Understanding Comps

Ways to Use Your Hard-Earned Casino Comp Dollars

Oyo Hotel & Casino Las Vegas $3 comp
Written by Joshua

One of the specific benefits while using your players card you get from virtually every casino while playing casino games, in particular slot machines, is the earning of comp dollars. Comp dollars work like cash while at a casino property, and allow you to basically accumulate credit you can spend on a variety of things at the casino.

Comp dollars are a great way to get more out of a casino visit without having to dip into your wallet. When planned well, they can unlock money for something else, like your gambling budget or allowing for more activities while on site.

Sometimes players don’t realize the staggering array of options they can spend those comp dollars. The specific ways you can use comp dollars earned in a specific casino program may vary, but most offer more than many players can take advantage of on a single visit.

Here’s a number of options I’ve seen over the years built into multiple casino programs. Before you attempt to use them, be sure to check whether the program you’re earning comp dollars allows the use you want, to avoid surprises if they ultimately don’t accept them for that use.

Hotel Rooms

Many players get comp rooms, but there can be limitations – sometimes you want to stay for three nights, but you only get comped for two. Sometimes you only get weeknight comps and really want to stay on a weekend. Sometimes there’s a busy weekend that yields a cost that normally wouldn’t be there.

Comp dollars can be great for shrinking or eliminating those charges when need be, as it’s one of the more common expenditures that can be accrued when visiting a casino.

Dining/Restaurants

This is probably one of the most common ways players utilize their comp dollars, covering meals while they’re at the casino, especially if their rooms are comped and they have free play. Some casinos may issue players dining dollars or resort credits, but this may not cover all the food costs.

Since eating is a requirement to survive, and one of the areas that can get quite expensive at a casino depending on the restaurant or dining option selected, this can be a handy use of comp dollars.

One thing to keep in mind about this and some of the other options is comp dollars can sometimes be redeemed in a watered down version (or not at all) at certain restaurants, especially if it’s ones not owned or managed directly by the casino. So be sure to check and see whether your restaurant of choice accepts them, and at what ratio (preferably 1:1).

Shopping

Most casinos have shopping opportunities, and many (although definitely not all) allow you to use your comp dollars to buy things from the various shops, from the Essentials shops with various basics all the way up to the high-end shops.

If hotels and dining are already covered, or if you’ve pooled up a lot of comp dollars, this can be a good use of it, especially if you’re buying things you need, saving you money outside of the casino, although be careful not to overpay too much, as many casino items can be marked up.

Spa Experiences

If you’re more of a spa person, this is sometimes an overlooked option that can be great for relaxation. Whether it be a massage, facial, or access to other amenities with a spa day pass, this can be a great option for relaxation when you want to get away from the casino floor.

Spa treatments can be on the pricey side, so even if your comp dollars can’t cover the entire balance, it can heavily discount the experience, making it more accessible.

Rides & Entertainment

Some casinos have rides or other entertainment experiences available on property, whether it be ziplines like at Foxwoods or The LINQ, or an actual roller coaster at New York New York. Some casinos have arcades, movie theaters, virtual reality rides or experiences, and the list goes on.

In many cases your comp dollars can cover these bases too, opening up the option of doing some non-casino stuff on property without having to reach into your wallet.

Visiting Other Casinos

While all of the above experiences can be great at your home casino, many casinos are part of larger chains where your comps can be leveraged at any of them. This can be particularly helpful if you’re visiting a new market where you don’t have a new player offer or any comps offered for that casino yet.

As a player I many times save comp dollars earned in New England for properties in other markets, since I don’t necessarily need a hotel stay or a dinner when I’m close to home. But I can leverage them in Atlantic City or Las Vegas, where I might be staying longer and burn through the offers I have before the trip is over.

It can be very beneficial to have a bank of comps to leverage as an overflow when on longer length or longer distance trips.

In the Vicinity of the Casino

Many casinos forge community partnerships, and beyond the casino walls itself there are casinos that let you use comp dollars outside the casino. The most prominent is the Golden Nugget casino comps can be used at any Landry’s restaurant, but it isn’t the only example out there.

This isn’t going to be a frequent option, but it’s still worth noting if any of those options have value to you specifically, as like the others it can negate money you would have spent out of pocket regardless.

Free Play

In certain cases, Caesars Rewards being the most prominent example, you can convert your comp dollars to free play. Expect this option to frequently do it at a less than 1:1 value, excepting when promotions take place. But some players stack up comp dollars at a pace faster than they can redeem them, so at least this offers an option.

Cash

Finally, some casinos, such as Foxwoods, have a cash-in option (also usually at a diluted value) that let you take your comp dollars and simply cash them in. Foxwoods does it at a 2:1 ratio, so if you have $10 in comp dollars that’s worth $5 in actual cash.

Similar to free play, it generally doesn’t let you capture the full value of the comp dollars in most cases, but if you’re struggling to use them it at least lets you capture some of the value out of them.

How do you like to use your comp dollars? 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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