Starting with the new tier year in October, Mlife is changing how they calculate Express Comps. Or they’re not. It’s hard to know because the actual change is how you earn Express Comps is getting intentionally more fuzzy.
Previously, Mlife advertised that when you would earn one base point, usually $3 for slots or $10 for video poker play, you would earn 10 tier credits (in Vegas; outside Vegas it’s usually one point), one point (which could be used as comps or pointplay) and one cent in express comps as well. So for every $300 of coin-in on slots, you’d see 1000 tier credits, $1 in express comps and 100 points (again, usable either for pointplay or express comps).
Now, they’re saying your express comps will be earned based on bet size, time on machine and game type. By making it more opaque, they can do things like make games with higher holds pay comps faster than lower holds, or delineate based on denomination.
I’ve played a lot at MGM Springfield opens, and a few times at Borgata, and it always appeared I was earning comps at a faster rate than in Vegas. This may be because their competition offers better comp accrual rates. For instance, both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in CT give you a comp dollar after something closer to $175 in slot coin-in.
To do $300 coin-in for a $1 in the Northeast would be a much more watered down accrual rate vs. the competition, so at MGM Springfield they let you earn about twice as fast as in Vegas from my rough math tracking how much I earn, but many of the shopping options require you to spend them at a 2:1 ratio to make up for it. If you take the express comps to Vegas, however, you can use them at full strength, so it’s a great way to bank comps for Vegas.
I highly doubt that they’re shifting to the MGM Springfield model to give us comps twice as fast. What they’re doing is giving themselves the flexibility to make whatever changes they desire. Keep in mind Caesars has long given you $1 worth of Rewards Credits for every $500 in slot coin-in, so they may opt to water down slots while keeping Video Poker the same, given it currently matches Caesars.
The lack of clarity in comp dollar earnings may be something that happens at a lot of other properties, but it’s a bit of a bummer coming from Mlife. With Eldorado buying Caesars, I wouldn’t be surprised it they make a similar move now that their largest competitor is going that way.
Detroit: No More Converting Pointplay to Cash
The last one, which also takes effect in October, only effects players using a feature at MGM Detroit that allowed the conversion of Pointplay to actual cash. You can still use it as additional comps or slot play, so there’s still a lot of flexibility for points (and it now aligns Detroit with the rest of the Mlife program), but I’m sure it’s still disappointing to those who liked it.
I don’t see this feature all that often; Foxwoods allows you to convert comps earned gambling into cash at a 2:1 ratio, but if you do any sort of spending for food or merchandise at the resort that makes it highly inefficient to convert it to cash instead.
All three changes look to be ways to keep more money in the system or improve revenue, which is generally what to expect when programs make change like this. It doesn’t make it any less disappointing, but the features targeted seem to try to make changes with the least amount of pain, as some of the popular features like point multipliers and such are intact after these moves.
Do any of the changes impact you? Which one are you most disappointed by? Share in the comments!
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