MGM acquires the Cosmopolitan but it remains with Marriott, for now

May 18, 2022

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While Las Vegas may have lacked its normal level of tourism during the earlier months of the pandemic, it was a jackpot for real estate sales and transactions.

Resorts World Las Vegas opened. Las Vegas Sands sold The Venetian Resort for $6.25 billion. MGM Resorts made plans to sell The Mirage, and the new owners of Rio Las Vegas plan a major overhaul in partnership with Hyatt.

Marriott-affiliated The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas — part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection — wasn’t immune to the flurry of real estate activity. Investment group Blackstone inked a deal last fall for its most profitable asset sale ever by offloading The Cosmopolitan for $5.65 billion.

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Part of that deal also entailed MGM Resorts International taking over the resort operations for the property for $1.625 billion — a sign MGM wants to focus more on high-end gaming at its physical Las Vegas casinos. MGM closed on that deal this week, meaning the 3,033-room Cosmopolitan and its 110,000 square-foot casino are officially part of MGM Rewards — well, kind of a part of MGM.

“This is a big moment for our company and for the Las Vegas Strip. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has already established itself as one of the Strip’s premier resorts with an iconic brand, well-curated experiences and a loyal customer base. We couldn’t be more excited to bring them into our portfolio of world-class operations,” MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said in a statement this week. “We’re also thrilled to have the talented group of CoStars from The Cosmopolitan joining the MGM Resorts family. We look forward to improving upon The Cosmopolitan’s already strong results by offering their customers access to the extensive and exclusive amenities and other benefits only MGM Resorts can provide.”

While changes are certainly on the horizon, this doesn’t mean MGM is running off Marriott Bonvoy members from the property as we type. Now is the getting-to-know-you phase of integrating the Cosmopolitan into the MGM Rewards network, so a lot of things will be business as usual … for now.

Here’s a rundown of the biggest things to know as The Cosmopolitan changes hands.

Marriott Bonvoy partnership

Marriott Bonvoy members shouldn’t feel slighted from this deal for now. The Cosmopolitan is still part of the Autograph Collection, and there is still a Marriott Autograph Lounge at the resort for Bonvoy Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador Elite members to use. Those with Marriott elite status also still have access to benefits such as expedited seating at the Wicked Spoon buffet, potential room upgrades, bonus points or a $10 food and beverage credit, etc.

This also means Marriott Bonvoy points and gift cards are still redeemable at the resort and that you can still use Bonvoy points to book a stay, often to the tune of 70,000  – 100,000 points required per night.

The Marriott partnership is exclusive to The Cosmopolitan and won’t extend to other MGM Resorts properties. MGM currently has a much closer relationship with Hyatt, including elite status matching and reciprocal benefits, at its other properties.

MGM and Cosmopolitan Loyalty

MGM Rewards members as well as those in Cosmopolitan’s pre-MGM Identity membership program won’t see any immediate changes to their tier levels, benefits, points balances or earnings rates at The Cosmopolitan or any other MGM property like Bellagio or MGM Grand. Both programs will continue to operate independently of one another, for now.

MGM Rewards offers aren’t valid yet at the Cosmopolitan nor are Identity offers valid at legacy MGM properties. MGM indicated changes to the programs will be communicated “in the coming months.”

MGM Resorts is, however, offering a tier match for Identity members looking to join MGM Rewards. That means Gold and Platinum Identity members can tier-match into an MGM Rewards tier. But existing MGM Rewards members won’t be able to tier match into the Identity program for play at the Cosmopolitan.

Perks

For now, guests can’t charge food, drinks, or other services like spa or salon treatments purchased at any MGM Resort in Las Vegas to their room at the Cosmopolitan or vice-versa. The plan is to eventually have cross-property charging work within a closer network of Bellagio, Aria and The Cosmopolitan “in the near future” with additional (and yet-unnamed) properties slated to follow down the line. Bellagio and Aria are located on either side of The Cosmopolitan.

MGM also says Cosmopolitan guests will eventually be able to charge show tickets to their rooms but only for select venues. T-Mobile Arena, Grand Garden Arena, Michelob Ultra Arena, Mandalay Bay Beach and Dolby Live appear unlikely to be included in that list, per MGM’s memo.

Again, it’s largely business as usual on the amenity front. There won’t be complimentary pool access across the newly expanded MGM Resorts network in Las Vegas (though, day passes are available for purchase). This also means guests at The Cosmopolitan can only access the on-site fitness center rather than those at other MGM properties in the vicinity.

Access to MGM’s Shadow Creek golf facility and even network-wide complimentary parking isn’t available to guest at The Cosmopolitan — for now. MGM Resorts indicates both will eventually be allowed in the future.

Check-In

All reservations booked for stays at The Cosmopolitan prior to MGM closing on the operations deal will be honored.

Fans of mobile check-in will only be able to use the MGM Resorts app at non-Cosmopolitan properties for the time being when visiting Las Vegas.

The Cosmopolitan doesn’t offer mobile check-in, per MGM, but the company adds, “The Cosmopolitan will soon provide many of the same conveniences as our other destinations.”

Payments and gaming

Gift cards for The Cosmopolitan are only redeemable at The Cosmopolitan while MGM Rewards gift cards can only be used at the company’s non-Cosmopolitan properties. MGM says this, too, will see changes communicated in the coming months.

As for the casinos, The Cosmopolitan still operates on its own gaming system, so wins and losses there won’t reflect on any MGM activity.

bottom line

While it has changed hands, The Cosmopolitan is still largely operating as a standalone entity compared to the rest of the MGM Resorts network. But this is likely a temporary stop on the way to further changes and integration that are coming down the line, so be alert over the next few months as the sprawling property becomes a full member of the MGM family.

Featured image courtesy of Marriott.

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