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The new MGM Rewards program launches today: Here's what you should know, especially if you're a Hyatt elite

Feb. 01, 2022
13 min read
Bellagio Resort & Casino
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In early January, MGM Rewards announced it would replace its M life Rewards program with a new MGM Rewards program on Feb. 1, 2022. The launch date of the new MGM Rewards program is finally here, and we have you covered with the inside scoop.

"The enhancements we've introduced with MGM Rewards are rooted in feedback shared by our members and allow us to invest in providing members progressively more valuable benefits at each tier, said Anil Mansukhani, MGM Resorts' Vice President of Loyalty Marketing.

With the new MGM Rewards program launch, I got an interview with Mansukhani to get insight on the topics that matter most to World of Hyatt elites who match their status to MGM. After all, World of Hyatt Discoverists can match to MGM Rewards Pearl status while Explorists and Globalists can match to MGM Rewards Gold status.

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How the new MGM Rewards program compares to M life

(Image courtesy of MGM Resorts International)

Regardless of whether you earn MGM status through gaming and stays or through a status match from Hyatt, you may be interested in how the new MGM Rewards program compares to the old M life Rewards program. Here's a quick overview of the highlights at each tier:

Old M life Rewards programNew MGM Rewards program
Sapphire (no requirements)Earn points and Express Comps that can be redeemed at all M life Rewards destinations

Discounts to select shows

Personalized offers and room discounts

Earn MGM Rewards points when you play, dine and stay at all MGM Rewards destinations

Earn Slot Dollars when you play slots, video poker and video lottery at all MGM Rewards destinations

Discounts to select shows, subject to availability

Guaranteed lowest room rates for MGM Rewards members when booking direct and exclusive offers

Pearl (previously required 25,000 tier credits, but now dropped to 20,000 tier credits)10% bonus on points and Express Comps earned playing slots

Dedicated line at participating buffets

Extended expiration for points and Express Comps

Invitations to member-only events, tournaments and promotions

Complimentary self-parking, subject to availability

Complimentary tickets to select MGM Rewards concerts in Las Vegas

Gold (requires 75,000 tier credits)20% bonus on points and Express Comps earned playing slots

Priority hotel check-in line at the front desk

Dedicated line at participating restaurants

Resort fee waived, for up to two rooms, when booking direct

$100 tier achievement celebration dining experience for qualifying members

Complimentary enhanced room upgrade at check-in, based on availability

Dedicated line at hotel check-in and participating restaurants

Platinum (requires 200,000 tier credits)30% bonus on points and Express Comps earned playing slots

Priority access for valet and taxi service

Up to $600 air travel credit to Las Vegas once per year for qualifying members

$200 tier achievement celebration dining experience for qualifying members

Expedited valet and taxi service

NOIR (by invitation)40% bonus on points and Express Comps earned playing slots

Guaranteed advance hotel and restaurant reservations

Complimentary limousine service to/from the nearest airport with a hotel stay

Up to $1,200 air travel credit to Las Vegas once per year for qualifying members

$500 tier achievement celebration dining experience for qualifying members

Complimentary transportation service to and from the nearest airport with a hotel stay

Guaranteed hotel, restaurant and show reservations with 24-hour notice

Many MGM loyalists will find it more difficult to earn status with the MGM Rewards program. If you want to earn status via tier points, you'll earn as follows:

  • Spend: Earn 4 Tier Credits per dollar of eligible spend
  • Slots and tables: Earn 8 Tier Credits per dollar of theoretical loss to the casino (THEO)

You'll qualify for a tier beginning each Feb. 1 based on the tier credits you earn from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of the previous year. However, if you advance to a higher tier at any time, you'll enjoy the benefits of that tier for at least one full year.

MGM Rewards is offering double Tier Credits at MGM Resorts properties in Las Vegas between Feb. 1 and April 30, 2022. So if you're looking to qualify for MGM Rewards status based on tier credits, this spring is a good time to try out the new MGM Rewards perks in Las Vegas.

