Ocean Casino Resort has been in a constant state of flux. Many of these changes are good, such as continued investment to evolve and improve things like the casino floor, adding a new high limit area and bringing in more new machines.
They made changes in January, going to a six month program, but that turned out to just be an interim step so they could roll out a new, annual-based program. At first, hearing the rewards programs were changing again, I was a bit apprehensive, but they do seem to be fixing some things that they broke last time out.
Back to Annual Cycles
The good news is that they’re back to annual cycles. And, at least compared to the last time they had an annual cycle, reaching the second tier isn’t as difficult anymore. Unfortunately, reaching the third tier remains harder, but the perks have been strengthened, which may make up for it.
The tier year will be July 1 through June 30, an awkward cycle given the summer season tends to be the busiest for Atlantic City; dividing it across that busy season will probably make it harder for some subset of players to maintain if they’re not visiting on a consistent calendar cycle.
The tiers have new names:
- Signature: Entry level for all players
- Preferred: 3,000 tier points earned
- Prime: 20,000 tier points earned
- Reserve: Invitation only
Aside from shaving off one level, you can only reach the third level on your own; Reserve therefore becomes an opaque tier to reach. They had an Invite only tier before, but had a fourth tier with additional perks that could be reached before. However, because of the changes, some perks will now be available to lower play levels than before, balancing that out, and at a level easier to achieve than under the old program.
By shrinking things down to four tiers, there’s a number of changes that look player-beneficial.
Previously the discounts moved up 5% at a time as you tiered up. Now there’s a bit of a leap:
- Signature: 5% off certain restaurants and retail outlets
- Preferred: 15% off certain restaurants and retail outlets
- Prime: 20% off certain restaurants and retail outlets
- Reserve: 25% off certain restaurants and retail outlets
By having Preferred jump to 15%, and Prime to 20%, it’s bringing bigger discounts to players who would have seen 5% less off under the old program. That adds up.
Better Perks for Third Level Players
Prime, which is their new third tier, gains some perks with the collapsing of the one of the tiers. That level now qualifies for Wynn Las Vegas trips, as well as the new free MSC cruise benefit (which replaces the Carnival benefit) offered to the top two tiers, which required more play-in before to get there. This too makes a very nice perk available to a broader group of players than before.
The lower tiers lose the discount access to Carnival, but honestly it’s the free cruises that are the truest perk out of all these so I don’t think the discounts will be missed by too many.
Resort fees are now also waived for third-level players, another good addition. And certain floors of the parking garage will be reserved for cardholders in the top two tiers.
Broader Lounge Access
There are two new lounges launching as part of all the changes, and one of the lounges is available to Preferred level players (with a $15/person comp payment, a bit higher, but not unlike many of the others in Atlantic City). Previously you had to achieve the third tier to access a lounge. Third tier players pay the same $10/person comps that they did under the old program.
While not promised in the tier programs, Ocean’s been marketing an all players park free program since the reopening, as an effort to encourage players to return. That is not indicated on the new tiers, so it does seem like that may eventually go away, if not on July 1, soon thereafter.
Also, many players who got tier matched to higher tiers may not see that continue; I didn’t, anyway, after basically being granted Platinum automatically for about 18 months. But again, the perks given at the higher tiers are now more generous, so this is perhaps how they’re now counteracting that.
This looks like a much better refresh than January. You’ll have to work for it, but at least what you’re getting seems more complete and comprehensive – there’s lounges, Las Vegas trips, cruises, preferred access to things like parking, and more as you tier up.
I suspect Ocean got some strong player feedback after the January changes and worked that into what became the new program launching this week. Hopefully they continue to listen, and evolve, in ways that will continue to draw favorable player reactions.