MGM is Making Some Loyalty Program Changes — Both Good and Bad

Welp — I’m back again. Back in Las Vegas, that is. After a few short months away, I’m in Sin City this week to cover CES. As luck would have it, while I’m here, some major news involving MGM’s loyalty program arrived, containing a bevy of both good and bad news for customers.

The first change involves the name of the program itself. While it’s been known as M life Rewards, it will soon go by the much more straightforward MGM Rewards. Personally, I actually like the M life name but there’s no denying that MGM Rewards is simpler and easier for people to remember. It’s also reminiscent of how Caesars’ Total Rewards program became Caesars Rewards back in 2019. Meanwhile, some other nomenclature such as Express Comps and Points (as earned from slot play) will move to MGM Rewards Points and Slot Dollars respectively.

Anyway, outside of the name, the program is seeing some big updates. First for the bad news: hotel bookings, dining purchases, etc. will now only earn 4 tier credits per dollar spent. That might sound pretty good… until you realize that the previous earning rate for such purchases was 25x tier credits.

As for the new benefits, I want to focus on just a few. First, those with Pearl status or higher will have access to “complimentary tickets to select exclusive MGM Rewards concerts in Las Vegas.” That’s pretty vague and the fine print notes that “Offers will vary in terms of frequency, ticket types, number of tickets, location, dates, etc. based on member’s Tier status and spend/gaming activity.” Still, it sounds like a nice bonus.

Next, starting at Gold Status, members will enjoy a “Tier achievement celebration dining experience” credit. For Gold members, this is a $100 credit, climbing to $200 for Platinum and $500 for the invitation-only Noir level. If this perk sounds familiar, it’s likely because it’s remarkably similar to what Caesars offers its Diamond, Diamond Plus, Diamond Elite, and Seven Stars members (spoiler: that will be a bit of a theme going forward).

To me, the most significant plus coming to the program is waived resort fees for those with Gold status or higher. This is something I’ve loved about Caesars Rewards Diamond Status and which often led me to stay at Caesars properties despite tending to prefer MGM locations overall. If you’re not familiar with how much these fees can add to a stay, in my experience, various MGM properties on the strip charge upwards of $35 a night (plus tax) in resort fees. Heck, a few nights ago, the $39 resort fee I paid at Mirage exceeded my $31 nightly room rate!

Of course, while this is a great perk, the change in how tier credits are earned will make it harder for people like me to qualify in the first place. Indeed, even with the extra month MGM is giving current members to earn tier credits for 2021, I’m likely going to end up with the second-tier Pearl status. Then again, since I have linked my M life Rewards to Hyatt and that status is apparently good through 2023, perhaps I’ll be able to match that back to MGM Rewards in order to stay Gold (like Ponyboy)? I’ll have to give that a shot and let you know for sure, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re in the same boat.

While the early leak revealing the downgrade in tier credit earnings made it look as though the move to MGM Rewards would be a disaster for customers, the full picture is a bit different. For those who can still qualify for status, the perks are much better in my opinion and for my situation. And while non-gamblers may have a hard time gaining status going the direct MGM route, keep in mind that Hyatt loyalty customers can match their status to MGM Rewards. In fact, those travelers may be the biggest winners in this shake-up. As for me, I’ll keep you updated on how these changes impact my future Vegas visits.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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