Caesars vs. MGM Rewards: Which Rewards Program Is Better?

We put the two biggest casino rewards programs in a head-to-head comparison.
Mar 24, 2022
Caesars Rewards vs. M life: Which gaming rewards program is better?

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You’re probably familiar with frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs, but you may not be aware that casinos are also in the rewards game. With the two biggest programs, Caesars Rewards and MGM Rewards, you earn rewards based on how much you spend at casinos, hotels and even dining.

We've compared MGM Rewards versus Caesars to see which stands out as the better choice according to the following criteria:

  1. Program reach.

  2. Earning rewards.

  3. Elite status perks.

  4. Credit cards.

  5. Hotel partner elite status matches.

  6. Partner reward benefits.

See if you agree when deciding which is best for you.

Program reach

Winner for program reach: Caesars Rewards

MGM Rewards is the loyalty program for MGM Resorts' 32 properties — including iconic Vegas casinos such as Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage and MGM Grand. Outside of its home base of Vegas, you'll find eight MGM Resorts properties across several U.S. states plus a couple of international casinos in Macao.

Caesars Rewards is the loyalty program of Caesars Entertainment, another giant in the industry. You can earn and redeem Caesars Rewards at over 50 destinations across 17 states plus international locations in Dubai and Canada. In addition to Caesars-branded locations, Caesars Rewards also includes popular brands such as Harrah's and Horseshoe.

Earning rewards

Winner for earning rewards: MGM Rewards

An important feature of any loyalty program is the rate at which you're rewarded for your loyalty.

With the introduction of the new MGM loyalty program in February, MGM Rewards members now earn MGM Rewards points (instead of Express Comps) from gambling, dining and hotel stays. Slots, video poker and video lottery play also earn Slot Dollars in addition to MGM Rewards points.

MGM Rewards doesn’t publish its formula for calculating rewards from gambling. Instead, MGM states that you'll earn points based on how long you play, the type of game and the average bet. For dining and hotel stays, you'll earn 1 MGM Rewards point per $1 spent. Since MGM Rewards points are worth 1 cent each, you're effectively getting a 1% return on your non-gaming spend.

In the Caesars Rewards program, a traditional slot machine earns 1 Reward Credit for every $5 that you play. For most video poker machines, you need $10 in play to earn 1 Reward Credit. For table games, you'll earn Reward Credits based on length of play, average bet and type of game. On hotel folios and at restaurants, Caesars Rewards members earn 1 Reward Credit for every $1 spent.

Caesars Rewards points are worth up to 1 cent each. But some popular redemptions — from gift cards to free play — provide only half of that value. For example, you need to redeem 1,000 Reward Credits for $5 in free play. That means your hotel and dining spend yields only 0.5 cent in free gaming per $1 spent — half of what MGM rewards for the same type of spending.

Elite status perks

Winner for elite status perks: Caesars Rewards

MGM Rewards and Caesars Rewards offer elite status to frequent gamers. These grant an array of perks, such as accelerated points earnings, discounts on rooms, waived resort fees and priority lines that can really save you time. Both MGM Rewards and Caesars Rewards elite status come in multiple tiers with increasingly better perks as you move up the ladder.

For reference, compare the benefits for the third tiers of elite status: MGM Rewards Gold versus Caesars Rewards Diamond. With both programs, you'll get:

  • Waived resort fees.

  • $100 celebration dinner.

  • Discounts at gift shops — 20% for Caesars Rewards Diamond versus 10% for MGM Rewards Gold.

  • Dedicated lines for check-in and at restaurants.

  • Complimentary parking, including free valet parking in some locations.

In addition, with Caesars Rewards Diamond you have a guaranteed room in Las Vegas or Atlantic City with 72 hours' notice, 15% off the best available rates for rooms and suites, access to the VIP Laurel Lounge, two free nights at Caesars Palace Dubai and even up to $260 in free online sports betting each year.

Meanwhile, MGM Gold elites are offered an enhanced room upgrade at check-in. While room upgrades are absent from the published benefits for Caesars Diamonds, room upgrades can often be granted at check-in.

