Casino Loyalty Programs are a great way to get extra cash out of Las Vegas casinos, however they can also be extremely addicting. There’s an old saying in the gambling business that states, some people are willing to lose a million dollars just to win a t-shirt. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, I’ve never had a million dollars and might not be one of those people. However, the part about addiction I’m sure of because I’ve experienced it firsthand. Before getting too deep with a rewards program such as Total Rewards by Caesars Entertainment or M Life by MGM Resorts take some time read this article.
Your Tier Score is an Indication of How Much You’ve Lost
Casino Loyalty Programs are set up to reward players that lose. I’ll put to it you bluntly without sugarcoating it all; the bigger of a loser you are, the better the casino is going to treat you. Seriously, when someone shows up with a Seven Star rewards card, casino staff starts bending-over backwards to make sure this player is well taken care of; he can have anything he wants or requests within reason. Show tickets, limo service, free flights, and VIP suites, all that’s a no-brainer; give it to the man. Seven Stars lose more money than anyone else who gambles in casinos. Of course, some of them might also have hit the jackpot on the Megabucks machine and are only giving back their winnings. So yes, technically it is possible to win overall and be a Seven Star, though for the most part, your tier score is an indication of just how much money you’ve lost.
Even So I still Love Casinos and VIP Programs
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a casino player myself. I’m a gambler… and, I love action more than anyone. In fact, I’m also damn good at working the system. I made it to 11,000 tier score (enough for Diamond) in the Harrah’s Total Rewards program in 2009 over a six week period and only managed to lose $1,850. I spent the next thirteen months staying in Las Vegas Hotels, while taking trips to Tunica, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City and New Orleans and all my hotel stays were either free, or deeply discounted. The deal at the time… Harrah’s would give 5 nights free, after 2 days you could get another 5 nights free. So for the first few months I was staying 5-2-5-2-5-2 rotations where I paid for cheap hotels for two nights and then showed back up for 5 nights free at casinos such as Caesars Palace, Bally’s, Flamingo, Rio Suites and Harrah’s. In time I learned that small action to most off-strip casino properties was enough to earn free nights elsewhere. Seriously, after my initial period I didn’t gamble much at all… and most of my time was spent playing $20.00 per hand table games, drinking having a good time and not losing much.
Some Key Casino VIP Points to Understand
The point I’m trying make… this article isn’t coming from someone who is anti-casino. In fact I love casinos and also to an extent love the casino loyalty programs just the same. I just, in having worked the system better than most, learned a few things that you might find helpful. First let me make two points.
All those extra perks you’re getting by being a Platinum, Diamond, Emerald, Black or whatever other title your VIP card reads, might not actually be worth it.
The reason everyone remembers who you are and makes you feel at home is because it is their job. Yes, casino dealers on the strip do get lonely and enjoy seeing familiar faces and some of it is sincere, but remember first and foremost you’re treated the way you are because it is their job.
Both of those statements probably come off as common sense. When you add real life emotion, sense of accomplishment, and the like to them… these factors alone cause most casino gamblers to lose hundreds, or thousands of dollars more than they need to. In case it is of interest to you, let me go ahead and address this in more detail.
Moving up in Tiers might not be worth it
I’m rather convinced at programs such as Total Rewards and M Life, the added benefits are not worth their price. For example Total Rewards and M Life will send out three free weeknight comps regularly to their entry level VIPs. These are given out liberally to anyone who gambled 4 hours in a single session during a previous stay. With M Life you get the added benefit of a faster comp point rate when a higher tier VIP, but that shouldn’t be a concern because getting comp points means losing more money. Most of us are concerned with the hotel stays, not extra points. Now back to Total Rewards as Platinum you’ll get 4 weeknights free, and as Diamond you’ll get five any-nights free. Well honestly 3 nights is enough for most people. If you’re going to stay in Las Vegas for a week, for the other four nights shop the net using our advice on booking a Las Vegas trip to grab a great deal somewhere else. Vegas is MASSIVE it is so much larger than the strip and there are some nice casinos to see such as Boyd Gaming’s Suncoast part of the Bconnected VIP program which is located in Summerlin Las Vegas.
So what else is it other than 1 or 2 free nights you’re giving up? Perhaps the end of the year shopping spree, but again this is given to you because you’ve lost a lot of money. Access to Winter Fest and Spring Fest… Okay that might be worth it, but only if you’re close. If you’re a 2800 tier score Gold with a few months left in the year, making the extra push to Platinum might be a good idea. What’s the need for Diamond though? What this will get you is front of the line access to the cage and taxi lines, special seats in restaurants, and one additional show ticket per month. Okay, those benefit costs most people $3,000 to $20,000 in casino losses per year. One extra show ticket – eh when gambling ask the host and you’ll likely get one. If not… network with some Diamond members at your table and ask them if they plan to use their show tickets. There are tons of Diamonds all over Las Vegas that don’t use show tickets and love the idea of helping out. Access to the Lounge? Clearly you haven’t found the $4.99 buffets with much better than just toast, fancy chips and buffalo fried chicken on display. Nor have you have been to the dozens of local casinos that give out outstanding FREE buffets for just a couple hours play.
Let me pause right here and say: Total Rewards is an AWESOME program! It seriously is and if your natural gambling tendencies cause you to be Diamond you’ll be quite happy. I’m simply pointing out that gambling for the sole purpose of reaching higher tier scores, does not make sense in most cases.
Casinos Employees Treat Regulars the Same Regardless of VIP Status
A lot of people love seeing the same faces and that’s why they return to a certain casino. It is easy to fall into the illusion that these people remember you or treat you better because you’re a higher tier score VIP, and have a different color comp card. The staff comments on these things because it is their job to do so. Make friends with one just casino employee that was your favorite dealer and get to know them outside the casino and soon enough you’ll have far more sincere friends, because everyone else who enjoyed dealing to you wants to get to know you too. Unfortunately you’ll then need to stop playing in this casino as most have a policy of against entertaining customers outside of work. This is a lightly enforced policy but it creates more drama for the staff than it is worth when you become friends with most the shift. Over the years I’ve made a TON of friends in Las Vegas and when I visit, I now gamble in local’s casino with people who used to deal to me on the strip.
The Ultimate Point – You Might Save Money, Get Better Comps and Have More Fun
Rather than grinding it out with one VIP program consider doing this:
- Keep accounts with both MGM’s M Life and Caesars’ Total Rewards. If one of these programs is comping your hotel stay, give them four hours of table game action each day (or the equivalent machine coin-in) AND then during the trip don’t visit the other program’s properties (don’t even let them know you’re in town).
- Get out to a bunch of other casinos such as Stations and Boyd properties. But also join programs you’ve never joined before. There are tons of casinos in Las Vegas with their own internal rewards program. Visit these casinos, see which ones you like. When joining their rewards program you’ll be amazed at the offers you start to get, based on just a small amount of play.
If you’re concerned losing friends, get to be friends with the dealers of your old favorite casino, and invite them to come along with you. A good lead in… tell them you’re tired of the strip, love Las Vegas, and want to explore. Ask them for recommendations where to go, what their favorite casinos are. In time you’ll probably end up having lots of dealer friends you run into, or maybe even make plans to go gamble with direct as you start to see much more of Las Vegas. I’m not sure many reading will follow my advice, but if you do, the day your top tier VIP card turns to entry level while you’re still frequently visiting Las Vegas and still having fun, will be a totally liberating experience you’ll never forget. If that’s for you, I hope this advice helps as it’s all exactly what I did; this is my own personal experience.