One additional perk of the new MGM Rewards program is the ability to earn MGM Rewards points on various types of spend, including:

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  • Playing slots, video lottery terminals or video poker
  • When gaming based on your time played, average bet and game type
  • On hotel and dining spend

You can then redeem MGM Rewards points for stays, dining, entertainment and more at MGM Rewards locations throughout the U.S.

Your MGM Rewards points will typically expire after six months of inactivity. But, points won't expire for Pearl+ (how MGM Rewards denotes Pearl members and above) members as long as they hold Pearl status or higher.

Related: Yes, Las Vegas can be done on a tight budget — here's how

A closer look at MGM Rewards perks

MGM Grand Las Vegas (Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International)

Several perks stand out when comparing the old M life Rewards program and the new MGM Rewards program.

Importantly, Pearl+ members will still get complimentary self-parking and Gold+ members will still get complimentary valet parking. When asked about the value of MGM's parking perks, Mansukhani told me:

“As part of our desire to offer real, meaningful benefits that give immediate value to our premium members, providing free self-parking for Pearl+ and free valet parking for Gold+ is a great way to do that. Parking fees have become something difficult to avoid in almost any major city or entertainment destination, so we want to recognize our most loyal members and make it easy and seamless for them to visit any of our MGM Rewards destinations as often as they’d like.”

Complimentary tickets to select MGM Rewards concerts in Las Vegas for Pearl+ members also appears to be a valuable perk. Mansukhani had the following to say about the first concert, and why MGM members should be excited about this perk:

“MGM Resorts is a leader in entertainment so it is important that we create unique and exclusive experiences for our members that they couldn’t get anywhere else on the Las Vegas Strip. While we’re still finalizing details, we can say that these concerts will feature well-known A-list artists and we’re looking to announce our first event very soon, which will be scheduled for April. These concerts will not be open to the public and will be exclusively offered to our Pearl+ members as a reward for their loyalty.”

Related: A classic getaway: Revisiting the Las Vegas of my childhood to love it even more

However, some perks are only available to MGM Rewards members who qualify for their status based on tier credits. For example, MGM Rewards Gold members who earn their status via a match from World of Hyatt won't be eligible for the $100 tier achievement celebration dining experience unless they've also earned the required tier credits for the Gold tier.

Noting this limitation, I asked Mansukhani about MGM Rewards' decision not to limit waived resort fees to Gold+ members who earned status via gaming. Here's his explanation for why MGM Rewards decided to give members who earn Gold status via a status match from Hyatt waived resort fees:

“One of the great differentiators between MGM Rewards and others in our industry is our loyalty partnerships. As a valued strategic partner, it was important for us to offer new meaningful benefits that had immediate value for our premium World of Hyatt members. Our research showed that many of our members wanted waived resorts fees and this benefit would be one of the most valued. We already have what we believe to be some of the best resorts in the world within the MGM Rewards portfolio, but we still want to give our Gold+ members even more of a reason to book their next stay with us. We believe that waiving resorts fees for World of Hyatt members will help give them another reason to stay with us every time, and show that we recognize their value.”

Mansukhani confirmed to TPG that World of Hyatt members who are also Gold+ members get waived resort fees when earning World of Hyatt points and tier-qualifying nights toward World of Hyatt status. To do this, book directly with MGM Rewards International, notify the front desk agent at check-in that you'd like to earn World of Hyatt points and ensure that both your MGM Rewards and World of Hyatt membership numbers are on your reservation and final hotel folio.

MGM may not waive your resort fee automatically, though. Even if your stay is eligible, you may still need to visit the front desk during your stay to request that the resort fees are waived. I expect you won't have any issues if you meet the booking and status requirements, but I hope that most MGM Rewards Gold+ members won't need to jump through this extra hoop.

Related: Hyatt members, listen up: Use this simple tip to avoid resort fees at 13 Las Vegas casinos

Additional notes for World of Hyatt elites

ARIA Resort & Casino (Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International)

If you earn MGM status via MGM's partnership with World of Hyatt, you'll probably find the new MGM Rewards program to be an improvement over M life.

You might as well match your status if you have World of Hyatt elite status. However, I'm still seeing the M life Rewards program on MGM's website right now — so you may need to wait for the MGM Rewards program to go live on MGM's website before matching.

