Changes to MGM Resorts Loyalty Program Go Well Beyond a New Name
To start February, MGM Resorts International rechristened its loyalty program with a new name, MGM Rewards. The program was previously known as MLife.
However, the changes are more than superficial. The enhanced MGM loyalty program will do more to both reward non-gaming customers and also more effectively integrate a growing category of newer customers — those who do their gambling on the internet through BetMGM.
Some important elements of MGM Rewards will remain as they have been for the last several years. For instance, membership tier levels will remain the same: starting with Sapphire and ascending upward through Pearl, Gold, Platinum and NOIR. Just as the case with many airline and hotel loyalty programs, the higher the tier, the greater the benefits it carries.
Anil Mansukhani, vice president of loyalty marketing for MGM Resorts, said changes to the loyalty program resulted from customer feedback.
“One of the key pieces of feedback that we got from our customers when we went out and surveyed them and conducted focus groups was that they wanted it to be simpler,” Mansukhani said. “Our program admittedly was complicated. We had a lot of differences between some of our regional properties and our Las Vegas properties. ”So, in a lot of ways we've tried to really standardize some of these things to make it more consistent across the entire portfolio of our resorts.”
MGM’s extensive collection of luxury properties include the Bellagio and MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Borgata in Atlantic City, MGM National Harbor in Maryland, MGM Springfield in Massachusetts and the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, among many others.
It should be noted that two anticipated changes in Vegas are on the horizon: MGM sold the operations of the famous Mirage resort to Hard Rock International and it acquired management of the Cosmopolitan casino resort. Both changes should become effective sometime this year.
More MGM Customer Benefits
The MGM loyalty program changes are meant to allow more of the company’s customers to accrue MGM Reward Points and Tier Credits through both gaming activity (playing slots and table games at a casino and even online casino games) and through non-gaming purchases. In addition to earning MGM Reward Points, slots players can now earn Slot Dollars (formerly referred to as PointPlay) for their play.
Reward Points and Tier Credits can also be accrued through spending on directly booked rooms and on food and beverages purchases at all domestic MGM Resorts destinations, as well as through gambling. Reward Points act as a currency that can be used to pay for an array of things, including restaurant dining at MGM properties, hotel stays and for entertainment. Tier Credit accumulation moves a customer from one tier level to higher one.
For online players, whether it’s sports betting or iCasino play, there is now thorough integration between the online arm of MGM — namely, the BetMGM platform — and the rewards program. Playing with BetMGM earns members digital rewards for more BetMGM online play as well as Tier Credits and Rewards Points.
Offers Tailored to MGM Players
In the process, online players may also have access to tailored offers, plus their points can be used for real-world experiences across MGM Resorts properties just as if they were earned in a brick-and-mortar casino. For customer convenience, Reward Points and Tier Credits that are earned through gaming or with purchases can be reviewed online at a unified account, whether the gambling was done online or on property.
“One of the most important things that we've done is effectively make your membership as a BetMGM customer automatic,” Mansukhani said of the online integration. “You will be automatically enrolled in the MGM Rewards program and assigned an MGM Rewards member number … so, if you're making sports bets or if you're an online casino player, you earn those MGM Rewards Points and those points can be effectively converted into our real-world experiences at MGM resorts.”
On MGM Resorts’ recent earnings call, company CEO Bill Hornbuckle made the enhanced loyalty program a point of emphasis.
“The updated program allows us to address key opportunities, including targeting high-value non-gaming customers in addition to high-volume gaming customers; incentivizing cross-property patronage and tier progression with more motivating benefits, and further activating BetMGM's customers in our properties,” Hornbuckle said.
In an interesting note, Hornbuckle said that last year, 42% of MGM’s new database enrollments came from BetMGM.
More Details on the MGM Changes
Other important points about MGM Rewards:
- Customers can continue to use their current MLife credit cards and earn points with everyday purchases, such as groceries and gasoline. The credit card program is expected to be continued. A point to note: Credit card holder are automatically elevated to Pearl status (the second of five tier levels).
- Also being continued is MGM’s military and veterans program. Current and former military are issued specially designated loyalty cards and are also elevated to Pearl status. (Tip: when enrolling for the military status, have a military ID available, and for veterans, have a copy of a DD214 handy).
- Along with earning MGM Reward Points, slots players now earn Slot Dollars (formerly referred to as PointPlay) for their play.
- Achieving Pearl status is significant in a number of ways. A new MGM Rewards enhancement is that at Pearl level, members do not have their points and Slot Dollars expire. Previously, the policy was that if customers were inactive on their account for 12 months, they would lose the rewards points and slot dollars.
- In addition to earning Pearl as a credit card holder or as military/veterans member, customers can hit Pearl with 20,000 Tiers Credits, a reduction from the previous 25,000 credit threshold.
- Also, Pearl level members are entitled to free self-parking, a substantial savings throughout many MGM properties.
- An important perk of Gold and higher status (the third level) is having those hefty and annoying resort fees waived.
- Among the several travel perks at the higher levels (Platinum and NOIR) is an opportunity to earn air travel credit, up to certain thresholds, to visit Las Vegas.
- While exact points and credit accumulation for all gaming activities is not published (generally, earning rates are based on average bet, length of play, and game type), there are some knowns about accumulating Tier Credits. For instance, for non-gaming spend, customers earn four Tier Credits for every dollar spent on hotel stays and dining spend at MGM properties.
- A near-term offer is that all members receive a 2-times multiplier on Tier Credits earned at MGM’s Las Vegas resorts until April 30, 2022 (at the applicable earning rates).
Mansukhani, MGM’s loyalty marketing executive, added that the company isn’t quite finished polishing and buffing MGM Rewards.
“For new members that are signing up for the credit card, we'll have more details that we can probably share in a few weeks,” he said, “but some really good stuff is around the corner.”