This site has only been live a few months, but the most popular article since its inception has been the review of the Wynn Slots app, which was the first app review published. The game offers the ability to get rooms at one of the most luxurious hotels in Las Vegas, so it’s not surprising that the popularity of it has been growing by leaps and bounds.
A series of changes introduced seems to have aimed to slow down the accessibility of the freebies, and will likely turn away some of the more casual players. For those who are committed, not all is lost, but it is important to know the changes so you can understand what to expect.
In today’s post I’ll go through all of the major updates the game has had, and remind you about the Facebook group I recommend if you plan on spending a lot of time in the game earning the comps you want. The biggest change will come at the end of the article, the new VIP program, which new players in particular should understand as it can take awhile to reach the point of earning the best comps now.
25,000 Gem Earnings Cap
One of the earlier recent changes was a series of efforts to implement a 25,000 gem cap. It initially started as an outright stop once you’ve earned 25,000 total gems, including spent gems, and then made it deliberately hard to earn more gems (1 billion coins bet per gem). They backed away from this over time, but this was one of the first signs to deliberately limit the liability of the app based on the number of gems that had been earned in the game’s ecosystem.
The more recent version of this is a bit more generous: You can have 25,000 earned gems in your bank before you’re cut off until you spend some. If you make a reservation, since the gems are removed from your bank at the time of the reservation, you can then earn more gems until you’re back to 25,000. Spent gems also don’t count towards the cap, like it did in the original attempt to cap players.
Multiple times throughout the spring and summer, the cost of a room went up universally by 200 gems per night, regardless of the previous cost. A few gem devaluations have happened since the game was first released. More recent changes seem to explain in part the reason for this, but ultimately it is a way to get players to burn through unused gems more quickly.
Similar to other loyalty programs, like hotel programs, where unused points slowly get devalued over time as a way to keep the program’s overall burden in line, this is likely going to continue to be the case for games like Wynn Slots, as it was for other apps like MyVegas. If you’re holding on to gems waiting for a better deal, you may be disappointed to discover the deals get worse over time.
Twice in the past few months the coins bet per gem requirements increased, particularly once you’ve earned a certain number of gems. Levels that once gave you a gem per 20 million coins bet are up to 30 million coins bet, a 50 percent reduction. Again, this seems to have been done in an effort to slow the overall compiled liability of the gems earned in the system.
What hasn’t changed is that gem earning rates are based on total gem earnings and not your balance. It doesn’t get easier if you spend gems, so that has remained consistent. And your earnings per gem has nothing to do with your game level.
Mini Tournaments: Quick Coin Wins
The game introduced a couple of ways to earn coins alongside spinning. One is Mini Tournaments, which live in each game and run for 15 minutes at a time, with 5 minute breaks between them. (They start at :00, :20 and :40 of each hour.) Rankings are based on coins won; higher betters will of course have a better chance of placing than lower winners. Placing in the top 30 earns you coins, but the prizes balloon in the top 3.
Not every game has tournaments, but for those that do, it’s a nice addition and can throw a bit more coins your way.
Harder Scratcher Events
Some changes to the scratcher events came a little while back that raised the level of difficulty a bit for the scratcher events. However, the prizes for completing scratchers also went up accordingly. Bronze scratchers, which were the weakest of them and with it payouts as little as 50,000 coins, have largely gone away.
Gold scratchers, with a 3-12 million coin prize, are much more prevalent – they’re the predominant scratcher now. You’ll see an occasional silver still, and the platinum scratcher event is still the primary way to earn those, with their 12 million to 40 million coin prize.
Bingo: Another Way to Earn Scratchers
A new Bingo game was introduced, and with it the opportunity to win more scratchers. Each Bingo game lasts about 10 minutes. Based on the scratcher you can win, you get a ball based on coins bet:
- Bronze Scratcher: 1 ball per 500k wagered
- Silver Scratcher: 1 ball per 1 million wagered
- Gold Scratcher: 1 ball per 10 million wagered
- Platinum Scratcher: 1 ball per 50 million wagered
The scratchers that are available are identical to the ones earned during scratcher events, so the same prize options pop up. Players will be familiar with those who have been playing awhile.
The New VIP Program: Massive Changes
The most recent of the changes came a week ago as this gets posted, in which a new VIP program was introduced. There are six VIP levels, from 0 to 5. Level 0 is where new players start; a 90-day window is initiated to attempt to level up, or maintain your level if you’ve achieved a level up previously. Leveling up unlocks new features; one of the biggest is the ability to get a buffet at Wynn when you’re level 1. [Update 11/14/19: Buffets are now available. Learn how that works here.]
VIP points tier at the following levels:
- Level 0: Entry level.
- Level 1: 2,500 VIP points.
- Level 2: 10,000 VIP points.
- Level 3: 20,000 VIP points.
- Level 4: 40,000 VIP points.
- Level 5: 75,000 VIP points.
Room bookings now require level 2, meaning new players must work their way up, either by playing the game (and estimates indicate it’ll take 3-6 months to earn the level outright with consistent, focused play), or $100 spend, or some combination of both. The two bed room type is also being made available now as a room option for room bookings, another change. Previously that wasn’t available unless you paid for an upgrade upon arrival.
Clearly this is designed to stop players from racking up a lot of gems early and booking 4 expensive nights at the Wynn, but the flip side was there wasn’t any explanation of the upcoming changes before they were launched, just a teaser that the program was coming. So many players were frustrated to be placed in level 0 or 1 without a way to spend their gems on rooms. Those who had spend history were placed in their appropriate levels. I did a quick calculation (I was placed in level 2) and it was consistent with my spend.
