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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:
Elite status perks.
Hotel partner elite status matches.
Partner reward benefits.
See if you agree when deciding which is best for you.
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.
» Learn more: How to save on your next trip to Vegas
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.
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.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
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 (though the partnership will soon be ending, with the ability to status match going away on July 14, 2023 — read more on that and a recently announced new partnership with Marriott Bonvoy here). 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.
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.
» Learn more: The most valuable hotel rewards programs right now
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 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card