Rio Overview and Rooms

(updated November 15, 2017)
The Rio has discontinued its free shuttle to Harrah’s and Bally’s.

The Rio opened in 1990 as a locals’ casino. The Masquerade tower and casino expansion (featuring the now closed Masquerade Show In the Sky) opened in 1997. It was purchased by Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment) in 1999.

It is one of those places where I can spend 3 days and not have to leave the hotel. That is a good thing, since it is off-Strip. It has good dining options, a lively casino and fun nightlife options that are good for the non 20-something crowd. The pool area is nicely themed, too.

The Rio is officially called the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino. All of the standard rooms are 600 square foot suites. For reference, a typical room on the Strip is 350-450 square feet. Each room at the Rio has a spacious sitting area, refrigerator, safe, hair dryer, iron and ironing board.  Rooms also have wired and wireless Internet access covered by the resort fee.

The Rio has two hotel towers; the Ipanema Tower and the Masquerade Tower.

The Masquerade Tower is the more recent tower. It features Strip views from most of the South facing rooms and pool views for North facing rooms. The elevators for the Masquerade Tower rooms are located just off the Masquerade casino floor. This is a long way from the front desk, valet, Carnival World Buffet and convention areas, but puts you near the  VooDoo Steak & Lounge elevators, Chippendales Theatre and most of the more active dining and nightlife spots.  Music from the VooDoo Lounge’s rooftop deck can bleed into rooms on the higher floors.  Staying in the Masquerade Tower gives you convenient access to the Masquerade self parking garage.   If you are here for a vacation, the Masquerade Tower is the one you want.

The Ipanema Tower is older, but was renovated in 2005. It is a three-wing hotel tower with 1/3 of the rooms facing West, with a view of the mountains, 1/3 facing North towards Fremont Street, and 1/3 facing East with pool and/or Strip views.

The Ipanema Tower elevators are directly across the lobby from the front desk. This puts you closer to the convention areas, valet and the Carnival World Buffet. If you are here for a convention or plan on spending most of your time somewhere other than the Rio, this is the tower you want.

The Rio website does not clearly delineate this, but a “Deluxe Suite” is typically in the Ipanema Tower and a “Premium Suite” is usually in the Masquerade Tower.  The Rio recently added a PetStay option where small dogs are permitted in specifically designated rooms for a higher price.  For more details on the PetStay rooms, visit their website.

The Rio has a number of resident shows including Penn & Teller,  Chippendales,  X-Rocks and the recently relocated  Rock of Ages.

For dining info, visit my Rio Dining post.

The Rio recently added the VooDoo Zipline.  I’m not a big fan of it since it is more like a ski-lift than a traditional zipline and it faces away from the Strip. It still qualifies as a thrill ride, though.

The Rio charges a  nightly resort fee of $29 ($32.48 after taxes) which covers internet access, fitness center access and all local calls.

The Rio also offers  a discount of  up to 15%  for Military, First Responders, Students & Teachers.

Want to be on Pawn Stars?

Here is your chance.  Email them at Pawnstarstvshow@gmail.com
You can find out more at this link:
http://tinyurl.com/6lkngsq

Of course, if you just want to visit the shop or sell an item without being on TV you can do that any day.  Gold And Silver Pawn is at 713 S Las Vegas Blvd between the Strip and Downtown.   Half of the store is Pawn Stars merchandise, but if you like the show you will probably like the store.

MGM Resorts’ Mlife Players Club

The former MGM Players Club became Mlife in 2011.
It was a big departure from the former, non-tiered system, but it made it more accessible to the average visitor… kind of.

Mlife covers the MGM Resorts International properties – MGM Grand, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, New York-New York,   Monte Carlo, Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, The Signature at MGM Grand, Delano Las Vegas  (   formerly THEhotel) and a few casinos outside Las Vegas. 

Tiers and Tier Credits.
Similar to Caesars Entertainment’s Total Rewards system, Mlife uses Tier Credits to calculate your status.

  • Sapphire is the basic tier that everyone starts with.
  • Pearl is the next tier up and requires 25,000 Tier Credits earned between October 1st and September 30th of the following year.
  • Gold requires 75,000 Tier Credits.
  • Platinum requires 200,000 Tier Credits.
  • NOIR is by invitation only and requires at least 1,000,000 Tier Credits.

Tier Credits reset to zero on October 1st, but the tier you achieved in that year is good for another full year. For example, if you earn 75,000 Tier Credits between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013, you will have Gold status through September 30, 2014.