One other change is if you reach level 3 or higher, you get discounts on the gems required to book a room. One benefit of this change is it heavily offsets the previous gem devaluations, so players at that level can book more nights more often, a pretty valuable perk given it’s the Wynn, especially if you go to Vegas often.
Earning VIP Points: A Quick Primer
To earn or maintain a level, you earn VIP points. VIP points can be earned through three core actions:
- Collecting the Gold hourly bonus (once every three hours)
- Collecting the wheel bonus (once every 12 hours)
- Completing a scratcher event (5 gold scratcher events and one platinum scratcher event each day; the platinum event earns significantly more than the gold events)
How many VIP points you earn for each action varies based on your VIP level (this data was based on info collected from various player reports at the time this article was posted, and has since evolved; a new post will be coming soon):
- Level 0: 3 for gold chest bonus, 10 for wheel spins, 6 for gold scratcher events, 20 for platinum scratcher events
Level 1: 5 for gold chest bonus, 15 for wheel spins, 9 for gold scratcher events, 25 for platinum scratcher events
Level 2: 9 for gold chest bonus, 30 for wheel spins, 14 for gold scratcher events, 50 for platinum scratcher events
Level 3: 18 for gold chest bonus, 60 for wheel spins, 28 for gold scratcher events, 100 for platinum scratcher events
Level 4/5: 32 for gold chest bonus, 100 for wheel spins, 50 for gold scratcher events, 180 for platinum scratcher events
As you can see, you earn them faster at higher levels than lower levels, so maintaining an existing level can be done in most cases with regular play (and not insignificant regular play at that – a regular, daily commitment would be ideal to accomplish it), and/or coin purchases. The ability to earn or renew a level comes in 90 day windows.
Temporary Actions Due to the Changes
To try to help some players, the developers placed some players in level 1 with a chance to renew it within 28 days, with the ability to take advantage of the higher earning pace of level 1 vs. level 0. Regardless of whether level 1 is achieved or not, a new 90 day window begins after that, but other than that all players are now on a 90-day cycle going forward around the VIP levels.
If a player booked a room before the institution of the levels, and is now under level 2, the reservation will be honored. Presumably, this continues if you book while level 2 and slip below before making it to the Wynn in the future.
One Last Change: Cancellation Fees
The final change is one that was likely introduced to resolve a sneaky way some players were getting around the 25k cap – booking a room they never intended to use, cancelling the reservation after earning more gems, and sitting on them. Or, for other players, they would book a couple of nights, earn more gems, and then cancel/rebook. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the cancellation rate was high from the app and messing with the hotel’s way to gauge room availability and other data points.
So, with the new update, a 25% cancellation fee was introduced, and will be charged if you cancel your reservation. If you spent 10,000 gems and cancelled, you’d only get back 7,500.
I’m sure this will discourage some from making reservations until they’re ready, but will probably also help Wynn Slots lower the cancellation rates. But players can at least cancel rooms. I suspect some may still consider it to switch from a single king bed to the two doubles, or to add/subtract nights, but it certainly encourages a more conclusive decision.
The other thing that may require this is that you can’t rebook if you’re no longer level 2. So if you booked a reservation, wish to cancel and rebook, and you’re level 1, you can cancel but won’t be able to rebook unless you reach level 2.
Is It Still Worth it to Play?
Like anything where comps/heavily discounted items can be earned, you’ll need to have an accounting of what it takes to earn the benefits. If you’re looking for buffets, this change may be a welcome update. If rooms were your thing and you’re boxed out of level 2 right now and have to work your way there, this could be a frustrating revision to the rules.
The reality is you can buy your way to level 2 for a maximum spend of $100. That’s less than resort fees for four nights at Vegas properties in most cases, and you get the Wynn. If you’ve got the gems, it may be worth spending a bit to enjoy the perks of a Wynn room.
Those who enjoy playing slot apps regularly may find the earnings requirements not that difficult, or might find a modicum of spending to be acceptable – if you get 80% of the VIP points and need to spend $20 to complete the trip to level 2, you might not care that much at that point. But the reality is unlike many comp programs, it’s no longer as simple as earn enough points and redeem, so players will need to decide whether that additional obstacle is too frustrating to overcome.
Those that stick with it will still find the Wynn rooms rewarding, and the benefits quite high (weekends are generally available, even if at a higher gem rate, vs. other programs like MyVegas where the nights available are very heavily restricted).
I have a room reservation booked, and my 90 day clock will end while I’m there, so I’m seeing how I do with maintaining level 2 or even bumping to level 3 during the window. With the lack of pressure to need to have an immediate booking, I’m finding most of the changes neutral to positive personally, but I know many players who took a step backwards as a result of the changes.
But ultimately, the more generous version of this program is definitely dead – it probably wasn’t destined to last forever given how easy it was to earn gems, and from those gems free rooms – but at least there’s still a pretty clear opportunity to get access to free or heavily discounted Wynn rooms through the app, and now the room type is more flexible and buffets have been added. I suspect a few tweaks will come out of this as players and the app maker alike see how this all shakes out.
Get a Helping Hand
I previously recommended the more serious of my readers to join the Wynn Slots Tips and Tricks group, and continue to do so. The moderator’s FAQ provides a good primer on what to expect, and the group’s players are very savvy at suggesting ways to build gems quickly. Already many group member have been plugging away to determine the best way to handle the changes stemming from the VIP program. There’s some savvy players in there so it’s a good resource to tap if you’re looking to make the most of it.