Once you're ready to match your status, click here and log in to your World of Hyatt account. Some World of Hyatt elites have experienced issues connecting their accounts if they're already logged into their MGM account. I recommend logging out of your MGM account before attempting your status match.

If you want quick World of Hyatt elite status, consider adding the World of Hyatt Credit Card to your wallet. This card automatically grants Discoverist status and five qualifying night credits each year.

Finally, Hyatt has two off-strip Hyatt Place hotels in Las Vegas. And we know that the Rio Las Vegas will be renovated and eventually become multiple World of Hyatt properties. When asked about the value World of Hyatt loyalists get when staying with MGM resorts in Las Vegas compared to staying with a Hyatt-branded property, Mansukhani said:

“As part of MGM Rewards and World of Hyatt’s existing strategic loyalty alliance, MGM Rewards offers 13 resort destinations located directly on the Las Vegas Strip offering some of the most iconic and popular entertainment, dining and amenities in town where World of Hyatt members can earn and redeem World of Hyatt points. As an added benefit of this alliance, World of Hyatt members staying at participating MGM Rewards destinations and booking directly through either MGM Resorts or Hyatt channels can earn World of Hyatt Tier-Qualifying Nights in addition to MGM Rewards Tier Credits. Ultimately, World of Hyatt members who are also MGM Rewards members should choose the property in Las Vegas that best meets their preferences.”

And indeed, it is all about preferences. For example, I may still choose the Hyatt Place Las Vegas for its airport shuttle when I'm simply overnighting in Las Vegas between two flights. But for multi-night stays, I'm excited to try out MGM properties now that I’m a Gold member and can stay without paying resort fees.

Related: Be careful how you book MGM hotels in Vegas; My mistake cost me a valuable Hyatt perk

Favorite parts of the new MGM Rewards program, according to MGM Resorts' VP of Loyalty Marketing

Park MGM Las Vegas (Photo by Javier Rodriguez/The Points Guy)

As MGM Resorts' Vice President of Loyalty Marketing, Mansukhani played a significant role in sculpting the new MGM Rewards program into what launched today. So, I asked him about his favorite part of the program. Here's his response:

“There are a lot of great aspects of the new program so it’s hard to just pick one favorite. First, we’re excited that our non-gaming customers will now be able to earn MGM Rewards Points for virtually all of their spend across all 20+ MGM Resorts destinations nationwide. Under M life, these customers spent a lot of money with us, but didn’t get as much value out of the program so we’re happy to recognize them for their spend with MGM Rewards Points and also allow them to redeem those Points for a wide variety of amazing hotel, dining, spa and entertainment experiences that only MGM Resorts can offer.
Another very exciting change is that we're now offering elevated and meaningful new benefits to our most loyal customers such as waived resorts fees, celebration dinners, airfare credit to Las Vegas, room upgrades and complimentary 4 p.m. late checkout.
Lastly, the new program now standardizes Tier Credit earning throughout all of our MGM Rewards properties which allows us to offer more meaningful benefits for members who really do spend and visit us regularly which is always the primary objective for any loyalty program.”

None of his favorites are surprising. But, it's enlightening to see what Mansukhani highlighted. After all, the new program seems to incentivize non-gamers who may not usually be interested in earning elite status. But, of course, the new program also strives to reward high-tier members with competitive perks.

Related: The economics behind hotel loyalty programs

Bottom line

Some of the perks of the new MGM Rewards program make the program competitive with Caesars Rewards. In particular, waived resort fees for Gold+ members and a tier achievement celebration dinner for qualifying members mirror perks found in the Caesars Rewards program.

The new MGM Rewards program is also a net positive for World of Hyatt elites who don't care much about earning tier credits with MGM. After all, World of Hyatt Explorist and Globalist elites who match to MGM Rewards Gold status will now get extra perks.

But, you'll earn tier credits — and in turn MGM status — at a slower rate on nongaming spending like hotel accommodations, dining and spa services under the new MGM Rewards program. So if you're looking to earn status with MGM Rewards through tier credits, now is a good time to access what status your typical spending and gaming will get you under the new program.

Featured image by Bellagio Resort & Casino (Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
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  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
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  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees