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MGM Resorts International, which runs more than a dozen properties in Las Vegas including the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and New York New York, as well as other resorts around the U.S., China and Japan, announced today a massive overhaul to its loyalty rewards program.
What’s changing for M Life
The name change from M life Rewards to MGM Rewards is just the start. Among the most notable changes to the program include complimentary self-parking with Pearl status or higher, and — for the highest tiers of status — air travel credits for flights to Las Vegas, complimentary cruises and dinner parties.
And there’s one new benefit set to make waves bigger than what you’ll find at the Mandalay Bay Beach wave pool — waived resort fees with direct bookings for members with Gold status or higher.
Resort fees have created among the biggest headaches for travelers — and have even led to lawsuits. These are additional fees often not advertised up front, which resorts typically say covers the cost of amenities that can be as simple as in-room Wi-Fi, as well as things like use of the pool.
At most of the Las Vegas MGM properties, resort fees typically run between $35 and $45 per night, which can be particularly astounding when base room rates sometimes cost less than $50 (thus turning what you may have thought was a $50 nightly rate to closer to $100). At present, it’s tough to find Las Vegas hotels without resort fees.
Plus, for the first time in the program’s history, you’ll earn MGM Rewards points for non-gaming spending.
That aligns the MGM Rewards program with Caesars Rewards, which is the casino rewards program from one of MGM’s closest competitors. In that program, you earn 1 Caesars reward credit for every dollar on almost all spending at Caesars properties, including room reservations and purchases at restaurants, entertainment, shops and amenities. Like the Caesars Rewards program, MGM Rewards lets you redeem your points toward dining, entertainment and hotel stays.
» Learn more: Caesars versus MGM Rewards
With MGM Rewards, you’ll earn 4 tier credits and 1 MGM Rewards point per $1 spent on eligible hotel stays and dining across all tiers at all MGM Resorts destinations.
MGM Rewards status levels
The refreshed MGM Rewards tiers are Sapphire, Pearl, Gold, Platinum and Noir. Here's how to reach them and their best benefits.
How to attain Sapphire status: Simply sign up and you’ll join the program at this entry-level.
Sapphire status perks include:
Earn MGM Rewards points for purchases including entertainment, dining and room stays at all MGM Rewards destinations.
Earn Slot Dollars when you play slots, video poker and video lottery terminals at all MGM Rewards destinations.
Access to the guaranteed lowest room rates when booking direct.
How to attain Pearl status: Earn 20,000 tier credits (previously 25,000) per earning year, or match with World of Hyatt Discoverist status.
Pearl status perks include:
All of the above Sapphire perks.
10% bonus on Slot Dollars.
How to attain Gold status: Earn 75,000 tier credits per earning year, or match with World of Hyatt Explorist status.
Gold status perks include:
All of the above Pearl and Sapphire perks.
20% bonus on Slot Dollars.
Waived resort fees for up to two rooms when booking direct.
Space-available room upgrades.
A dedicated line at hotel check-in and some restaurants.
A dining credit worth $100 for participating MGM-owned restaurants (though you do not receive this benefit if you earned status through a matching program).
How to attain Platinum status: Earn 200,000 tier credits per earning year.
Platinum status perks include:
All of the above Gold, Pearl and Sapphire perks.
30% bonus on Slot Dollars.
Late check-out until 4 p.m.
Annual suite upgrade in Las Vegas.
Dining credit worth $200 (rather than $100) for participating MGM-owned restaurants (though you do not receive this benefit if you earned status through a matching program).
A $600 annual air travel credit to Las Vegas.
A complimentary cruise on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises. You’ll receive one cruise for two per year in an Oceanview Stateroom consisting of a three, four, or five-night Bahamas or Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises.
Expedited valet and taxi service.
How to attain Noir status: Invitation only. NerdWallet asked, and MGM Rewards told us they do not disclose how status is granted.
Noir status perks include:
All of the above Platinum, Gold, Pearl and Sapphire perks.
Earn a 40% bonus on Slot Dollars.
A dining credit worth $500 (rather than $100 or $200) for participating MGM-owned restaurants.
A $1,200 annual air travel credit (rather than $600) to Las Vegas.
As far as the cruise goes, you’ll get upgraded service One cruise for two per year in a Balcony Stateroom consisting of a seven-Night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise on Royal Caribbean or seven-Night Caribbean, Europe, Alaska or Bermuda cruise on Celebrity Cruises.
Who benefits the most from the MGM Rewards changes?
Non-gambling resort goers
The biggest winners here are resort goers who are more likely to devote their vacation funds to dining, activities and other entertainment besides gambling. The old loyalty program was rewarding when it came to spending on slots, but not much else.
Even if you never gamble, you could still find yourself in the top tiers if you spend enough money on other Vegas expenses, like restaurants and shows.
Another crew of people who benefit are those who don’t mind booking directly, rather than through an online travel agency like Expedia.
World of Hyatt members who want to match status
Another set of big winners here are World of Hyatt members, which is the loyalty program for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. A partnership between the two companies allows you to status match. Plus, members can earn World of Hyatt points for stays at all Las Vegas MGM Rewards destinations.
As was the case with the old program, you can choose either MGM Rewards tier credits or World of Hyatt points for spending at Hyatt properties.
Here’s how status matching looks for Hyatt members:
World of Hyatt Membership Level
MGM Rewards tier
How to earn Hyatt status
Notable benefits of MGM Rewards tier
Free to join.
Show discounts and guaranteed lowest room rates when booking direct.
10 nights or 25,000 base points each calendar year.
30 nights or 50,000 base points each calendar year.
Waived resort fees when booking direct, $100 dining credit, space available room upgrades and dedicated lines at check-in and restaurants.
60 nights or 100,000 base points each calendar year.
(Same as above).
Self-parking at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas starts at $15 per night, which alone can be enough to offset the World of Hyatt Credit Card annual fee of $95. Explorist status can be more easily earned by holding the Hyatt-branded card, which includes 5 qualifying night credits towards your next tier status every year, as well as two additional qualifying night credits towards status every time you spend $5,000 on the card. And it might be worth chasing simply for waived resort fees alone.
World of Hyatt card members can use this link to match status.
A limited time bonus
To launch the program, MGM Rewards is offering a limited-time bonus. You’ll get a 2x multiplier on tier credits earned at MGM’s Las Vegas resorts between Feb. 1 and April 30, 2022.
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:
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