M life Rewards is the loyalty program for MGM Resorts — the owner and operator of casinos around the world — with several properties in Las Vegas, such as The Mirage, Bellagio and Mandalay Bay. M life is based on a straightforward concept: Spend money at the hotels and casinos and they’ll give you points, which you can use for free play and hotel spending.
After that, M life gets more complicated. The amount that you need to play to earn points is not listed anywhere on the site. The redemption information is fuzzy, as well. And don’t get too attached to local rules, because the policies are slightly different in each geographic region.
The short version is that you earn two types of rewards through M life play:
Base points, which convert to free play and Express Comps, which can be redeemed for spending at the properties, including room charges, dining and entertainment. The location of the casino will determine whether you earn Express Comps through slot machines, video poker or table games.
Tier credits determine your elite level which, in turn, determines what perks you are entitled to. In addition to the tier points earned through play, you receive 25 tier credits per $1 spent on nongaming activity in Las Vegas and 8 per $1 spent outside of Sin City.
Tier credits accumulate from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 to generate your status, which begins on Feb. 1 each year. If you boost your status during the year, you will enjoy the new status for at least a full year.
Because of COVID-19, MGM is extending 2020 status levels until Jan. 31, 2022. The tier credits required for each status level have also been altered. The credits currently required are listed below and the previous, non-COVID, levels are in parentheses.
Everyone starts with Sapphire. You’ll earn the standard amount of points and receive personalized offers. Points expire six months after your last activity.
Pearl 20,000+ Tier Credits (normally 25,000)
10% bonus on points from slots and extended points expiration (12 months, instead of six).
Express lines at certain buffets. (Don’t get too excited; MGM hands out this perk widely.)
Gold 60,000+ Tier Credits (normally 75,000)
Your slots point bonus moves up to 20%.
Priority check-in. That’s a huge timesaver, especially if you check in at a busy time.
Dedicated lines and priority reservations at restaurants.
VIP line access at nightclubs.
Platinum 160,000+ Tier Credits (normally 200,000)
30% bonus on points that you earn at the machines.
Priority valet and taxi line access.
Annual complimentary cruise on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity.
Priority access to spa, salon and cabana reservations.
Noir (Invite only)
40% bonus on points from slots.
VIP Lounge check-in.
Increased expressed comps.
Guaranteed advance hotel, show and restaurant reservations.
Travel in style: You’ll get a free limo ride to and from the airport.
The M life Rewards Mastercard
M life has a credit card. Most of the features are basic, but it’s a good way to keep your points from expiring if you don’t make it to Las Vegas very often. Overall though, this is a mediocre card. Here's what's included:
There’s no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
You earn 1 tier credit and 1 base point per $1 spent. Those earnings double at gas stations and supermarkets, and triple at M life destinations.
You receive 10,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Automatic Pearl status.
M life has several partnerships, ranging from "meh" to very valuable. Here are a couple of the most interesting ones.
World of Hyatt
The partnership with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts is arguably the most valuable. It includes:
Reciprocal elite benefits and status matching.
The ability to use World of Hyatt points at participating M life hotels.
The opportunity to earn the partner’s reward currency for your stay.
Southwest Airlines is one of the most scheduled airliners serving Las Vegas, so it’s appropriate that they have a partnership with MGM. You can earn 600 Southwest Rapid Rewards points for stays at a qualifying property. But you can only earn Rapid Rewards or M life points — no double-dipping.
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity
Royal Caribbean International and its sibling brand Celebrity have some valuable perks, particularly at the higher levels. Even Pearl, the first elite level, gets you access to a special lounge for departure, but the benefits climb rapidly from there.
Gold members receive priority check-in, a welcome amenity, cash advance fee waiver and an onboard credit for $125.
At Platinum and Noir, your onboard credits move up to $200 and $300, respectively, in addition to the annual complimentary cruise mentioned above.
Be sure to read through the terms and conditions for all partner offers to make sure that you maximize the benefits.
The bottom line
If you’re a frequent traveler to Las Vegas, you’ll want to make sure you compare the M life program closely with the Caesars Rewards program. The two make up the vast majority of on-strip properties in Las Vegas and you’ll earn rewards faster and stretch your earning further if you focus spending and play on one rewards program.
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 2021, 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