Credit cards

Winner for credit card: MGM Rewards

Both MGM and Caesars offer co-branded credit cards that let you earn points for everyday shopping as well as bonuses in certain categories. These cards are the MGM Rewards Mastercard and the Caesars Rewards Visa Credit Card.

Comparing the two, the edge goes to MGM — even though Caesars pays slightly better rewards. Caesars offers 5 points per dollar spent in-house, while the MGM Rewards card earns 3 points per dollar at MGM Resorts Destinations.

But the deciding factor here is that the MGM Rewards credit card comes with Pearl status and earns elite tier credits in addition to offering rewards points, while Caesars doesn’t offer either.

Hotel partner elite status matches

Winner for hotel partner elite status matches: MGM Rewards

Even if you're not a gambler, you can still enjoy MGM Rewards and Caesars Rewards elite benefits through their status match partnerships with hotels. Both rewards programs partner with major hotel brands to allow reciprocal elite status.

Caesars Rewards offers reciprocal status match with Wyndham Rewards. Both programs use similar tier names, so status matches are easy to remember. Wyndham Rewards Platinum elites will get Caesars Rewards Platinum tier (and vice versa). Same with Diamond elites.

MGM Rewards partners with World of Hyatt for reciprocal points earning and status match. Hyatt Discoverist elites match to MGM Rewards Pearl while Hyatt Explorist and Globalist match to MGM Rewards Gold.

Holders of the World of Hyatt Credit Card receive complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status. That means you can get MGM Rewards Pearl status just by holding this card.

World Of Hyatt Credit Card
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That's enough to get free parking and complimentary tickets to MGM Rewards members-only concerts in Las Vegas.

In addition, the MGM and Hyatt partnership lets members earn World of Hyatt points while still earning MGM Rewards Tier Credits on eligible spend at MGM destinations in Las Vegas.

Partner reward benefits

Winner for partner reward benefits: Caesars Rewards

Both MGM and Caesars partner with other travel providers to give perks to elite members.

Caesars Rewards elites can score discounts on Norwegian Cruises, a free night stay at Atlantis Resorts in the Bahamas and a two-night free stay at Caesars Dubai. The perks depend on your Caesars status, with Norwegian Cruise discounts ranging from 10% to 30% and free Atlantis stays ranging from two to five nights. If you reach the top tier of Caesars Seven Stars, you can score a "Congratulatory Voyage with Norwegian Cruise Line" — although details of this perk are slim.

MGM partners with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises to offer an onboard credit and welcome amenity to Gold and higher elites. MGM Platinum elites also earn a complimentary three- to five-night Bahamas or Caribbean cruise for two each year in an oceanview stateroom. Invitation-only NOIR members are upgraded to a balcony stateroom for a seven-night cruise.

And the winner is …

Based on these six criteria, the battle of MGM Rewards versus Caesars Rewards ends in a 3-3 tie. Since every gamer has different factors that are important to them, the winner is going to come down to what perks you value the most.

If you're in the game for the payout, MGM Rewards offers a higher return than what you get with Caesars Rewards. When you throw in better partnerships with Hyatt and Royal Caribbean plus earning tier credits through credit card spending, many will find MGM Rewards the more rewarding loyalty program.

But where you live and where you like to travel could make Caesars Rewards the better option. Caesars has properties spread across the U.S. If you don’t live near or travel to Las Vegas, chances are you’ll be closer to a property where you can enjoy the benefits of Caesars. Plus, if you can utilize comps, like a free stay at Atlantis in the Bahamas and Caesars Dubai, Caesars Rewards can really come out on top.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

partner programs

IHG® One Rewards
Get exclusive benefits and earn points faster
World of Hyatt
Enjoy free nights, member rates and more
Alaska Mileage Plan
Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
IHG® Rewards Program

IHG® One Rewards

Wherever you go, however you stay, IHG One Rewards offers rewards for every one.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

Highlights:
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.
Highlights
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt

With the World of Hyatt loyalty program, enjoy a world of rewards designed to revolve around you.

on Hyatt's website

Highlights:
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.
Highlights
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.

on Hyatt's website

logo image

Alaska Mileage Plan

Mileage Plan is Alaska's loyalty program for anyone who loves to travel and is free to join!

on Alaska's website

Highlights:
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend
Highlights
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend

on Alaska's website

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