Calculating Tier Credits for slot and video poker play is easy.
$1 through a slot machine = 3.33 Tier Credits (effective Oct. 1, 2012)
$1 through a video poker machine = 1 Tier Credit
You earn Tier Credits for table games, too. The number of credits will vary with the game, your average bet and the duration of your play. Betting $25/hand for an hour of blackjack will earn 550 Tier Credits. You will earn tier credits faster when playing roulette and carnival games (like 3-Card Poker). MGM properties used to require a minimum bet of $25 per hand in order to track or rate your play. MGM Grand is now tracking all play (verified March 2016). When in doubt, ask the dealer or the pit boss.
When you have Pearl status or higher, you earn credits at an accelerated rate.

Joining in on the recent trend of rewarding you for non-gaming activities, Mlife also lets your earn 25 Tier Credits per dollar spent on dining, lodging and entertainment. Aside from retail purchases, if you can charge it to your room, you should be able to get Tier Credits for it.
Remember, Tier Credits are only used to keep track of your Tier.

Beware that Tier Credits accrue at a lower rate at non-Las Vegas based MGM properties. You only earn 8 Tier Credits per dollar spent at MGM Grand Detroit, Beau Rivage and  Gold Strike Tunica. The Tier Credits earned from gambling at those casinos is lower, too.  For my calculations, I am only focusing on the Las Vegas casinos.

Here is a quick breakdown of how much it takes to reach each tier.

Tier

Tier Credits

Slot
Coin-in
VP
Coin-in

Purchases

Pearl 25,000 $7,500 $25,000 $1,000
Gold 75,000 $22,500 $75,000 $3,000
Platinum 200,000 $60,000 $200,000 $8,000
Noir 1,000,000 $300,000 $1,000,000 $40,000

Mlife benefits vary with your tier status.

  • Sapphire status gives you a 5% discount at some retail outlets and a discount at the onsite Avis car rental.
  • Pearl status lets you use the VIP line at the buffet, upgraded show seating, 10% retail discount and a 10% bonus on Points earning .
  • Gold adds the use of the VIP line at the cafe, room upgrades, priority check in, 10% retail discount, 20% bonus on Points earning and special access the casinos’ nightclubs.
  • Platinum gives you priority access to just about everything as well as a 15% retail discount and a 30% bonus on Points earning.
  • NOIR adds guaranteed room and dining reservations, 15% retail discount and a 40% bonus on Points earning. Those benefits are in addition to the offers that the casino sends based upon your gambling daily average.

Points and Comps.
Points are how Mlife keeps track of your actual comps.

  • $10 through a video poker machine = 1 Point
  • $3 through a slot machine = 1 Point (effective Oct. 1, 2012)
  • You do not earn Points for table games, but you do earn comps based upon the game, average bet and duration.

Comps are divided into Express Comps and Primary Comps.
You get $0.01 in Express Comps for every Point you earn on slot and video poker machines. Express Comps for table games are based on your length of play, average bet, and game type. While it is fairly easy to track your Express Comps, Primary Comps are still a trade secret. They accrue based upon your rated play at table games and slot machines but you need to go to the Mlife desk to see how much you have. They can then credit those Primary Comps to your room.
You can use your Express Comps to cover lodging, dining and entertainment costs. Look for an “Express Comps Accepted Here “ sign to find participating outlets or apply them to your room charges.

POINTSPlay.
You also receive $0.01 in POINTSPlay for every point you earn on slot and video poker machines.  You can load POINTSPlay into a machine and play with points instead of cash.  If you don’t want to play those points, you have the option to convert the POINTSPlay amount into Express Comps.

For more information on the Mlife system, visit mlife.com

Players Clubs and Comps: Total Rewards

NOTE: On January 1, 2013 Total Rewards changed the Tier Points required for the various tiers. Please read my post about the changes. You can also see an updated Total Rewards overview in my Total Rewards Overview post.

There was a time when getting comps was pretty easy, but how the casino decided what comps you would get was a bit of a mystery. The system was open to a lot of personal discretion from pit bosses and hosts. Today, most process is a bit more transparent … to a certain extent. Today, it is easier to claim your comps, too, but those comps tend to be less valuable.

There are 2 main players clubs in Las Vegas.
Total Rewards and Mlife.

Total Rewards covers the Caesars Entertainment properties – Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Harrah’s, Flamingo, Bally’s, Paris, Imperial Palace (now The Quad) and Rio. Total Rewards is also used at the numerous Caesars Entertainment properties across the US.

Mlife covers the MGM Resorts International properties – MGM Grand, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, New York-New York, Monte Carlo, Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, The Signature at MGM Grand, THEhotel at Mandalay Bay and a few casinos outside Las Vegas.

Wynn and the Venetian each have their own club and most of the ‘locals’ casinos that you might have heard of are part of Boyd’s BConnected or Station’s Boarding Pass players clubs.

The basic process for tracking your play is the same with all players clubs.
For table games like blackjack and craps, present your card to the dealer when you buy in.
For slot and video poker machines, put your card in the card reader before you start playing.

Today, I am just going to cover the Total Rewards system. Continue reading Players Clubs and Comps: Total Rewards