M life Rewards, one of the gaming industry’s most popular loyalty programs, is getting a new look and will become MGM Rewards on Feb. 1. But at least one travel and leisure points expert isn’t enthusiastic about the changes.
In a recent email to M life members, MGM Resorts International previews the new rewards program, saying it will be easier to earn and redeem points at the operators 20-plus venues. The largest operator on the Las Vegas Strip is also extending the tier credit-earning time line.
“In anticipation of the new loyalty program, we have extended the Tier Credit-earning period to January 31 giving you a little extra time to lock in your current tier or even level-up before your tier status is evaluated,” according to the M life site.
However, Benji Stawski of the The Points Guy — a media property dedicated to coverage of credit card and travel and leisure loyalty and points programs — says the transition to MGM Rewards from M life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, he argues it’s going to make earning tier credits harder.
MGM Rewards Elite Status Difficult to Reach
One of the dramatic changes is how customers earn tier credits, which are applied to the various status levels.
“Starting Feb. 1, 2022, you’ll earn just four Tier Credits per dollar spent on nongaming spending, including hotel accommodations, dining, and spa services. Although the program used to have different earning rates for Las Vegas properties and regional ones, this change applies to all MGM Resorts destinations, nationwide,” says Stawski of the new points scheme.
The current earning rate is 25 tier credits per dollar spent at one of MGM’s Las Vegas venues, and eight credits for each $1 spent at one of its regional properties.
For its part, MGM says it’s expanding the way guests and bettors can accrue points, and that more points can be earned on dining, hotel stays, and gaming. Points can also be earned via BetMGM, which is the largest internet casino platform and second-largest online sportsbook by market share in the US.
As Stawski notes, MGM is also altering credits earned on slot machines, video poker, and other gaming devices, making the points accrued comparable to what bettors earn on table games.
“Starting February 1, 2022 earn Tier Credits playing slots, video poker, and video lottery terminals based on length of play, average bet, and game type,” notes MGM.
Under M life guidelines, bettors earned 10 tier credits per $10 spent on video poker and 10 tier credits for every $3 wagered on a slot machine.
M life Rewards has more than 34 million members, making it one of the largest programs of its kind.
Some Benefits Trimmed
Loyalty programs, casino and otherwise, often undergo changes and those alterations are rarely met with praise by points-crazed members. Usually their gripes revolve companies making it harder to earn higher status or some perks being reduced.
Stawski claims MGM is going down both roads.
“Effective February, the Platinum Experience upon check-in at Las Vegas Resorts will be placed on hold,” he notes. “This is where Platinum and Noir members are offered unique welcome amenities like complimentary tickets to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art or the Big Apple Roller Coaster at New York-New York.”
Currently, Sapphire is the lowest level in M life and it takes 25,000 tier credits to get bumped to Pearl. From there, 75,000 points are needed to move to Gold, and Platinum requires 200,000 tier credits. The aforementioned Noir level is invitation-only.
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