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The MGM Rewards Mastercard, issued by the First National Bank of Omaha, can help you rack up points when you pay for stays, dining and more at MGM properties. However, the odds are not in your favor. The card’s offerings are basic, and with just over 30 MGM hotel and gaming destinations globally, you’ll have to be a true MGM loyalist to see any real value.
Previously known as the M Life Mastercard, the MGM Rewards card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Cardholders receive complimentary Pearl elite status with the MGM Rewards program (see perks of that status below), and rewards never expire as long as the card is open. Though that may sound like hitting the jackpot, most people will do better with a general travel or cash-back rewards card.
Here are five things to know about the MGM credit card.
1. Rake in rewards points and tier credits
The MGM Rewards loyalty program is relatively simple. Spending money on stays, dining, shopping and gambling at qualifying MGM properties will earn members MGM Rewards points and tier credits. Points are worth 1 cent each and can be earned by all MGM Rewards members, even those without the MGM Rewards card. Tier credits are used to earn elite status in the MGM Rewards program.
Spending on the MGM Rewards credit card earns what are called "MGM Mastercard Points" as well as tier credits. MGM Mastercard Points can be redeemed for MGM Rewards points or Slot Dollars (credits on slot machines). Cardholders will earn:
3x MGM Mastercard Points and tier credits per $1 spent at eligible MGM properties.
2x MGM Mastercard Points and tier credits per $1 spent on gas and supermarket purchases.
1x MGM Mastercard Point and tier credit per $1 spent on everything else.
If you spend a lot of money at MGM Resorts, the MGM credit card is a good way to rack up points. But those points are inherently limiting because they can be redeemed only at MGM properties.
A better option might be a card that earns flexible rewards or cash back that can be used anywhere. The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming and grocery store purchases. There’s no annual fee, and cash back can be used for anything you want. New applicants can also grab the following introductory offer: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
» MORE: MGM Rewards: What to know
2. Earn automatic Pearl status
Holders of the MGM Rewards credit card will earn automatic Pearl status in the MGM Rewards program. This comes with free self-parking at MGM properties, a 10% Slot Dollar earning bonus and a guarantee that your rewards will never expire. It would normally take 20,000 tier credits to achieve Pearl status.
If elite status is what you’re after, there are several loyalty programs that have a reciprocal agreement with MGM. For example, you can get Pearl status with MGM by matching your Discoverist status in the World of Hyatt program. World of Hyatt Credit Card holders automatically get Discoverist status, so you could apply for that card instead and match your status to automatically qualify as a Pearl elite. Hyatt has significantly more properties than MGM, and the reciprocal agreement allows you to use World of Hyatt points for MGM stays. New cardholders also qualify for the following sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.
3. Enjoy priority hotel check-in
The MGM Rewards Mastercard gives you access to an exclusive check-in line at MGM Resorts. If you’re arriving during a busy period of the day, this can save time and allow you to get to your room (or the casino) faster.
» MORE: Best hotel credit cards
4. Snag a modest sign-up bonus
As of this writing, the MGM Rewards credit card comes with a sign-up bonus of 10,000 MGM Rewards Points (worth $100) when you spend $1,000 in the first three months. Rewards can be redeemed for hotel bookings, dining and entertainment at eligible MGM Rewards properties — just present your MGM Rewards number to use points when you pay your bill.
Though $100 is a decent sign-up bonus, it’s not the best you can do. The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card offers the following Limited Time Offer: Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value. There’s no annual fee, and you can earn 3x points on travel, dining, gas, transit, phone plans and streaming services. If you’re looking to finance a big purchase, that card also comes with the following introductory interest rate offer: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months from account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR.
5. Avoid foreign transaction fees
You can use your MGM Rewards Mastercard outside the U.S. without fear of racking up excessive fees because the card has no foreign transaction fees. And because the card is a Mastercard, it will be broadly accepted throughout the world. That means you can use your card abroad and earn bonus rewards during a trip to the MGM resorts in China or Japan.